I have an idea of where this series is going to go. But after reading this book, I have no idea how long Karen Chance plans to take to...moreTempted to Stop
I have an idea of where this series is going to go. But after reading this book, I have no idea how long Karen Chance plans to take to get us there. For a two year wait I felt like it should have had more impact for me than it did. But the two year wait could have also been to its detriment. Considering my super long to-be-read list, I’m not really one to go back and re-read books unless I find it exceptional. So because of that I found myself occasionally confused this time around. This one didn’t quite draw me in as easily compared to the others either.
It definitely keeps to Karen Chance’s usual style of non-stop action to the point of where your head spins and occasional humor, but something felt missing for me this time around. I know what else (or rather who else) was missing as well, Mircea. In the earlier books I wasn’t necessarily Team Pritkin or Team Mircea because I’m just not that much of a Cassie fan, but I feel like she’ll ultimately end up with Pritkin. And books like this where Mircea is literally nowhere to be seen only reinforce that idea and further raise my heckles when it comes to my annoyance with this supposed love-triangle. It’s a pathetic one at best. After reading the Dorina Basarab books, Mircea has easily become one of my favorite characters of the series and I feel like while we see fantastic development for him there, he really gets the shaft here and I find that frustrating.
And you know what else is frustrating? Cliffhangers. We’re left with another one. Apparently this was originally 800 pages and Chance practically had to cut the book in half to get it published. After reading it that didn’t surprise me at all. I’m at a place now where I much prefer the Dory books because I find it has all of the plusses and none of the drawbacks that irk me with the Cassie books. I just wish Chance was able to produce both series in one year instead of alternating them every year.
I’m at the point where I’m contemplating dropping the Cassie books and focusing solely on the Dory ones. Since this book was really only half the story, I may read the next one but if I don’t connect with that one either, I’ll be hanging it up…unless the 8th book is the last one.
Unlikely best friends, Sophie and Agatha, test their level of friendship as they are whisked away to the School for Good and Evil, where failing your fairy tale is not an option. Sophie, the embodiment of all things good, finds herself dumped in the School of Evil while Agatha, the dark and broody, is placed in the School for Good. Clearly there's been a mistake, right? But when the going gets tough, their journey exposes who they really are and all may not be what it seems.
I could say this was one of my top 3 reads of the year thus far. Though the story is categorized as middle grade, I thought it touched on a few mature themes here and there and could have been placed into the Young Adult category. It's certainly impressive when that group is reading 500-page novels. Though lengthy it's at least an easy read, which is to be expected, but it's still very engaging and well-written for the most part. I think the youth and adults alike will thoroughly enjoy it.
I loved how it took the lore and stereotypes of past fairy tales and pretty much turned everything on its head. The book even includes some great underlying messages, so it's clear that the author did quite a bit of homework. There is a lot of character development for both girls, and I appreciated the gradual process. The POVs switched between the two throughout the novel. I think I preferred Agatha's POV and thought process, but Sophie's POV served its purpose as well.
I wasn't crazy about the ending. That was probably the one area where I believe it deviated from the formula and not in a satisfying way (for me at least), but the rest of the book is very strong.
Though I've only seen an episode of the show Once Upon a Time (I'll get around to more eventually), I feel like this type of book would appeal to those fans. I highly recommend this entertaining and fresh take on what it means to be a fairy tale. What most surprised me was how this appears to be Soman Chainani's debut novel. This might be the beginnings of a new series, but the work as a whole could be a standalone. If this is a sign of things to come, I will certainly make sure I follow this author's future works!
"Louis-Cesare. It's good to finally have you in hand."
Indeed it is!!!
This time around our favorite ass-kicking dhampir Dorina Basarab now finds herself involved in a murder mystery “whodunit” style. Someone has started murdering vampire Senate members and that may be too close to home. To make matter worse, her best friend Claire also needs Dorina’s help to locate a fae relic that could be used to harm her infant son, the successor to the fae throne. With those she holds most near and dear in harm’s way, who can Dorina trust?
In usual Karen Chance style, Death’s Mistress is jam packed with story and there are even a quite few laughs. I feel like her imagination knows no bounds and that has to account for the super fast pace of her books, though Dorina’s pace doesn’t feel as hectic as Cassie’s. It feels just right.There is so much going on that I can’t even put it in one synopsis.
There is moving and shaking among all of the supernaturals: the mages, the vampires, the dark and light fae, you name it. About the only species with nothing going on is the dhampire community, and that could be because there are only a handful of them to begin with. I would like to see Chance introduce us to the few that exist. Why not? We’re seeing everybody else!
Louis-Cesare tension is back and better than ever. Their interactions, while extremely amusing and pretty freakin’ hott, are ultimately dangerous. Louis-Cesare’s affections are as transparent as it gets and that may be a problem since dhampir/vampire relationships are about as taboo as it gets. So a star-crossed appeal has become a component of their relationship.
The secondary character really shine here. I was entertained to no end by Raymond, a vampire she beheads early as leverage, as well as her uncle Radu. He is delightfully flamboyant, dramatic., and surprisingly relatable. Papa Mircea was fabulous here as well with additional back story involving his past with her mother. Then there’s her unconventional pet Stinky, a chimera, who sticks to her like glue every since she saved him in book 1.
All of these elements really give the series a life of its own outside of the Cassie Palmer series, and I think it’s for the better. I can effectively say that I prefer the Dorina novels to the Cassie novels. I can’t wait two WEEKS for the next installment let along two years like the poor souls that read these books in real time. It’s definitely one of my favorite series and I highly recommend this read. It has everything I’m looking for in a great Urban Fantasy series.
All About Awesome Andrea No Kate Daniels review of mine is complete without a quote, so let's kick it off with my favorite:
“We’re engaged to be engaged,” Rebecca said. “We’re waiting until the end of the physical year to officially announce.” “You mean fiscal year?” Dear God, she was a moron. “Yes, that’s what I meant.”
The Andrews clan has yet to let me down. I really enjoyed Andrea's short story, Magic Mourns, in the Must Love Hellhounds anthology. So I was really looking forward to her solo novel. As an added bonus, they even throw in the final version of the Magic Gifts novella. This book was a gift that kept on giving.
