I will say with the subject matter that Beautiful Burn presents in the blurb I was a little iffy about whether or not I really wanted to read it. EverI will say with the subject matter that Beautiful Burn presents in the blurb I was a little iffy about whether or not I really wanted to read it. Everyone was a consenting adult within the story so I gave it a chance.
It was a pretty quick read. I read it in a couple of hours (that's including any and all interruptions that can occur). The only time I think a longer story could have been helpful was when there were random flashbacks thrown in throughout. I would often have to go back and realign myself with just where I was in the story and what information was being relayed to me. I think if the story was longer these confusions wouldn't have happened because there could have been more lead-in time.
I was surprised when the entirety of the story was told from Reed's (Mr. West) point of view. I kept expecting Aurburn's POV to pop up, but it didn't. I figured this was all some sort of plot device to eventually lead to some kind of nefarious actions on Aurburn's part that Reed didn't see coming, but well....if you want to know you'll just have to read the story.
There were times when I thought that the story was getting a bit monotonous. Now I feel like this is Adriane Leigh lulling readers into a sense of complacency and then BAM here comes the twist! I truly didn't see the twist coming, but once it did I mentally went back through different scenes. There were little, tiny, minuscule hints but nothing, I think, that could have caused the reader to discern what was really coming. I'm ok with that. I'm ok with the author having all the cards and not showing them to the readers just until it's time. I mean the book blurb clearly states that there are secrets between Auburn and Reed. I guess this was the one secret I didn't think of.
Overall, I'm glad I gave the book a chance. It is a classic case of "don't judge a book by it's cover" (or subject matter). ...more
Razed is the story of Zane and Keelie (Zach's brother and tattoo shop co-owner respectively) first seen in Wrecked. It is established in the first booRazed is the story of Zane and Keelie (Zach's brother and tattoo shop co-owner respectively) first seen in Wrecked. It is established in the first book that Zane has had feelings for Keelie for a few years now, but she hasn't noticed and had actually been harboring feelings for Zach. Well, if you've read Wrecked (which is not completely necessary, but give good background info) then you know how her "attraction" to Zach turned out. It was a good thing too because Keelie and Zane are good together. Of course not everything can run smoothly, so it's no surprise that Keelie has "secrets" in her closet.
What I liked about this book / relationship is that there was very little actual drama within the building of the relationship between Keelie and Zane. All the drama was outside in the form of the secrets from Keelie's past. Zane was a great balance to Keelie. He's a few years older than her and I think being a little more mature was good because he was able to focus on the things he wanted in / for his life and Keelie was one of those. He wasn't going to let her insecurities put up a roadblock between them and Keelie needed someone who wasn't going to back down and let her be alone like she's been for years now.
Keelie's strength really comes across while reading the book, despite the issues in her past. She will acknowledge that she thinks she comes across as a bitch, but I never really felt like that. For me she came across as "no-nonsense". She obviously is a caring person to those around her, she just doesn't feel great about herself. Even when she was making bad decisions (i.e. Zach) I never disliked her.
This book was a little lighter on the romance (which was surprising) than the romance between Zach and Abby in Wrecked, but I didn't mind it. I hope that Keelie and Zane pop up again in Busted. They are a couple where I want to know what happens next....more
I have, sadly enough, not read V.E. Schwab's previous book Vicious. I know this is something I need to fix quickly. Regardless, as soon as I heard ofI have, sadly enough, not read V.E. Schwab's previous book Vicious. I know this is something I need to fix quickly. Regardless, as soon as I heard of A Darker Shade of Magic and read what it was about, I was interested. The blurb does a great job of summing up what the book is about, but it doesn't give away everything so while reading I was pleasantly surprised. In this sneak peek, the pacing is wonderful. The chapters aren't too long, they're short enough that when I get to the end I keep thinking "oh I can read just one more and before long I was more than halfway through the sample!
V.E. Schwab does a great job of introducing the world through Kell as he travels from Red London, Gray London, and White London and back again without info dumping. Readers learn about the history of magic and why there are separate Londons over the course of the first few chapters.
I would say the only draw back is the fact that this is not complete! By the end I kept trying to go forward in my electronic copy only to be disappointed that the sample had, indeed, ended. Rest assured I will be getting the full book when it's released in late February. In the mean time I think I'll go back and read Vicious.
*Sneak Peek provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ...more
When things in Callie Nobel’s life get frighteningly complicated, she runs back to Ottawa—a place where she spent significant time while in school. Unfortunately, Callie can’t avoid trouble completely once she gets there. Instead of running, Callie is surprised to fight off her would-be attackers with strange powers that she’s never experienced before. Fleeing from that situation, there’s only one person Callie can think to turn to, Derrick Llewellyn—a former classmate who could’ve been something more if he hadn’t blatantly turned Callie down.
The last person Derrick expected to see again was Callie, but as soon as he does, he recognizes in her what he has within himself: magic. Derrick is part of the Community. More specifically he’s the Knight, a Sentinel, tasked with protecting those of the Community. The very thing that drove him to reject Callie all those years ago is the same thing that’s pulling them towards each other again. All that has to be put on hold though when Callie is unwillingly pulled further into the workings of the Community. What she finds is a world full of awe and wonder, as well as a lot of danger, and her feelings for Derrick may just be the most dangerous of all.
Readers are thrown into the world of the Community pretty much from the first page. I suppose it goes to say our experience mirrors that of Callie’s because she, too, is thrown right into a new, unexpected situation. It’s this fact, I think, that made Her Sexy Sentinel feel like it was missing something. It’s the fact that since the story is so quickly paced there is literally no time for the slow build-up of teaching Callie how to wield her new powers. She basically has to learn ‘on the job,’ so to speak, as situations arise.
Because Callie knows so little, her viewpoint is frustrating. If that sounds negative, I don’t mean for it to be. I believe it’s her emotions leaping off the page. I would be frustrated too if someone expected me to do a job that I just plain didn’t know how to do. In the fashion of the strong heroines I like to read about, Callie doesn’t back down from a challenge. One of those challenges just so happens to be Derrick.
