When the walls protecting the Earth from Faery came down, it was flooded with immortals and they’ve over taken MacKayla Lane’s new home of Dublin. It’When the walls protecting the Earth from Faery came down, it was flooded with immortals and they’ve over taken MacKayla Lane’s new home of Dublin. It’s now a war zone – they’ve defeated the Sinsar Dubh and imprisoned the Unseelie Prince Cruce in a tomb of ice. But there’s always something to be done. The Song of Making could recreate the walls between the Fae and Earth but no one possesses that knowledge now. The book, ever deep and present in MacKayla’s mind croons to her about all they could do if Mac gave up her control. But she continues to resist.
Once Mac’s best friend and almost like a sister to her, Dani “Mega” O’Malley has gone missing. Whilst Mac was attempting to talk to her she jumped into the Silvers, one that went to the Hall of All Days. Mac has no idea how long it’ll take her to get back…or even if she will get back. There’s also the task of rescuing Christian MacKeltar who lies chained on a clifftop being killed over and over again. For that Mac will have to work with not only Jericho Barrons, her enigmatic lover and keeper of secrets but one of his men Ryodan, whom she’s never really seen eye to eye with. And the MacKeltars will want to be along for the ride too as well as the mysterious Jada who has taken over the sidhe seers at the Abbey.
It’s an unholy alliance and you never know who to trust.
Ok well this book was kind of a hot mess.
I love the Fever series, I really do. I binge read them all and I was satisfied when it ended. I would’ve been happy for more but if not, I figured I could rest enough knowing how Mac and Barrons had ended. Then Iced came out and I learned it was going to be narrated by Dani. I’m in the minority because I don’t like Dani as a narrator at all. I used to skim her chapters in the other books because she drives me nuts. I tried to read it but I honestly couldn’t get through it and just ended up skimming it. I wasn’t at all comfortable with a lot of the story line because Dani is fourteen and the vibes I was getting were weird. Clearly I wasn’t the only one – there was a lot of criticism about both Ryodan and Christian’s thoughts and/or feelings towards Dani, both admitted and alluded to. In this book it seems like Karen Marie Moning has gone on the defensive a bit. Mac is back as our main narrator, which actually pleased me when I heard it and she dispatched Dani into Fae through the Silvers presumably to age a few years and come back more adult so that she can set up this triangle she seems to want so desperately.
Really, just stop it. Stop trying to make Ryodan and Dani happen. It’s weird. Really, really weird. I didn’t mind Ryodan in earlier books, he was enigmatic like Barrons and the rest of the Nine but in this book KMM basically tries to ram him down the reader’s throat as so deep and having hidden feelings. He waxes lyrical about how he saw Dani as a kid and she amazed him and he knew immediately that she was special and that he’s been keeping an eye on her, protecting her ever since. I found those scenes quite puzzling. If KMM is trying to ram Ryodan down the reader’s throats, she’s also doing the same of Dani and it’s not necessary. Dani has her fans, there are plenty of people out there who were incensed when they found out the narrative was going to be Mac’s again. We don’t need to be told every five pages how special Dani is and how unique. Basically everyone in these books is special or unique for some reason or other. Dani is a tough kid, a gifted fighter, a survivor. What happens to her in this book is not what I expected. The aging, yes. Who/what she came back as, no. It felt like a waste of time, creating Dani 2.0. Is KMM hoping her readers forget that she was a child five minutes ago by having her look and act completely different? To the people in Dublin, Dani was gone a month. For her it was almost five years. She’s kissing Ryodan now, supposedly ok because she now looks 20. Never mind that the last time Ryodan saw her, which was mere weeks ago, she was still only fourteen. I was told I would love Ryodan more than Barrons but nope. Didn’t happen. Ryodan is a bit of an ass. He continually wastes no time telling Mac how stupid/useless/moronic/pointless she is but at the same time, when the Unseelie Princess comes to his club and threatens their perceptions, Mac is the first person he goes running to, begging for help. I found myself saying “Just shut up Ryodan” every time he spoke. Stop being pissy just for the sake of it. Makes you look like an ass, not a being everyone should fear and respect.
Mac was neutered in this novel as well – for about maybe half of it? she’s actually invisible to everyone. She can be heard if she speaks, or if she bumps into something she’ll give her presence away but she cannot be seen. That’s a pretty strong metaphor for Mac’s personality in this book. From pink MacKayla in book 1 to the one that helped defeat Cruce and the Sinsa Dubh in book 5, Mac grew into a pretty kickass character. Barrons and her found a harmonious place, but that was blown apart in this book because things feel strained, awkward and tense between them. There wasn’t a whole lot of chemistry although the scene where Barrons is finally able to avenge her is probably the best in the book, even though it lacks the true raw emotion of some of their earlier interactions. Instead it seems that Mac and Barrons are back to around book 2 or 3, dancing around each other for the most part. Could you not write a story where they continued to be in the place where they were at when book 5 ended, KMM? Regression really annoys me, especially when it’s utterly unnecessary. Still even awkward, stilted Mac and Barons have more chemistry than Dani and Ryodan.
This felt like different characters inhabiting a different universe. I’m disappointed....more
Evie has now fully come into her powers as the Empress. She understands what she’s capable of and she understands the game that is being played. EveryEvie has now fully come into her powers as the Empress. She understands what she’s capable of and she understands the game that is being played. Everyone who has been reincarnated as one of the Tarot cards are in a battle to the death with the winner being granted immortality. She’s taken out one of the players already, although only because he threatened her. However there’s no denying that when her Empress persona takes over, Evie finds it almost impossible to stay in control. The Empress wants to inflict pain and suffering and it’s very difficult to pull herself away from that.
Evie decides it might be time to approach the games a bit differently and call a truce. After all, they’re bigger than the game, they can decide not to kill each other. She’s already in an alliance with the Fool, who guides her way, the Moon and the Magician and she’s sure there are other players out there that she can convince they can work together.
With the possible exception of Death.
Death has been speaking to Evie for a while now. And when he kidnaps her and takes her back to his stronghold, Evie knows that if she wants to escape, she’s going to have to employ some unusual methods. Death and Evie have a past that she can’t remember and he can’t forget. She’s also the only person Death can touch, skin on skin contact without killing them. And Death wants to touch her.
Although Evie has feelings for Jack, the Cajun boy from her hometown, there’s no denying that the more time she spends with Death, the more she is drawn to him. She begins to learn, remember, bits and pieces of their history and what they have shared over the years. The love….and the betrayal.
I read the first book in this series, Poison Princess as part of the Simon Pulse 30 Days of Reading promotion in December but it was during the time I was taking a break from blogging so I never ended up writing a review for it. I didn’t realise that not long after I finished that, the third book was due out and promos began popping up on my instagram inviting followers to comment if they were #teamJack or #teamDeath. Given Death was a psychopath who killed her in her dreams and spoke to Evie in her mind about killing her and how good it would be, I was sort of surprised that so many were showing their love for him. I figured that book 2 would be “Death’s book” and I was willing to be converted.
Well, that didn’t happen. In actual fact, I find Death kind of boring. Blah blah he’s so old and tormented, being immortal and all. He never gets to touch people so he’s all alone with no friends. He’s like the original whiny emo with a side of sadistic murderer thrown in. He has an annoying habit of referring to Evie as “creature” when he speaks to her and I really don’t get why he didn’t just kill her to begin with. He talks of ‘this lifetime’ as the one time he decided not to show her any mercy but that’s pretty much what he does. He takes her to his home, gives her food and clothing, allows her free rein (mostly, although some areas are off limits and he has incapacitated her powers). Despite the fact that he’s thousands of years old, all Evie has to do is put on some workout clothes and dance and he’s panting around after her like a horny teenager. All the while he claims he cannot be seduced but it’s pretty clear, that yes he can and will. The thing is, as their history becomes more and more clear, I get the feeling I should’ve been swayed more towards him. He’s endured a lot at the hands of the Empress’s past incarnations but I really didn’t care. He spends so much time running away from Evie that the chemistry feels lackluster and disappointing.
Look, Jack is kind of a douche too. I get that. But he’s an 18yo boy from a terrible area who has had an awful home life and been treated like dirt probably his whole life. He’s insensitive at times and this book reveals that he kept some pretty big secrets from Evie. Which she gets all super angry about despite the fact that she was keeping things from him. Jack has his flaws for sure. But I find them interesting when they’re together, even when they’re fighting. The chemistry is there when they’re squaring off and it’s there during the more gentle moments too. I feel as though the Death thing was being forced – oh there is history and betrayal and she’s the only one that can tame the killing machine. I feel as though this book played all of Death’s cards whereas Jack still has a lot up his sleeve, such as precisely who is and what role he has to play in the Arcana. I’m pretty sure he’s not just an average boy and that he does have some sort of deeper involvement.
It’s kind of weird when you don’t ‘get’ a coupling. I wonder if there’s something wrong with me or if I just tend to really go for the first guy that comes into the picture? I don’t know. I mean I’m Team Ranger in the Stephanie Plum books so I guess that isn’t true. But I really don’t get all of the love for Death. He has about as much personality as the average household pot plant for me. Gosh knows Evie isn’t perfect either, she’s spoiled and silly and jumps to conclusions and all the rest. She’s done a bit of growing and she clearly has a lot more to do. But I just don’t really see a future for them. Kind of hard to be happily ever after with a guy who kills everyone he touches and wants to kill all your friends.
The third book has been released now and I find myself torn about reading it. I actually tried to find a few spoilers around to see if it was going to end the way I wanted it to or if I was going to go through the whole thing only to get to the end and go argh! But there’s not really much around. Guess I’m just going to have to bit the bullet and see what happens....more
Abby Solomon writes romances for a living but lives a bit of a solitary life with no significant other. When her recently deceased Grandma pays her aAbby Solomon writes romances for a living but lives a bit of a solitary life with no significant other. When her recently deceased Grandma pays her a visit, Abby wonders if maybe all that solitude is getting to her and she’s hallucinating. But no, Grandma Charlotte really is there and she has a task for Abby.
She wants Abby to find her long lost love, a man named Dave that she waited for during the war. They were supposed to meet after it ended but Dave never showed and eventually Charlotte married someone else and had a long and happy life with him. But he’s gone and now Charlotte’s chance of happiness in the ever-after hinges around finding Dave. Abby’s research yields 12 possibilities in the area Charlotte thinks that Dave would’ve chosen to settle down and she decides to undertake a roadtrip for Christmas, visiting the 12 Daves over 12 days and seeing if any of them are The One.
It’s not easy, finding the Daves and engineering meetings that don’t look suspicious. Some of the Daves are easily discounted – too young, too old, not quite right in other ways. Then Abby meets a Dave of her own, a young doctor. Maybe this road trip might not only secure Grandma Charlotte’s future happiness but also Abby’s own.
I have to admit, Juliet Madison’s books seem to be an exception to the rule that I don’t like books with a bit of the ‘woo woo’ magic in them. This is the second I’ve read now and they’re highly entertaining and very fun to read. I really should read all the others, I don’t know what’s stopping me. Oh right, of course I do. My TBR pile of hundreds and hundreds of books!
Anyway, in this one Abby is a romance author. She quit her job to write full time, having loved romance since reading her grandma’s Mills & Boons as a teenager (didn’t we all! That’s how I got into reading romance). Grandma has recently passed away and Abby is still feeling the loss – until Grandma pops into her living room as a ghost. They can’t touch but Abby can see her and hear her and after the initial shock wears off, she’s thrilled to have her grandmother back in her life again. But Grandma doesn’t just want to sit around and chit chat – she wants Abby to help find the true love of her life, a man she never got to reconnect with after the Second World War. The details are pretty sketchy – all her grandmother knows is his name, which is quite a common one and the area he most probably settled down after he returned. Abby sleuths around and discovers 12 possibilities and decides to throw caution to the wind and head out on a road trip to meet them all and see if any are the one.
Grandma Charlotte is of course, along for the ride and each of the Daves they find are different in their own way. Some are lovely, some are not, some are too young, some are too old. All of the Daves have something that means they’re not The Dave that they’re looking for, all except one who wasn’t at home when Abby came through. Backtracking to find that Dave, Abby runs into a handsome doctor she’d seen when she first came through, although the situation she’d found herself in then is not one she particularly wants to revisit.
Abby realises she has to explain something difficult to Doctor Dave, something that he may find almost impossible to believe. But she does it anyway, desperate to help her grandmother fulfill her wish to find the person that is the key to her happiness in the afterlife. And even though Dave is skeptical, he at least hears Abby out and it seems that the two of them have found their own spark. The relationships in this novel are so fun – there are few characters, Abby and her grandmother shine for most of it. Their relationship is a very, very close one and although Grandma Charlotte stands to gain from this adventure locating the 12 Daves, she’s also pushing Abby to step outside of her comfort zone as well. To put herself out there and meet new people, because she’s not going to find her special someone sitting at home and typing on her keyboard. I loved reading their conversations as they traveled from place to place. It helped give a very good picture about Abby but without a lot of info-dumping.
A sweet and heartwarming story – really must read the rest of her books. I enjoyed this a lot, it’s exactly the sort of read that’s perfect for the run up to Christmas and it gives you that Australian Christmas feel as it’s set on the coast of New South Wales. It makes me want to do a road trip for Christmas, but I’m afraid that’s going to have to wait until next year....more
As the leader of the MoonBound vampire clan, Hunter has to make the tough decisions and often, the sacrifices for the good of his clan. In order to brAs the leader of the MoonBound vampire clan, Hunter has to make the tough decisions and often, the sacrifices for the good of his clan. In order to bring peace to rival vampire clans so that they may have harmony to work together against a common enemy, he has agreed to mate the daughter of the leader of another clan. But the rival clan is completely different to the MoonBound Clan and their leader is bloodthirsty and cruel. His eldest daughter Rasha follows the same philosophy and Hunter knows that although he has to mate her for the greater good, he’ll never be able to like or respect her.
Rasha’s cripped twin sister Aylin accompanies her to the MoonBound Clan to assist Rasha until the mating. When they are attacked on the way they are rescued by the MoonBound Clan and Hunter mistakes Aylin for Rasha, as she was playing decoy. Both are immediately drawn to the other but the pact Hunter has made with Rasha and Aylin’s father cannot be broken without horrible consequences. Hunter also must face an ancient curse on his people by undertaking a severe test, one that he may not survive. He’s already been told that he must take one twin with him on the quest and that both will be the death of him but only one will save him.
And now Hunter has yet another choice to make and he’d better choose wisely….or it will be his last.
Chained By Night is the second in the MoonBound Clan books following on from Bound By Night. The leader of the MoonBound Clan Hunter was given a strange piece of information and a choice to make and I couldn’t wait to see how his story played out. I was absolutely not disappointed. Hunter has made the ultimate sacrifice in agreeing to mate Rasha, who comes from a clan that is almost the exact opposite in beliefs and philosphy to the MoonBound Clan. This is evident in their beliefs about and their treatment of cripples such as Rasha’s twin sister Aylin. She is shunned and reviled, believed to be cursed. When Aylin arrives at the MoonBound Clan’s headquarters she’s amazed to be given a guestroom befitting of Rasha and that she isn’t to be ignored. Here she can read books, she can learn things and ask questions. No one will beat her or curse her. And in turn, Hunter and the others are horrified and angered at the treatment she experiences in her own clan.
