When I chose Grave Witch from my to-read list, I did it with a severe lack of enthusiasm. You see, I just finished two (great) Charlie Madigan books,...more When I chose Grave Witch from my to-read list, I did it with a severe lack of enthusiasm. You see, I just finished two (great) Charlie Madigan books, so any book I chose to read next would have to overcome an automatic disadvantage. The truth is, while I admit I was still under Charlie’s influence, I don’t think I would have liked Alex anyway. She doesn’t possess the depths of a real person, and I had the impression that she doesn’t know herself all that well. She is a lost puppy by choice and she doesn’t connect to people very well – not just the men, but her friends as well. I don’t like people that are cold and distant, and Alex is a little bit of both. The second thing that really annoyed me is the city itself. Price didn’t build her world around a real city. I don’t particularly like that, but I can live with it. Instead she created a whole new city and called it Nekros. Oh, come on! Nekros?! That’s the most terrible cliché she could come up with. It most certainly isn’t something I can forgive easily.
But let’s find some good parts or it will seem I hated Grave Witch. I usually don’t like the fae very much (ok, I’m scared to death of them) but I went through the whole book full of fae and witches really relaxed and comfortable. There was a small part in a fae bar that made me get goosebumps all over, but I lived, obviously. I came out of the experience without a permanent damage of any kind. I’ll probably just have bad dreams for a while. The plotline was strong and very interesting – the whole story about a crazy fae killing girls and performing rituals to steal their souls kept me interested to the very end.
I’m still not sure how I feel about Death as a character, and even a love interest. And to be completely honest, Falin is a real bastard - and a mysterious one at that. Plus, another love triangle was so not what I needed. But here I am, marking July 5th on my calendar, waiting impatiently to find out where things will go from here.
I've read countless YA novels in this past year, but Wake is by far my favorite. To be perfectly honest, it's not the story that I like so much - it's...moreI've read countless YA novels in this past year, but Wake is by far my favorite. To be perfectly honest, it's not the story that I like so much - it's very interesting and well thought out, but it was the writing that blew me away. In her review, Tatiana called McMann's writing style flawless, and I must admit I was very intrigued by her choice of words at the time. I understand now exactly what she meant. Wake has a steady rhythm that you can almost feel in your bones while reading. It’s very hard to describe, but very easy to notice once you start reading. I adore its simplicity and unpretentiousness.
Lisa McMann's writing is every linguist's dream. Linguists are usually very sensitive when it comes to language economy, and we especially dislike redundancy. There isn't a single part that is redundant in Wake. In Delirium, the MC leaves the house in the middle of the night to go to an illegal party and warn her best friend about a raid. While she is on her way to perform this very important task, Lauren Oliver takes the time to describe the streets, and even trash cannes she walks by. That’s pretty much where I lost my interest. Writers tend to dilute their stories with descriptions and unnecessary facts. In literary theory, those parts of a text are called catalysts. Wake is only about 200 pages long, but that’s because there are no catalysts in it. There isn’t a single word that dilutes the core. The sentences are clean and short, almost bare. From my (strictly structuralistic) point of view, that makes them almost perfect.
I'm in love with this book. I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy. (less)
Slavenka Drakulić wastes no time writing novels that are widely acceptable. If you ever come across one of her books, make sure you are ready to embra...moreSlavenka Drakulić wastes no time writing novels that are widely acceptable. If you ever come across one of her books, make sure you are ready to embrace the unexpected. Her stories are powerful descriptions of the most basic human nature: love, fear, survival and life.
The Taste of a Man is one such story. It’s a story about the impossibility of love and the denial of loss, about the boundaries of sanity and about the things we are ready to do for the person we consider our own. It’s a story about the Divine Hunger.
Unlike so many of her other novels, this one is not based on a true story (and for that we are grateful). Instead it is based on deepest parts of our nature, hidden for millennia under strongly ingrained morals of our civilization. It’s like a game of Have you ever we all played as children: - Have you ever taken something that doesn’t (and can never) belong to you? - Have you ever loved someone so much that you would rather take their life than let them live without you? - Have you ever abandoned sanity because of love? - Have you ever felt that we are confined by the rules of our civilization that tell us how to live, breathe and love?
This is NOT trivial literature. If you do not have an open mind, please choose another book. If you do not have the patience for the subtlety of human communication and relationships, you won’t appreciate this book. But if you are able to open your mind AND your heart to these powerful sentences, they might just change your life. They will most certainly change the way you think about love. (less)
The harvest is the end of this world, and the reapers are the angels.
I've read countless books in my life and through them I've been introduced to lit...moreThe harvest is the end of this world, and the reapers are the angels.
I've read countless books in my life and through them I've been introduced to literally thousands of characters. Some of them I forgot almost instantly. Others I need to be reminded of and even then remember only faintly. Then there are some I remember clearly because a part of them was important to me. But there is also a very small number of characters that stay with me always, characters that follow me around like shadows... shadows that once taught me an important lesson I'll never forget. One of them is Stephen King's Dolores Claiborne. Alden Bell's Temple is another.
