"I can't tell you how many jobs I've done without a hitch since the last time I saw you, Dresden. You walk through the door and everything goes to hell."
"That's embroidered on my towels, actually," I said.
""What you are telling me," she said, "is that you have never shared your life with another over the long term. The closest you have come to it is providing a home and affection for a being which is entirely your subject and in your control."
"Well, not at bath time..."
"I know you've been aching to have your hands on my staff," I said to Ascher, as Nicodemus examined the altar for himself. I held out my hand. "But I'd rather be the one fondling my tool. Wizards are weird like that."
PARKOUR! Because Harry Dresden says so.
Cold Days was easily one of the best entries of the Dresden series. It's probably my favorite. And it definitely left big shoes to fill for any book that would follow it. Well, Skin Game does it wonderfully. I was hanging on to every word. The tension between Harry and Nicodemus was beyond palpable and I kept waiting for the shoe to drop! And boy does it drop.
This book was really exciting, gripping, and a true nail biter. I wasn't sure where Butcher planned to go with this one putting Nicodemus front and center. Either we'd finish the book with a better understanding of the character (potentially liking him more) or we'd see Harry do away with him once and for all. He is definitely a character you love to hate.
The heist plot was great and we got to see more focus on potential future players in the series. I liked that everyone was out for themselves since it kept things unpredictable.
I did miss Thomas in this entry as well as Molly, but the story is still fantastic. We get a great deal of Murphy, Michael, and Butters to make up for it so that's good enough for me. There were some really great twists and turns and several characters get upgrades in power. One of my favorite aspects of any series are the strength of the relationships. Harry never has it easy, ever. You really feel for the guy. While Cold Days certainly had emotional moments, there are some pivotal developments here too that make his journey even more special to me.
I am a newer fan of these books having marathoned the entire series back to back this year. Admittedly a lot of the story blurs together for me so it's difficult to distinguish one book from the next (save for books like Changes and Cold Days). Of course that stops now since I'm all caught up with everyone else. But I will say that I am glad it happened with this book because it was a particularly satisfying read!
Harry juggles plenty of hats as it is, but I'm looking forward to how he handles just a few more in the next entry.
*Review copy provided by the publisher. *Review also posted to Amazon. (less)
I didn’t start reading these novels until this year, but I’m certainly as enthusiastic as any long time fan when it comes to th...moreSydrian is the BEST!!
I didn’t start reading these novels until this year, but I’m certainly as enthusiastic as any long time fan when it comes to this series. The Fiery Heart will evoke pretty much every emotion you can think of. This book is probably my new favorite, though book 3 nips at its heels. Fans who have been waiting to finally see Sydrian (that’s an amalgamation of Sydney and Adrian’s names for those of you who don’t understand shipper speak) in its full glory should not be disappointed but you have to remember that you’re reading a Richelle Mead novel and it’s the middle of the series, so expect some angst and some growing pains and a cliffhanger that reaches Holy-Smokes-Batman levels. It at least makes it somewhat realistic.
I loved this novel to bits but I would have liked a little more development in the magic department. That’s not to say it was lacking; her abilities are extremely relevant to this storyline, but it didn’t feel quite as involved as with the previous books. I can understand that because this time the novel alternates between Adrian and Sydney’s POVs. The read was still surprisingly cohesive. Sometimes that becomes a challenge for an author but I think Mead still captured both of their personalities very well.
I didn’t really sense as much page time being given to the supporting characters either. There are some significant developments with them and their stories, but don’t expect much. This is clearly a Sydrian novel, made for Sydrian by Sydrian. Have I made it pretty clear that this novel is about Sydrian?
And since this is a Sydrian novel, let's get back to that topic, shall we? This book makes you realize how good they really are for one another, though quite often their situation feels so hopeless. It's a case of star-crossed lovers if I've ever read one. Though she tries to keep up her alchemist front, internally Sydney becomes more of a free spirit; this leads to behavior more reckless than you'd come to expect from her and it's very refreshing. Adrian also really steps up to the plate to be responsible when it comes to his own vices. They balance each other extremely well, their chemistry is through the roof, and I loved every minute of it.