Luckily, Her Sexy Sentinel switches POV between Callie and Derrick. Since Derrick has had the knowledge about magic from the beginning, when we’re reading from his side of things, all the situations and terminology make much more sense. What we get on Derrick’s side is his more conflicted feelings about Callie. Callie is admittedly attracted to Derrick and she wants to pursue things further. Derrick, for reasons not immediately explained, has known from the beginning that he and Callie cannot be together. The frustration on his side comes through, wanting Callie so much but almost being forced to stand aside. It’s an interesting conflict of interest.
Jenn Burke sets up a pretty unique world in Her Sexy Sentinel. Since the storyline followed a certain path, I understand why some things maybe felt a little incomplete. I’m hoping, based on events at the end of Her Sexy Sentinel, that any more additions to this series will clarify some things a little. It has a lot of promise. ...more
After her sort of fiance, Peter, decides to call it quits out of the blue, to say Alice is hurt is an understatement. Still, she decides to go on theAfter her sort of fiance, Peter, decides to call it quits out of the blue, to say Alice is hurt is an understatement. Still, she decides to go on the cruise her and Peter booked. Unbeknownst to Alice Peter gave his ticket away to his friend Elliott.
Elliott's a writer and a baron. But with his overly large family and running the estate, he's fallen behind on his deadline and needs the peace and quiet to finish his book. Peter ensures Elliott that he'll have the cabin to himself, so when Alice shows up unexpectedly, Elliott is a little put out. What takes him by complete surprise is the undeniably quirky and spontaneous Alice.
When I say quirky and spontaneous that pretty much sums up the entirety of the story. It's a fast-paced in-your-face kind of romance but I found that it worked pretty well. Sometimes writing such off-the-wall humorous situations can get overwhelming and quickly lose its charm, but Katie MacAlister does a great job keeping everything just below the level of too much.
Elliott's family fits this bill pretty well and I'm happy to know that this is going to be a new series because there are just too many Ainslies running around the story begging to have their adventures told.
If you're looking for a fun escape that can often leave you scratching your head wondering if you just read that passage correctly and then smiling when you figured out that yes you did read it right, then this is the book for you.
*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ...more
The day Oliver was kidnapped by his father changed things in the lives of all those close to him. He was seven years old. His best friend Emmy will thThe day Oliver was kidnapped by his father changed things in the lives of all those close to him. He was seven years old. His best friend Emmy will think about Oliver everyday for ten years until he's found and brought home. Emmy has dreamed of this moment for years, but now that Oliver is home, everyone questions just where this "new" Oliver fits because he is no longer a seven year old boy, but at seventeen he's on his way to becoming a man.
Oliver himself is thrust into a seemingly new life, one where his mother remarried and he now has two half sisters. One of the constants has been Emmy. Even though both are essentially different, they both still click together. But can the serious issues that Oliver is still facing keep them together or will it break them apart?
Since Oliver has been gone, Emmy herself, while still thinking about him, had to continue on with her life. She's made plans. What if those plans don't include Oliver. As the two grow close again, will Emmy still be able to be there for her friend, yet still retain the person that she became in his absence?
These types of stories always draw me in. Two people who are destined to be together fighting to get to the point where they used to be in order to get to the point where they should be. It's a little toned down being that it's a YA book, but the idea is the same.
Emmy was a great character. She's been through a lot in the ten years since Oliver's disappearance. Her family was extremely close with Oliver's and they saw first hand the devastation his kidnapping caused so in turn they start to over-protect Emmy. Emmy begins little rebellions, but she's still a good person.
It's not hard to guess some of the emotional roller coaster that this book will take you through, but Robin Benway does a great job of not overwhelming the story with too much moroseness. Yes, there's heartbreak and sadness, but everyone is aiming towards a hopeful goal. Aiming to get back to normal and move forward.
I thought it was a beautiful story. I was rooting for Emmy and Oliver throughout the whole thing.
*ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Devi Morris doesn’t want her glorious life as a mercenary to end behind a desk. If she had it her way she wouldOriginally posted at Vampire Book Club
Devi Morris doesn’t want her glorious life as a mercenary to end behind a desk. If she had it her way she would go out with her guns blazing. After reaching the highest rank possible, she quits her current job. Her goal now: becoming a part of the elite Devastators—a unit of armored fighters tasked with the most dangerous and important jobs on Paradox. Unfortunately for Devi, the Devastators only take the most experienced fighters, and even though she has received more commendations than many will ever see in a career, she still needs at least ten more years of experience behind her.
Still, there may be a way to fast track the process. A security detail job on a trade ship may just offer Devi her goal. Captain Caldswell’s ship Glorious Fool is purported to be cursed. Known for getting into copious amounts of trouble en route, just one year on the Fool could put Devi more in the running for a Devastator position than anything else. Once Devi learns this, she’s in. The question of why Caldswell’s ship “goes through security teams like tissue paper”doesn’t faze her. Even when the rumors appear to be coming true, Devi is determined to stick things out. It seems she’ll be in for one hell of a year.
Reading the character of Devi immediately called to mind Ellen Ripley from the Alien series. Both characters are strong heroines who know how to take charge, make difficult decisions, and fight their way out of tough situations. Although, I’d have to say I believe Devi to be more on the stubborn side and she definitely anticipates the fight more. Maybe I would relish the fight too if I could wear battle armor that gives added strength, height, the ability to handle certain weapons, etc. This kind of armor is customary for mercenaries on Paradox, but to say that Devi holds her suit as sacred is putting it lightly.
I can’t begrudge Devi her stubbornness, seeing as how she’s thrust into an uncertain situation. As the story progresses and more and more strange occurrences keep happening, Devi becomes more focused to find out exactly what Captain Caldswell is involved in. She doesn’t know who she can trust, although the ship’s cook, Rupert, looks like a good bet—that is until his friendship with Caldswell, as well as Rupert being tasked with baby-sitting the captain’s strange daughter, makes Devi doubt who Rupert is too.
Still, Rachel Bach wrote an interesting beginning to a relationship between Rupert and Devi. It’s Rupert’s mysteriousness that ultimately kept me on the edge of whether or not I would want them to get together. Over the course of the book, I warmed up to the idea more, but by the end decisions had to be made that will affect Devi going forward in the series, and if anything, I’m interested to see what comes of it.
