Move over Urban Fantasy. Stick your vampires where the solar rays don't penetrate, and bring on theFind this and more reviews at The Demon Librarian
Move over Urban Fantasy. Stick your vampires where the solar rays don't penetrate, and bring on the hot aliens! Wow. I can't get over how much I enjoyed this book! I picked it up on a whim, really, and after having a rather lacklustre reaction to another Sci-fi title earlier this year, wasn't overly optimistic that I'd enjoy it that much. Boy, was I wrong! I'm so glad I gave this a try because it was just so redonkulously entertaining and interesting and sexy and...gah! It was just amazeballs!
Cassiel Winters is a space cadet with a secret. She experiences what she thinks of as "deja vu episodes" and strange glimpses of overlapping time sequences that she doesn't fully understand. The only thing she does comprehend is that her older brother Daz - a fully-fledged member of ESE (Earth Space Exploration) and her only remaining family - is missing, and that someone left her a note telling her to hide. Having joined ESE herself in the hopes of finding Daz, we join Cassiel towards the end of her cadet training on board a spaceship about to take her final tests for the second time. Being the first cadet ever to fail her original tests is not something she feels particularly proud of, so imagine her surprise when she is asked to undertake a special mission by her commanding officer.
This mission is where it all kicks off and from here I was sold on the story hook, line and sinker. You couldn't have pried the book from my hands with a crowbar. You couldn't have enticed my eyes from the pages with the promise of naked Ryan Gosling. Seriously, it was just fun, ya know? Pure entertainment. I'm thinking SKY'S END is probably going to appeal to the ladies rather than any hardcore Sci-fi fanboys because it was very sexy and sensual in places with many a descriptive passage detailing the hotness of a certain alien race's male members (heh, I said members), and Cassiel's narration is also very female and girlish - wondering if her butt looks too big in her Spandex space suit, for example - which would probably drive guys nuts, but which I found funny. You would though, right? Head-to-toe freakin' Spandex or whatever the hell spacey equivalent there is? I know I would.
These inanities and Cassiel's charismatic, lively narration in general, all added to her appeal and drew me into the story by giving me something recognisable to grasp onto amongst all the Sci-fi whoosimawhatsit which, as a noob to the genre, was all very alien to me (heh, I said alien). That's not to say of course that Cassiel was a perfect character. She could certainly be annoying at times, and unreasonable occasionally, and a bit immature, and possibly too impetuous as well. But she needed those flaws. If not for those she would have come off far too "Special Snowflake," because there was a definite theme going on here of everyone fancies Cassiel, which might potentially annoy some readers. It was explained away by the female-to-male ratio on board the ship being seriously out of whack, and later by the unusual mating rituals of the alien race, but I know some people will take issue with it. I just find that I don't care though. I see it, I recognise it, but I give no shits. Observe how many shits I do not give. I was entertained, and that's all I care about. The set up might have been a total ploy, but it was a fun ploy. In fact, discovering more about this alien race's relationships, or lack thereof, with its female counterparts was one of my favourite things about the story, and led to much contemplation on my part. Well, that and the pew pew pew pew spaceship racing! So like, joint favourites. 'Cause, you know, I'm a dork.
Speaking of spaceships, I found all the Sci-fi stuff complex enough to be interesting, while at no point overwhelming me, and the finer details such as the technology, weaponry and cool gadgetry, all added flavour to what was already a pretty damn tasty cake, so that was great too.
I suppose the best thing of all about SKY'S END was that it kept surprising me. I couldn't have predicted one single bit of it, and that was just so goddamn refreshing! Even with Cassiel, as much as I liked her and thought I had her all figured out, even she would surprise the heck out of me by doing the unexpected. I thought some of her decisions were very brave and admirable, and my respect for her grew as I read on. She may actually be a Special Snowflake! Stranger things have happened.
I don't know much about book two yet other than that it's set to be called Sky's Surrender, but I can tell you one thing about it: When it's released, I will be reading it. Oh, yes I will. If you build it, they will come. So says the Costner.
5 Stars ★★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Into the Hollow picks up right where On Demon Wings left off and begins with a tough decision for our gal Perry Palomino. A deAww, this was so good!
Into the Hollow picks up right where On Demon Wings left off and begins with a tough decision for our gal Perry Palomino. A decision I was silently squeeing over going "SAY YES, YOU NUMPTY!" It also shows us a side to Mr. Declan Foray we've never really seen before since he's always been in a relationship in the past. I think I rather like the free and single version of Dex. Again, SQUEE!
And there's not just the changes in Dex's behaviour to get used to, but you'll also recall he'd transformed a lot physically when he (eventually) showed up in On Demon Wings (he was all buff and stuff). And that's not the only difference we see in him over the course of this book.
If you'd asked me before I began Into the Hollow I'd have told you it wasn't possible for me to love Dex more than I already did, but it turns out that's total bumf because I found him even more irresistible in this book than ever before! He was just so patient but still determined, cheeky, badass, adorable, annoying and absolutely everything in between. I just love him!
The plot wasn't quite as creepy or scary this time but it was definitely action-packed and full of some great dramatic scenes (which I loved). In fact, I'd say this instalment was more Urban Fantasy than Horror—much like Red Fox was—and it was super duper fun and got the old adrenaline pumping nicely.
As well as dealing with the emotional fallout from the last couple of books, Dex and Perry are asked to investigate a potential "creature" sighting in the Canadian Rockies. But even with everything they've seen, they're unsure how much credence they can put in the testimony of one of its supposed victims, so the only solution is to go check it out for themselves.
There was also a moment or two of this book that made me very interested in things to come with regards to Dex and his past demons. Very interesting developments indeed.