This woman, this young girl, this child, is sixteen characters folded into one, and yet on the surface she is as simple as a girl can be. She is a character that makes your heart ache and your head spin. She is someone you have no choice but to love... someone you'll do your best to understand... someone you'll always want to be.
At first I was expecting a paranormal YA novel... I didn't read any of the reviews and I guess I just made a stupid assumption. Temple IS fifteen years old and the book really HAS zombies, but that's where the similarities with all the novels we usually read end. The Reapers Are the Angels is NOT a YA novel! It's post-apocalyptic fiction at its best. Actually, it's not a novel that people under the age of 18 should read. It has violence, sex and more violence and it's scary and horrible at times. But it is also wonderful and deep and mature and not to be taken lightly at all. The psychological developement of Bell's characters is astonishing, almost incredible.
If you have a strong stomach and you want to take a break from all the predictable fiction that surrounds us, The Reapers Are the Angels might be the novel for you. It doesn't follow any rules, it will make you skip dinner, and it will definitely make you cry. But most of all, it will surprise you with its simplicity and its depth and it will probably teach you a thing or two about yourself... and about who you want to be when world as we know it comes to an end.
Alden Bell's gorgeously written and bloody tale, which mutates from a zombie story into something of beauty and meaning. . . . Bell clearly owes great literary debt to Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" and the Southern Gothic school of Faulkner and O'Connor, but The Reapers Are the Angels shows the reader that they need not settle for mere blood 'n' guts when horror tales can, and should, go many extra miles. —Sarah Weinman, Summer Reading Pick, Salon.com(less)
This book broke my heart. Twice. Today I have a headache and puffy bags under my eyes. But it was worth it.
Kellis-Amberlee is a fact of existence. Yo...moreThis book broke my heart. Twice. Today I have a headache and puffy bags under my eyes. But it was worth it.
Kellis-Amberlee is a fact of existence. You live, you die, and then you come back to life, get up, and shamble around trying to eat your former friends and loved ones. That's the way it is for everyone.
Two of my favorite books this year both have zombies in them. One is The Reapers Are the Angels. The other is Feed. (view spoiler)[I wonder what that says about me. (hide spoiler)] But they are really very different books, because The Reapers Are the Angels is completely character based. Temple is the only constant – you live and you die with her. Reading the first half of Feed felt very much like watching a documentary. This is a book about politics, about the clash of generations, about a world that is terrified. It’s about standing up for your beliefs, choosing your priorities and knowing who to trust. It’s about friendship, convictions and brotherly love.
It is the year 2039. and the world after the Rising is a very different place. Siblings Georgia and Shaun Mason and their friend Georgette "Buffy" Meissonier are journalists. The three of them run their own news blog. They are the first bloggers ever to be allowed full access to a presidential candidate and they intend to make the most of it. They have George to lead and be as objective as possible, they have Shaun using his people skills to open the doors for them, and, thanks to Buffy and her technology, they have eyes and ears everywhere – which can be both good and very dangerous. Their ratings are suddenly going up and their credibility is as strong as ever (which is all George really cares about). But politics is a dirty business and before they know it, they find themselves in a world of trouble. If I would have to choose a single word to describe each of them, Georgia would be truth, Shaun would be adventure, and Buffy would be emotion. All three of them are weird in their own way, but they are also amazing persons.
It is with great joy that I report that the youth of America aren’t actually riddled with ennui and apathy; that the truth hasn’t been fully forsaken for the merely entertaining; that there’s a place in this world for reporting the facts as accurately and concisely as possible and allowing people to draw their own conclusions. I’ve never been more proud of finding a place where I can belong.
There is no romance in Feed. Georgia and Shaun don’t date. In fact, George doesn’t even touch people other than her brother. But there’s heart in every sentence and there are emotions too big for words. Seanan McGuire did extensive research for this book - it involved doctors, epidemiologists, technicians and people who were willing to try some of the stunts she described. That’s just one of the things that make this book amazing.
Feed has been nominated for the Hugo Award, and it's definitely a well deserved nomination. I'll keep my fingers crossed. Apparently, it already won the Goodreads Choice Award for Science Fiction in 2010. That too was well deserved.
The second book, Deadline, was released on May 31st 2011. The third book, Blackout is expected in May of 2012.
4.5 stars Grimspace is a bitch mistress who carries unearthly delight in one hand and a crop in the other. We bear the latter to receive the former. (F...more4.5 stars Grimspace is a bitch mistress who carries unearthly delight in one hand and a crop in the other. We bear the latter to receive the former. (From Killbox)
Nobody builds worlds better than Ann Aguirre. Nobody destroys them quite like her either.
At the end of Killbox, Jax did the only thing she thought could save the worlds threatened by the Morgut. In doing so, she betrayed the Conglomerate, the Armada, but most of all March – both as her lover and as her commanding officer. She now has to face consequences for her actions, hoping that she’ll get a chance to keep all the promises she made along the way.
Imprisoned, Jax finally has time to think about everything she’s already lost and the possibility of losing March forever. But being planetbound is hurting her more than anything else and she's slowly starting to realise that she'll have to lose much more because of her inability to resist the siren call of grimspace.