Rasha doesn’t endear herself to the MoonBound Clan, least of all her soon-to-be mate and this only intensifies when she refuses to undertake the quest with him, leaving Hunter no option but to take Aylin when she volunteers in Rasha’s place. Although he fears that Aylin’s physical limitations may hinder them, not going on the quest isn’t an option. I really appreciated the explanation of some of the origins of the vampires and also the quest and the curse. It definitely filled in some gaps that I felt were missing after reading the first book and painted a much bigger picture.
One thing that is never lacking is the chemistry and Hunter and Aylin have this in spades. From their first interaction in this book (which is a case of mistaken identity) and each one thereafter it fairly sizzles between them. All her life, Aylin has been seen as broken, as the wrong one. Rasha is beautiful and strong, a fierce warrior and considered a prize for any leader. Rasha gets a suitable mate, all that Aylin gets is being bargained out, the one thing going for her is that she is untouched. With Hunter, Aylin becomes desired and valued for herself. He doesn’t care that she was born with a physical deformity that limits her. He doesn’t care that she is considered a curse, an abomination that most in her clan would’ve drowned at birth. He sees that she possesses an incredible inner strength and bravery and a dedication to a sister that he doesn’t feel has earned it. Aylin is no pushover despite the fact that she’s always been dominated and taught to believe that she’s less than everyone else. She feels she has nothing to lose with the MoonBound Clan so she never hesitates to speak her mind, despite having been raised to show utter submission to pretty much everyone because her physical impairment places her at the very bottom of the pack. Hunter finds her challenging him and speaking her mind refreshing as well and I really liked that Ione took that time to establish their mental connection as well as a physical one. The sexual chemistry is fantastic but the fact that they connect so well in other ways really helped elevate their romance to that next level. The way they work together on the quest really boosts the attraction to much more and the complication of Hunter already being promised to Rasha brought an extra dimension of angst and drama.
This series just goes from strength to strength and I can’t wait for the third book – it was hinted quite strongly in this one that it could be about Myne and I’ve been wanting to know more about him since I read the first novel. We get a lot of answers about him in this one but I can’t wait to read from his point of view and find out what really happened to him in the past and more about his complicated relationship with Hunter. From what I’ve seen, his story is going to be fantastic....more
Jade and Banjo have been married for twenty-five years when he walks out. Their youngest daughter Lissy comes home and once again finds them squaringJade and Banjo have been married for twenty-five years when he walks out. Their youngest daughter Lissy comes home and once again finds them squaring off against each other, in the middle of an argument. It’s something she’s seen many times before and she leaves them to it, an action she will come to regret.
Because Banjo has never walked out before. But this time he does and he is killed, the victim of a hit and run. This leaves Jade and their children Cassy and Lissy to grieve and Banjo can only watch on unseen helplessly as Jade collapses into a deep depression. Lissy feels the ultimate guilt in having left – maybe she could’ve done something, stopped the argument. Now she seeks to pull her mother out of her terrible depression. She discovers a sketchbook and is shocked to discover that it chronicles her mother’s numerous lovers, the affairs she had over her parents long marriage. Lissy and Cassy are divided on their opinions of what their mother was doing and what was really going on in the marriage between Banjo and Jade.
Lissy uses the sketchbook to try and help her mother, inviting her former lovers to come and see her, hoping that one of them can penetrate through the deep fog that surrounds Jade. As each man visits and recounts his experiences with Jade, Lissy begins to learn more and more about her mother, her reasoning and her character. And in a corner, Banjo watches, discovering the truth in death that he could never quite bring himself to believe in life…
It is really very fitting that Kate Belle’s guest post for me (which you can read here) deals with how she’s throwing aside the star rating system when she reads books. Because although I star-rate books on goodreads and give them a numerical rating out of 10 on the blog, I do find plenty of books that it’s difficult to assign that number too. And this book, Being Jade is definitely one of them. And it’s not because I don’t like it – books I don’t like are easy to rate! It’s just that this is a very complex book, full of wonderfully difficult characters and it is a book that challenges social boundaries and forces a reader to think outside of what might be their comfort zone. I’m well aware that as I read this, my feelings for Jade were mostly based on social constructs, of what a wife and mother is ‘supposed’ to be. And I’m both. This book isn’t afraid to hold that up and then tear it back down.
Jade was raised by her prostitute mother who died of a drug overdose when Jade was a teenager. From there she was taken in by Banjo’s family. It is clear that Banjo has always loved Jade….loved her madly, to the point of distraction. They were married very young, but it wasn’t too long before Banjo discovered that Jade had had, and would always want/need to have, other men or lovers. He found this very difficult to live with but ultimately chose to remain with Jade because it was better than life without her. He wanted to keep his dignity, that she be very discreet and that she not tell him. But it wasn’t very hard to him to figure out. He began to learn the patterns and when Jade often left the home for several days either to work on or show her art, it was nearly always a given that she was meeting other men. This included when she was 8 months pregnant with one of their daughters, and continued after their daughters were born.
I struggle with books that contain infidelity because I’m so against it myself. And yes, that might make me a product of society, etc but it is my idea and wish that the person I have chosen, also chooses just me. So whilst at times, I did feel for Banjo because he loves Jade so much and her actions do cause him great pain, at the same time…he’s an adult. He chose to remain in the relationship and accept that part of Jade that needs other people to fuel her creativity and feed/heal her soul. However I found that the fact that it adversely affected their children made my feelings towards Jade more negative, because they didn’t choose it. They didn’t choose to have a mother that disappeared for days at a time, that the town gossiped cruelly about. None of it was their fault and yet they suffered for it too. I know that says more about the society as a whole as well, that Jade did become such fodder for talk, but also, her absences did impact on her children. No one sacrifices everything but it is the general expectation that your children will mostly come first, in their early and formative years anyway. Jade doesn’t accept this – she puts herself first, she does what she needs to do. One hand I admired her for always staying true to herself, for not bowing to the social pressure after she became a mother but on the other hand…..I did wonder what she really and truly thought about the impact her absences had on their children.
Which brings me to my original statement about this book – how do I rate it? When I finished this book, I agonised for some time, deliberating about what to give it when I added it to my Goodreads, which is what I do whenever I finish a book. 5 stars is “I loved it” – but I’m not sure I can honestly say that I loved it. I think it is a wonderful, challenging story. The writing is very good – probably fantastic. It made me feel a wide range of emotions as I read it from dislike to admiration to sadness to anger to pity. Most times I found Jade a bit too selfish – and I’m not saying this is essentially a bad thing, because she was doing what she needed to do to be true to herself, it’s just that I couldn’t agree with many of her decisions nor could I really believe that her actions came to be seen almost as everyone’s saving grace. I think this would be a fantastic book to recommend to my bookclub because I can already picture the discussion we would have on it. I can see it being passionate and lengthy and people debate the character and actions of not only Jade but also Banjo. Sometimes I recommend a book to someone saying, “read this, I think you’ll love it”. But with this one I’d say “read this, it will challenge you and I’d love to hear your thoughts”....more
The hotel in Boonsboro has stood for over 200 years but has been in need of some tender loving care for a long time. The three Montgomery brothers andThe hotel in Boonsboro has stood for over 200 years but has been in need of some tender loving care for a long time. The three Montgomery brothers and their widowed mother have grand plans to inject life back into the majestic building and do it up in fine style. Oldest Ryder is the construction genius, middle son Owen the managerial mastermind and youngest Beckett is the architect, the one who comes up with the beautiful ideas to turn into reality.
Ever since he was 15, Beckett has had his eye on Clare Murphy but she married Clint Brewster and left town, following Clint around as the perfect military wife. Five years ago Clint was killed in Iraq and Clare returned to her hometown with her three boys where she now runs a bookstore. Beckett still has a thing for Clare but it isn’t until he shows her through the construction site at the Inn and she experiences the headiness of the strange scent of honeysuckle that she sees Beckett in a whole new light.
As Beckett and Clare take tentative steps towards something new, keeping in mind Clare’s three boys and all that comes with them, they are surrounded by the Inn and the fledgling mystery that lurks within. Beckett is easily accepting but Clare finds herself a little resentful. However even Beckett couldn’t begin to guess how much that presence would come to help them, especially when the woman he loves finds herself in danger.
Every so often I get myself in a flurry about reading books that have lurked on my shelf for a while. Marg from Adventures of an Intrepid Reader loaned me this a little while ago – probably two years ago now? I like Nora Roberts – I’m not a die-hard fan but I do enjoy most of her books and when I was looking for something to fit the bill for a lazy read on a rainy summer morning, this one seemed a pretty good choice.
For people reading this book, I’d advise them to go to the website for the Inn at Boonsboro (because it is a real thing and Nora Roberts owns it) and look at the pictures of the various rooms guests can stay in which are all named after couples from books (including Eve and Rourke from J.D Robb’s In Death series, who is of course, Nora Roberts). This book describes a lot of the rooms in detail and it’s pretty hard to imagine a lot of the visuals so the pictures for each room on the website are perfect to compliment that part of the story.
For me this was an interesting romance because there’s not really much in the way of conflict. Beckett has been crazy about Clare since they were in high school, even though she married one of his friends when they were very young and moved away and he didn’t see her for a few years. Her husband was killed when she was pregnant with their third child, her two eldest still being quite small. Before the book opens you get the feeling that their interactions have been very casual – Clare really has no idea that Beckett has feelings for her even though pretty much everyone else around her seems to. But once Clare and Beckett have the ‘moment’ where she realises that she’s attracted to him too, it’s a pretty easy slide from there into the beginnings of a relationship – a few false starts and they’re on their way. Beckett is very good with Clare’s children and slots easily into their lives. He’s always respectful of their position and he realises that they’re all a package deal. He is an easy-going type of person who is understanding when the kids mean that things don’t always go to plan.
I get the feeling that the couples are kind of just a way for Roberts to write a story about the Inn, which seems to be the primary motivation. This book is like a love story to reconstructing a building and everything that goes with it: picking furniture and fabrics and installing kitchens and copper tubs in bathrooms. It does sound interesting and I enjoy restoration lifestyle shows on TV but it doesn’t always translate well onto a page. The supernatural addition to the storyline was not really my sort of thing but it was inoffensive enough. I found the character of the widowed mother a bit annoying at times – she had all these ideas and basically just flapped her hands at the boys and said “make it happen dears” even though they were busy with the Inn. She’s quite the matriarch and they’re all too scared of her to tell her when they can’t do things because of time or worker restrictions so instead they all just sigh and somehow find a way. It was funny the first time but by the end it was like ok, maybe it’s time to man up and tell Mother to rein it in a little.
But all in all this was pretty much what I was looking for. It was an easy enough read, not taxing at all and the simplicity and lack of conflict was actually rather relaxing. I am not sure if I’ll read the next two in the series – I like one of the brothers more than the other but his story is book 3 so I suppose if I want to read that then I need to read the second one....more
Victoria St John is a Familiar. Her kind are bound to warlocks to enhance their power but for the last several centuries, Victoria has been alone sincVictoria St John is a Familiar. Her kind are bound to warlocks to enhance their power but for the last several centuries, Victoria has been alone since the death of her warlock and great love Darius. Warlocks and Familiars are matched by The High Council and it is generally a strategic match, designed to enhance power. However Victoria and Darius found a great love as well and Victoria has been grieving ever since he died. A Familiar who is not bound is in danger of going feral and Victoria’s mischief has led The High Council to send warlocks after her in order to collar her and she has dispatched every single one of them.
Max Westin is a Hunter and they don’t take Familiars. But he agreed to take on the assignment to bring her to heel, to tame her before she went completely feral in order for her to be bound to another warlock. The alternative, if he cannot tame her, is to vanquish her which is what The High Council would probably prefer. It only takes one look for Max to see that he doesn’t want to do that. He’s sure that he can tame her.
But Victoria is not a natural submissive and Max is going to have to work hard in order for her to see that it’s what she needs. Familiars need love and care, feeding and stroking but also strict discipline and domination. Darius was gentle with her and in the long time she’s been alone, Victoria has become wilder and in need of more stricter treatment. And although she wants Max, she’s not going to make it easy for him.
Max knows he’s the strongest warlock and he can tame her. But is he going to be able to walk away from her and allow her to be bound to another? Or will he claim her and make outcasts of them both?
Spellbound is an anthology of three short connected paranormal stories one of which has not previously been released. Victoria is a Familiar, a cat who also takes human form. Because she is grieving for Darius and has not been bound to another warlock since his death centuries ago, Victoria has not had anyone to care for her, something that is necessary to a Familiar’s wellbeing and happiness. Max recognises this straight away and he chooses a different method of taming Victoria, cooking her dinner, feeding her, taking care of her and looking after her. There’s scintillating chemistry there as well and he is also looking to dominate her and tame her in that way as well but the more time he spends with her the more a bond begins to open up between them and the more he can read her and sense her loneliness and sadness. And the more he realises that he’s going to find it hard to leave her and hand her over to The High Council for them to choose someone else for her to be bound to.
Sylvia Day would have to be quite honestly, one of the most prolific writers around at the moment. She has a large number of titles that are being published by various publishers in various formats all around the world. In just over a year, I’ve read 8 titles by her some contemporary, some historical and two that are paranormal/science fiction. For me, her strengths are her contemporaries which allow her to devote a lot of time, as she obviously likes to do, to long and languorous sex scenes. When the setting is unfamiliar to the reader, more word count needs to be devoted to building the world and the creatures within it, be they fully human just in a different setting or whether they also possess other abilities, such as in this novel. The three stories within this volume are all quite short and are probably best read all together.
Victoria is a very strong and assertive character – although the reader doesn’t witness it she has already dispatched any number of warlocks who have been sent after her by The High Council in an attempt to collar her and bring her to heel. The gist seems to be that Familiars, like cats left unattended and not looked after, will go wild and feral and Victoria, who has already been on her own for a long time, is more than halfway there. But Victoria had a love match with her previous warlock, a man named Darius who probably didn’t wield quite as firm a hand over Victoria as most would, out of love and respect for her. Darius was killed and Victoria blames The High Council and wants them to pay. Max is a Hunter, an incredibly powerful warlock who is tasked with bringing back rogues to The High Council or if they can’t be captured, exterminating them and therefore, the threat they pose.
Victoria and Max are well matched – Victoria is much stronger than the average Familiar thanks to a parting gift from Darius and she is able to amplify and increase his already significant abilities. She wants to help him and fight by his side, something that Max protests because he wants to care for her and keep her safe. Although I am a bit tired of men telling women they “need” or “want” to submit to them deep down inside, they just don’t realise or want to acknowledge it thankfully this novel didn’t go too far with that particular story line. I was interested when in the final novella, Victoria (under a negative influence) appeared to want to turn the tables. I felt as though that could’ve gone a lot further and been explore more but Day wrapped everything up rather quickly.