This book really made me realize I will have to revise my Goodreads shelves. For a "Young Adult" it was racier than some adult novels I've read. But I was also recently told that series like this where the characters are 18 and over are considered "New Adult." Of course the Goodreads Awards don't make that distinction... and honestly when I see "new adult" I think of a new novel in the adult category, like new Hollows, Kate Daniels, Mercy Thompson, etc. I'm also considering calling this "Mature YA" but I'm still deciding. I'm open to suggestions.
There are two novels left so I could understand why Mead didn't want to prolong the honeymoon period. She is an author that really makes her characters earn their HEAs and clearly this won't be an exception. I'm just hoping she can provide a satisfying ending to this series. It's no secret that her endings of series tend to polarize her readers so it does concern me a little bit. This is the first series where she has me by the balls and I'm totally at her mercy. But on the plus side, it's only 8 months until we get book 5! I'm ready for whatever, Ms. Mead! In the meantime, I'm gonna go re-read some of my fave passages from this one as they are MORE than enough to hold me over until next time!
After the cliffhanger of book 3 there was no way I couldn’t read this one right away. I whizzed through it too. This was easily the best book of the series. I was genuinely put through the emotional wringer and there were some truly surprising developments.
Origin, the title, denotes a new race we learn about in this book. Apparently Luxen and hybrids can procreate and they are the result, something great than its two parents. Good thing Katy and Daemon use protection, eh?
This novel was different from the others in that we get alternating POVs of Daemon and Katy. That was a nice workaround considering how long Katy’s held captive. As the book explores the heart of Daedalus I really found myself wanting to give them the benefit of the doubt. It really was as the synopsis said. Even the Arum’s existence and purpose isn’t quite as black and white anymore. But that was clearly a mistake as one particular scene was so horrific and left me so angry and appalled I just wanted them all to die horrible painful deaths. It was absolutely infuriating and I’m upset all over again simply writing about it now.
There were other surprising twists, particularly on Katy’s part with her abilities and how far she’ll let her anger carry her. Though I was completely fine with those developments. I’ll just say that he had it coming, though the actual timing of it was unexpected.
Daemon and Katy….let’s just say that the angst factor is amped up to a 9/10 for these two. The devotion was nice, but I could have done without one decidedly annoying decision on their part. It didn’t really add anything to the relationship and felt overly dramatic and somewhat out of character if anything. There’s a development with Dawson and Beth too, but I saw that one coming a mile away and it didn’t annoy me at all. (view spoiler)[the marriage thing was kind of annoying and I guessed Beth was pregnant the second they all reunited and we learned she was sleeping, and before that I figured she'd get pregnant at some point in this series. (hide spoiler)]
But aside from those things, this is easily the best book yet. Unputdownable.
While new characters are introduced the lives of others are put into jeopardy, further proving this threat is very real. There’s yet another cliffhanger as well, but this time it’s one I actually could get behind.
If my understanding is correct, the next book is the last book of the series. I’ve grown attached to the characters and will miss this world, but Armentrout has definitely proven herself to be a very capable author and if this book was this good, I think she has the goods to let this series go out with a bang.
I read Shadows (Lux #0.5) and Obsession this week, so now I’m all caught up and the reviews shall soon follow. This is the first series in a while where I’ve been motivated to catch up with all the books. Normally I might read a book or two of something and then move on to another series and come back to read more at a later time, but this has been good enough for me that I just can’t wait. I am definitely a fan of Jennifer Armentrout’s writing.
Do the cover models remind anyone else of Eliza Dushku and an older more muscly Tyler Posey (from Teen Wolf)? I can't be the only one to think so. This is apparently a stock photo for another book I saw recently so make sure you grab the right one! I held off on reading this one until I was caught up with the Lux novels. I prefer adult novels to YA, so while I do manage to enjoy the Lux series quite a bit, I was definitely curious about the series potential at an adult level. Some things felt the same but it also felt very different in a good way. I would definitely read more Arum novels in the future. Take out a couple of sex scenes and tone down the content and it probably isn't much different from what you'd find in the Lux novels even with the darker tone.
Hunter was pretty entertaining and funny making it an enjoyable ride to learn more about the Arum. I was glad to get a lead male with a distinct personality from Daemon. There's always two sides to every story and I appreciated this exploration of their world. The chemistry and build up with Serena is about as good as it gets for a standalone.
We see a cameo of Daemon here and then it turns out Hunter makes a cameo in the 4th Lux novel (chapter 6 to be exact). While you don't have to read one to enjoy the other it does make things more fun and there are some relevant plot lines that tie into the main series! I liked the series overlap and appearance of Luc, my favorite side character of the series.