Andrea is down and out after being ousted by her old job. To make matters worse she goes through a nasty breakup with Raphael, and just for good measure she's still being pressured to join the Bouda clan. This threatens her lone hyena status which she likes just fine. She's trying to keep herself occupied by running her and Kate's start up investigation firm, Cutting Edge. Keeping her distance to avoid Raphael and his new main squeeze was initially going well, but unfortunately (or is it?) that becomes impossible as a string of murders ties his business into the thick of things. No, he's not the culprit, but the two must work together to solve the grisly crime. And sparks will fly...
This book offers everything you want in a Kate Daniels read. I laughed quite a bit, I cringed at some of the action and crime scenes, and I even found myself frustrated at times with the complicated relationship of Andrea and Raphael. Their banter is extremely entertaining, but I definitely found myself wanting to smack sense into both of them. So many of their issues could be solved easily through real communication, but hard heads make for soft bottoms.
I liked the addition of Ascanio, though it may have been a little formulaic. He felt like Andrea's Julie or Derek, but I like how the youth are incorporated and have interesting story lines. I find that I genuinely care about these characters because they are forced to grow up really fast, but they still possess threads of innocence and naivete.
The villains have interesting powers, but I wasn't quite as enthralled with the characters themselves. I was more interested in the lasting effects their powers could potentially have throughout the rest of the series. This felt more contained, but do hope it carries over to other novels.
Overall I thought it was a necessary novel to explore Andrea's character and her journey of self-acceptance while she puts her life on the line for the ones she loves. Though frustrating, Andrea is a fantastically layered character which can sometimes be a challenge for writers (which is why the most interesting characters are side characters), but the Andrews handled giving her the spotlight very well.
If you love Kate Daniels novels, I can't imagine you'll want to miss this. Kate and Curran do make cameo appearances here and there as well. It is worth the read.
*Review copy provided by publisher *Review also posted to Amazon.(less)
Debut author, Deborah Harkness, throws her name into the Urban Fantasy hat with A Discovery of Witches, book 1 of the All Souls Trilogy. We meet scholar Diana Bishop, a witch who has spent her entire life denying her powers, who in the course of her research accidentally finds a bewitched alchemical manuscript which may hold the deepest secrets of supernaturals. This sends a beacon to practically every species from demons to witches to vampires, putting a big target on her back as they all want to possess this coveted book and only she has the power to unlock its secrets.
Perhaps no one is more curious than Matthew Clairmont, a vampire geneticist who has been searching endlessly for this book to further his own research. Crossing paths with Diana leads down a road neither one expected, and it’s certainly not a road their respective species will tolerate. This leads to Diana being forced to tap into her inner sorceress, but how much power is too much?
I’m sure I’m not the first to comment on the length of this novel. Though to its credit, I have read a number of books that are much shorter and yet they’ve felt even longer. So that is one plus about this series. That said, I think it could have been a shorter book by 50 to 100 pages and the beginning and end suffer for it. It has a slow start and then by the end it feels like a chore to finish.
The story offers shades of originality, blending storytelling, world-building, romance, and suspense. Fans of the lead pair may have to be patient, but I don’t mind the wait at all. Everything is a process. I actually wasn’t expecting to read this novel and get a fairly substantial love story with good characterization.
While it’s a respectable literary effort, I felt there were a few flaws: the length, the length, and FANGLESS VAMPIRES!! I don’t like it and I’m never gonna like it. In the novel, once it finally explains their feeding habits it’s hard to picture what is actually going on. Fangs are a completely efficient tool so I’m not understanding why that important characteristic is starting to be omitted in novels. Allergies to the sun? I can be flexible on that. Hott sex symbol vs. crazed ugly monster? I can be flexible there too if it’s masterfully handled. I could even be flexible on their lifespans (prolonged vs. immortal), but I don’t budge on fangs and this book didn’t change that sentiment. You might as well create werewolves that don't transform. Vampires without fangs should simply be fae instead.
I am looking forward to reading the second novel; however, normally I am motivated to read a series back to back. For this one, I decided to pick up another book to get a break from this world.
Yeah, those of you who follow me closely know I wouldn't throw that out there lightly, but there it is! I'd heard good things about the series but I wasn't in the hugest rush to read it. Man am I SO glad I got around to it!
Delilah Dawson introduces us to a new world through the eyes of Letitia Everett (aka Tish), a nurse who spends most of her time tending to patients in reality, including her terminally ill grandmother. That is until she stumbles upon this interesting ruby locket at an estate sale. Unbeknownst to her it happens to be enchanted, and once she falls asleep it thrusts her into an alternate world called Sang where she meets Criminy Stain, a rebellious gypsy Bludman (aka vampire) who has been waiting for her for a long time. After all, he's the one that had the locket spell cast to deliver the love of his life to him.
He leads a travelling circus mixed with fellow Bludman and Pinkies (aka humans) alike. Tish will fit right in as she realizes her powers as a Glancer, where she can see into someone's past and future with just one touch. It's a valuable ability and she learns her own fate when she touches Criminy, seeing her ultimate doom. Anchored between both worlds through wearing the locket, she can decide what she wants, but when the locket is stolen she goes on a journey with Criminy to find it. They face many enemies by land and sea, their ultimate target being the evil and manipulative Magistrate who hates all Bludmen and has a plan to eradicate them all from Sang. If they succeed, she must decide on a normal structured life or an unpredictable destiny with the person she was least expecting to love. Is Tish meant for all of this?
I won't answer that question here, but I can just say that I loved loved LOVED this book! Dawson has an amazing imagination and has crafted a truly unique world with the Blud series. I wasn't sure how much I could get into the world-building because Steampunk novels can be too heavy on the details for my liking. But she was able to harness it and describe everything effectively while still keeping my attention. I seriously don't recall being bored at all and that's saying a lot.
I liked that the Bludmen are really different for a change. Instead of being at the top of the food chain and rich like vampires in normal series, their race is oppressed and their people are considered second class citizens. Let's not even get into the topic of a Bludmen becoming involved with a Pinky. It's super taboo and usually the two races aren't attracted to one another (well, aside from Bludmen seeing them as food of course). Because of this I enjoyed watching the tensions mount between the two.