These quick stories will suit erotic romance fans who are more interested in the sexual connection between the two main characters and don’t mind a paranormal twist. Those who predominantly look for that paranormal connection probably won’t find a deep enough exploration of characters and their gifts here for them to be fully satisfied....more
Sydney Sage has been in limbo since the discovery of her aiding the rebellious dhampir Rose Hathaway came to light with her Alchemist superiors. WhenSydney Sage has been in limbo since the discovery of her aiding the rebellious dhampir Rose Hathaway came to light with her Alchemist superiors. When Sydney is awoken and dragged from her bed in the middle of the night, she believes that punishment is finally coming her way.
And it does – but perhaps not in the way that she expected. Sydney is chosen (despite her father’s misgivings and that of the Alchemist posted to the region she is soon to be sent to) to be part of the team who will protect Jill Dragomir, the only living relative of the vampire Queen Vasilisa Dragomir. There has been an attack on Jill’s life and those in charge think the best thing for her would be to get her away from the Royal Court, somewhere unsuspecting, such as a boarding school in Palm Springs, California. It’s far too hot and sunny for there to be many Strigoi hanging around and Sydney is a similar age to Jill and can pose as her sister. For their added protection, they will also be getting the dhampir guardian Eddie Castile, who has been in a similar sort of limbo to Sydney…and Adrian Ivashkov. Sydney has no idea what his role is in this other than to be as idle and irritating as possible as he seeks to heal his broken heart.
A person so well trained and educated as Sydney finds herself adapting to the boarding school environment and improving her knowledge. However it is Jill that seems to be struggling, unused to the heat and sun which saps her energy and she seems to be often stricken down with a mysterious illness that puzzles Sydney because she can see no real reason for it. The environment they are in should be safe but things are never that easy. Sydney is going to have to get over her fear and aversion to being around the dhampirs and the Moroi if she is to do her job properly and restore some of her damaged reputation with the Alchemists, some of whom are already branding her a vamp lover. This could be her golden opportunity to really prove herself.
Vampire Academy might be done, but we haven’t left this world behind yet! The Bloodlines series says goodbye to Rose as our narrator and moves to Sydney Sage, the Alchemist who works to keep the humans and the non-humans (both types of vampires and the dhampirs) separate from each other. Everything the Alchemists are taught revolves around the fact that humans are natural, the others are not. Each of them have a wariness, a distaste even of the vampires and the dhampirs. In some ways, through time spent with Rose and later also Dimitri Belikov, Sydney has begun to question her feelings. However that doesn’t mean that she wants to live with one and pose as her sister although she recognises that it could be a way to regain her status. Her alliance with Rose damaged her badly and Sydney wants a way out of limbo.
After the swift pace of the Vampire Academy series, this one was a bit of a surprise in that it takes place at a much more sedate pace. Sydney is no Rose – in fact Mead has chosen a girl almost the opposite of her first narrator. Whereas Rose is tough, rebellious and impetuous, Sydney is neat, orderly, a bit of a nerd. She’s a stickler for the rules and only her complicated connection to the Moroi Abe Mazur (who is Rose’s father) tends to see her deviate from the Alchemist way of life. Sydney feels like she is a disappointment to her father, who is incredibly strict. Her younger sister was almost chosen for this job and Sydney had to think quick in order to convince her father and Keith, the Alchemist posted to Palm Springs, to send her instead. She has past history with Keith and she doesn’t want Zoe, her younger sister, anywhere near him. Although Sydney has faced down Strigoi with Rose and Dimitri previously, she’s uncomfortable around Moroi, who are totally different so she’s not the type who is going to go looking for a fight. She has some weapons available to her because of her Alchemist training but they’re mostly damage control. Her internal struggles about being friendly towards Jill, Eddie and Adrian are interesting. She finds herself liking them despite what she’s been taught, of getting past the fact that they’re not human although she still really has problems with the use of magic happening around her. At the same time, she doesn’t want to be accused of being a sympathiser or worse by the Alchemists who seem to think their job should be done without any interaction between them and any vampires or dhampirs.
There were some really interesting developments in this series, some of which I guessed. Like the first novel in the Vampire Academy series, this one is very much building the new environment and establishing the dynamics between all of the characters. Sydney and Adrian Ivashkov have some interactions that lay promising ground for what will develop between them. Adrian is still drunk half the time and he has the added character building problem of being tortured and heartbroken over Rose choosing Dimitri. For the first time I got a bit of a glimpse at the man underneath the idle facade.
I don’t think this book contains the punch that the first in the VA series did but it’s dealing with a world already firmly established. I’ve read some very mixed reviews but I think it’s always hard for people to leave behind some characters and embrace others. Sydney, as I mentioned, is not Rose. A series with her as the main protagonist is always going to be different and you need time to settle in to that and get used to the new rhythm. I quite like Sydney, I don’t particularly understand the animosity towards her by some people. I do agree however that Jill really does have far too many potential love interests in this book. She’s only fifteen – tone it down a bit!
All in all, I felt that Bloodlines delivered what I wanted – more from characters I enjoyed and a new situation that will allow people to drop in and out from the previous books. The ending was top notch – that contained more of the action I’m used to and the way in which Mead led up to that final line was masterful. Once again, I was left dying for the next book!...more
Sydney Sage has been torn for a long time. Raised to be an Alchemist to fear, loathe and revile all of the vampire creatures and the dhampir that guarSydney Sage has been torn for a long time. Raised to be an Alchemist to fear, loathe and revile all of the vampire creatures and the dhampir that guard them, she has found herself struggling to reconcile what she has been taught with the people she has come to know. Rose Hathaway, Dimitri Belikov, Jill Mastrano-Dragomir, Eddie Castile and Adrian Ivashkov (especially Adrian Ivashkov) have taught her a different way. Sydney has finally started taking the steps that will break her from the Alchemist’s hold over her. She took the first one recently, freeing herself from the compulsion in her tattoo. With the help of Marcus, a rogue Alchemist and the band he has gathered together, Sydney is now no longer bound. But instead of defecting completely, she chose to still work within the Alchemists, believing she could do more while they believe that she is still a good and loyal employee.
Sydney has embraced her feelings for Adrian and his for her no longer frighten her. The two of them are happy even though their fledgling relationship requires a lot of sneaking around and doesn’t often grant them much alone time. Sydney supports Adrian in giving up the things he uses to self-medicate and keep the madness of spirit at bay and in turn Adrian promotes a healthy body image for Sydney and encourages her to relax a little and not be so stressed and uptight. They are opposites who come together as a whole and work. And Adrian has found not just one, but two purposes in life: he has his college and his painting and he is also a valuable component to helping Court and the Moroi figure out why people who have been turned Strigoi and then restored, like Dimitri and Sonia Karp, cannot be turned back. He’s helping with the research and is playing a major part in breaking down what happens to them when they’re turned back and how they may be able to replicate that for everyone, so that no Moroi or dhampir could ever be turned Strigoi by another.
But Sydney’s struggle is far from over, even though she has made her decision and found peace and happiness in her relationship with Adrian. She still has so many commitments and the fact that her younger, dedicated sister is now living with her on campus and potentially reporting everything back to Sydney’s zealot father, means that Sydney needs to be more careful than ever. She’s progressing with her witchcraft, she’s made friends with the Moroi and dhampirs she’s working with and she’s fallen in love with a Moroi. All of these things are a mortal sin for an Alchemist.
And so The Fiery Heart is aptly named. The fourth book in the Bloodlines series doesn’t hesitate to turn up the heat in more ways than one. For Sydrian fans, this book has much to offer with plenty of cute scenes as they explore being in love and a new stability in their relationship as well as the natural next steps. That’s not to say it’s all fun and games – the two do still have their difficult moments, especially as Adrian struggles with the darkness of spirit which is worsening now that he has quit smoking and cut down severely on his drinking. Adrian as a character really comes into his own in this volume: in the Vampire Academy novels he was a bit of a caricature, the rich playboy who contributed very little to anything at all in a world where people were being groundbreaking every day. In this book he gets his time to shine and it’s been a long time coming, some would say. He’s still Adrian but there’s a new, sturdier quality to him and Sydney’s unfaltering belief in him, even when he slips, does so much to boost his own self-belief.
We are treated to Adrian’s point of view for the first time in this book and I believe this is a good move for two reasons: firstly, it helps the reader really get a handle on Adrian. His moods, his thoughts, the way in which he’s affected by spirit. We’ve experienced Lissa’s issues through the eyes of Rose when she’s been in Lissa’s head, but Adrian is a little different and having his own thoughts and feelings also balances out Sydney’s often dry narrative. She’s loosening up a bit but another point of view is a breath of fresh air injected into the story. Also, having Adrian narrate at times greatly accelerates the plot. This book really picks everything up and moves it along. The first three books have been a little slow plot wise: there’s been some action but a lot of it is just Sydney and the gang at their school or driving around parts of Palm Springs. In this novel we get to see where the Moroi (specifically Adrian & Sonia) are really going with their study into those who have been turned-Strigoi-and-then-turned-back. I got a clear picture of where the story is going and possibly how it might get there. And thanks to the ending (which is epic and trust me, it’s going to cause some reactions) you can tell that it isn’t going to be easy and that there’s going to be distractions for Adrian and he will probably have some real struggles to overcome both in his head and physically as well.
In every series, there is a book that defines it in a way, the one that really pulls everything together and gives it direction, in simple terms, ‘when things get serious’. For me, The Fiery Heart is this book for Bloodlines. It has given the series direction and begun to draw all of the previously hinted at clues, the conversations, the actions, the brief events together. It’s the sort of book that I think might convince the doubters....more
The Psychopath, the Empath and the Genius have figured out what they think they need to do. The three children of The Telling will either end the warThe Psychopath, the Empath and the Genius have figured out what they think they need to do. The three children of The Telling will either end the war that threatens the world or contribute to its ultimate destruction.
Luke, Sam and Jake all have their own talents and their own destinies. Separated from his siblings after they retrieve an artifact, believing that they think the worst of him, Luke seems certain to run headlong into his fate of destroying the world. He embraces the powers and gifts his mother gave him – but will he go back to his siblings when they call for him? Maybe only his twin Samantha, the Empath can help him realise what his true potential is.
Sam’s powers are growing as well and it threatens to unravel her as she suffers along with everyone who has ever suffered before. Along with the street urchin she has known nearly all her life, Birthday Jones, the two travel to Japan to try and gain some allies in this fast escalating war that threatens to destroy the world before they have the chance to save it and restore the harmony again.
Jake is the Genius. He’s possessed of a knowledge and intelligence most people could only dream about. But there’s something Jake doesn’t know – but he’s about to find out. And when the new family secrets come out, along with a powerful warlock who has waited centuries to take control of the world, the three of them face an even harder task.
Are they up for it?
Immortal Combat is the third and last novel in the Disharmony trilogy by acclaimed crime author Leah Giarratano. The first two books have all been building up to the showdown in this one, everything coming together for the three children of The Telling to either embrace their combined destiny and work together or reject it and cause the destruction of the world. We have gotten to know Luke, Sam and Jake – their different backgrounds, the way in which their mother, the witch Morgan Moreau shaped their upbringings to give them the skills and talents they would need (or strip them of them) in order to fulfill the three facets of the prophecy. In this novel they discover there are more siblings: failed psychopaths, empaths and geniuses, those whom Morgan gave birth to and attempted to shape and failed. Some of them will be necessary to their cause.
This series is very clever, very well thought out and very detailed – I’ve thought that since the beginning. There’s so much that I forget in between reading installments that it always takes me 30-50 pages to settle into the rhythm again, remembering who is who and what role they’ve played in the past and how it has affected everything that’s happened and where they’re up to right now. I was super confused at the beginning of this book but once everything began to fall into place again for me, I was engrossed in the story. There’s so much happening in this one – the action jumps around from Bulgaria to Romania to Mexico to Switzerland to Japen to Australia at breakneck pace.
But the characters aren’t neglected in favour of the plot. All 3 of the children of the Telling undergo a lot of growth in this book – or in Luke’s case growth then regression and then growth again. I think I found Luke, the Psychopath the most interesting character of them all. He believes that he doesn’t have feelings, that he can’t connect to anyone but that’s not precisely true. He does feel things, but it takes him a while to process that he is feeling something and then identify what it is. His first instinct is to retreat, to be alone, to destroy. He isn’t able to really connect with Jake and Sam the way that they connect with each other and he thinks that they also believe the worst of him. So rather than face that, he backs away. However when they come calling, when they need him on their side, he is there for them and the three of them are united once more. In this book Luke meets one of their siblings, a failed psychopath which was interesting because she actually seemed more of a psychopath than Luke himself. Their interactions were interesting and highlighted the differences between them and between the others.
Even though this book led the way to one final showdown and conclusion, I liked that the author threw in quite a lot of things that I didn’t expect along the way, including one final opponent that was quite a surprise. I think this trilogy would definitely benefit from a re-read when I could read all 3 books together, in a row, without long gaps between them. It would definitely highlight the intricacies of the plot and keep everything fresh in the mind because I know that a lot slipped through the cracks in the gaps between books. However despite that, I think that Leah Giarratano has attempted something very new and different here and has managed to pull it off pretty well....more
In an alternate history, the year is 2059 and since Victoria, there hasn’t been a monarch in England. London is under the control of a group known asIn an alternate history, the year is 2059 and since Victoria, there hasn’t been a monarch in England. London is under the control of a group known as Scion who work to eradicate anyone with clairvoyance from the city. ‘Voyants’ are seen as unnatural and most if not all crimes are blamed upon them. There are many people with different gifts who are able to access the æther, a spirit realm. Some can call and control spirits and use them. Paige works for a group known as the Seven Seals, an underground group who all do different work with their gifts. Paige is a dreamwalker – she is able to enter the dreamscape of others. Her gift is very rare but it doesn’t matter to the Scion. Anyone caught using their gift is executed for treason.
When Paige is arrested, she believes that execution will be her fate. Instead she is taken to Oxford, a former city that has been wiped off the map by the Scion. To them, it doesn’t exist. In Oxford, a community of other beings known as the Rephaim collect and use clairvoyants for their own purposes. They submit them to tests – those that pass move up the ranks and become soldiers in their army. Those that fail are branded cowards and banished to live on the outskirts, forced to perform for the Rephaim and entertain them.
Each ‘voyant’ that is taken during ‘The Bone Season’ harvest is chosen by a keeper. Paige is chosen by one known as the Warden, the blood-consort to the blood sovereign, who has never chosen a human to mentor and train before. Some of the trainers are cruel but Paige is surprised to find that Warden is not. He allows her the freedom to speak and roam and he does not beat her. He pushes her to access her gift, to hone and develop it but Paige knows that the blood sovereign intends to kill her and bind her spirit. It’s what she does – that way she has access to all of the gifts. She has wanted someone with Paige’s gift for a long time and when she feels that Paige has reached her true potential, that’s when she will kill her.
In order to survive, Paige will have to place her faith in someone she has tried so hard to hate: Warden. Can she trust him and the reason he says that he’s developing her gift, pushing her to access her potential? Or will he betray her and send her and her friends to death.
The Bone Season is the first in a seven-arc series by young British author Samantha Shannon. She has been called the next JK Rowling, a big wrap and this book has had a steady buzz going now for some months. I can’t make any comparisons to JK Rowling because I’ve never read her famous Harry Potter series but I can attest to Samantha Shannon’s development of a clever and richly built world populated with interesting characters who possess unique gifts.