After I was finished I was left wanting more, so I think that means Armentrout did her job! This book does make me wonder if any readers are more Team Arum or Team Luxen. Anti-heroes are as popular as ever and the Arum have genuine substance now. I can't quite decide which team I'm on. Perhaps that means a few more books are in order, you know, so I that can properly decide ~_^.
After reading Jennifer Armentrout flex her YA skills with the Lux novels, I was ever so curious to check out her adult skills...moreMore Like Fangirl Rising
After reading Jennifer Armentrout flex her YA skills with the Lux novels, I was ever so curious to check out her adult skills with Unchained. I will be honest and say that any series set in Washington, DC like this one is will automatically make me a little biased. But I probably would have loved this book if it took place in Timbuktu (well, not really, but any urban setting would have worked). I have grown to enjoy the fallen angel subgenre almost as much as a vampire one and books like this are probably why.
After reading the novel I learned that this was actually an earlier novel by Armentrout and while I enjoyed it, finding the plot and characters satisfying enough, I wasn’t surprised. If there was one area I could criticize it would definitely be the world building aspect. We definitely hear about Washington, DC, but she does very little to actually show us the setting with good details. It’s only because I live here that the setting makes sense to me. She has since improved in that area with her Lux novels.
The characterizations are very good, especially when it comes to Julian, the fallen angel. I don’t doubt he’ll make the book boyfriend list for many readers. While I personally liked Lily, I think she would have to grow on other readers. She’s brash, overconfident and loves to dive head first into danger. But she’s Nephilim (a fallen angel/human hybrid), what do you expect? She’s also a bit of a rebel but for me that made her all the more fun. She’s good at what she does so she can back it up…for now.
While I would call this an urban fantasy, it definitely comes on strong with the romance too. The chemistry between Julian and Lily is totally scorching, but you’re never allowed to feel comfortable with their relationship because they are inherently on opposing sides. There’s just enough tension to keep things interesting the whole way through. I was honestly fearing a potential love triangle, so if you’re concerned about that, don’t be. There are definitely bigger fish to fry as to what can drive a wedge between the two.
There’s a lot of action and brutality and I honestly wasn’t always sure of the characters’ motivations which kept things from being too predictable. All in all there was never a dull moment for me, so even though this is an earlier work of Armentrout, it’s still plenty enjoyable and re-readable. I will absolutely be reading Book 2 and I’m crossing my fingers that it can release on time in 2014.
Oh boy, what a ride! While this book wasn't as quotable with the usual hilarious quips that make me love this series so much, it i...moreThis SERIES Rises!
Oh boy, what a ride! While this book wasn't as quotable with the usual hilarious quips that make me love this series so much, it is definitely one of my favorite books of the series, if not my favorite. I usually love books when the characters go on road trips or end up out of their usual element. It usually gives a series a fresh perspective, revealing new aspects about my favorite characters and ultimately showing what they are made of when the going gets tough. Ilona Andrews really brought their A-game from start to finish. Kate and Curran, how can you not love them? As solid as they are, or at least as solid as we assume they are, their relationship and feelings for one another are put to the ultimate test.
I must say that bringing just about every essential character along for the quest set off my alarm bells early that nothing was going to be the same from here on out. I feared that not everybody would make it back or make it back in one piece. And they do take a hell of a beating in that department I'm sad to say. But I believe everything that happened happened for the sake of pushing the story forward to the best conclusion possible.
There were definitely frustrating moments making me feel for both characters as individuals as well. I will always be a Kate and Curran girl, but I thought they handled the chemistry between Kate and Hugh D'Ambry (her father's right hand) surprisingly well. I was genuinely looking forward to their scenes together and the outcomes weren't always predictable. I was really engrossed in the back story involving Kate's heritage and felt satisfied with what was revealed. It felt integral to the story and to what we can expect of the series here on out. So often I run into series where the overarching plot is merely peppered throughout the book instead of being the meat of it, making it very obvious that the author plans to drag the story out as much as possible. I am so happy that wasn't the case here, though I honestly haven't read a disappointing Kate Daniels book.
If we thought things were complicated before, this book proved to me that we haven't seen anything yet. I heard the series was going to end at 7, but then they decided to extend it to 10. At this point I think 10 books is definitely the sweet spot.