Aftermath is an adventure comparable only to Doubleblind before it. What separates these two books from the rest of Sirantha Jax series is that they focus more on personal growth of the characters and less on action. I’m so happy that Aguirre finally gave us more information about Hit, Adele, Doc and Rose, but most of all Vel. Sirantha’s path from an anti-heroine to a self-aware, courageous woman is nothing if not impressive, and she owes a lot of her newfound dedication and maturity to the strong, loyal bounty hunter.
Impeccable writing style, rich worlds, complex characters and unending excitement are exactly what I expect from my favorite author – a title Aguirre deserved long ago. Nevertheless, Aftermath exceeded my expectations in every way!
I’ve learned to expect disappointment from final installments, but there will be no disappointment coming from Ann Aguirre and Endgame. I am absolutely certain that she will deliver a conclusion worthy of this fabulous series.
Favorite quote: ...I hear footsteps, and it's not mealtime. Hopefully, this means they've come to some decision about what to do with us. If they haven't, Mary help them. Because I'm Sirantha Jax, and I've had enough.
A huge thank you to the author for sending me a signed copy of this book. (less)
I was drawn to the first book of the Drake Chronicles because of its shiny cover and the intriguing title. Whenever I choose a book based on those two...moreI was drawn to the first book of the Drake Chronicles because of its shiny cover and the intriguing title. Whenever I choose a book based on those two things alone, I end up disappointed. However, My Love Lies Bleeding won me over with its amusing characters, fast pacing, hilarious moments and not a single love triangle in sight. It was a highly entertaining, feel-good story that surprised me and made me laugh and I instantly became a huge fan of the series.
Drake Chronicles revolve around a royal vampire family and their human friends. Every book focuses on a different Drake brother and is told from multiple POVs. These books are essentially young adult paranormal romances, but unlike so many PNRs, they have great plots, lots of action, a large number of well-built secondary characters and an abundance of delightful, accessible humor.
Bleeding Hearts is the fourth book of the series and it focuses on Connor Drake and Lucy’s cousin Christabel who came to live with Lucy and her parents when her mother went into rehab. Ever since Helena Drake became the queen, the family has been under constant attack from their political enemies, and of course, the blue-skinned and vicious Hel-Blar vampires. In addition, Solange is still struggling with the fact that she’s becoming a different kind of vampire, one that has never been seen before and she’s allowing herself to be influenced by some morally impaired royals as a result. Lucy keeps being pushed away for her own protection, but she fights back every single time with Nicholas as her ally. I’d missed Lucy horribly in the last two books and it was great to see things through her eyes once again. Nothing is quite the same without her stubbornness and sense of humor. Connor is not my favorite Drake, but he’s not far behind either, and after a while, even Christabel became likeable, despite her infatuation with Mr. Darcy.
I had every intention of giving this book four stars, but when I reached the last page and saw that it ends with a cliffhanger, I took one star off my rating.
3/29/12 Stop by The Nocturnal Library to read our interview with Ann Aguirre and enter for a chance to win one of 3 books: Enclave, Grimspace or Blue...more3/29/12 Stop by The Nocturnal Library to read our interview with Ann Aguirre and enter for a chance to win one of 3 books: Enclave, Grimspace or Blue Diablo.
I am happy. I am shocked. I still can’t believe this. Ann Aguirre just got promoted to my favorite author. Ok, maybe not favorite, but close enough. I mean, come on! She writes this fantastic SF series, starting with Grimspace, a very good (if not great) and very unusual UF series with elements of horror (the Corine Solomon series), and now she does YA dystopian as well?!?!?
I was born during the second holocaust.
That’s all it took for me to fall in love with this book, and it’s only the first sentence. I have to admit I rolled my eyes when I first read the blurb. I was rightfully afraid of another Delirium or something equally forced. I’m so glad Aguirre proved me wrong. Her story is strong if not fresh (because, let’s face it, fresh is a long way gone in this genre). Her characters are very much alive and unusually smart. But the real magic lies in Aguirre’s perfect writing. She doesn’t make mistakes. She’s even added an author’s note explaining how she did her research and what led her to those conclusions. Everything she described is quite possible. (view spoiler)[Except maybe Freaks, but come on! They’re zombies. Who doesn't love zombies?!. (hide spoiler)]
We start following our heroine on the day of her naming ceremony – the day she stops being Girl15 and becomes Deuce, a Huntress trained to protect her Enclave and bring food for Breeders, Builders and Elders. She has spent the first 15 years of her life training incredibly hard just to be allowed to go into the tunnels with other Hunters and fight Freaks – terrible, mindless flesh-eating creatures with claws and sharp, pointy teeth. Deuce doesn’t mind risking her life every day for others – it’s a matter of pride and acceptance. But on her first day she gets partnered up with Fade, a strange and silent boy, the only outsider in the Enclave. Together they get into trouble and end up exiled with nowhere to go but Topside – where Deuce will see the sun for the very first time.
*edit: It's been a long time since I finished it, and it's still my favorite dystopia. Sometimes I get very excited about a book, but forget all about it as soon as it leaves my sight. This is not one of those books.