The world we know deviates about 200 years before this novel starts, in about 1859. Crimes such as Jack the Ripper are blamed on those who possess clairvoyant abilities and the rise of the Scion has been stamping them out ever since. The Scion use people who are clairvoyant themselves, forcing them to work in tracking down those of their kind by sensing their auras and abilities. Paige, the novel’s main character was born in Ireland, a place that only recently fell to the Scion. She moved to London and went to school, keeping her head down and her abilities secret on the advice of a mysterious man named Nick. When her paths cross with Nick again, Paige is taken into the arms of the Seven Seals ruled with an iron fist by Jaxon Hall who has built up a tightknit group of cleverly gifted voyants for his own use. Paige is his Pale Dreamer, his mollisher and she’s safe and secure in her position serving him, until the day she is arrested and her world changes.
I loved Paige and her absolute refusal to accept her new fate. She wasn’t prepared to be treated a certain way and she was appalled at others being treated that way – those who had failed the tests, or who weren’t voyants but were taken in order to be servants for the Rephaim. She stands up for people, often to her own disadvantage and she is always looking for a way out, not just for herself but for others as well. Even though she wants to hate Warden she cannot ignore when he returns to his residence and is obviously injured. The more she gets to know Warden the more she begins to question his motives. He is the consort to the sovereign, the one who wants to kill Paige so he should not be trusted under any circumstances. But he doesn’t treat her the way others in her position are treated and his training, although dangerous, encourages her to do things she’s never been able to do before.
I have to admit, I am a sucker for characters like Warden, those dark mysterious characters where you can never been too sure of their motives most of the time. He forces Paige to think outside of the box – she is in danger of becoming similar to the Scion in thinking that all Rephaim are bad just the way the Scion think all of those with gifts are bad. When Paige learns of a failed rebellion in the past against the Rephaim she begins to wonder if this time, there can be one that succeeds.
Although the slang can be exhausting at times, The Bone Season is a great start to a series. I became invested in Paige and Warden as well as some of the Seven Seals and the people Paige met at Oxford. I wanted to learn more about the various abilities and how they connect to the æther. I can’t wait for the second installment to see what happens next because all of the world building and groundwork have been laid so wonderfully. There’s so much potential for where this story can go....more
Rose Hathaway has been in trouble before – many times. But not like this. Charged with treason for murdering the Moroi vampire Queen, Rose is confinedRose Hathaway has been in trouble before – many times. But not like this. Charged with treason for murdering the Moroi vampire Queen, Rose is confined to a cell awaiting her trial where she’ll be almost certainly found guilty and then executed. She’s been set up and Rose is desperate to investigate, to find out who is behind it all. She can’t just sit around here waiting for them to pass verdict and kill her.
It seems as though her friends feel the same way, putting together a complicated plot to break her out and hide her somewhere safe and remote while they investigate and find the real killer. Rose finds herself in rural West Virginia with her former lover Dimitri Belikov and the Alchemist Sydney Sage, away from the action. It’s not something that sits well with her but as Dimitri has already proven, if she tries to escape, he will hunt her down. And he might be dhampir again but he’s still a ruthless fighter who is almost impossible to beat. Rose should know – she’s tried many times.
So instead Rose comes up with another plan – she’s been given information that, if she can prove is true, will lead to another Moroi vampire’s name being put forward for consideration to become the new monarch – that of Vasilisa Dragomir. Rose convinces Dimitri and Sydney they have to do everything they can to track down a missing Dragomir family member that will give Lissa quorum, her seat on the Council and also the right to nominate to be the new Queen.
Rose knows that time is running out for her to produce the mysterious relative in time for the election to be held at Court. She also has to get the person back to Court when she was recently broken out of it and is now the most wanted fugitive. But Rose has always been reckless and she’s always wanted to go down fighting.
Last Sacrifice is the final novel in the Vampire Academy series but not the final novel set in this world. At the end of the previous novel, Rose was charged with murder of the monarch and ordered to stand trial. The evidence is damning and yet also clearly planted. Although Rose didn’t like the former Queen and she is a formidable killer, as her Strigoi fighting marks indicate, she’s a warrior, not someone who attacks Moroi royalty. But she knows that with cases such as this, justice must be swift and severe – it’s the best deterrent. And when Rose is found guilty, she will be executed immediately.
This book begins with an assortment of Rose’s friends and family “breaking her out” and getting her far away from the Royal Court. She’s supposed to lie low in West Virginia and let others handle it but clearly whoever thought of this plan didn’t take the time to actually factor in that it is Rose. She doesn’t do ‘sitting around, waiting for others to rescue her’. She never has and she probably never will. She gets herself into trouble and she gets herself out of it.
The book is split between Rose being on the run trying to find the missing Dragomir family member and Lissa’s time at Court, first trying to track down information to help Rose and then going through the trials to stand for election after being nominated as a candidate. Lissa really does develop in this book as a character, growing in confidence and self-assurance. She still has her moments of not liking the limelight and being uncomfortable with attention on her but she begins to find pride in completing the tasks that are set for those running for election, especially as she needs to complete them by herself. No one is there to assist her, not Rose, not Christian, there’s just her and her intelligence.
The love triangle of Dimitri-Rose-Adrian is further complicated here. Rose is technically ‘with’ Adrian and after Dimitri was returned to dhampir from Strigoi, he told Rose that he no longer loved her, was no longer capable of loving her or anyone. He has to come to terms with the atrocities he had committed whilst Strigoi both to other people and of course everything he did to Rose as well. However as Dimitri begins to readjust back to life as a dhampir he finds his feelings conflicted. Sometimes the guilt consumes him and he believes himself unworthy of being loved. Other times he sees a light at the end of his dark tunnel and the life he could have if only he were to reach for it. Rose has fun with Adrian but the two of them never really connect, not in the way that Rose and Dimitri do. This is evident in how little Rose thinks of Adrian when she’s on the run with Dimitri and her lack of real concern before the break out when, through “Lissa” she hears Lissa say that Adrian is passed out with some girls somewhere. It wasn’t actually true but Rose didn’t know that at the time and she really didn’t seem to care. I contrasted that with her reaction to Dimitri’s friendship with Christian’s aunt Tasha in Frostbite and the differences are stark. Adrian visits her in her dreams occasionally but most of her moments are preoccupied with Dimitri and his struggle and their close proximity which is stirring up things for both of them. It’s pretty obvious that Rose and Adrian were never meant to be – even without Dimitri being returned to dhampir, even if he didn’t begin to accept his deep feelings for Rose still existed, I question whether or not Rose and Adrian could ever have worked. Adrian is made look weak by Rose and the others: he’s the guy who never wants to be involved. He does stump up the goods a few times but he also spends too much time wallowing in alcohol and cigarettes which Rose has little patience for and wasting his potential, which she has even less patience for. I think Rose always needs someone who will fight at her side, who keeps her on her toes and who gets her. Someone who is strong, who has her back as much as she has theirs and I don’t think Adrian ever really got her. I think he loves her and that his feelings are genuine but he doesn’t understand her that well. And she loves him too, but not in the way that she loves Dimitri. However, did I feel as though Rose went about this the wrong way? Yes, yes I do. I don’t think she gave Adrian nearly as much consideration as she should when she was on the road with Dimitri. And she had the opportunity to give the poor guy a heads up!
I spent the whole time reading these books as Team Dimitri (of course!) but I have been assured most confidently that the Bloodlines series will make me unashamedly team Adrian (not for Rose just…in general). We shall see what happens!
I think Last Sacrifice was a fabulous end to this series – it tied up a lot of threads, things that had been in place since the very first book. I was pleased to note that I didn’t pick who had murdered Queen Tatiana but when it all unfolded, it made sense, especially why Rose was set up to neatly take the fall. There were a great number of scenes that I adored (the one with Abe, Dimitri and Janine springs to mind!). There’s also plenty that was left open ended (particularly Adrian and Sydney) that paves the way for the spin off series very nicely....more
Although her place at exclusive St Vladimir’s Academy is safe for now, Rose Hathaway still has problems – mostly problems of the male persuasion. HerAlthough her place at exclusive St Vladimir’s Academy is safe for now, Rose Hathaway still has problems – mostly problems of the male persuasion. Her mentor Dimitri has told her that nothing can happen between them. Not only is he her tutor and 7 years older than she is, but for them to fall in love as two guardians would cause a huge conflict of interest. Their concern always needs to be the Moroi vampire they are charged with protecting. Not each other.
Rose knows her friend Mason has a crush on her. And when she notices that Dimitri may be moving on with Tasha Ozera, she begins to think that maybe she should do the same. Mason is cute and funny and he adores her. But Rose is distracted from romance by news of several vicious Strigoi attacks, ones where they seem to be organised, grouping together to systematically attack and destroy the Moroi Royal families. This brings a lot of the Moroi and their guardians together as well and Rose is face to face with the absent mother she can’t relate to. And for Christmas the Academy is going to an exclusive ski lodge that is generally only reserved for Royalty. It’s the only place where the guardians might just be able to effectively defend an attack and there’s strength in numbers.
The ski holiday complicates Rose’s life even further. She learns that Dimitri has been made an offer to go elsewhere, perhaps opening himself up for something that he could never have with Rose. The mysterious Adrian Ivashkov lurks around corners, knowing a lot more than he’s letting on and Rose feels a sort of compulsion to be around him but she doesn’t know why. There’s also the problem of Mason, whom Rose wishes she could feel more for but her heart still belongs to the one she cannot have.
When three of the students go missing to track down and kill Strigoi in what would surely be a suicide mission Rose must team up with Christian Ozera to go after them and try and bring them home before they get themselves killed. What happens will break her heart and possibly take not only her life, but the lives of her friends as well.
Frostbite is the second novel in the Vampire Academy series and picks up not long after the first one left off. Lissa, Rose’s Moroi best friend is happy with her new boyfriend Christian and her pills are working at keeping the crippling depression and blackness away. Rose can still sense Lissa’s emotions and occasionally still gets sucked into her head (which can be embarrassing when Lissa is with Christian) and she and Christian are still sniping at each other, each both jealous of the other’s role in Lissa’s life and their attempts to balance time with her.
Rose is the sort of person who acts first and thinks later and she lashes out a lot when she’s hurt. She has a lot of baggage concerning her mother, whom she believes doesn’t care about her at all. Her mother is a legendary figure who has many kills but Rose almost never sees her because her mother’s duty as a guardian comes first for her. Rose also lashes out at Dimitri in this novel several times because she has to witness him potentially getting closer to another woman. At times Rose seems very grown up – her years on the run have forced her to be responsible, to always be on the lookout and ready to fight. However in other ways, she’s still very young, perhaps for the same reason. As a guardian she doesn’t get a lot of time to just…be. It’s always about duty and training for it and making sure that you have every skill to protect the lives of the Moroi and also, her own. She struggles with what to do – she understands about Dimitri on one level but on another, she wants to punish him, the way she believes that he is punishing her. I pity their struggle and I think it’s played out in a very realistic manner. When you can’t have the one you want, you are briefly tempted by others, to see if you can get some form of normality. But pretty soon you learn that it’s a poor substitute.
I had the ending for this one spoiled for me on twitter just a day after I read the first novel so I knew it was coming. That didn’t lessen the impact by much though – I was surprised by just how many emotions the end of this book brought even though I knew the big terrible thing that was going to happen. I think Rose realised just how different it is to actually face a Strigoi as opposed to doing a lot of talking about facing them. The fact that they’re considered evil, that they’ll kill her and those she’s supposed to protect, that can all fade in the moment when you realise that you have to kill in order to survive. She finally understands what Dimitri has been trying to teach her. It’s not just about staking or beheading or setting on fire. There’s a lot more that she needs to learn and at the end of this book, she has come to terms with that. There were some nice moments with her mother too towards the end of the book that also helped Rose understand her mother and see that they are in fact, quite similar. Her mother might be tough, might be distant at times but she still does care a lot about Rose and she’s proud of her.
Frostbite was a great follow up to the first novel. I’m getting sucked further into this series and I can’t wait to dive into the next book. I have them all here sitting on my shelf just waiting for my undivided attention!...more
Alyssa Wood has fled her home and her mother to live with her aunt in bustling New York city. Five years ago after Alyssa turned 12, her mother turnedAlyssa Wood has fled her home and her mother to live with her aunt in bustling New York city. Five years ago after Alyssa turned 12, her mother turned to alcohol, spiraling downward, talking to voices and generally reversing their roles so that Alyssa felt like the parent, always constantly taking care of her mother. After her boyfriend Noah committed suicide the day after Alyssa broke up with him, she couldn’t take it anymore. The small town turned on her, people blamed her. She couldn’t go to school, she couldn’t go to the shops. After two months, she left for New York, unable to take like the way it was there anymore.
Six months later, Alyssa is beginning to put her life back together. Her aunt has welcomed her and although she’s once tried to convert Alyssa to her Wiccan ways before, when Alyssa was younger, she seems to have backed off that for now. Which is good, because Alyssa is a definite non-believer. And she has a budding potential romance with tutor Ronan, who plays the saxophone and writes her songs.
The new life she is slowly putting together for herself is disrupted when Ronan sends her a music clip and at the end of it, Alyssa sees a dead body, murdered. No one else can see it and Alyssa realises that the date on the wall in the room where the dead body is is showing a week from today. She has one week to wrap her head around the fact that she’s seen something she doesn’t believe in, find out who the victim is and try and stop it. She’s never believed in this stuff, she’s lived for the past five years with a mother who talked only to her voices and drank herself into a stupor most nights.
Alyssa is forced into a situation where she feels that she can trust no one. Whoever is doing this to her knows about her, knows about things that she hasn’t told people. Everywhere she turns, there’s suspicion and time is running out. Someone wants her dead and Alyssa is going to have to open her mind to up to believing if she wants to live.
Banish is a young adult paranormal fantasy novel by acclaimed romance author Nicola Marsh that explores Wicca and magic through the eyes of a skeptic trapped in a Wiccan family. Alyssa is a non-believer, thanks to her mother. When she was younger she thought the small rituals were fun but when her mother started talking to spirits or drinking because of them, it suddenly became anything but fun. Alyssa’s aunt is also a powerful Wiccan who used to attempt to bring Alyssa into the fold, something Alyssa’s mother always resisted.
I’m a skeptic about most things including religion and the paranormal so I fully understand Alyssa’s stance. If I had grown up in a particularly religious household (no one in my family is a practicing anything but my in-laws are rather devout Catholics) I’d have probably been even more of a non-believer. I tend to believe in what I can see and that’s also where Alyssa begins to have problems, because she cannot deny what she is suddenly able to see. No one else can see it, just her and her search for a plausible explanation allows her to believe that possibly someone that’s near and dear to her, is involved. She desperately wants to find a rational explanation for what is happening to her.