If you want a true page turner, this is one of the best you are going to find this year, guaranteed.
Quin Lennox found herself lucky last time, managing to escape the alternate world of Vamp City. But that world isn’t quite done with her. They need her powers to restore the magic of their world and free the vampires currently bound there. Vampire Arturo Mazza is sent to bring her back, and Quinn has learned her lesson than to trust him again after his betrayal. However this time Vamp City has some leverage, her brother. She has to return to save him, and Arturo’s all she’s got. Has he learned the error of his ways? Or is she setting herself up for disappointment once again.
The first book was one of my favorite reads last year, so the sooner I could get my hands one, the better. Palmer’s morbid imagination really makes this series a standout to me, though I think certain dynamics of the first book didn’t sit well with everyone. For this novel I think it has more mass appeal, but I had a gripe or two. I guess the pace of the book was a bit of a problem for me. They spend quite a bit of time talking about the final adversary and yet we don’t even see that stand-off in this book. Cliffhanger enthusiasts should love it, but I can’t say the same for those of you who don’t. I just wish it would have wrapped up the novel in a more serial fashion because towards the end I was anticipating a conflict I didn’t get. The book just kind of ended and that was that.
I do like her efforts to redeem Arturo. I mean, sometimes the graphic and horrific things he endured got a little hard to stomach, but he had a lot of ground to make up and I think he did that. Tish was okay. I never really had a problem with her, though her over protectiveness of her brother, while noble, got a little annoying after a while. The chemistry between Tish and Arturo was s still immensely strong which certainly adds to their appeal.
I liked the history and backstory about the vampires and other supernaturals that live in Washington, VC, learning of their gradual deterioration into what they have become and why. It was thought-provoking and I was often conflicted about the best course of action to fix everything.
At this point I am sort of wondering if Palmer plans to make this a trilogy or if it’s an ongoing series. If it’s a trilogy it certainly feels like a middle book. I feel as if all the issues presented can certainly be resolved in one more.
*ARC provided by the publisher. *Review also posted to Amazon. (less)
I did get a little bored at times skimmed here and there which is why I can't really give it a 5, but for the most part I was enthralled. It's the bes...moreI did get a little bored at times skimmed here and there which is why I can't really give it a 5, but for the most part I was enthralled. It's the best one yet in my opinion. (less)
This was on its way to being another 3, but the last 25% salvaged things. I totally called what was going to happen to a certain character around the...moreThis was on its way to being another 3, but the last 25% salvaged things. I totally called what was going to happen to a certain character around the first book, but it was executed well and I didn't necessarily think it'd happen at this point. (less)
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!
I decided to knock out the first three Experiment in Terror books, and I can say book 3 was by FAR the scariest one yet! They are easy reads, but the writing quality gets better book by book. This series follows amateur ghost hunters Perry Palamino and Dex Foray as they investigate locations near and far that exhibit paranormal activity. Something's always been a little special about Perry. She may not be the most beautiful or glamorous (in her eyes), but she has a special affinity with the dead, making her skills (unintentional as they may be) invaluable to producing good content for the show. Dex has his own demons as well, unraveling more and more by the book as he tries to keep Perry safe.
This particular investigation will prove to be their most dangerous and terrifying yet as they travel to a remote island between British Columbia and Washington state. There's no romantic getaway here, unless a former leper colony with dozens of unsettled souls somehow qualifies. And to make matters worse, that's the least of their problems; moment by moment, the ones they need to fear most may be each other...
I definitely came into this series wanting good creepy storytelling. The first couple of books had its moments, but it was clear that the primary focus was the evolution of Dex and Perry's relationship. It's great if you're into the slow build, but that wasn't exactly what I was looking for...until this book. It struck a much better balance with their development and the story's horror element. I got some occasional "The Shining" vibes which really worked in its favor.
One thing I notice with these books is that there's not total resolution for a case. Perry and Dex definitely get more answers, but they don't completely solve the crime or remedy things. They just get the hell out of dodge when the gettin' is good. If you want a little more resolution to the mysteries then this may not be the series for you, but I actually find this aspect somewhat refreshing. I'm curious as to if the sequels follow that pattern as well.