This is an incredible addition to the series, probably the best one yet. Even though I loved the action in Wanderlust, the relationship angst really b...moreThis is an incredible addition to the series, probably the best one yet. Even though I loved the action in Wanderlust, the relationship angst really bothered me. That's why I waited a month or so before daring to read Doubleblind. I'm happy to say that it brings a nice equilibrium to everything that's been grating on my nerves. In Grimspace, and especially in Wanderlust, March seemed to suffer from multiple personality disorder. He was a perfect lover, Jax's punching bag/doormat and Universal Soldier, all at once. In Doubleblind he struggles to regain his humanity, but I have a feeling things will be more balanced in the future.
I only cry and beg when Jax is arround. Right now, I'm a killing machine, so let's go annihilate the rival clan!!
Jax is a whole different person this time. She has become this incredible, mature and brave woman. I kind of hated her before, but now she's finally the heroine we want and deserve. She's far from perfect, but at least I don't hate her and/or yell at her on every other page. She finally appreciates March and everything he's done for her. She's not the selfish, spoiled brat she used to be. She actually reminds me a lot of Aguirre's other heroine, Corine Solomon.
However, neither of them is my favorite character – that is most definitely Vel. I have some pretty amazing friends, but I really wish I had a friend like him. And yes, I would totally hug him, at least twice a day.
Aguirre really is my favorite author these days. I love everything about the way she builds a story. Her writing is impecable, and she has this incredible way of changing the pace so suddenly you find yourself going back a few sentences just to be sure you're not reading it wrong. (less)
I am breathless, speechless and whateverless (probably mindless) at the moment. The best I can do is quote my favorite, if sometimes cowardly Newsie,...moreI am breathless, speechless and whateverless (probably mindless) at the moment. The best I can do is quote my favorite, if sometimes cowardly Newsie, Alaric Kwong:
"Son of a chicken-fucking soy farmer and a diseased convention-center security guard."
I'm always a little hesitant to review the books I loved. It seems like nothing I write can ever be good enough. That's exactly the case this time. I'...moreI'm always a little hesitant to review the books I loved. It seems like nothing I write can ever be good enough. That's exactly the case this time. I'll try to keep it short and very clear: this book blew me away! It took only about 30 pages for me to fall in love with Ultraviolet. If I remember correctly, I called Anderson's writing unpretentious and rich with emotion when I just started reading, and I stand by my words now that I've finished. What amazed me the most about it was the way she occasionally threw a stunning passage or a breathtaking sentence into what was normally pretty simplistic writing.
Dark chocolate, poured over with velvet: that was how his voice tasted. I wanted him to follow me around and narrate the rest of my life.
I'm not a visual type of person, but words mean the world to me, and R.J. Anderson's words made a strong impression. The way Alison perceives the world made me want to be her, if just for ten minutes, and experience things and people through her eyes (and her mouth). Tasting words sounds like something I would gladly live with for the rest of my life!
I’d been trying to get over my habit of judging people by the color and taste of their names, but it was hard when my instincts were so often right. There seemed no point telling myself that the R in the middle of Kirk’s name didn’t make him untrustworthy when the game had just started and he was already cheating.
And then the major plot twist happened. I was a bit annoyed at first because I really liked the way the story was originally going, but after a while, I started to like the new development too, which only proves how amazing R.J. Anderson really is.
Another small thing I really liked was the lack of Ali's physical description. I know nothing about the color of her hair, the length of her eyelashes or the way she blushes when she's embarrassed and I like it that way. It was very refreshing not to be bothered with unimportant things like that.
Reading Feed has made me reluctant to give five stars as easily as I did before, but they're well deserved this time. I have such high hopes for this book! I hope people will recognize its beauty and its literary value. R.J. Anderson has gained a new fan - I'm ready to read everything she's ever written, including her grocery lists. (less)
There are three things in this world I truly believe in. That the truth will set us free; that lies a...moreWorry not, my dears, this review is spoiler-free.
There are three things in this world I truly believe in. That the truth will set us free; that lies are the prisons we build for ourselves; and that Shaun loves me. Everything else is just details. - Georgia Mason
There's not much I can say about the Newsflesh trilogy that I haven't said a million times before, nothing spoiler-free at least, and I refuse to spoil even the smallest detail for any of you. As a result, this will be more of an emotional outburst than an actual review, so feel free to abandon ship if you’re not a fan of my all-too-frequent displays of sentimentality. I apologize in advance.
How do you bring down a massive government conspiracy? You don’t. You do what the crew of After the End Times does: you run for your life, save a few people, bury more than a few, tell the truth, and make sure to get it all on camera. Oh, and you pay attention when the villain starts explaining his actions because there might me more to it than he’s ready to admit. And when you stop to think about it and realize that it’s not worth it at all, you keep doing it because there’s nothing else you can do, and you hope for the best.
I didn’t dream of funerals this time. Instead, I dreamed of me and Shaun, walking hand in hand through the empty hall where the Republican National Convention was held, and nothing was trying to kill us. Nothing was trying to kill us at all.