I liked Alyssa even though she probably did maintain her “there is nothing odd happening here” attitude a little longer than she should have. When you’re faced with what she was facing, I’d be trying to gather as much information as possible so I couldn’t see why she kept running away from people or refusing to tell others. She had someone that she could’ve chosen who would’ve helped her a lot but instead she kept things to herself. I think she’d had an awful lot of deal with in her life and this was mostly down to other’s keeping things from her. At 12 she basically had to grow up and become the adult, taking care of her mother and the home because her mother was too drunk or too busy talking to the spirits. Her boyfriend became withdrawn from her and committed suicide the day after she broke up with him – she was 16 and he was 22, which is a rather large gap at that age. You’re talking about two people who are really in different places in their lives and probably want different things. She also faced blame from the town which was very difficult for her. It’s hard to really place the blame for someone’s suicide upon another person like that, it’s incredibly unfair. She’d managed to move on, to begin a tentative romance with Ronan (also older, at 21) and she has to learn to trust him after the horrific video, to be absolutely sure that he’s not involved. I really liked Ronan – he was down to earth and nice, he didn’t really play games and he was pretty supportive considering Alyssa basically went off the rails a bit the second they started dating. He didn’t dismiss any of her concerns and listened to her and believed her and managed to forgive her even after he found out that she had a fleeting suspicion he might’ve been involved, but not without at least making her apologise properly and justify why she’d thought that way.
Banish was an entertaining story that kept me turning the pages. I expected to probably find it hard to get into given my own position on the subject but it was surprisingly readable, even for a skeptic like me!...more
When Nicole Martin was only 8 years old, the vampire servants her family kept rose up and attacked. Nicole was left the only survivor of the rebellionWhen Nicole Martin was only 8 years old, the vampire servants her family kept rose up and attacked. Nicole was left the only survivor of the rebellion and for her now, vampires mean terror. Although she had a vampire nanny as a child and loved her, she also witnessed that pregnant nanny being killed by her lover. And after vampires killed the rest of her family and bit her, Nicole has two great fears: being turned or being attacked again. She’s spent most of her life abroad but now she has taken the helm of her family’s business. She devotes her life to developing a vaccine to wipe out vampirism but others at the company have different aims.
Riker is a member of the MoonBound vampire clan. Twenty years ago he lost his pregnant mate and he blames the Martin family. Now Riker must infiltrate the Martin household and company in order to rescue a vampire from another clan that is being held there, probably for testing. Riker kidnaps Nicole, figuring he can force her into returning the vampire and also enact his burning desire for vengeance. But when he discovers that Nicole knows nothing about what’s going on at the company or that they even have the vampire he’s searching for, he’s suddenly forced to keep her with him. She vows to help him, using her knowledge of the company buildings because the two have been forced to rely on each other and slowly, they are both coming to see the holes and mistakes in their unwavering prejudices.
In twenty years Riker has never been tempted by a female. He has to feed from female vampires but he shuns the sexual activities that go with a feeding, overwhelmed by feelings of guilt. But he is tempted by Nicole – she is the first to rouse an interest in him even though the consequences for both of them will be huge. But although both of them are powerfully attracted to the other, they still have their issues with each other to deal with – Nicole has to accept that not all vampires are like the vicious ones who attacked her and slaughtered her family. She also must face what her father’s company has really been doing and understand the damage it has caused and why her name invokes such hatred among the vampires. And Riker must learn that although Nicole bears the name Martin, she is not responsible for the damage they have done…
Every now and then (ok, probably more often than that) I love a good paranormal romance to sink into, all the better if it’s a series and Larissa Ione has always been an author that I’ve meant to try. In this, her newest series, vampires have been known to humans for about 80-odd years and humans have enslaved them, keeping them as servants, often de-fanging them. Nicole’s father ran a company that focused on distributing vampire slaves and other such things like draining blood from deceased humans and bottling it for captive vampires. Twenty years after her parents were massacred by their servants and Nicole herself was nearly killed too, she has assumed the CEO position of the company but her interests mostly lie in vampire physiology and how to go about developing a vaccine that renders humans immune to vampirism so that no one can be turned anymore. There are very few born vampires given their terribly low birthrates and Nicole would like to see the species die out entirely. It is her worst nightmare when she crosses paths with Riker, the vampire she believes murdered her childhood nanny many years ago. Riker seeks something and when Nicole cannot give it to him, he kidnaps her for leverage in order to get back what he seeks.
Riker and Nicole are the very definitive of star-crossed. Both of them have such unwavering hatred and prejudices for the other and are under so many mistaken impressions. Nicole believes she heard and saw Riker murder his former mate, Nicole’s nanny in cold blood and Riker is sure that Nicole knows exactly everything that her father’s company (how hers) is up to. He has no idea that Nicole doesn’t care to be CEO and she has little to no idea of much of the research because it’s keep secret from her. The two of them are becoming obsessed with the other as they are forced to rely on each other at first for survival and later for comfort. Nicole feels out of her depth in the vampire compound but she comes to trust Riker to keep her safe and hopefully after they get back the missing vampire, she’ll be able to remain alive. The chemistry between the two of them is insane and I enjoyed a lot of Ione’s take on vampires and the way in which this world works. It sets up a series effortlessly and there are many characters to pick from who will take up the story in future volumes, seeking their own perfect mate. I’m already looking forward to book 2 which features the head of the MoonBound clan Hunter, a born vampire who sacrificed something in this book in order for peace between his clan and a rival. In the next he faces a choice and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.
This one had it all: it was well plotted and interesting with lots of angst and a good serving of sexual chemistry. ...more
The walls have come down and the Unseelie are pouring in. MacKayla was isolated from everyone she knew – Barrons, V’lane, Dani and the other sidhe-seeThe walls have come down and the Unseelie are pouring in. MacKayla was isolated from everyone she knew – Barrons, V’lane, Dani and the other sidhe-seers. That allowed the Lord Master to swoop in, along with the Unseelie princes and turn her into Pri-ya, someone utterly dependent on sex with the Fae. All the Pri-ya think about is how to get their next fix. No one has come back from it before and although Dani rescues Mac away from the LM and takes her back to the Abbey, they believe her traitor and chain her up in a dark cell for the Shadows to come and get her.
It takes Barrons four days to rescue her and get her out and the Mac he finds is different. She doesn’t know her name, her calling, remember her family. She doesn’t do anything except crave sex so he feeds her craving and feeds her information, slowly reassembling her piece by piece until she remembers who and what she is. And that there’s still a war on out there. Reunited with Dani, Mac learns that nearly one quarter of the world’s population are dead. The Unseelie are everywhere, especially in Dublin.
The race to find the Book intensifies and Mac learns much along the way. But then the Lord Master reappears and deals her a blow by taking the two people in the world that mean the most to her. Tricked into leaving Barrons behind, Mac finds herself alone again once more, her life under threat. There’s only one option left to her now but she doesn’t know what that will summon…
Oh my God these books. I am obsessed. I read 2, 3 and 4 in the one day, staying up until after midnight to finish this one, sinus infection be damned. I can’t stop reading and actually, at 12.30am I wanted to get out of bed and go and get the last book, Shadowfever and start it. But it’s huge and I knew I would be up all night if I did that. And someone has to look after my kids tomorrow! I can’t remember the last time I got this obsessed with a series and I think this one was the best yet. But oh that ending! It was just cruel….so cruel! I don’t know how people reading these as they were published coped with that. If you start these books make sure you have them all to read one after the other. That’s my advice.
In this one Mac is brutally used by the LM and the Unseelie princes, rendering her obsessed with sex – she desires it more than her life. It’s what she’s always feared ever since she met V’lane, but he’s Seelie and those who used her are Unseelie, blending the pleasure with immense pain. She’s wrecked, almost destroyed, and although rescued, she’s left basically to die by Rowena at the Abbey. Finally Barrons arrives!
Mac’s narrative is fractured and rambling as she seeks only to satisfy her cravings. As much as I wondered what Barrons was doing, giving into them (they finally sleep together and we don’t really get the pay off! Mac doesn’t know who he is or why she’s doing this or anything, so that was a bit harsh) but Mac’s narrative actually gives more glimpses into his feelings than her coherent one does. She isn’t trying to avoid starting something here, like she so often is, with the conversations they have without speaking. I’m still not quite sure what Barrons is definitely (although I still have my guesses, which really got kind of confused by the end!). Whatever he does though, he fixes her. I don’t think it was necessarily taking advantage of her, if anything she seemed to more take advantage of him. The scene where he tells her she’ll hate him more than she ever thought possible was sad.
I really liked Mac’s character development in this novel. When her memory returns, when she returns, she’s more brutal, she’s more courageous and she’s more determined. She’s still got glimpses of the little girl underneath who loves pink nail polish and her blonde hair but she’s also leaner and meaner, wearing leathers and kicking ass. Although Dani often annoys me, there’s no doubt that she inspires Mac to do more and be more. I know she has her own spin off after this arc of 5 books is complete but having read a part of her narrative in this book, I’m not sure I could read a whole book from her point of view. I’ll have to see…
It’s hard to talk about this book without talking about the ending. OH! It’s amazing – it’s what elevated this book for me into the next bracket. Seeing the seeds sewn for this books ago watching it all play out was incredible (and just a tiny bit torturous). As I already mentioned, the ending slayed me! I couldn’t believe that’s what it would come to and although I know that’s not the end, it was enough to have me thinking about it for ages before I finally went to sleep. I always wanted to know what IYD was and as far as protection goes, it was…almost perfect. Except for one small, minor detail.
Cannot wait to start book 5. In fact that’s what I’m going to do now....more
American girl in Ireland MacKayla “Mac” Lane is still on the hunt for the Sinsar Dubh. This time however, she’s playing two sides against each other iAmerican girl in Ireland MacKayla “Mac” Lane is still on the hunt for the Sinsar Dubh. This time however, she’s playing two sides against each other in the hope that she might actually be able to choose how she uses the book when she manages to find it for good. On one hand, there’s the mysterious Jericho Barrons, whom she still doesn’t know much about. Each time she finds out a new sliver of information about Barrons, it renders her more confused than before. She still doesn’t know why he wants the book either and he doesn’t exactly seem willing to tell her. As he puts it, the day he gives her answers will be the day she no longer needs them. That doesn’t stop Mac from thinking certain thoughts about Barrons. About what it might be like.
And then there’s V’lane, a Seelie Fae prince who wants the book to give to his Queen so that she may restore the Unseelie prison walls. Slowly they are crumbling, allowing the Unseelie to escape…into the Earthly realm. Mac can see it happening – the streets of Dublin are becoming more and more vicious every night. The crime rate has gone through the roof as scores of Fae poor into the city and wreak havoc. But that’s nothing compared to what’s going to happen – if the Lord Master succeeds in bringing down the walls keeping the Unseelie out, then the four Unseelie princes will be unleashed: also known as the Four Horseman of the Apcolypse – Famine, War, Pestilence and Death.
Mac is forced to join forces with others like her, ones who can see the fae although they’ve done no favours since she arrived in the city and they don’t trust her either. But nothing she can do will be able to stop the chaos that will be unleashed and after that she will be alone…perfect for the one she believes killed her sister to finally claim her. And when he does, Mac will be utterly powerless against him.
This is the third book in the Fever series and I am burning through these at a rapid pace. In this one, Mac finds herself pulled in many directions as the parties who desperately want the book (mostly Barrons, V’lane and the LM) vie for her allegiance. Barrons still basically tells her nothing but he offers her the most protection and has so far provided her somewhere to live, somewhere to work and an escort. He uses her abilities yes and Mac still doesn’t know exactly what he is but he seems the best one to throw her hat into the ring with. V’lane wants the book to give to his Queen so that she may use it to help fortify the barriers to keep the Unseelie imprisoned but Mac resents the way he often forcefully bombards her with his Fae glamour. She fears being turned Pri-ya, a female dependent upon sex with the Fae. At times V’lane has inconvenienced her but others he has proven that he can control himself and assist her, although he does tend to be playful about it. At times during this book she plays V’lane and Barrons against each other and watches the sparks fly. She doesn’t know what the history is between them but she knows that V’lane, like the shadows, fears Barrons. Barrons does not appear to fear V’lane in any way but the two are cautious around each other and tend to keep their distance. That leaves the Lord Master and although he promises her that he can deliver her back her sister, alive and wholly as she was before her murder, as tempting as that is (and it is very tempting) she also believes him to be the one who killed Alina, no matter what he claims. He used and betrayed her and if he didn’t actually deliver her death, then he failed to prevent it. He’s not someone she wants to be allied with at all.
In this book Mac and Barrons both find out that the Book has a way of getting where it wants or needs to go. They learn that the walls keeping the Unseelie prisoner are slowly crumbling and that the rise in crime rates in Dublin is because more and more Unseelie are slipping through into this realm. They need the Book to fortify the walls but getting and keeping the Book isn’t going to be as easy as it seems. Chaos is descending upon the world and it seems as though time is running out – they need to find the book and use it but the book doesn’t want to be found, used and then restrained again. And in the darkest hour, Mac finds herself alone – Barrons is no where to be seen, V’lane isn’t around to help her. She’s at their mercy when they come for her and the end of this book had me on the edge of my seat, frantically turning pages, hoping for what never actually happened. The Mac that ends this book is very different to the one at the start – as each horrible thing happens to her, a little piece of that blonde girl who loved pink and her nail polish, is stripped away. And at the same time that is happening, that she’s hardening up, becoming cynical, becoming the sort of person who kills, who inflicts pain, who sees terrible things without batting an eyelash, she’s still the same underneath. She still retains her charm, even a bit of her freshfaced innocence. It’s an interesting experience, watching her throughout these books....more
MacKayla Lane is a normal American girl in her mid-20′s enjoying summer. She swims, paints her nails, tends bar and misses her sister who is currentlyMacKayla Lane is a normal American girl in her mid-20′s enjoying summer. She swims, paints her nails, tends bar and misses her sister who is currently in Ireland doing a year at Trinity College in Dublin. Mac’s parents are also away on a cruise so she is alone when she gets the horrible news that her sister has been murdered in Ireland. Both Mac and her parents are bereft and when Mac gets a new cellphone and accesses the messages that were left on her old one, which she damaged when she dropped it in the pool, she finds a desperate one from her sister. She makes the decision to go to Ireland against her parent’s wishes and get to the bottom of just what her sister was talking about when she said “You don’t even know what you are”.
It takes Mac almost no time in Ireland to find trouble – one night when having a meal in a pub she notices that a fellow patron is not what he seems. It seems that Mac possesses the ability to see past the glamour of the fae, down to what they really are. Most humans never notice that they’re not what they seem but they cannot fool Mac. It immediately becomes obvious that this gift also puts her in grave danger – the fae don’t want humans to be able to see them. If she lets on that she can see what they really are, she”ll have a horde of assassins after her.
She finds some sort of assistance in the form of the mysterious Jericho Barrons, wealthy bookshop owner. Barrons it seems is the only person prepared to tell Mac how it really is and he also discovers that she is of great use to him. He’s searching for an artifact, the very same one that Mac’s sister mentioned in that last voicemail. Barrons sets her a simple task that lets them both know that Mac has a sensitivity to the object and those like it – whenever she is near to one she becomes violently ill. She has to learn to control this so that she and Barrons can find what he’s searching for, what her sister told her that she must also find. It might be the only thing that can help her find her sister’s killer.