Criminy Stain. Just one word to describe him: AMAZING!! I just don't know if we can get enough of this character. He is so unique in a genre where it's only getting more difficult to separate the best from the rest. He's a born leader, honorable and adventurous; he cares about his people and hates that they're suffering, but even still he doesn't become emo and self-loathing. He maintains a great sense of humor throughout it all. I probably haven't read about a more dynamic character since Algaliarept from The Hollows. The only downside is that I'm not sure what the second book will have in store. The book doesn't end in a cliffhanger, but I just can't tell what's going to happen next for him since the second book seems to shift focus. To ignore this character is to ignore a goldmine. He's got potential to be a fan favorite, like a Jericho Barrons, Algaliarept, Jean Claude, Curran, the list goes on.
I think the love story between Criminy and Letitia is very well done and not too heavy on that sap. It's definitely more of a romantic adventure so a lot of the focus is on the adventure side of things, which is just how I like it. All the while the feelings build allowing things to happen at the right time.
I really wish this series came out bi-annually simply because of him. Maybe we can coax the author into writing up some short stories or vignettes.
This series is one where I would love to see a movie adaptation created for it. It could be a big hit, seeing all of this come to life.
Epic doesn’t even begin to describe Kingmakers, the final novel of the Vampire Empire trilogy. Each installment is better than th...morePowerful, Perfection
Epic doesn’t even begin to describe Kingmakers, the final novel of the Vampire Empire trilogy. Each installment is better than the last; Susan and Clay Griffith have done an amazing job at building momentum to this moment and it really doesn’t disappoint.
Adele leads the war against vampires to the north and Gareth is getting first hand experience with the it, fighting for Adele in the front lines of battle. But the vampires are formidable opponents and have gained the upper hand, quickly bringing the humans to their knees. Something must be done and Adele’s geomancy powers may be the ace in the hole that the human race needs to win once and for all.
The last novel is jam packed with story, but there’s a lot of action so it gets going much faster than its predecessors. Politics, betrayal, and new revelations are key to Adele and Gareth’s development. They are the heart of this saga after all. But with their seemingly impossible love, can the heart still beat?
Adele has matured wonderfully over the novels and she’s become really admirable. I liked seeing her in a major position of power, strategizing and making difficult decisions that challenge morality. It’s a nice departure from other urban fantasy novels where the heroines start at the bottom and have to work their way up. She’s on a slippery slope as she tries to control her geomancy powers, which may be dangerous to more than solely vampires.
Gareth is as wonderful as always with his selflessness. He’s even adorable at times as he still tries to fully understand human customs and history. His light moments with Adele really gave me the case of the warm fuzzies, if only because it feels so fleeting as the pull of his vampire heritage requires that he finally face his brother once and for all. That, and her powers seriously conflict with his entire being on a biological level beyond their control.
This book has pretty much everything you could ask for and you’ll experience practically every emotion while reading it. The ending is very powerful, enough that you may want to have kleenex on hand, but I won’t spoil it any further. My only complaint is that I want more. I love this world and I’m sad to see it end; though unfortunately that must happen to all good things…
Well done to the Griffiths on their fantastic work! This is definitely one of my favorite trilogies ever.
*ARC provided by the publisher *Review also posted to Amazon.(less)
I came into this story already expecting that I would not to enjoy it as much as its predecessor, The Fire Lord's Lover, and unfortunately it didn't exceed my expectations. Kathryne Kennedy's Lady of the Storm has all of the pieces, but I was honestly left wanting to simply go read The Fire Lord's Lover all over again.
We have a new hero and heroine in this tale, both elf/human half-breeds. The story centers around Cecily, who we meet as a child in the first book, and Giles, her sworn protector. In the first book we learn that Cecily inherited exceptional power from her Imperial Lord Elven father of Dewhame to control water and weather elements. This made her a target, so she had to flee into hiding in order to remain safe. At the start of this book we see that she's managed to live in secrecy for about ten years until the Imperial Lord's soldiers show up at her door. She is forced to go on the run again, but there's no more running away. It's her time to fight back with Giles at her side.
Everything that felt new and fresh with Fire Lord's Lover felt a bit bland here. I don't doubt Kennedy's imagination and world building abilities, but I guess her story-building abilities come into question. There were times where the plot felt completely formulaic:
Beautiful elves? Check Virgin heroine? Check 5+ love scene quota? Check 1 super magical love scene? Check A silly development for relationship conflict that you know will be resolved? Check
I felt like this book had more love scenes than the first one and it took a lot longer to get to that point, so it was a bit condensed. Also, whereas I liked the magical love scene in the first book, this one wasn't nearly as interesting, though the author tried to be creative and original. I think this series would have benefited from focusing on Dominic and Cassandra instead of shifting to new characters. Dominic and Cassandra do make appearances a few times in this installment, but it only served to make me wish the POV would switch to them every time.
There's nothing particularly likable about Giles or Cecily. I didn't feel a lot of personality with them like I did with their book 1 counterparts. They are heavy on the angst and emotionally weak. I was also disappointed with the lack of development for her Imperial Lord father as opposed to the first book. I like for the villains to be well-developed. The final showdown was really anti-climatic and I wasn't invested in it at all; it only sealed this book's fate as forgettable. I just wanted it over so that I could skip to the preview for the next book. I hope that the author rebounds, but I won't be quick to read this next one, which sounds like it could potentially be the last one. I haven't heard one way or another as to whether this series will be a trilogy, but if she can't turn things around then the sooner she ends it, the better.
There IS naked Curran, but there’s always more to say when it comes to a Kate Daniels story. I initially didn’t even read the synopsis because Kate gets an insta-click. The cover is really cool, making me wonder if covers for future novels are in for a style change.
This story takes place after Magic Slays (Book 5) and runs simultaneously with Andrea’s upcoming novel, Gunmetal Magic. Kate and Curran just can’t seem to catch a break as their dinner date goes horribly wrong. I swear this is probably the most quotable series. Kate sums it up perfectly:
“Best date ever. Well, until people died and vampires showed up. But before that it was awesome.”
It turns out the source of the trouble is a magical necklace that kills whoever wears it. The first victim was a navigator. The second potential victim is her kid brother. Well, he will be unless Kate and Curran can figure out how to get it off without killing him. This of course segues into a fast-paced, action heavy adventure for our favorite duo.
It’s fun to see Kate and Curran working as a team. They bicker, but you know the love is there. Aside from that, there are plenty of laughs along the way, a couple of sad moments, and one HUGE development! I was expecting all filler, but there is a major spoiler within this story, making me want to read Gunmetal Magic ASAP. While Magic Gifts is a novella, it is very substantive, resulting in a satisfying Kate Daniels fix for me. I’m up for Kate and Curran anytime, but I’m a fan of Andrea too so I’m really looking forward to reading her novel.