As the story progressed and the science in it became more and more wild, I kept expecting to reach the point where I’d stop believing it, where it would be too much, but I never did. Therein lies the talent of Seanan McGuire – she is able to make the craziest things sound entirely convincing. It helps that her sense of pacing is nothing short of extraordinary, not to mention her ability to emotionally manipulate her readers. It’s not easy to keep people engaged and utterly fascinated through more than 500 pages, and yet Seanan McGuire accomplished it no less than three times.
I could (and should) say that the Newsflesh trilogy has ended with Blackout, but it hasn’t for me, not really. After 1800 pages, so much laughter, countless tears and a few frustrated screams, I know I’ll be back to reread it often. In fact, I’d already reread both Feed and Deadline more than once. Why would Blackout deserve any less? In any case, I’ve gained more from this experience than just a book I can label as my all-time favorite. I’ve bonded with people over it, and today I have the privilege of calling some of them my friends. We are a diverse group, but we started with this one thing we had in common, and in time, we developed some more. Therefore, it seems vastly unfair to call this just another trilogy. For me, it was much more than that. It was a chapter of my life and a truly life-changing experience.
Aside from the already released Countdown, Mira Grant will write two more novellas in the Newslesh universe, San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, and How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea. Seanan McGuire will also launch another duology with Orbit: Parasitology and Symbiogenesis, as Mira Grant. The story will have nothing to do with the Masons, but I’m sure it will be amazing. I guess we still have something to look forward to after all.
We know that we were in the right (The coming dawn, the ending night). So here is when we stop the lies. The time is come. We have to Rise. -From Dandelion Mine, the blog of Magdalene Grace Garcia, August 7, 2041.
Angel Crawford is 21 years old, addicted to pills and in an on-again off-again relationship with another addict, Randy. After the death of her insane...moreAngel Crawford is 21 years old, addicted to pills and in an on-again off-again relationship with another addict, Randy. After the death of her insane and abusive mother, she was left to live with her alcoholic and no less abusive father. She’s a high school dropout, can’t keep any job for more than a few weeks and she’s even on probation for buying a stolen car.
At the beginning of My Life as a White Trash Zombie, Angel wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of the events that occurred the night before. She supposedly overdosed, but she doesn’t remember taking that many pills at all. While still in the hospital, she gets an anonymous letter saying that she has to start driving a van for the coroner’s office or she will be reported to her probation officer. It doesn’t take her long to realize that she’s developed an appetite for brains which helps her figure out exactly how much has changed in the night of her ‘overdose’.
This was not as good as I hoped it would be, not even close. And the worst part is that I love Diana Rowland so much, I love her other series (Kara Gillian), and I absolutely adore her critique partner, Nicole Peeler. With all that love in the air, I have to wonder, what went wrong?!? I was in such a hurry to read this book that I bought the Kindle edition while I was waiting for my paperback to arrive. Really, 10 days is such a long time! I could have saved myself the trouble, though, buying it once was more than enough. I’m not saying it’s a bad book, I can’t even find anything seriously wrong with it, I just didn’t care about Angel or her story that much. My other problem is that it wasn’t funny at all. Rowland probably spoiled me with her Kara Gillian series which, despite being a police procedural, has its moments of hilarity. Things that were probably meant to be cute and/or funny in My Life as a White Trash Zombie were mostly just over the top and annoying.
I’m asking you to take my review with a grain of salt. I haven’t been in the right mood for urban fantasy lately and that might have something to do with my opinion of this book. Diana Rowland is still one of my favorite urban fantasy authors and I fully intend to read everything she writes in the future. (less)
I hate having to review this book. I've spent the last 24 hours thinking about it, trying to figure out a way to point out the good and the bad, inste...moreI hate having to review this book. I've spent the last 24 hours thinking about it, trying to figure out a way to point out the good and the bad, instead of just listing all the things that annoyed me. Here’s my conclusion: the only remotely fair thing to do is to write two separate reviews: one of the first and one of the second half of the book.
First half: ***** (five stars) The first half of Ashes was one of the best things I’ve read recently, and that’s saying a lot! It was amazingly well written, fast paced, with interesting, layered characters and a compelling plot. Alex is a 17-year-old girl with a brain tumor. She’s lost her parents a few years back and is now living with her aunt, but she spends most of her time in the hospital. At the beginning of Ashes, she is out of the hospital and has just decided not to do any more treatments, seeing as they are not helping her in any way. Instead, she chooses to go hiking in the wilderness. There she meets an old man and his granddaughter Ellie and shares a meal with them. Shortly after that, an EMP wipes out every electronic device and kills the old man in the process. That leaves Alex with the 8-year-old girl to take care of and some new abilities she doesn’t fully understand. After only a short walk, the girls stumble upon two teenagers who are eating another human. It becomes pretty obvious that the EMP affected human brains as well as the electronic devices. But why then did Alex and Ellie remain unchanged?! Ok, so we have a great plot, interesting characters, a subtle love story AND zombies eating intestants and gouging out people’s eyes. It’s no wonder we were all so thrilled. But then the second half came…
Second half: ** (two stars) I can pinpoint the exact moment where it all went wrong. From the end of one chapter to the beginning of the next, everything changed. Ashes went from being amazing to being utterly unimaginative and even boring at times. I had to force myself to finish it. It picked up the pace again on the last 50 pages or so, but only to make the most horrible, cliffhanger ending possible.