I picked this book up free on Kindle a long time ago – maybe even over a year ago. I know that I saw a link to it somewhere and that a lot of people seemed to really enjoy it so I downloaded it and then the other day I was looking for a break from review books. I was scrolling through my Kindle for something and found this and thought that I might finally give it a go! I ended up reading it in one sitting and even though there were things about it that bugged me, I ended up enjoying the overall story. So much so that the day or so after finishing it I went to the library to get the second book in the series and also came home with books 3, 4 and 5!
Mac is a pretty vacuous blonde, much of this novel is devoted to the colours she paints her nails, the clothes she wears, her utter horror when Barrons aks her to cut her hair and dye it after she gives her gift away. At times she really focuses on the little things and that can be a bit irritating but her obvious devotion to her sister and her determination to find out what happened to her tends to balance this out a bit.
I’m going to just admit straight up that part okay, most of my interest in this series revolves around Jericho Barrons. He’s handsome, wealthy, mysterious and searching for artifacts that Mac can sense (which he cannot) so he immediately sort of bargains protection from the fae for her assistance. Well, blackmails or threatens might be a better word. Mac knows that she’s probably better off with him than on her own but it doesn’t mean she trusts him, which is fair enough. He does some things in this book that normal humans do not have the ability to do but I have to say, Mac doesn’t attempt to question him too closely. She does ask a halfhearted few questions that he easily rebuffs and she lets it go. I’ve had a few different theories about Barrons circling in my brain and I’m interested to keep reading and see if any of them pan out to be true. I’m really keen to know more about him and what his motives are. Plus I want to know what happens between him and Mac, if anything. This is complicated by the fact that Mac meets a prince of the Seelie court and realises that not all fae are hideous underneath.
I’m keen to continue this series but I really hope it doesn’t go the way of the Anita Blake series and have Mac just sleep with everybody!...more
**spoiler alert** Oh Lordy. I’m not even sure where to start here.
So here’s the thing about me and the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I don’t really buy in**spoiler alert** Oh Lordy. I’m not even sure where to start here.
So here’s the thing about me and the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I don’t really buy into the hype that surrounds them. I read the first 10 (I think? Maybe it was 9) and I liked probably 4 of those. The rest bored me or drove me nuts with vapid, wimpy women and repetitive storylines. However, one of the books I did like was the first, Dark Lover which was about the Blind King of the vampire race Wrath and his half human love interest Beth. So when I heard that book 12 was revisiting that couple, to explore what happens after they get their happy ever after, I thought yep, count me in there.
WARNING: There be ***SPOILERS*** ahead.
So on one part, The King is about Wrath and Beth two years on. Beth has been spending some time with the Chosen Layla, who is pregnant, in order to bring on her needing. She’s decided that she would like a baby, despite the fact that Wrath shows no interest in it and has said point blank that he doesn’t want to risk it because his concern as a bonded male is primarily for the health and safety of his shellan and vampire women have quite a high fatality rate in childbirth. However Wrath also resents the hell out of his duties as the King and no way does he want to bring a child into the world that will inherit his position some day and have all of those responsibilities foisted upon him.
I was interested in that because having a child is an important decision and it’s a lifelong commitment basically. You both have to be all in, or at least feel positive about it. Wrath is super negative but Beth’s answer to that is to just leave for the night. And then she goes into her needing anyway and although she demands Wrath drug her, he loves her so much that he decides to service her anyway. It’s all for nought really because it turns out Beth was already pregnant before she went into her needing.
What? Yeah, I don’t know either. I think J.R. Ward just vaguely explained away that weirdness as being part of Beth being half human. Her pregnancy also progressed like a normal human pregnancy if you totally ignore the fact that she just woke up one day with a stomach like a basketball. And of course we couldn’t have a delivery without her almost dying.
The rest of the book (and that adds up to quite a large portion) is devoted to people I really have no idea about. Last I remember Trez and iAm were some sort of offsiders to Rehvenge or someone? Now they’re living in the BDB mansion and Trez has some sort of promise his parents made hanging over him that he’s really not down with and I don’t even really know what makes iAm tick. He kind of just drifts around looking after Trez and making spaghetti sauce. Trez has something going on with Selena, a Chosen but of course it’s complicated, because when isn’t it? There’s also a lot of scenes devoted to people named Assail and Sola, I don’t even know who they are, why they’re around or where they came from. There’s also Xcor and Layla. Xcor I remember from when the Band of Bastards were introduced (they wanted to dethrone the King which sort of happens here in this book) and I think they could almost be interesting (I find the Chosen pretty much devoid of any interesting qualities whatsoever) except I feel that their scenes together were just the same scene, repeated several times throughout the book.
Also, who is s’Ex? J.R. Ward really has gone to a new low with that name.
This book is nearly 600 pages and I read it in basically a few hours and I think that probably says a lot as to the substance of it. I have to admit, I skipped the snippets from the past (easily identifiable as they were in italics) about Wrath’s father (also named Wrath) and his mother. I read the first couple but then I realised I really didn’t care about them anyway, mostly what I wanted was the present Wrath and Beth and those interactions mostly disappointed me. I didn’t feel as though their discussions were all that deep and meaningful and that the decision was made on a knife edge. Wrath was semi unprepared, with Beth going into her full needing and I’m not sure a blind person is the best option for delivering a dose of morphine by syringe anyway. And all of it was really for nothing because Beth was actually already pregnant. Why did she have a needing then? I feel as though there were no real answers, just a vague wave of the hand and an ‘oh well she is half human’. The political stuff – Wrath’s hatred of the throne and all it entails, the glymera wanting him out etc all seemed to be resolved incredibly easily and without much in the way of effort. Is the rebellion over now? Xcor seems uninterested in taking the throne now that Layla has said he can have her. I only actually missed 2 books out of this series but it feels like about 10. Does anyone even care about the lessers anymore? Are they even still around?
I know it’s difficult to maintain a series with a smaller cast of characters but I miss the interaction between all of the brothers. Most of them barely even front up for a cameo these days and Mary seems to have vanished down some sort of black hole. This series has strayed far in some ways and I feel as though the huge cast of characters doesn’t always serve it well. People come and go, I can’t be bothered caring about them that much. But I like the brothers (except Phury, Phury is boring). I wish we had more of that old rapport, it seems somehow missing lately.
This was so-so. It’s not a series I feel compelled to continue with although I may read random books if they focus on characters I have previously enjoyed....more
The Farm is little more than a prison, despite the fact that it claims to be a haven. Full of teenagers who are kept locked up and used for blood donaThe Farm is little more than a prison, despite the fact that it claims to be a haven. Full of teenagers who are kept locked up and used for blood donations to feed the creatures that lurk outside the electric fences, The Farm is definitely not what was promised.
Lily and her twin sister Mel are holed up in the Farm they were taken to, an old university campus. They hide out in the science building, away from other people. It is Lily’s job to take care of Mel, who is on the autism spectrum and is not coping particularly well with captivity. Whereas Mel was relatively high functioning in the Before, now she struggles. She’s reverted back to communicating in nursery rhymes and Lily considers it her personal responsibility to not only keep Mel safe, but to get her out of the Farm. Even though there are unimaginable horrors out there, Lily wants to get herself and Mel out. They cannot just stay here, where soon they will be 18 and an entirely new fate awaits them.
But then Carter, an old crush of Lily’s from high school years ago shows up mysteriously and the plans change. Carter is determined to get Lily out, but on his own terms. He knows she won’t survive if she and Mel go it alone, there’s too much she doesn’t know. Carter and his crew believe that Lily is special and can help them in their rebellion – and they also know that there are others out there that would seek her for the abilities they believe she has, in order to destroy her.
The Farm is a futuristic dystopian-style novel, a bit of a young-adult version of The Passage. There are some similarities – vampiric creatures have taken over North America and the remaining population huddle behind high walls and electrified fences. In this novel however, it was all of the teens that were rounded up and they are ‘harvested’ for blood to feed the outside creatures. Apparently the hormone concoction in a teenager’s blood is the creatures preference. However there are some questions in this story – why are the “Deans” forcing the teenagers to donate to feed the creatures that have just about wiped out humanity?
There are some ***SPOILERS*** ahead.
Lily’s former schoolmate Carter arrives at the Farm in which Lily is incarcerated (for lack of a better word) because he believes that she possesses a special ability, that which is the ability to somewhat control the creatures using her emotions and feelings. They need people like this, for their own rebellion but also they need to keep the “creator” of the creatures from being able to find people that possess this ability and taking them for their own needs, or simply killing them. Carter tells Lily several times that he believes she has this ability but he doesn’t attempt to teach her how to use it. This is because of course, it is not Lily that possesses this ability, it is Mel, her autistic twin sister. The reader already knows this because the back of the book spoils it. The blurb clearly states that it is Mel who has the ability, despite the fact that the characters in the novel believe it to be Lily right up until pretty much the end of the book. I spent half the time reading it thinking the blurb was wrong and yelling at Carter to tell her what to do with these amazing abilities as they fled from group after group of creatures. It was extremely frustrating and when I realised that the back of the book had it right and Carter had it wrong, that was even more frustrating. Because it basically spoiled a huge plotline. I still don’t understand why Carter didn’t attempt to get Lily to use the ability that he believed she had. If they’d tried it immediately on leaving the compound, they’d have discovered that it wasn’t Lily, but Mel. And then maybe they could have changed the outcome of this book.
I felt that this book had some potential to be great and I really enjoyed the beginning of it – until Carter showed up and began telling Lily exactly why he thought she had a special ability. I honestly couldn’t decide if it was poking fun at instalove (the only way he would be so interested in someone like Lily was if she had emotive powers over him!) or if the author was making a genuine attempt to have a reason at a mismatch. Whatever it was, it came off highly insulting to Lily – and she does react this way!
Endeth the ***SPOILERS***
I actually kind of liked Lily as a character and I really enjoyed reading about a character like Mel, with the autism spectrum disorder who did have trouble communicating and found other ways to get across what she needed to say – nursery rhymes. It made it very interesting and it was something different.
However, there were too many strange, unexplained and quite honestly, poorly thought out or executed things going on in this book. And the ending bordered on ridiculous. I’m not sure that I’ll be bothering with book 2 of this one....more
Isobel and Varen are separated – at the end of Nevermore, Isobel took control and did what she had to in order to leave the dreamworld behind and getIsobel and Varen are separated – at the end of Nevermore, Isobel took control and did what she had to in order to leave the dreamworld behind and get back to what she knew. She only did that because she thought that she would bring Varen back with her. But that turned out to not be the case.
Varen remains trapped in the dreamworld, where the writings of Edgar Allen Poe come to life in gruesome fashion. Isobel remains in the world she has always known but she’s a different person. She’s guilt-ridden about leaving Varen behind but when people ask her about the disappearance of her “boyfriend” there’s nothing she can say. She finds herself dreaming things over and over again, seeing Varen in mirrors and engaging with the Nocs that she thought would have disappeared by now. She searches for the mysterious Reynolds, whom she knows to the be “Poe Toaster” – the person that turns up to Edgar Allen Poe’s grave every year. Isobel makes a decision.
She convinces her parents that what she needs to come out of her funk is a trip to Baltimore, Maryland, presumably to inspect a potential college. However what she really plans to do is stake out Edgar Allen Poe’s grave on the anniversary of his death and confront Reynolds once and for all. She needs to find out how to bring Varen home, even though she has to go back into that terrifying dreamland herself. And when she gets there, she finds a very different Varen to the one she left behind. Twisted by what has occurred, believing that Isobel has abandoned him, Varen is now….an adversary.
Enshadowed is the second book in the Nevermore trilogy and after the cliffhanger of Nevermore, the first book, I wanted to dive into it straight away but then I realised that I’d have to wait even longer for the third book, so I decided to wait a little bit longer before reading it. I think the third book is due out sometime this year – I hope so because after the end of this one, I need to know what happens next.
In one way, Enshadowed is very much a typical second book in a trilogy. As is often the way, the two main players are separated for pretty much the entire book except for a few dreams/dreamlike interactions and right at the very end. This can be frustrating and it definitely was for me in this case because the chemistry between the goth Varen and the cheerleader Isobel in Nevermore was definitely a highlight of that book. The reluctant attraction, the way in which they got to know each other….it was very well done. In this book Isobel is suffering without Varen, partially through guilt because she left him there but partially because she wants to be with him. To her parents and her friends, she’s acting like any girl that went through a break up – or any girl that has had her boyfriend disappear. In the “real world”, Varen has vanished.
In some ways, it’s hard to talk about this book because not a lot happens for most of it. It isn’t until Isobel makes the decision to go to Poe’s grave and intercept Reynolds that things really start to pick up! Most of the rest of the time is Isobel moping around the house because she’s on break from school, although there are a few sessions before that where she attends cheerleading practice. She has little interaction with others except for her friend Gwen. Isobel is relatively self-absorbed in this novel (well actually she was self-absorbed in the first one, but that was more a dippy cheerleader type, this is more a woe-is-me sort). Her parents do attempt to get through to her but they’re also rather dismissive of Varen, quite irrationally prejudiced against him which makes their attempts to connect with her seem shallow and insincere. Considering most people think that Varen has gone missing, there’s a rather strange lack of concern about him, except perhaps from the English teacher that paired them up together. Most people seem to assume that he just “ran away”. It seems that Isobel’s parents make little attempt to really understand how she’s feeling about this, they seem almost glad that he’s gone and that things can go back to the way they were before Isobel met him and started acting out of character. Only Gwen knows (part of) the truth and the two together was a highlight in this book. Gwen doesn’t freak out when Isobel starts to confide in her (that comes a bit later) but she mans up rather admirably later on in order to support Isobel on her trip to Maryland. I did feel horribly sorry for Isobel’s dad regarding that trip, I was actually cringing internally reading it.
I think for me, this was a relatively pleasant read until the end. It was very slow, pacing wise, but it wasn’t irritating me and the interaction with the Nocs and a bit more inclusion of Poe was interesting even if I didn’t really have a clue half the time. But the ending really improved the book and packed the same kind of powerful punch as the first one. It was entirely unexpected in every single way and really makes the third book a very intriguing possibility! I honestly think that this novel could’ve been a bit shorter, a lot of it felt like it had lost its way a bit (and that was the beginning!) but the ending ended up almost making up for it....more
Blonde cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when her English teacher announces that for their group project, he will be choosing the pairs. She is eBlonde cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when her English teacher announces that for their group project, he will be choosing the pairs. She is even more horrified when he chooses Varen Nethers, an aloof Goth whom she has never even exchanged a single word with previously. Isobel and Varen could not be more different and her reluctance it seems, is surpassed only by his.
Varen chooses the topic of their project, which must be a dead literary master. His choice is Edgar Allen Poe, someone that Isobel doesn’t know too much about but it seems that Varen knows enough for both of them. Never the most studious Isobel is slightly dismayed and Varen tells Isobel that he’ll write the paper if she’ll present their speech and although he attempts to educate her on Poe, giving her poems to read, Isobel never quite gets around to reading them. She does however, begin to make excuses about spending more time with Varen.
Her football-playing boyfriend Brad is clearly threatened and warns Varen off her but all this does is make Isobel want to spend more time with him and less with Brad. As her friends turn their backs on her, one of the only people Isobel has left is Varen and he pulls her deeper into his odd world, a dream world created through the pages of his notebook, where things from Poe come to life in terrifying ways.