This story was a wonderful surprise and holiday treat from the Andrews team, so I’m just another fan expressing my thanks!(less)
Maria Snyder is off to an excellent start with Touch of Power, Book 1 of The Healer series. The book centers on Avry of Kazan...moreEngaging All Throughout
Maria Snyder is off to an excellent start with Touch of Power, Book 1 of The Healer series. The book centers on Avry of Kazan, a young woman with special power to heal those around her while she absorbs their ailments. One would think that this would be a revered power, but instead it puts a huge target on her back. Suspected of creating the plague that wipes out a significant part of the population, Healers are now persecuted and murdered. Against her best interests Avry secretly continues to heal those in need, often exposing herself. To survive she must lead a nomadic and lonely lifestyle.
This all changes when she ends up abducted by a rebel group who needs her power to heal their leader who has been M.I.A. There’s a hitch of course; healing this leader will cost her own life. Their leader, Kerric, is a prince himself though unconventional with a set of magical powers all his own. Against her will, she treks on a journey with them facing off against mercenaries, the undead, and nature itself. She begins to bond with them much to her chagrin, and re-evaluates who the enemies really are.
There’s a lot of action, adventure and magic in this series that I really enjoyed. The character development is well done, keeping it fairly realistic in this fictional setting. They aren’t as one dimensional as I was fearing, so I really connected with the story. I would put Avry in the “strong heroine” category. She’s not too badass but she’s not a fool either, taking a lot of initiative and being extremely brave when necessary. Overall, I like her.
I think the magic was very interesting without being too confusing. I look forward to how that evolves over the course of the series. The villain was slightly on the predictable side, and I sort of predicted how this would ends since I know it’s the beginning of a series, but I still enjoyed it and look forward to where things go next.
I may start reading more YA series again. For a while I haven’t been enjoying them as much as their adult counterparts, but it seems as if YA books centered around adults is as good as anything for me. Avry is twenty, and many of the adult novels are centered on twenty-somethings too, so the overlap works. I definitely recommend this one.
I'm getting a little worried that I'm falling out of love with this series. I think the first book was well crafted and intriguing. The second book lost a little steam for me because I did not enjoy the introduction of a love triangle and there were too many characters to keep up with. It also had a cliffhanger which I normally hate, but I didn't mind it because there was only a month long wait for the next book as opposed to 6 months to over a year like for other series. Well, this one has a cliffhanger too--it turns out the House of Comarre series is not a trilogy! I was slightly mislead due to the release schedule of the first three books, but I don't fault the author. I just wasn't paying close enough attention.
The murder rate has spiked in Paradise City as faux comarre are turning up dead. The Kubai Mata are on top of it, trying to get these grizzly attacks under control. Crysabelle, still healing from her injuries in the prior novel, presses on with her mission and goal to locate long lost family. She goes to New Orleans with Mal to obtain the Ring of Sorrows which is the necessary leverage she will need. Of course, nothing is simple. There's also the little issue of Samhain, where the mortal world will merge with other worlds filled with all kinds of demons and creepy crawlies. However will they get out of this one?
The third book has a good blend of action and plot, but there are even more characters added to the storyline. Most urban fantasy books don't take this approach and while unique, I realize that I'm not a fan of multiple POVs and side stories. I feel like I'm reading a supernatural soap opera. I think one could argue that the cover should include more characters because Crysabelle doesn't get most of the focus anymore. I would have preferred more Crys and Mal screen time and development. One positive is that the triangle is resolved, but I'm left wondering why it was introduced in the first place. To end so quickly means it was wasted page space where there could have been other developments.
If you've read the other two books, then I do recommend you read this one so that you can see the story progress, but don't expect much because individual plot lines are spread thin thanks to a 400 page limit for this borderline epic fantasy. Honestly, the book felt even shorter than that. I really like the potential of the first book, but the series isn't really turning out how I'd hoped. Unless I hear that it rebounds, I think I will pass on the 4th book.
Normally I prefer to start a series with the first book, but when I saw Wayfinder (book 2 in the Worldwalker Duology) listed I couldn’t help myself. The cover was nice and premise sounded very interesting. Overall, it turned out to be an enjoyable read. This was a little more on the high fantasy side as opposed to urban fantasy because you spend a great deal of time in the Barrowlands (a post-apocalyptic land for their Faerie-kin). Thankfully, even though I didn’t read the first book the author catches you up to speed.
The book is centered on Lara Jansen, a not-so-ordinary tailor that has special powers allowing her to be a human lie detector. Her gift makes her very attractive for the beings of this other world, so she reluctantly trades her sewing kit for a magical staff that proves challenging to control… Or is it trying to control her? Either way, she needs it to fend off enemies in the Barrowlands as she tries to rescue her beloved Dafydd, the Seelie prince who originally sought her out for her gift to save his world. As she takes this journey she meets many powerful characters, some friend and some foe.
I found it very easy to immerse myself into the story. There’s a lot of decent action and world-building and the magic was cool. Lara isn’t particularly special or quirky, but the character experiences the necessary growth into her roles as a Truthseeker and then a Wayfinder. The romance for me is a little bland, but this may have been because I didn’t read the first book where a lot of the development happens. As it stands, this book didn’t need that angle to be interesting.
I liked the author’s writing style and I felt as if the pacing was just right. I enjoyed this book enough that I have added the first book to the TBR queue. As a Duology, we’re not committed to an on-going series which is good and bad. I appreciate that the books didn’t drag on, but I think this could have been a decent on-going series if handled well. Either way, I recommend this series.
The Rift Walker (Book 2 in the Vampire Empire series) takes place a number of months after first book, The Greyfriar. Adele is trying her best to stall her wedding, and in turn stall the impending war against the vampires, which would come at a much higher price than Adele is willing to pay. Lucky for her she has Greyfriar who returns to her side, putting us on pace for another swashbuckling adventure, and then some. They are on the run with her nation, her husband-to-be are on their trail, leaving her home vulnerable to enemy vampires' advances.
Over the course of this novel Adele's powers of geomancy are increasing to an end that no one can predict. Her love, The Greyfriar, is determined to stay by her side anyway, even if it's to his own detriment, and the loyalties of a choice few in her court are tested as they also stand with the princess through much adversity.