As a whole Fortune’s Pawn had some slow contemplative moments (usually when Devi was thinking through recent revelations), but they were all interspersed equally with fast action and fighting sequences which kept the story from becoming too tedious. This is the beginning of a trilogy (all released thankfully!) so that means for every answer Devi gets, there are as many questions left open. I’m ok with that. I know Devi’s here to fight, and I’m happy to go along on the ride with her. ...more
This was one of those books where I dropped whatever else I was reading and became completely immersed in this story. Finishing a book within one dayThis was one of those books where I dropped whatever else I was reading and became completely immersed in this story. Finishing a book within one day is hard for me to do these days, but sometimes a book comes along and won't let me put it down. It helps that the pace was pretty quick with very few lulls throughout.
I won't say the book is perfect. There were a few moments where I just couldn't understand why a character would make the choices they did, but I kind of chalk that up to Karina Halle's writing and it actually making me care about the characters' actions. Plus, there were a lot more really good moments / scenes than bad / irritating ones so I can overlook the more negative aspects of the books. It also helped that, despite me not liking some decisions made by the characters, I actually liked the characters themselves overall.
I know that Karina Halle's writing is usually grittier and more heart wrenching so I really enjoyed this departure for her. Don't get me wrong, whenever the heart is involved things can get messy, but I think a "friends to lovers" storyline is perfect for showing the conflicting feelings that getting in a relationship can sometimes pose. Karina Halle perfectly shows how sometimes it's not just the couple that's effected in a relationship that moves from the friend stage to the lovers stage, sometimes others are caught in the crossfire too. It also helps that the "friends to lovers" trope is one of my favorites, so maybe I'm a little biased :)
It was a pretty good read. Abigail being completely clueless as to Zach's feelings towards her was probably the most irritating thing about the wholeIt was a pretty good read. Abigail being completely clueless as to Zach's feelings towards her was probably the most irritating thing about the whole book, I mean really come on. In like 20 years you don't notice your best friend may have feelings for you? He pretty much spelled it out for you!
Anyway, getting over that fiasco, I thought their relationship was sweet and they had great chemistry. I'm very excited to read Zane's book with Keelie and find out how things work out on that end based on events in Wrecked. ...more
For generation the Roes have been the witches of Prince Island giving whalers charms for luck out on the sea among various. Avery Roe knows it is herFor generation the Roes have been the witches of Prince Island giving whalers charms for luck out on the sea among various. Avery Roe knows it is her destiny to take over the position from her grandmother. Avery's mother bucks tradition by not wanting to become the Roe witch. When she comes and takes Avery away from her grandmother's house in order to give her a better life, Avery can think of nothing but getting back to her grandmother. Despite not wanting to claim her spot, Avery's mother still wields magic and prevents Avery from going back to her grandmother. Avery struggles for four years to get back, but things hasten after Avery has a dream predicting her own death. Everyone knows you can't kill a Roe witch so in order to avoid her fate, Avery needs to return to her grandmother. She may have found help in Tane a sailor who happens to have come to island looking for Avery. Avery learns that she will have to rely on Tane and his different magic if she has any hope of returning to her grandmother and fulfilling her destiny. But as she works with the mysterious sailor she learns that he has his own quest to fulfill.
I didn't really know what Salt & Storm would be about when I started reading it. Just a vague understanding. I was immediately drawn into the history of Prince Island and the stories behind the Roe witches.
Avery is sixteen throughout the majority of the book, but her conceptions of what it really means to be the Roe witch are skewed. She looks at her time with her grandmother through the eyes of a little girl, so it's interesting to see her kind of "grow up" in her understanding of her family's power. She's naive. I liked her characters because for all that she is naive, she's still strong and determined. I'll admit that what her mother has done to her was not the best way to go about helping one's child, and I like Avery's strength in fighting against someone who wants to constrain her. Although one of the saddest aspects of the book is the relationship between mother and child (in both Avery and her mother, and Avery's mother and grandmother). So much left unsaid, so much not said properly.
I think that the story suffers somewhat from becoming a romance between Avery and Tane. She's attracted to this boy who has his own kind of magic, something she hasn't felt before. I think the feelings between them begin to mask the true story and the true message of the book. I will admit, for all the the romance did begin she overshadow what was really going on in the story, Kendall Kulper did take risks with it, and twist it around in some unexpected ways which I really appreciated.
It's rare that I read standalone books anymore, but this one definitely has a start and a finish. I enjoyed the story overall especially the magic and myths surrounding the Roe witches and Prince Island. ...more
I've previously read the 4 other stories in this anthology, and it's nice to have them all in one place, but I basically bought this for the new storyI've previously read the 4 other stories in this anthology, and it's nice to have them all in one place, but I basically bought this for the new story, Playing with Fire. As always I love anything Downside. I will read any little short or different POV that Stacia Kane chooses to write. This story is no different. It continues the storyline of the series, but things are not so significant that it will alienate people who don't read this. I love Terrible and Chess. I'm sad that things are still do bad between Chess and Elder Girffin. I'm hoping a resolution between them will occur in the next full-length novel.
What this story mainly does is make me want to go back a re-read the whole series again!...more
The three kingdoms of Mytica (Limeros, Paelsia, and Auranos) used to be united as one. That was long ago when the land thrived and people still believed in magic. Legends say that the separation of the Kindred, four objects that hold all the elementia (elemental magic), is the cause of the now-dying realm. To find and get the Kindred back together in one place would not only mean restoring everything to its lush beauty, but it would mean unimaginable power for the person who welds it.
Auranos is by far the wealthiest and most well off kingdom and therefore much scorn is directed their way by Limeros and Paelsia. When a Paelsian boy’s death is caused by the hand of an Auranos noble emotions are set to boil over as it becomes kingdom verses kingdom in a war that has been years in the making.
First off, this is epic fantasy. There’s a lot going down and a lot of different characters and plots to follow. A big thank you to whoever decided a “cast list” was needed at the beginning of the book. With that said there are four main characters to watch throughout: Princess Cleo of Auranos, Jonas Agallon of Paelsia, and Princess Lucia & Prince Magnus of Limeros. These four will hold the basis for the future movement of the series. Each come from a different kingdom and each has prospered and/or suffered and basically wishes for change in Mytica in some way, shape, or form.