But now I'll switch to a personal experience with this book. I initially started this series reading the first two books during my daily commute, but I decided read the bulk of this one at home and at night just to amp up the spook factor. And let me tell you, some peculiar things happened:
1) So here I am innocently reading the book at a particularly creepy moment and then all of a sudden the power goes out completely. It's eerily quiet aside from a leaky faucet and those random noises a house tends to make. I'm alone at this point aside from the cat who was sitting next to me. Then the lights come back on a few seconds later. We rarely lose power for anything other than a storm, but it is completely dry with nary a cloud in the night sky. So I chalk it up to randomness and continue reading.
2) And then it happens again...and again...and again. So I decide to put the book down for a bit. Power is finally going strong so then I pick it back up because I want to finish the story. I just make sure to turn on every light in my vicinity.
3) No power outages this time, but the cat (who is clean of catnip at this point) is mysteriously staring at something out in the hall. You can tell because his posture is rigid and he's looking up. He even gets off the bed to get a closer look. I follow him, wondering if he's spotting a fly or something. But there is nothing there. I sort of have Paranormal Activity 2 flashbacks when the dog was presumably barking at the demon that we can't see. But of course that's just poppycock in the real world, right?
So I finished the book thoroughly freaked for more reasons than one. I will certainly continue the series, though it will no longer be in the comfort of my own home, but I'm going to take a break to read a few other books first.
"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.
“We got unfinished business,” he reminded me. “My name’s not Bill.” He chuckled. “Yeah, I loved that movie. Shoulda brought a katana, but it seemed like an unfair advantage.”
- I love that movie too!
"I wasn't the kind of gal who wore designer and knew what all the forks were for. I was the kind of gal who thought the nightgown drawer was where old T-shirts went to die and who had only started using forks in the last century. And who frankly still thought them kind of a waste when there were perfectly good knives handy."
Dorina is awesome. Yeah, yeah, I know that's not news, but we could SO be besties if it weren't for her little quirk of blacking out into nasty dhampir rages that can level a whole village (think Saya from Blood+).
Though Dorina's dhampir heritage has made her the pariah and enigma of the paranormal community, her skills are still quite useful to the Vampire Senate. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. While working with them to smuggle magical items and weapons out of Faerie, the operation hits a snag that leads to Dorina's capture. Though eventually saved by master vampire Louis-Cesare, she has no memory of what happened, but she has to find out fast or else the vampire community and herself will be dangerously vulnerable. This leads to new enemies, new revelations about her past, and ultimately a war residing completely within...herself.
She did make readers wait two years for it, but this is definitely the longest Dorina book to date! Karen Chance doesn't let up when it comes to the twists, turns, and action sequences that you wouldn't believe. Chance proves herself to be a master story teller with the continuous world building, complex plot, and super fast pace; it makes me wonder how she keeps up with it all. There HAS to be a secret.
For the most part I was really with it, but I did have a couple of annoyances. I sometimes felt like I was reading about a character with ADHD because there are a number of times when she doesn't complete a thought before something else happens. That felt a bit unnecessary because the books are fast paced enough. By the 80% mark it sort of hit a wall, though it didn't last for very long because the end was beyond stellar.
As much as I love her Louis-Cesare (they are probably in my top 3 ships now), the developments with Mircea were probably my favorite parts of this book. Chance's love of time travel is as present as ever. She skirts the time travel idea often used in her Cassie Palmer books by pretty much turning Dorina's mind into a time machine. Being 500 years old, she has a lot of memories she can recall.
We see romance all of the time in this genre books, but so rarely do we see such a the delicate father-daughter relationship like theirs develop and evolve over the course of a series. Absolutely it is unconventional, but at the root of it, we are seeing a bond that is unbreakable, as it should be. They are both hundreds of years old, so it's hard to navigate their relationship in a convincing way, but Chance does it and it works so well. I got some serious warm fuzzies and my only complaint is that I wish we got a little more. Though I would have liked more, what I want to see is probably more suited for the last book...woohoo for 4 more years! That's assuming she ends this series at 5 books.
I would say that slightly less action, more Mircea, more Louis-Cesare, or just less pages would have put this book on the path to perfection. These little things took it from perfection to NEAR perfection. It was definitely one of my most satisfying reads of the year!
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.
Having lived in Washington, D.C. all of my life, I was expecting to be pretty well-versed in the environment of A Blood Seduction by Pamela Palmer. But instead we’re introduced to Washington, V.C. Nope, there are no typos there. V.C.–”Vamp City” for short–is the alternate dimension of D.C., taking us through a bit of a time warp in the process.