Here are some of my problems with the book: - Alex is 17, but she is far too skilled and mature for that to be believable, even more so because she's been very sick for a very long time. People who spend years in the hospital usually don’t know that much about surviving in the wilderness. She could have been book smart, sure, but building fires?!? I don't think so. She kept saying that her father taught her, but he was dead by the time she entered her teen years. - I had the same problem with her knowledge of medicine. Apparently her mother was a doctor and they used to spend their time together stitching up chickens. Honestly, I don’t know a single teen or pre-teen that interested in his/her parent’s work. - I hate cliffhanger endings, and this was the mother of them all! I don’t understand why authors feel the need to do that! A cliffhanger ending will make me less likely to read the next book, not more! And this particular author likes cliffhangers so much, she even ended a few chapters with them. When you end a chapter with a cliffhanger and start the next one with the words Three days later, you can count on losing a few readers.
Maybe Ilsa J. Bick is a pseudonym for two people, much like Ilona Andrews, only these two people don’t get along as well?!? I will still read the next book when it comes out, but I can’t say I’m too happy about it.
Michelle R., Wendy Darling and Bonnie have made this experience much better than it would have been without them. Thanks, girls! (less)
The city of Scranton, Pennsylvania abounds with supernatural beings of all sorts – vampires, werewolves, ghouls, wizards and the occasional demon. Of...moreThe city of Scranton, Pennsylvania abounds with supernatural beings of all sorts – vampires, werewolves, ghouls, wizards and the occasional demon. Of course, with all this magic out in the open, the ‘live and let unlive’ policy the city is so proud of doesn’t always work out very well. There are witches who use black magic, a vampire is likely to bite an unwilling victim (especially if he thinks he can get away with it) and goblins have developed a liking for bank robberies and meth. The Occult Crime Unit, where only the best and the craziest detectives can find their place, was formed to deal with such cases.
My name is Markowski. I carry a badge.
When a wizard turned vampire gets killed in the most gruesome way, detective Stanley Markowski and his new partner are called to investigate. Normally Stan wouldn’t lose much sleep over a dead vampire or ten, but this case feels like the beginning of something much larger and far more dangerous. As it turns out, the vampire was the keeper of an incredibly dangerous book called Opus Mago. Here’s how the leader of the supernatural community explains it: Making use of the spells contained in the Opus Mago would be similar to what a friend of mine once said about studying the work of the philosopher Hegel: one must be highly intelligent in order to do such, and profoundly stupid to wish to. It would seem that one such person has arrived in Stranton and it’s now up to Stan and his partner Karl to stop him or her while there’s still time.
Whenever I discover an exciting new urban fantasy series, I feel like a child on Christmas morning. Thanks to Justin Gustainis, I’ve opened my presents early this year! I have to be honest here: I was a little skeptical when I requested Hard Spell. I thought it might be ok at best, but I never even considered the possibility that it would be this good. A male author and a male protagonist are very uncommon in urban fantasy – that’s why the quality of this book makes me even happier. Gustainis did everything right: his world is just dark enough to make you worry about the characters, there are enough funny moments to break the tension, and the plot doesn’t drag for a second!
Ever since I started blogging, I've been going on and on about Ann Aguirre's books and how much I love them. The time has come for me to tell you why....moreEver since I started blogging, I've been going on and on about Ann Aguirre's books and how much I love them. The time has come for me to tell you why. Ann Aguirre understands life, she understands love, she understands war and the very basic human nature. She knows what makes people tick and how far they would go to defend what they love and that knowledge reflects in her work. Endgame is no exception. If anything, it is the best of her books so far.
In Endgame, last book of the series, Sirantha Jax makes good on her promise to Loras and travels to La’heng, accompanied by Vel, to try to free the La’hengrin from the Nicuans. The cure for the shinai-bond is finally functional, if not entirely safe, and Loras’s people have a chance to stand up and fight, something they haven’t had in a very long time. When peaceful measures fail to convince Nicuan nobles to make the cure available to the La’hengrin, Loras, Jax, Vel and a few other very competent friends are left with no choice but to form the La’heng Liberation Army and start a war to free Loras’s people from slavery.
A war is never glamorous, no matter how just the cause. It always means hard choices and sacrifice for everyone involved. It means being hungry, filthy and cold. It means blurring the line between right and wrong, committing atrocities in the name of freedom and losing yourself while fighting for what you believe in. That is the side of war Aguirre decided to show us, and I can’t thank her enough for it. It is the side we rarely get to see.
Jax doesn’t get to be a hero in Endgame. She doesn’t get to rush in, make a wild and stupid decision that somehow ends up working despite the odds, and save the day. Not because she isn’t capable of pulling it off, she is, she’s done it before, but because we all become insignificant and small in the face of war, including Sirantha Jax.