Many would consider Princess Cleo, for all her beauty, to be a spoiled brat who always gets what she wants. She’s a witness to the Paelsian boy’s murder and, even if she would not acknowledge it right away, the event changes her. She starts to look around at what her life is really like and questions what she wants out of it.
Jonas is the younger brother of the murdered boy. He swears vengeance right away on Auranos, Princess Cleo in particular. He’s tired of his kingdom getting and having nothing. He’s ready for change, but with all his anger, he may just put his trust in those who don’t really have his interests at heart.
Just around her sixteenth birthday Princess Lucia has begun experiencing some strange phenomena. Scared of what is happening to her, she turns to her brother Magnus for help. Even though Magnus is heir to the throne, he’s always been at ends with his father. One thing for certain, Magnus as always loved his sister more than anyone (read between the lines here!!), but when an opportunity arises to get in the king’s good graces, Magnus must decide between falling into the darkness that already inhabits his father or to be a better man.
Yes, there’s a lot, but Morgan Rhodes very deftly weaves this story together building it layer by layer so when the true twists and turns begin to happen you’ve already grown accustomed to things. She plays fast and hard with her characters. No one is safe, and those that believe they understand the workings of the world truly have no idea of the deceptions that lay within, but you root for those that want change for the better. You want there to be a happy resolution at the end, and hopefully there will be, but this is just the beginning of a difficult journey. Of course it ends on a somewhat cliffhanger with lives hanging in the balance. I loved every minute of it. ...more
Mara Livingston is headed home for the holidays. Just ending a marriage that’s already been over for too many yeOriginally posted at Vampire Book Club
Mara Livingston is headed home for the holidays. Just ending a marriage that’s already been over for too many years, Mara’s ready to get home to her family and heal. When weather slows down her trip, she tries taking an alternate route, but that also proves futile as she ends up crashing her car into a snow bank.
Luckily, help comes in the form of handsome stranger Connor Reece. It’s been too long since Mara has felt that pull toward a man, but considering she doesn’t really know him, she’s going to keep herself at a distance for now. Being snowed in at his cabin for a few days will give them plenty of time to become acquainted.
Connor’s cabin has been his sanctuary for the last two years. Retreating there after a terrible event in his life, he’s cut himself off from friends and family. So he’s obviously not looking for company, but when Mara shows up in need of help he definitely won’t turn her away. Howsoever much he’s attracted to Mara, there’s one tiny little secret that keeps him from pursuing thing further with her. That secret: He just happens to be a vampire.
For all that this is a story about vampires, Patricia A. Wolf does a great job of truly evoking the holiday spirit of this time of year complete with snow, sitting by the fire, Christmas shopping, opening gifts, etc. I love this time of year and if, like me, you are looking for a book to curl up with on the couch on a cold (and possibly snowy) night, then this sexy vampire romance will fill those shoes.
Mara and Connor’s romance starts out like one would expect a “handsome stranger rescues me and offers me shelter in his cozy cabin in the woods” story to start out, meaning the sparks certainly fly between the two, but both are hesitant because, well, they don’t really know each other and have been hurt in the past. What starts out as a pretty predictable romance, Wolf turns around as soon as our characters move things into the real world. Once there the issues with Connor being a vampire really come to light and the story does have an interesting take on vampire lore. All while being ensconced in Christmas-y goodness.
Now, the bad news. For all that Christmas with a Bite offers interesting take on vampires, I honestly felt like I started reading a book that is in the middle of an already established series. Believe me, I checked to see if maybe I missed a novella or something to no avail. While checking to see about any missed books, I did happen to learn that this is supposed to be part of a writing-in-progress series. So it’s the first one, and while I myself oftentimes feel like world-building can put a damper on a first book in a series, I felt it definitely needed more. Plus, I wanted to learn more about Connor’s family.
Secondly, there were a lot of “coincidences” that popped up between Mara and Connor. Some of these I will chalk up to fate and some the magical power of love, but others just didn’t seem to fit right and really, for me, held no purpose.
But looking past these pretty minor negatives, Christmas with a Bite, provided some hot, steamy sex and decorated it with a nice Christmas bow. And because it’s the season of giving, I leave you with this little morsel:
“He pressed her body into the mattress, his touch igniting desires that burned within her. Wicked arousal claimed her, setting her world on a tailspin. Heat pulsed at her neck as his lips stayed latched onto her flesh.”
Bonfire Night is another Lady Julia novella. It takes place (surprise) around Bonfire Night which, if I have all my facts correct, is on November 5thBonfire Night is another Lady Julia novella. It takes place (surprise) around Bonfire Night which, if I have all my facts correct, is on November 5th and along with lighting bonfires and fireworks it celebrates the failure of Guy Fawkes' actions.
Brisbane learns that he has mysteriously inherited a country house, supposedly from a very grateful client upon their deathbed. He and Julia have to be in residence by Bonfire Night or the property will go to no one and be torn down. Of course, ever curious, the Brisbanes, along with Plum and Portia, set upon getting things together for their trip right away even though the trip is laced with suspicion.
Upon arrival suspicions are further fueled by all the talk of how haunted the house is especially around Bonfire Night. This fact is further supported by moans in the night and chain rattling. Obviously, whoever is behind this charade doesn't know the Brisbanes very well if they think a little ghostly activity will put them off, or maybe they do?
I absolutely love the Lady Julia series, but it isn't until I'm reading another adventure that I realize this. I love the direction that Deanna Raybourn went when she started giving us the novella's as opposed to full-length novels.
For me, I liked Bonfire Night quite a bit more than Twelfth Night released earlier this year. They are both good mysteries to solve, but the whole haunted house mystery pulled me in even more.
The humor of the whole situation was wonderful, but not too much that it was overabundant or too in-your-face. Of course one can only assume the least amount of seriousness when dealing with even part of the March family. I liked seeing Brisbane and Julia in the, somewhat, part of parents. If anything that is an aspect of the story I wish we could have seen more of.
I don't know where Deanna Raybourn plans to go next with this series (if anywhere), but I hope she continues to write adventures for Lady Julia. I would read them as long as Ms. Raybourn would decide to write them. Nicholas and Julia Brisbane are one of my favorite pair. ...more
Like her sisters, Kat has left on her own to find her warrior. She travels to Wyoming where she finds Arun who is supposed to carry the soul of the god Freyr.