While not in first person, the story primarily focuses on Quinn Lennox, a scientist with NIH who always had a sneaking suspicion that she wasn’t quite normal. Strange things have happened to her and around her all of her life. She’s had this sight into a strange parallel universe that she hadn’t been able to enter until her brother’s friend goes missing.
On their mission to find her they stumble into this world by accident, separating from one another as they soon realize that they’ve been swiftly downgraded to the bottom of the food chain. Vampires, werewolves, and witches, oh my! They all exist here and vampires enslave humans to not only drink their blood, but feed on their anguish in many forms. Quinn is taken in by Arturo Mazzo, a devilishly handsome and manipulative 600-year-old vampire who realizes that Quinn is no ordinary woman. In fact, she may be the key to save V.C. But saving her brother is her top priority, so she endures the many horrors of this world. Better the devil that you know…
I devoured this book in one day. It is a departure from your typical Paranormal Romance which I tend to prefer in order to enjoy this genre. I was instantly drawn in to Palmer’s familiar, but not so familiar setting. Quinn is not the most likable heroine, but she is occasionally relatable if not a bit stupid in a few instances. Honestly, at this point I’m trying to figure out what heroine hasn’t been on occasion. It all really just goes back to her devotion to her brother.
While we do get a few scenes from Arturo’s POV, this character remains mysterious throughout the whole novel. Her relationship with Arturo is fairly complicated and I couldn’t always predict what would happen. It’s really difficult to determine his real motivations or a definitive direction for his character. This makes him genuinely intriguing and a bit more than a pretty face.
Palmer’s vampires are genuinely horrible beings, but boy are they pretty… Thankfully a lot of the scenes with them at their worst quell that appeal. I was slightly shocked at the depravity and cringe-worthiness of the vampires actions, so Palmer’s mission was accomplished to really make me hate the worst of the worst for these big bads. I’ve been looking for a bit of horror in my books and this brings a very good dose of it, more than I was expecting based on the synopsis.
Palmer also injects a lot Washington, D.C. history (more than I know personally *hangs head in shame*), but your average Washingtonian wouldn’t know half of the facts Quinn was throwing out, and it seemed a little out of character because Quinn wasn’t particularly interested in history. That’s my only real gripe about this novel.
This book is ballsy without a doubt. While I wouldn’t necessarily call this a cliffhanger, beware that this book is certainly an introduction to Vamp City. The surprise ending left me wondering the fate of certain characters as the books progress, and I desperately wish that more books were available. It’s a story you’ll either love or hate, but if you love it, the second book can’t come soon enough. This is one where you’ll definitely hope for two books per year.
A Bite's Tale (A Furry Fable) is aptly named. This delightful novella provides a supernatural take on the age old Cinderella story. Cydney, the "Cinderella", is a werewolf while the prince is a vampire.
We meet the characters while they are in their early teens. Neither one is willing to admit who they really are, but they secretly meet each other every summer until one year when Cydney's wolf loses control, leaving the prince to fight for his life. We soon experience a time skip where we see Cydney at seventeen, continuing to battle the nature of her inner wolf and manage the guilt of hurting, or possibly killing her secret sweetheart.
Unbeknownst to Cydney, he was changed into a vampire to save his life. All is well, but of course as a prince he has a huge responsibility to his country and he must choose a wife to help him rule. The king schedules a ball for the prince to choose a fitting lady, but he can't forget his "Cinderella". Will fate allow these two to cross paths once again? Will they have to put their species first since vampires and werewolves are enemies?
Veronica Blade's novella is an extremely satisfying read. I was genuinely surprised. Even better, if you're an Amazon Prime member the book is free to borrow. That made the read just that much sweeter for me. Though I must admit I try to imagine the prince with a different hair style in my mind because the one on the cover is a total buzz kill.
I liked having an old tale to compare this to. It made me appreciate the subtle changes. While I never doubted Cinderella's love for her prince in the cartoon, sometimes for this one I merely wondered if it was due to teenage hormones. Also, sometimes it felt more like Romeo & Juliet than Cinderella. This had a lot of coming-of-age elements. There is a little action but not a whole lot. That was fine with me because I didn't pick the book up for that reason.
This is a fun, quick read and a nice change of pace from the norm. I would like to see a full fleshed out novel with these characters because there's room for the story to expand.