It is hard to believe that something that started as a sci-fi romance series, a sub-genre that’s rarely taken seriously, ended up being so full of valuable lessons. Seeing the world through Jax’s eyes, enjoying her unique worldview, learning about the way she prioritizes and deals with the consequences taught me a thing or two about myself. And yet, Jax never took the intensely philosophical and lecturing tone. If anything, her chopped up grammar and matter-of-fact way make her a very unlikely source for Big Truths of Life. She just told her story like it is and you’re free to take away whatever you want from it. This is not a love story. It is my life, and as such, there is love, loss, war, death, and sacrifice. It’s about things that needed to be done and the choices made. I regret nothing.
Eleven is the number of books by Ann Aguirre I’ve read and loved so far. She is the only author in the world I can say that about. The fact that she’ll keep writing makes it easier for me to say goodbye to Jax. No one will ever replace her, but I know that so many other fantastic heroines sleep in Aguirre’s mind, waiting to be awoken and introduced to the world. Jax deserves her rest.
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story. 4.5 stars
Not many authors can scare you to death by eliciting vivid, gruesome imagery and,...moreJust your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story. 4.5 stars
Not many authors can scare you to death by eliciting vivid, gruesome imagery and, at the same time, take your breath away with sheer beauty of their prose. I never expected Kendare Blake to be one of those authors – that’s why her book took me completely by surprise. It was very different from what I thought it would be. When I choose a book based on a beautiful cover and an intriguing title (and yes, I really AM that shallow), especially one that none of my friends have read, I usually end up disappointed. Anna Dressed in Blood undoubtedly looks amazing and has a memorable title, but the most interesting part is right where it should be – between the covers.
Cassius Theseus Lowood grew up in an unconventional family. His mother is a white witch and his father was in the business of killing the dead for the second time, at least until one of the ghosts he was hunting murdered him in the most gruesome way. In Cas’s world, dead people often don’t want to leave the place where they died, especially if they were victims of a violent crime. Instead, they stay behind as monstrous echoes of their former selves – most of them seeking revenge for the horrors they experienced. When Cas’s father died, Cas inherited his duties and his powerful athame. He’s been moving all over the country and killing ghosts since he was 14 years old. But he’s never run into a ghost as powerful as Anna nor did he ever try so hard to understand what drives a dead person to murder innocent people. Anna is different in every way. She was killed in 1958. while walking to the prom in her beautiful white dress. When her throat was slit, blood covered her entirely, thus earning her the name Anna Dressed in Blood. Someone cut her throat, but that’s an understatement. Someone nearly cut her head clean off. They say she was wearing a white party dress, and when they found her, the whole thing was stained red. That’s why they call her Anna Dressed in Blood.
Ever since her murder, Anna’s been tied to the house she grew up in. Twenty seven people have tried to enter, and none of them came out alive.
Nothing is black and white in Anna's story: she is both a killer and a victim, a horrible monster and an innocent girl – and just when you think you figured her out, she turns around and does something completely unexpected! Her entire personality changes as quickly as her appearance which forces Cas to doubt every single choice he made since the beginning of his hunt.
I don’t usually watch horror movies and I always do my best to avoid horror novels, (view spoiler)[Oh, so what? I live alone and I scare easily. :D (hide spoiler)], but black witches, white witches, people trapped in walls, Voodoo, athames, ghost hunting, cursed objects, a strong male protagonist and unexpected developments made me very happy that I decided to read this book. I really hope it gets the attention it deserves. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This may come as a complete shock to you guys, but I know a thing or two about urban fantasy. Not too much, mind you, but enough to recognize a good U...moreThis may come as a complete shock to you guys, but I know a thing or two about urban fantasy. Not too much, mind you, but enough to recognize a good UF novel when I read one. Here’s what I can tell you: Diana Rowland is one of the best. Whenever I get my hands on her latest novel, I’m absolutely certain that I will enjoy it immensely.
Sins of the Demon picks up just a few weeks after the great discovery at the end of the third book. Now that she finally knows what he is, Kara would like nothing more than to try and figure out all the details concerning Ryan, but she’s too busy saving her own life and career. Someone is killing people from Kara’s past, people she had every reason to hate. There isn’t a doubt in her mind that the deaths are connected, but she doesn’t know whether the killer wants to frame her or simply do her a favor. At the same time, someone from the demon realm is trying to summon Kara (oh, the irony), but unlike the demons Kara summons, she will not get the chance for a fair bargain. If they succeed, she will be nothing more than a slave to a demonic lord, and it certainly won’t be one as lenient as Rhyzkahl.
Here’s another thing that might surprise you: I hate love triangles with a fiery passion. I usually say that there’s no such thing as a good love triangle, and it is my firm opinion that there isn’t a good reason for an author to introduce one. But you see, that’s not entirely true, and Diana Rowland made me eat my words. She managed to write a love triangle that I actually enjoy, one that isn’t too angsty, that makes perfect sense, and is, in fact, quite necessary for the story.