Freyr is a fertility god, so it’s no surprise that Arun is extremely good looking, even to someone like Kat who has never had a thing for “pretty boys.” Arun’s power manifests in his ability to heal dying plants. Arun and his family have been preparing for Ragnarok for years, starting greenhouses and putting together survival packs. When Kat arrives, it’s to find many others like her (those carrying souls) are all converging in this same place. They all seemed to be called here.
Right away Kat knows this is where she’s supposed to be and Arun is the warrior she was supposed to find. In mythology Freyr wields a sword that fights on its own, however, at some point, Freyr is forced to give up his sword. This fact causes him to be killed during Ragnarok by the fire giant Surt.
The prophecy about the norns has always been clear. One will die by the hands of a warrior during Ragnarok. For years, Kat’s norn has shown her she will be the sister that dies….by fire. Probably one of the most interesting parts of the book was how Rinda Elliott dealt with the prophecy. I mean everything up to this point has been coming true so we can only presume that Kat’s vision will come true as well, yet it’s difficult to believe an author would go through with killing off a main character, but Elliott handles that plot point very well indeed.
I liked Kat’s story the best and not only because it’s the culmination of the entire story, but also because I liked Kat the best of the three sisters. She’s gone into everything with the knowledge that she will be the one to die, yet she doesn’t shirk what she feels is her responsibility. Even though she doesn’t fully understand yet what her and her sisters’ parts are in the final battle, she doesn’t stand on the sidelines. She wants to learn, and with the myriad of other warriors showing up along with a couple of Valkyries, there’s plenty of knowledge to go around.
In Forecast readers were given a glimpse of the Dark Elves, one of which claimed to be the girls’ father. That, right away opened up a lot more questions about where exactly the triplets come from. In Foresworn we learn a lot more about the triplets’ mother. I liked the mysterious aspect of their genealogy, and wished it was something that could have been explored more in depth, but I could see how it would detract from the main focus of the story.
This trilogy is the sisters’ story through and through despite also being about their warriors. We finally get to see them together as everyone gathers for the big confrontation. I like the direction the series took, I think everything played out very well, but what I like the most is the ambiguous ending. I’m hoping somewhere down the line we’ll get to see more of Raven, Coral, and Kat....more
It almost seems silly to have to give a synopsis of Interview with the Vampire before I get to the review, but fOriginally posted at Vampire Book Club
It almost seems silly to have to give a synopsis of Interview with the Vampire before I get to the review, but for format’s sake and for those who may not be familiar with the story, here it goes:
Interview with the Vampire is literally that, an interview with a vampire. It tells the story of titular vampire Louis, or rather Louis tells his story to a very willing journalist referred throughout the story as “the boy.” Louis recounts his life, mainly that of being turned into a vampire in 1791 by the ever charismatic Lestat, and his subsequent journey that follows in his search to figure out his place in the world, where do vampires come from, what it means to have to kill in order to sustain his own life, and does that make him evil or the product of Satan.
Now, I have previously read Interview, but it was a long long time ago when there was no way I could possibly understand all the existential talk or innuendo that occurs throughout so it was nice to read it with a fresh set of eyes so to speak.
Opening the book, I was mildly surprised with how hypnotic and beautiful the writing was. I was drawn into Louis’ story and I wouldn’t want to put it down. Once I did, it was almost as if some spell was broken because at times I found myself not readily wanting to pick the book up again, as soon as I would, however, I couldn’t help but get pulled into the story once again.
Louis’ story can, at times, be a bit maudlin. After the death of his brother, Louis searches out death. Once he receives it at the hands of Lestat (albeit not a true death), he’s left wondering more about the mortal existence as well as the belief in God and the Devil. These musings really require each passage to be slowly and precisely read (no skimming over pages here). I found the questions that Anne Rice poses (through Louis) to be very interesting.
That being said, Lestat does provide some respite from Louis’ rambling thoughts. Lestat at once appears as the most intriguing character for, as Louis observes, his actions are a mystery and bear to be explored further. We could go as far to say that Lestat is the cause of all Louis’ reflections. After he turns Louis, Lestat offers very little in the way of knowledge about being a vampire, releasing information only in little bits and pieces. This drives Louis to figure out whether Lestat is just as ignorant as he is or if he’s truly keeping the secrets closely guarded, and readers are left questioning his motivations as well. Lestat is everything worthy of being cast as the (anti)hero of his own stories, which Rice thought the same as she uses him as the center for much of the rest of the Chronicles.
An excellent example of Lestat’s nefarious actions is the fact that he turns Claudia in order to keep Louis from leaving him. Claudia forever embodies that of a child, but as the years go on it becomes clear that her mind is developing into that of a woman. I would have to say Claudia’s story is probably the most tragic in that she’s forever forced to rely on others and while her mind can comprehend the idea of being a woman, her body will never progress. She’s stuck. I don’t begrudge her the edge of sanity that she balances on once she realizes what eternity holds for her. I suppose in the way Lestat’s actions drive Louis in the beginning, Louis’ relationship with Claudia eventually leads into the development of the answers he seeks, whether good or bad, in the end.
By the end, it is very apparent one of the reasons why Rice does not continue on with Louis as a main narrator of the rest of the Chronicles. His story, his past and his quest for the knowledge he seeks has been answered (at least in his mind). He’s only able to give his interview because he believes, or he’s at least conceded, that that he’s learned all there is to know, or all he wants to know, at this point.
If anything, you should read Interview for the fact that it’s a classic. Rice helped shape the current way vampires appear in books and movies and it’s interesting to see where things started. I, for one, feel like I appreciate the story more re-reading it years later than I did the first time around. ...more
It took three books to finally get here, but here we have it. Branna and Fin's story. Oh yeah, I guess we also get the conclusion to that pesky CabhanIt took three books to finally get here, but here we have it. Branna and Fin's story. Oh yeah, I guess we also get the conclusion to that pesky Cabhan as well. Truly, I liked the book well enough, I just felt like it got really repetitive and the parts that could have used more depth and explanation were glossed over. For all the repetition the book speeds along to the point where it's been a full year since the trilogy began with the events in Dark Witch. I wanted more for Branna and Fin. I feel like it took them so long to get back to one another and they didn't really get their proper due.