First off, the model for the covers of these books totally reminds me of Mitchell the vampire on BBC’s Being Human, played by actor Aidan Turner.
I figured that was a good pic to use since the costuming is fairly close, though that’s from a photoshoot for The Hobbit.
There was a lot of ground covered in this book with many significant developments. I was told that I should wait for the 3rd and final book to be released before reading this series; I though I'd be fine. But I've become quite attached to the characters and this world now. I am anxious to see how this saga ends so I sort of wish I heeded that advice.
Adele and Greyfriar's love seems more and more impossible by the page but they are still fighting hard for each other and that's really admirable to me. I just have a bad feeling about it, even though I want to be as hopeful as the two characters seem to be.
I still love Adele and Greyfriar the most, but her cat, Pet, is certainly up there. Their moments are super adorable with the little fur ball and (along with Adele and The Greyfriar's moments) I admit it gave me the warm fuzzies.
Unlike the first book where it took the 50% mark to get me hooked, this book got going around the 33% mark, though the beginning is still fairly slow. At this point slow starts can be considered a pattern for this series.
Like the first book there is a blend of action, world building, and character development that really rounds out the story. It's all well done, despite the boring politics. I really look forward to September, or maybe earlier if I'm lucky enough to nab an ARC. This series is a gem and it's quickly become a favorite of mine. I read this in a day and I implement a 5-star policy for any full-length novel that can keep me engaged enough to read it that quickly. I suspect when the third and final book is released, it will be the same.
Not as addictive as the originals, but still very good!
This controversial spin-off of the Fever series switches from the point of view of MacKayla Lane's to her former sidekick, Dani "Mega" O'Malley. After a tragic revelation, Dani goes from friend to foe. On the run from Mac, Dani does what she does best--survive. Of course her super powers make her a target for bigger and badder supernaturals, namely Ryodan, the immortal nightclub owner, and Christian, an Unseelie prince in the making after a shocking turn of events from the original novels. Her abilities are particularly useful after certain parts of the already ravaged city turn up frozen, killing innocent people for no apparent rhyme or reason. To save her city, she begrudgingly joins forces with these guys, though her mere compliance may not be all they have in mind.
To be honest, I wasn't really sure if I'd like this book. Dani was fine for me as a supporting character, but I wasn't quite sure if she could be main character material. After actually reading it I'm still not quite sure, but the final product turned out better than I thought. Moning adopts a completely different voice for Dani and she is every bit the obnoxious teen that we've come to love or loath. I try to cut her some slack; she facing the most awkward time of her life with little to no support system, and she still wants to do good things and protect people.
Moning can do the love triangle thing pretty well. Normally I don't like them, but the Barrons/V'Lane thing was an exception. In this instance, it's got an extra little statutory dimension that's bound to ruffle a few feathers. The book walks a fine line for me, but I can see how it could cross it for other readers. I just keep in mind that these guys are immortal and they are enamored with the woman Dani will be, not the girl she is now. But again, it's a fine line. Her human buddy, Dancer, is also another good prospect (and probably the healthiest), but 3 potential love interests obviously makes things a bit crowded. Someone's gotta go.
The mystery wasn't that great to me. It was interesting the first couple of times, but it felt a little repetitive after a while as they stumbled upon scene upon scene. However, a new recurring villain is introduced, and boy is she freaky! I loved reading those scenes and I felt genuinely scared!
I wish there was more Mac and Barrons presence, but I wasn't expecting that so it wasn't too disappointing. Cruce is also back, tormenting the Sidhe Seers in their dreams. I don't know about anybody else, but I hope there is a more permanent solution to get rid of him for good. Not a big fan of rapists and I don't care to read about them on an on-going basis if it doesn't include their deserved castration...A little much? Sorry...
All in all, there were flashes of brilliance that reminded me why I love the original Fever novels (they're my #2 or #3 fave), but it wasn't quite as addictive for me. I read all 5 Fever novels in 6 days. This one took me a few days, but I will definitely continue reading. This world is just too good to resist.
The Greyfriar (Book 1 in the Vampire Empire Trilogy) was my first proper introduction to the steampunk genre. In this bold alternate universe authored...moreThe Greyfriar (Book 1 in the Vampire Empire Trilogy) was my first proper introduction to the steampunk genre. In this bold alternate universe authored by husband and wife team Susan and Clay Griffith, vampires are vicious, powerful, and wisely feared by the human population. 150 years ago, vampires and altered the course of history as they emerged and destroyed much of human civilization toward northern territories, forcing survivors to move south. But humans are resilient beings and with time they become determined to fight back and restore their glory.
Part of that fight includes Princess Adele of Alexandria, a young lady poised to marry American Senator Clark in a political move that will unite their people and allow a full scale war against their fanged enemies. All goes according to plan until Adele is captured by the enemy and held prisoner in the northern lands. All hope seems lost, but there is The Greyfriar, a mysterious and legendary masked warrior that's able to take on the vampires and win. He aides Adele, helping to keep her alive in this hostile territory.
First off, the model for the covers of these books totally reminds me of Mitchell the vampire on BBC’s Being Human, played by actor Aidan Turner.
I figured that was a good pic to use since the costuming is fairly close, though that’s from a photoshoot for The Hobbit.
As for the story, I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I will say that the beginning started out really great and action-packed, but then it hits a bit of a slump for me becoming riddled with politics and side characters that I know are important, but I found myself not caring about it very much. In short, I was bored for a good deal of time. I liked Adele and Greyfriar's point of view and wanted more of that, so I was considering giving up on the book until it hit the 50% mark. After that I was really hooked and finished the book being really happy that the second book was available.
There is a lot of world building, but it's really pretty fascinating as it incorporates airships, special weapons, and even a unique sense of wardrobe which really drives home that steampunk feel.
Adele makes mistakes, but overall for me she was a likable heroine. She is not the same person by the end of this book as she was in the beginning, so it was a satisfying evolution that promises even more as this trilogy unfolds.
I want to say a lot about the Greyfriar, but I found a pleasant surprise as I read the book, though I will not spoil it in this review. All I will say is that his character also experiences significant evolution. He was probably my favorite character. It's nice when the title character can accomplish that, especially for me because I'm usually the type of reader who often follows a series for the sake of the side characters.