"He was on the ground, unmoving, bloody ropes of intestine surrounding him. He needs those, she thought stupidly and rushed to him, trying to stuff them back into his stomach."
In the latest Valerie Dearborn novel by Caroline Hanson, Love is Fear, we're finally delving into the supernatural world that we merely heard about in the first book. The playing field evens out as Lucas, Rachel, Valerie, and Jack are thrust into the land of the Fey where vampires are even more vulnerable. This is actually Lucas's plan as he desires to bring them back and restore balance because he feels that vampires have become too powerful. Of course, there's the small issue of him being responsible for their near extinction and current dormancy in the first place, so they likely won't be chummy with him upon their return. Not to mention the amount of tension that's bound to flare up among our 4 "heroes" all trying to work together without killing one another. That proves to be a difficult enough task in itself.
Book 2 is even better than the first one. Valerie starts to come into her own a bit more as an empath---the defacto mediator between supernatural creatures---and I must admit that I quite enjoyed the power play between her and Lucas, especially since it is a part of her nature. Their relationship goes from hot to scorching!
There are a lot of huge developments that make this installment a must-not-miss. Everything is turned upside down as character dynamics drastically shift and secrets are revealed. I don't know whether I should he happy that Hanson didn't waste a lot of time getting to the good stuff or upset because we didn't get more settled into the the former way of things.
Shippers, start your engines! Somebody somewhere determined that love triangles and quadrangles and polygons are a must-have for urban fantasy books and Hanson is certainly following suit, much to my personal chagrin. But I am enjoying the series so much that I will muddle through it...somehow...someway... Alls I know is that I'm Team Lucas. 9 times out of 10 I side with the vamps when it's a viable option (the exceptions being The Hollows and maybe the Cassie Palmer series). Of course, that shouldn't be very surprising when you see my username. All of her suitors (yes, it is now "all" instead of "both") have their a-hole ways, so I'll settle on the one with the most chemistry. It's only the second book after all and it's very obvious that the author as a lot more in store for Valerie Dearborn's world. I am expecting that to include a lot of evolution and character growth.
I was hoping that with a slightly higher price tag of $3.99 the author would fix the spelling, formatting and grammar errors, but they are just as rampant as they were in the first book. I guess they won't be fixed until the books are printed.
Errors aside, while we only get a taste of the new (though traditional) supernatural beings that will be thrown into the fray, it still makes for a satisfying read. Like the first one, expect plenty of action, plenty of smut (which one could argue is its own kind of action), and---most importantly---plenty of laughs with a good story somewhere in between. Along with the likes of The Hollows and Kate Daniels, this is definitely a quotable series! I have high hopes for Book 3 which I hope will be released later this year. You'll know when I know!
Say it ain’t so!! So I find a series that I genuinely enjoy. No mopey heroine (okay, maybe she’s a little obnoxious, but at lea...moreA Hell of a Good Time!
Say it ain’t so!! So I find a series that I genuinely enjoy. No mopey heroine (okay, maybe she’s a little obnoxious, but at least she’s fun about it), no emo vampires, just lots of action and fun. While it wasn’t a cliffhanger, I finished this book thinking there would be more in store. Well unfortunately Cherie Priest was only contracted for two books, meaning this may be the last we see of Raylene and friends unless the books sell more. So I guess I’m doing my part and recommending you guys read this one if you enjoy light urban fantasy series.
I read Hellbent (Book 2 of the Cheshire Red Reports) before the first and I believe it works well as a standalone. Raylene, our favorite professional vampire thief, is settling in well at her new digs after her old warehouse/home was raided by the Feds. She’s picked up a couple of new roomies too: blind vampire Ian Stott and my personal favorite Adrian deJesus, ex-Navy Seal and Drag Queen extraordinaire. While unconventional, a sense of domesticity is established as Ian helps mentor the orphan siblings Pepper and Domino who we met in Bloodshot. Adrian is still primarily focused on finding his sister who had been abducted along with Ian for that top secret government experiment that left him blind.
There is more development with that plot point, clearly establishing it as an overarcing storyline in the series. Aside from that, the master of Ian’s house has been murdered and he’s slated to take his place. This doesn’t sitting right with his brother whose been waiting in the wings to take control. Ray must protect Ian from the target on his back while taking on a side quest to collect powerful ancient artifacts.