I liked the series overall pretty much, but like most endings it's very difficult to write to please everyone, and this one just fell a little short for me. Still I would recommend it if you're a Nora fan, or a PNR fan too. ...more
Dark Triumph picks up the from the moment Sybella warns Ismae away from the trap that awaits the Duchess at the hands of d'Albret. Sybella has been asDark Triumph picks up the from the moment Sybella warns Ismae away from the trap that awaits the Duchess at the hands of d'Albret. Sybella has been assigned to his household for the last six months in order to gain information about his activities against the Duchess and report back to the abbess. What we find out is Sybella's past is more closely linked to d'Albret than we can imagine and this assignment has done nothing to quell the dark memories from resurfacing.
When she gets an order to save the knight (Beast) who fought in the skirmish resulting from said trap, Sybella feels like it may finally be her chance to act her revenge upon d'Albret. When things don't go according to her plan, she starts to question her beliefs in that of her convent, herself, and Death.
I liked Sybella's story much more than Ismae's. For me, Sybella's struggles and constant fight to regain what little power she thinks she has rang true. From her first introduction in Grave Mercy it is quite apparent that life has not been easy for Sybella. When we first meet her she's half mad, and immediately I wondered what happened to her.
Dark Triumph answers all the questions even though they may be harsh and bleak. Things are hinted at and alluded to from the beginning of the story and as it progresses we get a clearer view of what happened to Sybella, but I will honestly say that when she reveals the last bit of her truth it was heartbreaking but showed just how strong of a character she is and how good her heart is. While she may have a bleak past and things have not been easygoing, she still stands up for those that cannot do it herself.
Beast is the obvious love interest for Sybella and Robin LaFevers could not have chosen better. He is a man known for rallying people to the Duchess's cause, but he too has suffered loss. He shows Sybella that loss doesn't have to bring you down it can be used to strengthen.
I like their building relationship more than Ismae and Duval's. Where the previous couple were a little more cautious with their feelings, Beast suffers no caution, Sybella only hesitates because she does not know what it is like to love and to truly be loved in return.
I'm very interested at some choice turn of events mainly having to do with the abbess of the convent. It's been clear from the beginning that she's not revealing all that she's involved in, and her questionable decisions in Dark Triumph only fuel those uncertainties.
I think we will find what is really behind the convent in Mortal Heart Annith's story.
So far this trilogy has surprised me with the mixing of historical fact and fantasy. It's been intriguing and mysterious, with twists and turns thrown in along the way. Once I started both books it's been difficult to put them down until they're finished. I can't wait to read the conclusion. ...more
Nurrin was born the first day the dead “came alive”in the form of the infected, and rose up to kill thousands ofOriginally posted at Vampire Book Club
Nurrin was born the first day the dead “came alive”in the form of the infected, and rose up to kill thousands of the population within months. The first day of the end of the world as you or I know it. After the first wave, those that survived were ushered into various Havens set-up throughout the country. The walls promising to keep the zombies out while those on the inside try to rebuild what life they can.
When the walls to Nurrin’s home in Haven 8 are breached, there’s no time to stop and think, she just has to act. Immediately she looks for her brother, Collin, then her best friend/boyfriend Dustin. Little does Nurrin know (and honestly, as the story goes on it becomes very apparent that she knows very little), Collin and his friend Finn already have an escape route planned should a breach ever happen.
When the group arrives at their hideaway, it comes out that Dustin was scratched by an infected. A scratch can ultimately result in a turning but it’s slower than if he were bitten. This gives time for Finn to find medicine to keep Dustin from turning, and Nurrin gets to accompany him on his mission. Now, two people who dislike each other with a fiery passion, must work together to make sure the people they care about the most survive.
Saying The World Without a Future is fast paced, is putting it mildly. The story jumps starts right from the first page and doesn’t let up until then end, and even then we’re left with a cliffhanger leading into the second book. With all the fighting, running, chasing, hiding, and manipulative twists and turns, it’s definitely a book one can finish in just a matter of hours.
It’s apparent from the beginning that there’s more going on than Nurrin (Ren) knows about. There has to be reasons for Ren being kept in the dark by her brother and Finn, because when it comes down to it, she delivers. She’s able to fight her way out of scary situations and, when needed, she can put on a believable façade with the best of them. Usually I get irritated by characters that make stupid mistakes, but in Ren’s case I can forgive her simply for the fact that she’s kept ignorant by those around her despite the myriad of questions she asks. She’s pretty resourceful, and I hope others start to see that in her sooner rather than later; she truly is an asset and not a hindrance.
Finn is the typical bad-boy alpha male. I don’t know but there was something about him right from the start with his mysterious past and take-charge, leaping into the fray attitude that is extremely sexy. Although what is also apparent are his misguided feelings for Ren. The fact that he feels for her is not misguided, it’s the fact that he clearly doesn’t know what to do about it that is, and it also makes for some pretty steamy scenes between the two.
Using The Walking Dead as the standard by which I judge other zombie stories, I’d say The World Without a Future meets expectations. It’s a gritty, desolate world, but people are still trying to survive. I don’t think we’ve yet scratched the surface when it comes to fully understanding the dynamics of this rebooted world. I’m very excited to read more! ...more
After escaping from a terrible life full of abuse, Ismae finds herself at the convent of St. Mortain (Death). There, she learns to use the powers giveAfter escaping from a terrible life full of abuse, Ismae finds herself at the convent of St. Mortain (Death). There, she learns to use the powers given to her from birth to become an assassin. She trains hard for three years before she's able to put her skills to the test. Her most difficult task comes whens Ismae is called to the high court where there's much political intrigue afoot. Ismae is forced to question everything she's been taught and decide for herself what path her future will take. Can she trust those that she's called to strike down as an assassin truly deserve the vengeance?
I found Grave Mercy to be a highly addictive read. It was all the court drama and mystery. Not knowing who's alliance could be trusted and who may be working for the other side of things.