There's a lot of action, a real sense of adventure, and a building romance that really make this book a success. I wasn't expecting to become attached to these characters, but by the end I found myself completely invested in what would happen next. The book isn't perfect, but I finished reading it being really glad that I invested in it.
""I ran out of stock around midnight and dropped by a place, got some Chinese." I hoped he meant takeout...."Mu-shu pork" he told me indignantly."
I held off from immediately jumping into the Dorina Basarb series, a spin-off of the Cassie Palmer novels by Karen Chance, for a couple of reasons:
1)I have some quirks with the Cassie Palmer books that I feared could spill over into this series
2)I wasn't sure if I wanted to invest in a series with such a long wait between novels. In my perfect world, I'd get two books per year when it comes to my fave series, not one every TWO years.
So it took quite a while to get around to this, but I am so glad I finally did.
This spin-off series centers around Dorina Basarab, a dhampir (vampire/human hybrid) assassin. Not quite enough of either species, Dorina's kind is rare and doesn't fit anywhere in either society. It doesn't help that she is subject to rages that cause her to black out and endanger not only those around her, but herself as well.
It turns out she is the daughter of the great and powerful Mircea Basarab, and he needs her skills to help capture her uncle and his brother, Dracula, who has escaped from prison. Crazy and dangerous, this is a tall order, so Mircea also adds another master vampire to the mix, Louis-Cesare. The goal is for Dorina and Louis-Cesare to work together, but we all know the results when you try to mix oil and vinegar.
This book was a lot of fun. This series has beaten the odds and has become an instant favorite, regardless of the lag time. It's missing my biggest annoyances with the Cassie books: an irritating love triangle and Cassie herself (I'm not just a fan, sorry). Dorina is much more likeable heroine for me. I laughed, I cried (okay, not really), I QUOTED!!
Chance really knows how to write compelling and downright delicious male characters. Louis-Cesare has shot up on my list of book crushes. He's an amazing fighter, and the chemistry with Dorina is crazy good! It doesn't feel like your run of the mill relationship like with so many other novels. It's dynamic, it's got room to evolve, he isn't invisible, and Dorina actually can take care of herself quite well. It feels really natural, or about as natural as you can expect for supernaturals.
Another pleasant surprise was Mircea. After reading the Cassie books we're only used to Mircea the lover and powerful Senate member. In these books we get to see Mircea the father. While we see the Senate member too, I really appreciate this perspective of him because it adds more depth to the character for me. I like him more and more because we see more of his vulnerability here as opposed to the Cassie books. When it comes to Dorina, you can tell that he doesn't have all of the answers, even when he tries to save face . It's a subtle chink in his armor and I love it!
This is about as great of a start as one could hope for. I finished this book and couldn't wait to dive in to the next one! I think it's needless to say that I highly recommend this one.
Victoria Kingston's early life hasn't been easy. Following the death and her mother and suicide of her father, it's up to her...moreIt's not *that* dark...
Victoria Kingston's early life hasn't been easy. Following the death and her mother and suicide of her father, it's up to her to take care of her younger sister. With no money and choice, they are forced to move to London to stay with a resentful aunt. Giving her an impossible ultimatum to marry a random suitor by the end of the month, Victoria tries her best to find a suitable gentlemen, or she surely will lose guardianship of her sister forever.
Crossing paths with Dorian Vlakhos, playboy aristocrat and secret vampire king, she tries to resist his whiles. But she is no match, especially as Dorian places his promiscuous side in check for good. While appealing and seemingly perfect, Dorian's secret puts Victoria and her family at risk. As the target of witches and hunters, there is an all out war between their kind and he must fight for his people. But can he keep his new beloved safe?
I enjoyed Amanda Greene's efforts with this book. It was a very light and breezy read, even with the drama, conflict and tension. Dorian is ancient, but you'd never really know it. His personality seems to evolve with the times and he rarely has to drink blood. For me, the more blood the better, but it's certainly not a neglected plot point. Victoria is likable enough, but I think I liked her little sister the most. She's been through a lot of tragedy but still finds a way to be a happy and innocent child; it was sweet to see how much Victoria cared about her. That relationship resonated with me a lot, along with Dorian's interactions with her.
The romance between the starring couple certainly doesn't disappoint. Per the usual paranormal romance formula, it builds throughout the novel, but the teasing wasn't very agonizing.
While it's a period novel and the narrative is appropriate, there were times when I felt like the dialogue was too modern. I mean, how many people used the word "slut" back then? "Harlot", maybe. "Jezebel", sure! But I genuinely had to look up origins of the word just to check for consistency. Other words that bothered me were "pigheaded" and "Tory" (short for Victoria) to name a few. Though it was a minor quirk, it wasn't significant enough to hamper my overall enjoyment.
While there's nothing earth shatteringly new or original, I do recommend the book. It kept my interest fairly well and I wrapped it up in only two days. I look forward to reading the second novel, and if I wasn't pressed for time I'd probably read it immediately. But since this book is a standalone it's not completely necessary.
Sometimes you really need a fun Urban Fantasy series that checks all of the usual drama and headaches at the door. When you're in the mood for that then you should check out the Cheshire Red Reports by Cherie Priest. Bloodshot (Book 1) introduces us to vampire Raylene, a very independent, efficient, and hilariously neurotic professional thief.
Her skills catch the attention of Ian Stott, a fellow vampire who needs her help. He hires Raylene to locate top secret files about an experimental program that caused him to go blind. This requires her to travel throughout the country, eventually landing in Atlanta where the fun really begins. It turns out Raylene is a potential target for this program as well, so she must evade this organization as well as the Feds who want to take her down. This of course makes her job a little more difficult.
She ends up meeting a peculiar drag queen named Adrian. There’s definitely more to this character than meets the eye and he ends up partnering with Raylene. It turns out he’s an Ex-Navy SEAL and he’s searching for his sister, who he believes was also a part of the experiment. I can tell you right now that I totally loved this character, even more than Ian. I never thought I’d see the day when I’d say one of my favorite characters is an Ex-Navy SEAL who moonlights as a drag queen, but there it is. Normally humans are boring, but I enjoyed his chemistry with Raylene even more than Ian.
There are other supporting characters as well that I liked, including a kid brother and sister team who live with Raylene. They are orphans but they’re pretty crafty at times, making them useful to Ray. They’re also at the center of a number of hilarious lines.