I’ll write just a few words about the characters because that’s really where Rowland’s strength lies. (Well, that, the awesome plots and the simple-yet-intriguing worldbuilding.) After reading this novel I can honestly say that I want to be Kara Gillian when I grow up. She is now more skilled, more confident, but still has the good sense to run in fear when she’s out of her league – which happens often when you’re in the business of summoning demons. As for Ryan and Rhyzkahl… oh, dear *fans self*. I wouldn’t mind being in a position to choose between the two at all. As for the other characters, it is clear that Rowland takes the time to build each one, even the really unimportant ones. They all come alive for me every single time.
But this also needs to be said: I absolutely despise cliffhanger endings. A fourth book of the series either has a steady audience or it doesn’t. I simply refuse to believe that a cliffhanger influences this in any way. I took one star off my rating only because of that. Otherwise, this would have been a perfect 5-star urban fantasy, and I don’t give 5 stars to UF novels all that often. In fact, Hounded by Kevin Hearne is the only one I can remember.
If you love urban fantasy or simply enjoy reading one from time to time, make sure to put this on your tbr. Each book is better than the last.
At first glance, Virtuosity is just another story about a girl who isn’t in control of her own life. And you know what? That’s exactly what it is on s...moreAt first glance, Virtuosity is just another story about a girl who isn’t in control of her own life. And you know what? That’s exactly what it is on second glance as well. But unlike so many of these stories, it is well written, completely engrossing and definitely worth a read.
To say that Carmen grew up shielded from everyday life would be a serious understatement. She was homeschooled, she never had a real friend other than her tutor Heidi and she never spent any time with boys her age. You see, Carmen is not a seventeen-year-old girl, she is not a daughter, she is not a student and she is not a friend. Carmen is a Grammy Award winning violinist and she has just been admitted to Julliard with a full scholarship. When people look at her, that’s all they see – and it’s only natural considering how good she is. She is so good, in fact, that there’s only one violin soloist who might prove to be better than her: Jeremy King.
Carmen and Jeremy are the most likely finalists in the Guarneri contest. They are both just one step away from that huge, life-altering victory. Falling in love under the circumstances really shouldn’t be an option... but it is.
"It's kind of funny, actually," she said. "Most girls have to worry about guys just being after sex, but you should really be more worried if he isn't after sex. You just can't do anything normally, can you?"
When you’re so valuable to everyone around you, you really are all alone. How do you trust a mother who’s living vicariously through you because her own career was ruined before it even started? How should you feel about your rich grandparents who only started noticing you when you became famous? And how do you fall in love with a boy whose success can’t come without your failure?
Virtuosity surprised me with two huge, jaw dropping moments – something that doesn’t happen very often. Just when I thought it's about to become predictable, Martinez did something I never saw coming. That alone makes it worth reading. My big thanks to Nomes for pushing me in the right direction! :) (less)
My name, my full, True Name, is Ashallyn'darkmyr Tallyn, and I am the last son of the Unseelie Court.
I was not a big fan of the first two Iron Fey bo...moreMy name, my full, True Name, is Ashallyn'darkmyr Tallyn, and I am the last son of the Unseelie Court.
I was not a big fan of the first two Iron Fey books, but The Iron Queen completely stole my heart! Those of you who've read it know all about the beautiful romance, the fierce battle and the bittersweet ending that ensued. I suspect many of her fans were unhappy with the way Kagawa wrapped things up. In fact, some were probably even outraged, but not me – I loved it. That’s why I wasn’t too thrilled about The Iron Knight to begin with. A fourth book, written from Prince Ash's point of view, could only mean a different ending for him and Meghan. I’m not sorry that I got to spend more time with Ash, Puck and especially Grimalkin, I just wish there was a way to make everything less (view spoiler)[perfect (hide spoiler)] in the end.
The Iron Knight is an adventure novel. Ash, Puck, Grimalkin and the Big Bad Wolf travel to the End of the World knowing that no one has ever come back alive. Reaching the end of the Nevernever means almost certain death for them all, but Ash swore an oath that compels him to move forward. (view spoiler)[That boy sure loves his oaths. How very dramatic. (hide spoiler)] Of course Robin Goodfellow has his reasons for following the Winter prince through the enchanted forest, as does Grimalkin, my personal favorite.
I'm obviously not a huge fan of love triangles and I was very upset that Julie Kagawa felt the need to add another one to this story, no matter how well she resolved it in the end. I also had some minor issues with the quest itself. To be honest, I found it a little boring at times and more suitable for 14-year-old boys. BUT there were parts that were fabulous and compelling, and they evened things out a bit.
Worldbuilding is the strong point of this book. This time, Kagawa removed her characters from the comfort of both Summer And Winter Courts and built for them a completely new and very creepy challenge called the Deep Wyld. If you thought Tir Na Nog was full of hidden dangers, wait till you read about a ferry sliding through the River of Dreams or, even worse, Phaed, a city where everyone seems to forget the purpose of their existence in just one night.
It is impossible to write more about their quest without including spoilers for the previous book. Suffice it to say that I didn’t miss Meghan at all. Despite my many problems with The Iron Knight, it was still extremely fun and I'm happy Kagawa decided to write it. I'm not so sure about the spin-off trilogy, though. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)