Ismae was a very strong character. She was highly underestimated throughout by those who would think a woman incapable of fighting or strategy. I loved when she proved those people wrong, but I also liked that there was still a vulnerability about Ismae. She becomes so unsure of what she's been taught and essentially about herself as well (being the one to mete out the punishments), but she doesn't let that bring her completely down. Instead she learns to trust herself and therefore learns how to move forward with her actions.
I loved the scenes between Ismae and Duval. Their interactions were great. They challenged each other. He was certainly one who underestimated Ismae in the beginning, but he quickly brought her into his confidence when he finally understands her capabilities. Ismae, as well, is extremely distrustful of Duval, not only because she doesn't know where is loyalties actually lie but because he makes her feel, which in turn makes her question herself more. But I liked that once they fully made their own choices about the other, they were very much equals in figuring out the traitors among the duchess's court and bringing them to justice.
I definitely want to read the other books in the trilogy. I like that Robin LaFevers decided to have a different heroine as the main protagonist for each book, they are all introduced here in Grave Mercy and I look forward to seeing their growth like we saw in Ismae. ...more
This is the first trip home for Gigi since her sister Iris was turned into a vampire months earlier. Being newly turned, Iris was worried about her reThis is the first trip home for Gigi since her sister Iris was turned into a vampire months earlier. Being newly turned, Iris was worried about her reaction to being around humans and didn't want to put her little sister in danger. So to say there's a lot riding on this visit home is putting it mildly. Add to the fact that it's Christmas and it's sure to be everything we've come to expect from Half-Moon Hollow.
I haven't read all of the Half-Moon Hollow series (a spin-off from Harper's Nice Girls series), but I've read enough the I know who's who.
I'm almost prone to love anything / everything Molly Harper writes. I'm Dreaming doesn't disappoint, however, I would have to say if you've read none of Molly Harper's previous books set in Half-Moon Hollow this is probably not the one to start with. There are a lot of characters popping up from both series and if you're not already familiar with said character it would just seem like a jumbled mess.
As it is I'm Dreaming is full of the hilarity I've come to associate with a Molly Harper book. I loved the Christmas setting, it's perfect for this time of year and really sets the mood for the holiday season (albeit with a little more supernatural than I'm used to).
After being sent to prison for a financial scandal, Christina Forrester is just focusing on getting by with her son. Where she once had more wealth thAfter being sent to prison for a financial scandal, Christina Forrester is just focusing on getting by with her son. Where she once had more wealth than many people ever dream of, now she lives paycheck to paycheck. She does a good job, and she's actually finding that she likes being more independent and being able to count on herself to get things done. What she doesn't count on is her attraction to handsome neighbor Will.
After his father's death a few months ago, Will decides that this time of year is perfect for moving home to be with his family and help his mother out. A tragedy years ago drove Will away, but he thinks he's ready to move back home. What he's not ready for is Christina and her son Nathaniel who already have seemed to form and attachment with his mother.
I thought Her Holiday Man was a typical cute, quick holiday read. Shannon Stacey did a great job of making the story feel full even though it's only a novella. Will and Christina are instantly attracted to one another, and they both have some pretty big issues to work through in order to get to the point where they would want to explore things further.
I loved the sense of the holidays in the pages of the story. When done right, stories like these just make me feel so full of the holiday spirit and if it wasn't still October, I would probably be yearning for snow and Christmas Carols.
The premise is nothing new, it's difficult nowadays to write anything that hasn't been done before, but I still enjoyed the story. It will be a perfect read in December snuggled up on the couch with a warm blanket and some hot chocolate. ...more
The Glass Magician picks up about three months after Ceony went chasing after the woman who literally stole Magician Emery Thane's heart and subsequenThe Glass Magician picks up about three months after Ceony went chasing after the woman who literally stole Magician Emery Thane's heart and subsequently found herself caught in said heart (again literally).
This time, Ceony is under scrutiny for how she ultimately defeated Lira. There are those who want to know how she did it and what exactly she did. Those same people will resort to any means possible to figure out Ceony's secret.
The Glass Magician went by just as quickly as The Paper Magician. It did start out a little slow, but as soon as the point came where we knew Cenoy was in trouble, things picked up rather quickly.
The relationship between Ceony and Thane is still tenuous. They tip-toe around the revelations Ceony made to him while ensconced within his heart and Ceony doesn't know if her feelings for Thane are one-sided or reciprocated. I did like that Ceony was pretty level-headed about her feelings. True, she would get the flighty in love spacey kind of feeling (like butterflies in your stomach), but she would be quick to acknowledge them for what they were. She never got too over her head with her feelings. She does realize that he is still her teacher and may not feel the same way about her.
While I like Ceony's character a lot, and I love that she's this smart kind of take charge person, she it still prone to making some irritating choices, mainly in regards to those who are pursuing her for information. It's easy to forget that she's still just an apprentice magician. I think she herself forgets that sometimes as well. There are people who are more knowledgeable than Ceony, but it's her inexperience that causes her to make mistakes. Fortunately, it doesn't take away from that fact that, overall, I like her character.
The Glass Magician has a definite ending with a kind of promise of things to come, but I can't really guess where the author plans to take Ceony next. That's ok though. I'm very interested to read the final book in this trilogy. Since the first two books are coming out rather close to one another, I wish we already had a release date for the third in sight.
So far, this series has shown a very interesting take on magic. I really love the world created and can't wait to read more.
*Copy was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ...more
I originally got this book through the Kindle First program. After finishing magic school, Ceony can think of nothing but becoming a Smelter (a magiciI originally got this book through the Kindle First program. After finishing magic school, Ceony can think of nothing but becoming a Smelter (a magician who works with metal), but because Ceony is such a good student and very adept, and also due to a low interest, Ceony is forced to go into Folding (paper magician). Ceony doesn't hide her feelings about not getting to work with the material of her choice, but she, after all, is a good student and likes learning so she put a lot of effort into her studies as an apprentice.
Magician Thane is not at all what Ceony expected. At first, she rather thinks he may be crazy what with all the paper animals and flowers and everything else all over the house. But she soon learns that he is an exceptional Folder and settles in to learning a lot from him. It soon becomes clear, however, that Thane is keeping secrets. While Ceony has a curious personality, she also knows her boundaries and doesn't pry too much into Thane's personal effects.