There’s a great mix of action, comedy and mystery that makes this a fairly quick read. Raylene’s not the typical self-loathing and emo vamp (like many that have begun to saturate the genre), making this series a breath of fresh air. I actually ended up reading the second book first, but I enjoyed that one so much that I went back to see how it all began. Based on the structure of the story, it seems as if the books in this series can work well enough as a standalone.
Overall I recommend this book if you keep in mind that it’s not to be taken that seriously. Sometimes you don’t need that for a good read.
I wasn't bored for a second. Magic Bleeds, the 4th installment in the Kate Daniels series, pits Kate against her toughest opponent yet--herself? Not q...moreI wasn't bored for a second. Magic Bleeds, the 4th installment in the Kate Daniels series, pits Kate against her toughest opponent yet--herself? Not quite.
Let's just say this ain't your typical nuclear family. If Roland is her final exam, she faces a mid-term here. While the Midnight Games were pretty cool in Magic Strikes (Book 3), I was super creeped out by havoc Kate's new enemy wreaked. Non-female shifters beware! And perhaps Kate should be herself. We witness the power Kate may be capable of in the hands of evil. I can't wait to see that full fledged power used for good.
Once again, Kate is forced to balance her duties as a merc of the Order with her obligation to her shifter friends. She makes a tough decision, but it's the right one.
I highly enjoyed Andrea's character this time around, too. She's coming into her own a bit more as a beastkin. She hasn't had much of a choice, but I'm glad to see her dealing. There is a major development in her relationship with Raphael and if you read the side story, Magic Mourns, you'll learn how they got to this point. Even I haven't read it yet, but I plan to very soon. There was this one scene about a third into the book that will forever be epic to me. One quote: "Who's diving for clams now, bitch!" I love how all of these characters are so badass but they make mistakes, they get hurt, they LEARN! They do exactly what you'd want to do.
I definitely recommend picking this up if only to see about the progress made in Kate and Curran's relationship. I really enjoy how their interactions are woven into the story and how they have realistic challenges personally as well as politically (at least as realistic as you can get in a post-apocalyptic Atlanta). I really look forward to seeing how they'll work in a real partnership. They are both still very headstrong, but need to trust each other and work to compromise.
The hilarious one-liners, the high action, the world building, and the characters keep me coming back for more. As a new fan of the Kate Daniels series, I read all 4 books in succession, so it's needless to say that I'm itching for Book 5 already. It's really nice to have a series where you know you're guaranteed to get quality.
Magic Strikes, Book 3 in the Kate Daniels series starts out feeling like the daily grind, but things soon pick up. There's a shifter murder that Jim's...moreMagic Strikes, Book 3 in the Kate Daniels series starts out feeling like the daily grind, but things soon pick up. There's a shifter murder that Jim's trying to keep under wraps from The Beast Lord. Then there's Derek. Through him Kate stumbles upon an illegal underground preternatural gladiator fighting ring, the Midnight Games; there is no doubt a connection. Derek's trying to help a friend, but these games are forbidden in the shifter community. Of course, Kate steps up to try to help. I'm sure you can imagine that things don't quite go as planned or else we'd have no book. Through these games we meet some new formidable adversaries with an HQ that reminds of Howl's Moving Castle gone Baller.
I won't spoil it but something gut-wrenching happens to a character that I grew attached to over the books. Everything was going along swimmingly and then at about a third in, you get hit like a mac truck. I read the part on the train going into work and it seriously put a damper on my morning. I guess that's a sign of good story-telling.
This series has a consistent level of high quality. It's really hard for me to say if one book is better than the other. There's always an interesting case for Kate, the characters are consistently dynamic, and while some plot points are status quo, Andrews isn't afraid to take risks with her characters, so it doesn't make you feel too comfortable either.
It's really hard to truly categorize this urban fantasy. Some series are obviously dark, some are obviously more light. It's got pretty much all of the elements you can find, along with countless one-liners. My kindle's got so many bookmarks for this series I would practically read the books all the way through again if I clicked on them one by one, haha.
As a whole, I feel this series is really heavy on shifters and their customs, maybe even more than magic itself at times. The shifter content is what stands out to me most anyway. Lycan mythology usually isn't my thing, so while it is interesting here, that may be why I'm not *quite* as attached. Doesn't mean I don't appreciate good storytelling. It's a thoroughly entertaining ride and you'll be hard pressed to find many series of such high caliber.
Where was I? Categorize, categorize...I'll just throw it in the category of AWESOME and call it a day. (less)
The Kate Daniels series kicks off strong with Magic Bites! I bumped this series up in my TBR list after all of the raves from my fellow urban fantasy fans, and so far I’m pleased with the decision! Normally I’m not that into darker urban fantasy, but this one works for me. There is certainly enough humor to keep me interested, so a comical dark urban fantasy can be done! It bridges the gap for all fans of this genre, bringing something to the table that everyone can enjoy.
Aside from a few quotes that really had me laughing, I also love the magic and the world building. It has somewhat of an alternate universe apocalyptic feel where horses (or mules) are becoming more of the norm than cars as a mode of transportation. I am certainly a “VampireNovelFan” and typically like it when they’re pretty, but if you’re going to make them ugly, you’d better make it good. This series makes it good. This take on vampires is very fascinating and original. It stands out in a genre where there are so many variations that vampires are reduced to “sparkling” and even lacking fangs altogether in an attempt to differentiate themselves.
The magic is pretty cool and it comes along in waves called “Flares.” Tech-based weapons and devices won’t work during this time, so that adds to the unpredictability of the story. I also liked her weapon, Slayer. It sort of has a mind of its own and I love imagining it in action.
While the pages are short, the read actually feels like it’s just enough. I really respect a series that doesn’t drag out the plot just to increase page count. It keeps the story tight and focused.
Just when I was starting to wonder if there could be anything original in the urban fantasy genre, this book does it. I really look forward to cracking open book 2, and 3, and 4, and 5 when it’s released. This is definitely a must-read if you love urban fantasy.
This book was soooo mentally and emotionally exhausting! I marathoned this series as best as I could, reading the first 3 books over the weekend and t...moreThis book was soooo mentally and emotionally exhausting! I marathoned this series as best as I could, reading the first 3 books over the weekend and then spending 3 days on book 5 which was considerably the longest of the series. It definitely evolved from being more UF to becoming more PNR, but this is the way it should be done in my opinion for a PNR. Normally, I have a hard time connecting with PNR books due to the believability of the characters falling in love in such a short span of pages, compared to this where it did build and build so I was actually looking forward to it.