Straddling her world and others, Isobel must learn to summon the power to know when she’s dreaming and take control. Someone is coming for her. Varen has made a choice but his wants and needs changed when he met Isobel and now the both of them are trapped and it seems like it’s going to be impossible for them both to survive and make their way back to their world.
Nevermore was on my TBR pile for what seemed like forever – I have to admit, I love a good Goth meets cheerleader story. And the elements of Poe in this one also had me fascinated. When I saw the gothic category in the Literary Exploration challenge, this title immediately came to mind. I knew I didn’t particularly want to read a classic gothic story so this one seemed perfect. I started it at 10pm one night – big mistake! It was very hard for me to drag myself off to bed at midnight with still some 150p to go!
A lot of the time in a YA paranormal/supernatural story, what’s missing is true chemistry – two people getting to know each other and struggling with the burgeoning attraction, especially when they’re very different. In Nevermore, we get that slowly blossoming attraction in spades. In a book that’s over 500p, the two characters only kiss once, towards the end of the book. The rest of the time it’s looks, moments, snippets that they share with each other about themselves or things they see, small glimpses into each other’s lives. Their obvious reluctance to spend time with each other at the beginning gives way to a desire, perhaps even a need, to be in each other’s company. I loved every second taken to establish what Varen and Isobel (mostly Isobel, as she’s our narrator, the reader just has to guess about Varen through his words, looks and actions) are feeling about each other and how it makes them feel. Isobel becomes isolated from her boyfriend, an arrogant jock, and her friends and at odds with her parents. Her behaviour is out of character but on most occasions it’s for the better as she stands up for Varen when Brad and her other friends would attempt to bully him. I loved all of her interactions with Varen and with every page I was wanting more.
The atmosphere is dark, Isobel’s cheerleading and bounciness balanced out by the dark dreams she experiences and the strange incidents that seem to follow her around. As she becomes immersed in a world she doesn’t understand, bits and pieces of the Poe poems come back to her and she is slowly able to begin to piece together exactly what has happened. In desperation to escape his life, Varen has created a dreamworld, one that he wanted to sink into until meeting Isobel changed his mind. His dreams of Isobel have made her a target from a figure and he has inadvertently drawn her into danger although the fact that it’s Varen’s world also protects her in a way, at the same time. I have to admit, strong paranormals are often troubling for me because I’m very skeptical, I like there to be a reasonable explanation for things. But I was able to sink into this one and forget my need for that (although there was a scene taken from the Masque of the Red Death that I did have trouble getting through because it struck me as a bit too crazy for my tastes!) and just enjoy the parallel worlds that Creagh had created. The way in which they connected to Poe was interesting – he’s a figure that I’ve always wished to explore further and there’s been several books released recently that are based on his works or derive a lot of inspiration from them, which has roused my curiosity again.
Nevermore was the sort of book that made me wish I had the sequel here right away to dive into. It’s the sort of book that makes you want to jump straight into the next one and find out what is going to happen next because when everything seemed right, it became apparent to Isobel at the end of the book that it really wasn’t and that she was going to be needed to set things straight. Hoping to buy it soon – I need more Varen and Isobel....more
The threat of the draug is over but it would be foolish to think that with that threat gone, life could go back to a calm state in Morganville. There’The threat of the draug is over but it would be foolish to think that with that threat gone, life could go back to a calm state in Morganville. There’s no normal in Morganville but sometimes there is a slightly-less-dramatic state than usual, where the vampires and the humans manage to co-exist relatively harmoniously, each following rules and observing laws.
This is not one of those times.
Amelie may be back to her old self after her near transformation but her new relationship with Oliver is causing her to rethink the promises she made earlier to Claire about relaxing some of the rules in Morganville and giving the humans more equality. Instead, everyone is going to be forced to carry photo identification around Morganville, humans and vampires. While the vamps get a shiny gold card, humans get one that lists everything down to their blood type. Further upping the panic is the resumption of hunting – each vampire is granted one free hunt (ie kill) a year with applications for more to be made via the Elders Council. You don’t need to be a genius of Claire Danvers proportions to figure out the disaster that sort of clause will bring.
Claire, Eve, Shane and Michael are worried. They know Amelie isn’t herself and even Oliver has stepped up to a whole new level of evil that it seems somewhat suspicious but the more they attempt to dig around and find out what is happening, the more they end up putting themselves at risk. That has happened before but then they always knew that the Founder at least did what was right, as best she could, for both human and vampire. Now vampires are getting it all and humans are getting an even rawer end of the deal than before.
Add in a television show hunting for ghosts and paranormal activity around the town and it’s all just another day living in Morganville, Texas. Every day is a killer.
Bitter Blood is the thirteenth novel in the Morganville Vampires series and the most current one, having been released in October. It picks up several months after the end of Black Dawn after Morganville has begun rebuilding itself (again) after the destruction wreaked by the draug and the fleeing of a large portion of the population. Life for the Glass House has been often tense, with the town (both vampire and human alike) not reacting well to the marriage between Eve and Michael. There’s been some threats, extending to all four of the human residents in the house and it seems like those threats are beginning to escalate. Claire, Shane and Eve are extremely worried about some of the new rules being enforced by the dual power reign of Amelie and Oliver and Michael has his own concerns about what is happening too. But whereas Claire has found Amelie distant in the past, that’s nothing compared to how remote and authoritarian she is now. Clearly Oliver’s influence is a negative one but even they cannot possibly grasp exactly what is happening. When even Myrnin begs Claire to leave and talks of leaving himself, moving away to where he may be free to live without fear, Claire knows that this is more serious than before. Myrnin has never been one to flee and if he’s worried, then there’s good reason to be.
You can tell that this series is winding down. I think there are two more installments left and then it will be finished and the end of this novel really began to bring that home. I think that it might just be perfect timing too – Caine writes a great story and she’s done well to spin this out and make almost every volume utterly fascinating, expertly paced and filled with interesting characters. But because I have read these in a very short amount of time (21 days actually) I am noticing that they are very circular. Claire, Eve and Shane have the same fight with Monica at least three times in every book interspersed with at least the same amount of times that they have a moment where they connect with her as a human being. Every time Morganville seems to go back to normal, something much more evil happens to stir the pot. They are fabulous books and they are such fun to read and so well crafted that only by reading them so quickly do I think these things even become noticeable. Caine is a smart writer, she knows that she’s given Morganville a lot of chaos and that it’s time to begin the end.
I love Myrnin, I’ve been saying that for quite a few books now and in this one I loved him even more. His speech to Claire on p140 is simply heartbreaking:
It burst out of him in a furious, low-voice rush. “Yes of course that’s all I’m going to say, because there’s no point in it, no point at all in telling you that I’m lonely, that it’s been so long since I could discuss books and theories and science and metaphor and alchemy and philosophy, and that is a desperately lonely thing, Claire. Even for someone who has killed to stay alive, there’s a point where life – where existence – just seems… worthless, without some deeper connection. Do you understand?
I actually ached for him when I read that, I desperately want him to have some happiness. I know that I will never get what I want with him, it’s never been that way, but I hope that in conclusion of this series, Caine gives him something that fuels him, even if not a person to challenge him, then some research or work because he’s such a brilliant character that in my mind he forever needs challenge and to think that he’ll be lonely, like that, is very sad! Because he is the character where I don’t see a future for him in my head – the others I don’t really have trouble with. And that’s what I loathe about the coming to an end for a series, knowing that there are people you’ve spent hours reading about, connected with, that have whole lives ahead of them that you won’t be a part of anymore.
Bitter Blood was another very strong novel in this series, perhaps not the strongest for me but with many wonderful moments. I do have to say, I am disappointed in Shane again in this novel. His lack of faith in Claire was very cruel and I do wonder precisely what it was that Myrnin said to him in the cage....more
Morganville is in utter chaos. The draug have taken over and the threat is spreading due to the local water system. The decision has been made, mostlyMorganville is in utter chaos. The draug have taken over and the threat is spreading due to the local water system. The decision has been made, mostly by Claire, Myrnin and Oliver, to stay and fight this threat, not flee like Amelie was originally planning to do. This decision has already had severe consequences for the Founder, who was bitten/attacked by the head draug and is now suffering the after effects of that, which are extremely severe. Oliver is doing his best to prolong the inevitable in hope that they can defeat the draug and somehow reverse the effects of what is happening to Amelie.
Few people know of the Founder’s weakened state and as Claire, Shane, Eve, Michael and Myrnin find ways in which to contain the draug and give them the time they need to figure out a plan to kill the master draug. The town has been almost completely evacuated but there are some that remain, both human and vampire and they are roped in to assist in any way that they can, especially when one of their group falls and is left behind to the draug – they must go back and get them. Anything else is unthinkable
But there is no known way to kill a Master draug – it cannot be done by a vampire. The future of Morganville is looking very bleak…
Black Dawn is book twelve in the Morganville Vampire series and picks up not long after the end of the previous book. The town has been evacuated and everyone left is camped up in the vampire Elders’ Council building. The water supply has been shut off to stop the draug getting in to the building and everyone is on edge. It’s been days since they had a shower or a bath and the claustrophobia is beginning to kick in. The draug are regrouping at the water treatment plant and they come up with a plan to trek out there and attempt to shut off all of the mains, thereby containing them hopefully until they can come up with a better plan to kill them. This plan almost works, except one of them is taken by the draug and the rest are forced to leave.
I really enjoyed this whole story line with the draug because it was interesting to see the vampires scared for once, to not have the answers and to be at first, thinking of fleeing and then trying to find ways in which they could come out on top in this battle. For most of the book they’re on the backfoot – the draug has already landed several blows and although they rescued both Oliver and Michael, they were forced to leave other vampires behind. Amelie was also bitten, or whatever it is that the master draug does and as such she is now undergoing a transformation. She clings to what is left of her ‘vampireness’, begging Oliver to end it for her and not let her fully become one of them. Oliver promises that he will, but his growing affection for Amelie (which really has been rather interesting to read) leads him to delay this and also prevent other people doing it as he seeks to find an answer which will rid Morganville of the draug and also restore Amelie back to her normal self. We also get the answer in this novel of why Claire is able to see the master draug when he is in human form and also distinguish him from his copies. It’s a bit vague, some of it I think is wrapped up in the fact that Claire is simply possessed of some unique abilities besides her outrageous intelligence.
I’m nearly up to date with this series now, only the most recent one left and although there have been maybe one or two which were not quite up to standard with the rest of them, for the most part this has been a very enjoyable series and I’ve loved being able to read them straight through, especially stories that played out through several books, often leaving behind cliffhangers. I’m getting into this series just as it’s winding down and I think I’m going to miss it! I’ll have only been reading it for maybe a year when the last one comes out, maybe I should’ve spaced them out a bit, but they were there and I was hooked!
Black Dawn is another faultlessly paced installment, full of plans, action and fun characters. I have really come to appreciate the way Caine takes time with her minor characters, to flesh them out and give them their own characters and side-plots, such as the changing, evolving relationship between Oliver and Amelie. I only wish the Revivalist series was going to be as long as this one!...more
When a messenger from the new vampire-friendly town of Blacke arrives on the outskirts of Morganville he bears a message far too important to be delivWhen a messenger from the new vampire-friendly town of Blacke arrives on the outskirts of Morganville he bears a message far too important to be delivered over the phone lines. Myrnin, Claire and Shane investigate and whatever the message is, it makes Myrnin freak out. This in itself isn’t unusual but then Claire begins to notice other things around her.
It seems that several vampires have vanished from Morganville without a trace and Claire has seen them talking to a nondescript looking man before they disappeared. No one else appears able to see him except her and Claire is at first convinced that she’s seeing things, or that her mind is being overactive. Living in Morganville, that can be a side effect.
When Claire sees a powerful vampire get up and follow this strange man and disappear, Claire knows that something is very wrong. The weather is behaving oddly and it seems as though the vampires are preparing to evacuate. One of the reasons they have always chosen to live out in the middle of Texas, in an incredibly hot climate with a lot of sun (even though the sun harms them) is that it has made it incredibly difficult for one of their most powerful enemies to get to them.
However it hasn’t made it impossible.
Oh wow. This book was so much fun and so surprising. I’m going to have to ***SPOILER*** it sorry because something so crazy happens in it.
Caine actually killed off Claire.
One of the biggest wtf moments I think I’ve had in reading definitely this year. When she spots the average-looking man she doesn’t seem to realise that the very fact that she has seen him has endangered her life beyond belief. She is followed home and her follower ruthlessly snaps her neck and leaves her dead, on the floor of the Glass House. From then on, we are treated to Claire as a ghost in a similar way that Michael was a ghost in the first few books, except she’s not anywhere near as strong as he is. She can’t take physical form, even at night and she is only just barely able to hint to them that she’s still there (after Myrnin gets the idea that she may still be left behind in some form when he hears she was killed in the house).
Now it’s a ballsy move to kill off your main character, even if it isn’t permanent, and very few things in the Morganville universe are permanent. But it was so unexpected that it got such a reaction from me – Claire has basically been in danger, seconds away from death since she moved to Morganville. It was interesting because not only was the reader witness to Claire’s murder but they were then witness to everyone’s reaction to Claire’s death as Claire. Trapped as a ghost without corporeal form, she couldn’t alert anyone to the fact that she could see them, hear them, feel their grief. It would have to be one of the worst things for anyone to go through I think, with perhaps the exception of what her friends were going through, finding her dead body in their house and having absolutely no idea of what had killed her because they are all unable to see Magnus. In fact, everyone is unable to see him except Claire, even the vampires when he is in his human form.
Like Bite Club, the novel before this one, we get the points of view of other residents of Morganville. But this novel expands upon that to also grant us access to the thoughts of Amelie, Shane, Michael and Eve. The majority of the narrative is still Claire’s, but now there are other chapters peppering it with the thoughts and actions of the other characters. So far it seems to be working because it hasn’t taken the core focus off Claire, just expanded on the experiences and story line. There doesn’t seem to be a problem with all of the voices sounding unique either, which helps.
There’s a subplot to this novel with Michael and Eve wanting to get engaged, which crosses a boundary. Although vampires and humans have been…attached before, it seems that marriage has not been a common occurrence between the two different groups. The marriage does not have the blessing of the vampire powers that be because in vampire-world, marriage is a method of power and marriage tends to elevate the weaker party to the level of the stronger party, which would mean Eve would be elevated to the status granted to the vampires (who are above humans in this town). It’s attracting a lot of interest and I think it’s an interesting concept. Although they have addressed the social issues of the impending marriage, Caine hasn’t addressed the fact that Michael is forever frozen at 18 and Eve won’t be. That’s always the natural question for me when a paranormal story seeks to establish a serious pairing between a human and an immortal being and I’m interested to see if Caine makes any steps to address it in the future novels. For the moment, it just seems like everyone is choosing to ignore it.
Another awesome addition to this series and even though I was attempting to space these out by reading other books in between, I had to pick up Black Dawn as soon as I finished the last page of this one....more
Life is never dull in Morganville Texas and the opening of a new gym appears something to celebrate. Shane is immediately enthusiastic, signing up forLife is never dull in Morganville Texas and the opening of a new gym appears something to celebrate. Shane is immediately enthusiastic, signing up for some classes and he immediately proves himself to be an elite fighter, bypassing several of the lower ranks and getting signed up right to the top. The fact that the gym is run by a vampire means he gets to fight vampires and well, that’s like Christmas come early for Shane.