When a mysterious someone from Thane's past re-emerges, Ceony is pulled into the thick of things and Ceony finds Thane's life in her hands.
I really enjoyed this book. The imagery with the different material magics was something new to me. The adventure that Ceony finds herself embarking upon was full of twists and turns that really tested her strength and how far she was willing to go for Thane.
I liked Ceony's practical character, so the when her feelings for Thane quickly merge from respect to love, I thought it was a bit rushed. The trials she has to face in order to save Thane's life give her new perspective on her teacher, but for her to acknowledge that she's falling in love with him just didn't seem to go with Ceony's personality at all. I can see it as a possibility, but within the constraints of this book to have affection already developing (and at this point, that we know of, only on Ceony's part) was a little off. After Ceony makes this declaration, it seems to overshadow everything else the story has established at this point and, I think incorrectly, paints Ceony as a lovestruck fool (for lack of a better word). And Ceony is anything but a fool.
Besides that minor thing, I really loved reading about this new world and I'm looking forward to the sequel The Glass Magician which is to be released soon. ...more
Two weeks after defeating the person responsible for killing the rejects from the Hopeworth experiments, Sam isOriginally posted at Vampire Book Club
Two weeks after defeating the person responsible for killing the rejects from the Hopeworth experiments, Sam is ready to be reassigned. Anywhere she can get away from Gabriel. Fortunately, while she can’t leave the SIU completely, the director has agreed to grant her request: Sam will now be on guard duty.
This is not your normal guard duty, however. She will be “guarding”the clone of a senator that SIU believes has links to Sethanon. Little does Sam know that she’s essentially being used as bait. Since Sethanon has shown interest in Sam in the past the SIU director believes Sam can, if unknowingly, draw the terrorist out of hiding.
Gabriel, not willing to admit his feelings for Sam, doesn’t like the idea whatsoever. Unsurprisingly when he lets Sam in on the plan, she doesn’t bat an eyelash. She’s ready for some answers of her own regarding her past and if being used as bait will help her get them, she’s all for it. Gabriel’s actions speak louder than words, for while he’s happy she’s no longer his official partner, Gabriel is still concerned for Sam’s safety, and uses his own personal time to follow her on her guard assignment making sure she remains safe.
When I first started reading this book and realized that Sam and Gabriel were not going to be working together, I thought “no, not another setback.” But being broken up (for lack of a better term) was probably for the best because it truly causes Gabriel to re-evaluate his stance on partners. He comes to realize that having Sam close was better than watching her from afar and since everything from the beginning of this series has been intermingled, their respective cases quickly tie together again.
Penumbra is the final book in the Spook Squad series. What is great about the book is the closure we get on Sam’s past. I thought the connection Sam finally makes between her dreams, growing powers, and the strange appearance of one hirsute man, and that of her past was wonderful. I also liked the tentative start of a relationship between Gabriel and Sam. If you’ve read other series by Keri Arthur you will understand why I use the word tentative. They don’t just jump right in, but the baby steps taken in Penumbra speak of great things to follow.
Now on to the not-so-great things. For everything that Arthur wraps up, there is an equal amount that is started and left open at the end. Clearly this was a series that was intended to go on, but for whatever reason it did not continue past three books. It is a shame really because Arthur introduced some really great storylines that I would have loved to follow further. I wasn’t really shocked by any of the revelations made in the end. Instead, I wanted to move forward with those revelations and learn how they would come to affect our characters.
Included in the re-release is an epilogue that gives one of those “we know there is more to come, and we will fight it together”kind of mantras, and it does make the story feel more conclusive. Usually I’m not opposed to the promise of more happening for our characters off the page, but this is one series where I am not happy about the open ending. ...more
Elena Arcos lives a pretty ordinary life. That all changes after she’s shot in a convenience store hold-up. She should be dead, instead she finds herself alive and kidnapped by a handsome stranger who is convinced Elena’s father killed his father years ago and now he’s bent on revenge. To top it all off, the stranger also thinks her father was a vampire and that it’s only a matter of time before Elena becomes one too.
Nikolai Itzov is a Slayer. Part of a race of immortals descended from Azrael charged with the policing of other races of the Underveil consisting of vampires, shifters, elves, etc. He’s waited years to get revenge for the death of his father. When his uncle tells him where to find Gregor Arcos’ offspring to mete out his payback, Nikolai is surprised to find the woman is human. His principles keep him from killing humans so he figures he’ll kidnap Elena until she makes the transformation.
Things don’t add up when Nik and Elena become targeted by others Slayers. There is no love lost between Nik and vampires, but complications arise when he finds himself attracted to Elena. All that has to be put on hold, however, while they fight for their lives and figure out why Elena’s death is so important.
There is a lot that happens in Love Me to Death. Going back through everything to write this review it’s a little staggering all that occurs from the beginning to the end. I wasn’t quite prepared for a story of almost epic proportions when I began, but Marissa Clarke handles everything really well within the page limits of the book. The book also wonderfully sets up further stories for the secondary characters in the series.
Nik basically already hates Elena even before he lays eyes on her. Not only for the role her father played in the death of Nik’s father, but the fact that she’s a vampire. There’s a perfect conflict of interest between Nik’s upbringing, his “duty,” and the emotional connection he feels to a person he should consider a monster. I kinda liked seeing the losing battle, as it were, between his head and his heart. And when the inevitable happens and these two finally get together, my oh my is it hoooooot. I should also mention that Love Me to Death has, in my opinion, has one of the sexiest vampire transformations I’ve ever read, ever.
Let’s not forget Elena’s side of the story, however. She’s just as conflicted about Nik as he is about her. I mean he basically kidnaps her and promises to kill her, but she too can’t deny he is easy on the eyes and as a bonus has a pretty spectacular ass. However, she is definitely the character who changes the most in the book and she has to struggle with keeping herself safe in this new world/role she’s been propelled into. Because of her inexperience at times Elena could be frustrating, but as a whole she’s very thoughtful, shrewd, and intelligent. When she commits to something, she commits wholeheartedly.
You’ll really enjoy this if you love a book that is both heavy on the romance as well as showcases a slightly different take on vamps and shifters. I’m very interested to see which character’s story will get told, and what direction Clarke takes with the series next. ...more