I do think this book had way too many backs and forths for me to wrap my head around, confusing me at times, moreso than building suspense. I think pages could have been saved there.
My other gripe is that the author, while very descriptive and imaginative, occasionally copy/pastes several lines of text from earlier books for purposes of recollection. That feels like a slightly lazier approach than paraphrasing. I may have noticed it because I've read the books back to back so it's all much fresher in my mind.
Either way, I really enjoyed these books. It's shot up there to one of my favorite Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series ever. It may be my favorite since my ship actually sailed. The jury is still out for my other favorite which isn't done yet. Either way, it's highly recommended, but you HAVE to start from Book 1 to truly connect to the characters.
About two years ago, Ms. Harrison teased her blog followers about an upcoming book involving Rachel, Trent, and Jenks on a road trip out west. Fast forward to now, as Book 9 has finally been released. If you follow Ms. Harrison, you know that she touts this particular book as her favorite of the series. As a fan since 2005, I can say it's without a doubt my new favorite as well. It took six books, but Book 3 has finally been overtaken.
We have Rachel and Jenks heading out west for what she tries to convince herself will be a pardon with the Coven of Moral and Ethical Standards for using black magic. Oh yeah, and she has her brother’s wedding to attend too. Trent Kalamack also needs to get to the west coast, though it's for personal reasons. He's keeping mum on the details; however, he will accompany Rachel to her pardon (more like her trial as far as he is concerned) in an attempt to vouch for her. Rachel is banned from flying commercially and Trent is limited to travelling by land. Neither can get out west without the other. If Trent doesn't make his deadline, he’ll miss out on the most important opportunity to help his race. If Rachel loses, she says hello to Big Al and the Ever-After FORever-after.
Joined later by Ivy, Pierce, a surprise Coven member, and a few assassins trying to stop either Trent or Rachel in their tracks, we end up with an American Inderlander Road Trip...from Hell. Aside from the banter amongst themselves, they later run into a new demon, a Pale Demon, who can walk in the sun and must eat living souls to sustain himself. He’s so dangerous that even the demons sealed him away, but upon his unexpected release, he causes plenty of ruckus on both sides of the lines in more ways than one, proving to be a bit too much to handle for our favorite witch/demoness.
Character development, magic, action, comedy, drama, romance--these elements have been what keeps the storyline going and makes it so special for fans of this series. Harrison hits all of that in her writing. She addresses several particular issues when it comes to Rachel's relationships, as well as the relationships between the people around her.
While not trying to spoil much here (feel free to skip this paragraph if you’re worried), you're certainly strapped in for a roller coaster ride in terms of Rachel's love life. If you thought it was crazy before, you’re in for it now. While I’ve been a card-carrying Trent and Rachel supporter since Book 1, there’s attention given to her relationships with him, Pierce, Ivy, and Al too. I doubt that’s too surprising for those who have read the previous books though. It's just all quite complicated and I have a hard time imagining how Kim plans to iron out everything. Like any fan, of course I have certain hopes.
Relationship dynamics evolve as much as the characters, and I think it is for the better. Everyone in one way or another is growing in this book, even the demons. New and important characters are introduced as well. You find yourself surprised as you sympathize and even start to like particular characters that you may not have cared for in the beginning. Harrison does well with fleshing out their personalities, revealing them to be more complex than they seem. Throughout this book the lines of black and white aren't so clear anymore, though certain characters do *finally* pay some consequences for their actions. People--and I mean species in general--are who they are, but the issue of nature vs. nurture is still there.
Acceptance is a major theme this this time around, along with trust and vulnerability. We see Rachel making smarter choices and tapping more into her demonic nature. She and Trent have to learn to work together and trust one another. If you’re a Trent fan, he’s here in spades and you’ll never tire of him. You can see a mile away any opportunity when Rachel will ogle him, which is all in good fun of course. New questions arise for the demons and the Ever-After. Jenks evolves too, and he’s still some of the best comic relief throughout the book. You’ll love him per usual, if not a little more. We get more Ivy focus with the good old-fashioned teamwork that we loved from the beginning of the series, and more light is shone on her relationship with Rachel. Al fans should really enjoy this book as well because we learn a few new things about him as he helps Rachel harness her demonic powers. Even Newt’s character improves immensely. You can read it yourself to learn why. I am not the biggest fan of Pierce, but he is slightly more bearable this time around too, and that’s saying something. I found his presence in Black Magic Sanction absolutely smothering, almost ruining my enjoyment of that book.
Overall, I thought the book was pretty solid, but some instances were a little too convenient.
******MINOR SPOILERS************************* Like in terms of Trent’s quest. Realistically, why what he was after wasn’t being monitored 24/7 until his deadline passed was beyond me. That needed more explanation.
I also wonder why Harrison doesn’t exploit elven super-speed a little more considering they can travel really fast from one spot to another. ******END MINOR SPOILERS*******************
I read it in 2 evenings. However, I was breezing along until the last third, where all of a sudden it came to a screeching halt. It couldn’t have been helped, but gears switched a little too suddenly and I had a hard time wanting to follow it. It wasn’t that I was uninterested in the subject matter. I just wasn’t interested right then. Black Magic Sanction in comparison was all over the place, but that was easier for me because that was the established pace. My annoyance with Pierce was the only thing slowing me down there. However, after I finished Pale Demon, I went back to re-read the last third and I found it *very* engaging after all, so if this happens to you while reading it, see if that works. For other fans who read the book, it may be the opposite and the last third will be the easiest to read. Regardless, I have to say that I found the last 30-40 pages nothing short of epic. Harrison is full of surprises alright!
I have to admit, I was a little sad when I finished reading it. Loose ends are starting to tie up and this is the first time where I felt the series slightly begin to wind down. There are new obstacles and challenges and arguably a new direction for the story to take, but you definitely reflect a bit about how far things have come since Dead Witch Walking. I look forward to Book 10, but I’m not quite sure it can top Pale Demon, so I’m anticipating it slightly less. Even still, The Hollows is my favorite series, and there’s something or another that I enjoy in each book, so I expect nothing less in that aspect. In the meantime, the fan in me is actually pretty sated right now. It was worth the wait, Kim!