While the books feel like more of the same, I actually think I liked the second book a bit more than the first. The characters are becoming more familiar with each other and beginning to settle into a dynamic. Who am I kidding, I liked that there was more Adrian. He’s a great sidekick for Raylene and even though she’s more powerful as a vampire, his skills, wits, and determination, allow him to keep up with her fairly well. The series doesn’t have a lot going on in the romance department, but it seems like the author wants to test the waters between both Adrian and Ian. Though her chemistry with Adrian is even stronger in this book and almost non-existent with Ian.
The vampire politics were interesting and ended up being the center of some of the best action. The humor is as strong as ever and I found myself laughing out loud a number of times. The characters are all likable in their own way…even Ray’s new kitty cat. The ending is predictable, but it makes sense. Overall, Hellbent is and enjoyable ride, but what bring the series down a bit is that it should have been structured as a duology if there was a risk that so many loose ends would be there when it’s all said and done.
If there is a book 3, I want it right away. But if there isn’t I do plan to follow Cherie Priest’s steampunk series because she’s a good writer and I like her style.
*ARC provided by NetGalley *Review also posted to Amazon(less)
Correction, I think I must thank Val for throwing it in my face how good this series is. This is the best 99 cents I've spent yet! Of course the price has increased to a whopping $1.99, but I can assure you it's worth breaking the bank for this one.
Valerie Dearborn has spent her life trying to avoid her destiny. As a child, she watch her mother meet a tragic end at the hands of a vampire. That unfortunate turn of events changed her life forever. Her father, with a help of Jack--a young man left orphaned after a vampire slaughtered his family as a child--have made it their life's mission to hunt these evil bloodsuckers. They're pretty good at it too! ...Or so they think. Except one night they bring Valerie along and she meets Lucas, a 1600 year old vampire King who knows that Valerie is no ordinary human. She is part Empath, a believed-to-be extinct species that makes vampires vulnerable to their emotions. Using her family as leverage he recruits Valerie to help him on his quest to find others like her, as well as werewolves and fae, who were supernatural adversaries to vampires long ago. He also really really wants to get in her pants because he's been emotionless for so long and wants to "feel" again. Let's not stray away from that not so little plot point. Of course Valerie wants a normal life, but it is obviously not in the cards, or this book would be really boring.
Valerie as a heroine is pretty cool. I have no real complaints since I understand that this is the first novel and she hasn't yet gone down the road of self-discovery. I sense a lot in store for her as the books continue. This series is not in first-person tense, but Valerie's own humor and personality shine through in a number of scenes.
I admit that for a while I just hadn't been coming across super sexy badass vampires. If they weren't of the "emo" variety then they merely talked the talked. Well, Lucas walks the walk. He has a valid reason for his attraction to Valerie. None of that "I have lived for 900 years and never met a strong, fearless woman who speaks her mind!" and similar lame, unbelievable crap. It's attraction on a cellular level, literally. Their chemistry is all kinds of crazy. I was liking Jack in the beginning, but after Lucas it just doesn't compare for me. I think what really impressed me was his display of complete power and dominance against enemies. He is King and he knows it, he doesn't doubt it, and it's his way or the highway. He could be as ruthless or as gentle as the moment calls for and he makes no apologies.
As for the writing, while I love Caroline Hanson's style, there are a number of spelling and formatting errors which interrupts the flow for me at times. But this tends to be pretty common for the cheap or free Kindle books.
There isn't a whole lot of story, but I see a lot of promise. The character interactions are very intriguing and there are a number of action-pact scenes to keep things moving while not being overbearing. While Love is Darkness not surprisingly has "dark" undertones, there's a lot of humor as well which is always a plus for me.
There are a few sex scenes as well so this is certainly NOT of the YA variety, but if you're in the mood for a more mature story (or about as mature you can expect a college girl moving abroad to be) then this one may be for you. Favorites don't come easy for me, but I really connected with this series and was left wanting more...a lot more. Highly recommended.
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.
This was easily one of my favorite scenes when I first read Darkfever since you could cut the tension with a knife. I'd always wondered how JZB could...moreThis was easily one of my favorite scenes when I first read Darkfever since you could cut the tension with a knife. I'd always wondered how JZB could hold out for so long and now we know why, haha. Reading this makes me miss the series though for sure...(less)
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.