He’s never really been able to completely let go of his hatred for them after what happened to him when he was younger and the fact that his father prepared him for nothing but the day where humans would fight vampires to take back control of the town. This is something that the controllers of the “fight club” see in Shane and they use that, they channel that in order to really tap into that hatred, take it and twist it and use it. Armed with some special protein “shakes”, Shane soon becomes one of the hottest cage fighters around.
Claire is a little worried about Shane’s new gym-junkie attitude but unfortunately, nothing she or anyone else can say is getting through to him. Shane is aggressive, out of control quite frankly and it isn’t long before he’s turning his back on anyone who has ever cared for him. When Claire finds out that the footage from this fight club is being streamed and uploaded to the internet for anyone to watch for a small fee, she knows that she needs to bring it to the attentions of the powers that be. Soon people on the outside are going to notice that some of the fighters are a little too quick and heal a little too easily. And when Amelie threatens to shut down everyone involved, Claire also knows that she’ll do anything to save Shane’s life and rescue him from a terrible fate.
Guess who’s back? Bishop’s back! Hands up everyone who saw that coming when Amelie just stuck him in a dungeon and didn’t chop off his head? Bishop has escaped and no one knows where he is, despite everyone being on the look out for him. You’d think by now that Amelie, who has lived for hundreds of years, would know that if you don’t kill your enemies those suckers just come back to bite you (haha – literally) in the future! Even if he is her vampire Dad, she should’ve cut his head off good.
This is the 10th book and the first one in which we get some perspective from a character other than Claire. Each chapter has a subheading denoting who’s thoughts we are in and in this book we are treated to some of Shane’s perspective as well as he works through a lot of his hatred, allowing it to boil to the surface and consume him. He finds the gym and the fighting is a perfect outlet for the all the aggression and anger that he keeps bottled up inside him from the unfairness that has been his life: the fire that burned down his house and killed his sister, the way in which his mother died, the father he was dealt who knew nothing but drinking and fighting and killing vamps. It isn’t long before the fighting leads to longing to fight more, especially when they let him fight vampires, that he hates so much. Shane begins having trouble distinguishing between friend and foe, begins bailing out on those who know him and love him. He’s found his vocation.
I’m just going to come right out there and say it – this book made me really meh towards Shane. I’ve always been sort of ambivalent towards him, he’s okay as a character, I never really had anything against him until now. But everything about this story line ended with me just… disliking him. I know he’s manipulated and used and even abused but all they did was amplify feelings that were already inside of him and after several books, I’m getting quite tired of Shane’s angst over Michael. The snarky remarks, the attitude that simmers just below the surface is getting to be a bit too much at times. It’s hard, because up until now I’ve never found something to actively hate about him, I just didn’t feel as though he was interesting enough to really care about. Claire is brains, he is brawn and they’ve had only a few bumps in the road so I don’t devote too much time to him. I do appreciate that they’re not constantly fighting and breaking up and that there are no real love triangles or threats in this series, because they get super old fast. Even with all the crazy Morganville drama, Claire and Shane and also Michael and Eve manage to remain fairly constant. Michael and Eve do have more drama, but that’s understandable – Michael is a vampire and Eve is pretty much the drama queen of the world. For a tough supposed goth, all she does is cry. However that stability and sameness, for as much as I appreciate it, can lead to indifference and that’s what I mostly am about Claire and Shane but in this book, I went even further than that. I started thinking that actually, I wouldn’t mind if they broke up for a while. Like, several books maybe. Or longer…
Newfound feelings for Shane aside, this was a heck of a ride. I wasn’t sure about the other points of view at first but I think in the end they were very necessary to stop everyone from utterly loathing Shane and to see that he was going through something quite difficult and also that he was being manipulated. Even with that my feelings for him changed in this book and I’ll have to wait and see how I feel about him after I’ve read the next books in the series. Maybe I’ll like him (or go back to feeling mostly indifferent) to him. Maybe I won’t....more
For as long as he can remember, Ethan Chase has always been able to see Them: the fey. Piskies, gremlins, etc. Most mortals don’t know they exist, theFor as long as he can remember, Ethan Chase has always been able to see Them: the fey. Piskies, gremlins, etc. Most mortals don’t know they exist, the glamour of the fey prevent humans from seeing their true selves. But Ethan has always been able to see past the glamour and that means he has to watch his back. The fey don’t look too kindly on those that can see their true colours. And Ethan is also the younger brother of The Iron Queen, his sister Meghan who left him and her life in the mortal realm some 12 years ago, rarely to be seen since.
Ethan is now 17 and he’s struggling to fit in because of his ability to see the fey. It makes him a target and it also endangers anyone that gets close to him, something he learned the hard way some years ago. When a half-breed at his new school implores him desperately for help, Ethan is reluctant but in the end, he gives the boy what he needs. Ethan has seen something new, a type of fey he doesn’t know the name of and they’re not friendly. When they attempt to attack him, he is forced to do something he thought he would never do: use a token to enter the land of Faery and travel to the Iron Realm to inform his sister of the strange new creatures and ask for her help.
Kenzie gets dragged along for the ride by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A non-seer, she gets a quick education when she and Ethan tumble into the realm of the fey and are met by Grimalkin, who leads them on the journey to the Iron Realm to speak to Meghan. Kenzie isn’t one to back down from a challenge and she adapts quickly, refusing to go back to the moral world when Meghan gives her the choice, instead wishing to stay with Ethan. She wants to get to the bottom of what’s happening and why fey are disappearing and she’s willing to do the one thing you’re not supposed to do – make a bargain – in order to be of use. She and Ethan are getting closer than ever even though Ethan has long maintained a distance from people. He doesn’t want to do anything that could get someone he cares about killed but Kenzie isn’t the type of girl who is going to do what Ethan tells her to.
The Lost Prince is the first in Julie Kagawa’s new series, The Iron Fey: the Call of the Forgotten which spins off from the original Iron Fey series, featuring Ethan’s sister Meghan and her journey from normal teenager to a Queen in the Faery realm. I quite enjoyed the first series, although I do still have one book to read in it, (the last one, The Iron Knight but it wasn’t exactly difficult to figure out how it was going to end and this novel doesn’t spoil anything for anyone, really). This book got off to quite a slow start for me – I can remember getting to about page 80 and being quite frustrated because I really did not like any of the characters so far. Ethan was overly moody and rude, Kenzie was far too in-your-face-tryhard and Todd was the sort of annoying little worm who managed to be smarmy even when he was begging Ethan to help him. This was disappointing because of how much I had enjoyed the previous books of Kagawa’s that I had read.
Thankfully though when Ethan and Kenzie escape the strange creatures attempting to attack them to the Nevernever, the book picks up considerably. For a start, they were off to see Meghan and Ash and I was definitely looking forward to seeing how they were doing. Kenzie also calmed down a bit and became a bit more bearable and because Ethan wasn’t trying to drive her away so much anymore by being an arrogant jerk, he also became more likable. I was much more into the story as Grimalkin (who is always quite fun to read about) led them to the Iron Realm and although Meghan and Ash’s presence was quite brief, it wasn’t entirely unexpected as this is Ethan’s story. I had to admit, I found Ethan’s reaction upon learning to Kierran, who helps Ethan and Kenzie leave somewhere they don’t wish to be, hilarious and believable. I didn’t see it coming, although in retrospect I really should have as the signs were there if I’d bothered to pick up on them! I liked that though, it was a nice surprise and it gave me a few minutes to ponder precisely how that had worked.
After a slow start, I think The Lost Prince picked up in strength the further into the story I got. Ethan and Kenzie both matured as characters in a relatively short period of time (matured quite rapidly really) and I found the story of forgotten fey quite fascinating although my sympathy didn’t extend quite as much as Kierran’s did! This didn’t seem to leave a lot hanging regarding Ethan and Kenzie and given the name of the second installment is The Traitor Son I’m guessing we’re going to be seeing a lot of Kierran, which I think is fabulous. He has the potential to be a very interesting character given his very unusual heritage and he’s sure to be the sort of creature that could be sought after for both good and bad, given his particular gifts and strengths. I think that like this book, the series might get better as it goes on. Kagawa is a very strong storyteller and generally leaves you wanting more of her perfectly constructed worlds and gripping characters....more
The destruction of Ada, the vampire/steampunk computer that controlled the security system in Morganville has left the barriers wide open and Amelie hThe destruction of Ada, the vampire/steampunk computer that controlled the security system in Morganville has left the barriers wide open and Amelie has taken the opportunity to use leverage in order to force Claire to devote time to fixing it. Claire and Myrnin work for days straight without break attempting to build a new computer that will do the job that Ada did, controlling the portals, keeping the barriers in place that prevent people from leaving and also wiping the memories of those who do get to leave Morganville.
At first it seems like everything is fine but then Michael wakes up one morning and wanders into Claire’s room at the Glass House, believing that it is 3 years ago and his parents still live there. It only lasts a few seconds before he snaps out of it but Claire’s radar for trouble goes up immediately and without fail, it turns out to be right. Before long, the long-term residents of Morganville begin to slowly lose their memories, one by one. They are transported back three years but for some reason, perhaps because she is only a recent arrival, this does not affect Claire. She watches as Michael and Eve, forget who she is and also, fundamentally for Michael, what he is. When it begins affecting powerful vampires who cannot control their urges, Claire knows she has to fix the machine immediately but firstly she has to bypass crazy Myrnin, who firstly won’t listen to her and is then victim to the memory loss himself.
But it can get worse….much worse when the Founder herself no longer remembers Claire and the status she holds. Claire finds herself turning for help in surprising places in order to get Morganville back to normal. Well, as much normal as it can possibly be for a place controlled by vampires.
Now this is more like it – after the slight disappointment that was the last volume in this series, I’m glad to see that this installment brings it back to its absolute best. I enjoyed this book from start to finish, so much going on – Amelie doing her best sinister Founder, forcing Claire to work without break to fix the computer, lest something terrible happen to her friends and family, Myrnin and his attempts to take care of Claire especially towards the end when she’s utterly exhausted and then the slow realisation that something is rotten (even more than usual!) in the town of Morganville. Interesting to see that the sickness didn’t affect Oliver (who wasn’t in Morganville 3 years ago) or Claire (ditto) but did affect people like Chief Moses, who wasn’t in Morganville 3 years ago but was originally from the town. There’s also a lot of stuff in this book between Amelie and Oliver, one thing that confirmed a suspicion I’ve had for a couple of books now and a few showdowns that were quite entertaining. Amelie and Oliver in the same room are quickly becoming one of my favourite things from this series, I’m really enjoying their evolving working relationship and the way in which they do things.
Ghost Town felt like a more complete story than the two previous novels and I appreciated a return to what was a more appealing length for me in a book. Even though his book is well spaced typeset wise, it didn’t feel short or abrupt like the previous novel and I feel like Caine really took the time to establish the story and play it out with perfect pacing. I know she writes an awful lot of books in awfully quick time and mostly, the books I’ve read from her don’t really give me that impression, until the two previous Morganville books.
I’m now well into the home stretch with this series, I have another 3 checked out from the library and I’ve borrowed the most current installment from a friend of mine and I’m hoping to get all 4 of them read before my family and I depart for a 3 week holiday to the town where I grew up. I will only be taking 1 book and my kindle away on holiday but to be honest, I’m not really expecting that I’ll have too much time for reading. This is my first Christmas with my side of the family for 6 years and the first time my family have had Christmas with my children. It’s also the first time the 4 of us have been away together on holiday as a family and I have plenty of other things planned to do while we are there. These books are so addictive and easy to rip through that I don’t see finishing them up quickly to be a problem at all....more
It’s a well known fact that it’s not easy to leave Morganville. The barriers surrounding the town are rigorously kept and the few that do manage to esIt’s a well known fact that it’s not easy to leave Morganville. The barriers surrounding the town are rigorously kept and the few that do manage to escape find their memories of Morganville fading until they remember nothing about the town. There’s only been a few exceptions and the end was messy for those. Most good citizens stay where they’re supposed to, under the order and protection of the vampires in charge.
But Michael has caught the eye of a music producer in Dallas who wants him to cut a demo and with permission from the Founder Amelie, he as well as Eve, Claire and Shane have been granted passes to leave Morganville temporarily. To ensure their safety and that they return as instructed, they’ll be accompanied along on this trip by none other than… Oliver. But even that prospect doesn’t dampen the excitement the four have to be leaving Morganville behind for a few days and they load up Eve’s car prepared for a fun filled adventure of the big lights in the city.
But things are never that easy and they’re barely out of Morganville before the trouble starts. Oliver forces them to take a detour and then promptly vanishes, leaving Eve and her big mouth to get them in trouble with some redneck locals. Then they discover Morley and his merry crew have also escaped Morganville and plan on taking over a small town, along with “supplies” (read: dinner). Trouble is, there are towns out there that have already been taken over by infected vampires that haven’t yet had the shot that Myrnin worked so hard to create. The fabulous four are going to have to work with Morley in order to put things to rights.
Kiss Of Death is the 8th book in the Morganville Vampires series and the first one where the action moves away from the small, secluded town. The crew are on their way to Dallas for Michael to record a demo after the success of some of his local gigs and Eve can’t wait to go shopping and basically do all of the things! that she cannot do in Morganville (of which there are many). The fact that they have Oliver along as a babysitter raises some eyebrows, as he’s a high-ranking vampire with better things to do than look after them, especially as he’s made it quite clear he regards them mostly with thinly-veiled disdain. And sometimes he doesn’t even bother with the veil. It’s clear Oliver has another agenda though and it leads to a whole bunch of trouble as they discover a whole tiny town decimated after Bishop passed through some time ago and turned several of the residents. They’re all infected and seriously ill and they need to be dealt with before they ruin the privacy and freedom for vampires in Morganville that Amelie has worked so hard for. An added complication is Morley, running around and making a nuisance of himself.
This book was a bit all over the place in terms of story. There’s only so many times that Morley can turn up, threaten to or nearly kill everyone and then change his mind for some reason or other. It happens at least 3 times in this book alone and it’s only 241 pages long! I’m getting a little tired of Morley, I think for a vagrant homeless vamp he’s been hanging around a little too long now in his present form and he either needs to develop a little further or go back to where he came from. The first part of this story, where they juggle abusive rednecks and attract the attention of far too many cops for pretty much no reason at all, was a bit silly but once it got into the part with the infected vampires, it suddenly became much better. It was a shame that it took so long to get to that bit because as I mentioned, this book is very short, so by the time it picked up, the story was close to being over.
It seems like books 7 and 8 were really short and not quite as fun as the rest of them. I have the next 4 from my local library sitting on my shelf and they all look a lot longer, all of them between 450-500p. I’m not sure why these most recent 2 were so tiny but they’re probably my least favourite of the series so far. This one in particular felt like not a lot happened, probably because they had left the confines of Morganville so character interaction was pretty limited. We are treated to quite a lot of Oliver though and with each book he interests me a little more. He’s hiding things and I do like that knife-edge where you think he might be softening and then he kind of just hardens up again!
Still enjoying this series immensely though!...more