My new favourite nickname for an animal (or vegetable, or mineral) ever has to go to Twatwaffle the llama. Pure unadulterated genius and my new favourite word of the week.
Sigh. Of course, the sad thing is now I've run out of books! I knew this would happen, obviously, but I didn't think it would feel quite this crappy. I've got the shakes, withdrawals, extreme lethargy (although I think I had that last one already) and just general uninterest in anything anybody whose name isn't Karina Halle has written. Ever.
My first thoughts upon reading the synopsis for thisFind more reviews like this one at The Demon Librarian
Another fabulous tale from Karina Halle.
My first thoughts upon reading the synopsis for this one were "Oh. Dear. You are kidding me, right?"
I mean, we've heard about Dex's girlfriend Jenn a few times in the first three books. We've heard how hot she is and how much everyone lusts after her blah blah blah, including Dex (gag). But that was kind of okay because it was only talk; she wasn't right there in the picture. She was removed, vague, indistinct, abstract...
Then comes this book, and suddenly shit just got a whole lot more real. And a lot more painful!
I don't know about you, but when I read I really, really get absorbed in my books; especially ones as well-written and evocative as these. I live vicariously through the characters, I identify with them, empathise and in some cases, I am that character. I particularly connect well to Perry because I share some of her insecurities. And I can tell you that because of that, this book seriously hurt my feelings. I mean, it literally HURT. I could feel my chest squeezing in jealousy and anguish and I had to blink hard more than once. So in that respect, it was not a 'fun' read, and yet there were other moments of it that I wouldn't swap for the world. I was such a wreck afterwards as well; it really took me a while to process everything. In fact, my husband kept stumbling upon me in a trance-like state after I'd finished and he'd be all "what is up with you today?" And I'd be like "Wha? Um, uh, book, thing, Dex, why did he, I don't...uh...."
So it could only be a five star read after that, lol.
It's impossible to say much more without getting into spoiler territory, but just make sure you have a couple of days free of interruptions when you start this one because you will not want to put it down!
As for the rest of it, Perry and Dex are in Seattle to investigate an alleged haunting at a Mental Institute. There were some great spooky scenes as you'll have come to expect by now. There were also some really nice new secondary characters introduced in the form of Dex (and Jenn's) friends. I really liked them and can't wait to see them again, hopefully.
And lastly, my final top tip would be to have the next book to hand for when you finish this one. It's not a cliffhanger, but I defy anyone not to want to know what happens next RIGHT FREAKING NOW!
This book was like an endurance test - in the nicest possible way.
This is really going to put my no spoilers policy to the test because there's a certain thing you're waiting to happen in this book, and anyone who's read it will know exactly what that something is, and so you find yourself racing towards that point (if such a point even exists;)), and I wouldn't blame you for doing that too. But I think it's worth actually slowing down a little and just examining the rest of what's going on. The changes in Perry that are in evidence for starters, and the development—for better or worse—of other returning characters. They're quite significant.
There are certain events in life that are powerful enough to actually affect your personality and change your character to a degree, whether temporarily or permanently. Having undergone just such a shocking change, Perry is in a...weird head space. I don't want to say she's in a "dark place" because she's actually trying really hard not to be dark. She's silently berating and encouraging herself to be positive, get out there, meet new people, and absolutely, positively NO DWELLING under any circumstances! But it's so hard.
It's also hard to be around people that don't understand. Her parents, for example, have never made a secret of the fact that they don't believe her about the whole ghost thing or that they think her show is a bunch of bull****. But someone who's always been on Team Perry (even if it took her a while to realise it) is her kid sister, Ada. I've liked Ada in the past books but my high opinion of her grew exponentially in this one. She's supportive but not coddling, and at times it felt like a role reversal—who's the 23-year old and who's the 15-year old? She just rocks.
Even with all this going on, though, it's not long before people start to realise Perry is acting strange above and beyond what might be expected under the circumstances. Giving us, and them, even more reason to keep a close eye on her. Some of the changes just might not be as natural as they seem...
I'm so looking forward to being able to read the Dex Files after this! It's meant to be read between books 5 and 6. I can't wait to see his take on, well, everything!
This is just a quickie review (see Janice's full review on the blog).
This was fantastic. They just keep getting better and better! Karina Halle upped the creepy factor all the way up to eleven and never let it drop. It also had a buttload of foreshadowing and questions raised for future books. As if I needed any further encouragement to devour them all! Pfft! It had lots of nice character development as well, although it was a bit of a test of my devotion to Dex at times. Still, I luuuurved it.
As a former big L.O.S.T. fan I adored the setting of D’Arcy Island and all the spooky goings on there. And the effects it had on both Dex and Perry's state of mind was harrowing yet fascinating to read.
I think I'm going to have a problem here because I already gave book one, Darkhouse, 5 stars because I thoughtI love this series. It's now official.
I think I'm going to have a problem here because I already gave book one, Darkhouse, 5 stars because I thought it was awesome on toast with a side order of shamazeballs. But this one was undeniably, unquestionably and indisputably better in almost every sense. So where do I go from here? I do not have 6 stars, people! Everyone knows all books have to be rated out of 5 and that half stars are against God's plan, so how can I express the, the...betterness of this one? Yes, I am aware betterness isn't a word. But it should be!
In my first joint review with Janice I said that I suspected there may end up being more to the series than just ghosts and ghost-hunting. And I was right! There's so much more. I really, really loved the storyline for this book. And the setting. And all the extra paranormal elements. And the fact that it was more mystery based - almost a whodunnit. And most especially, I loved the developments between Perry and Dex!
I'm just flabbergasted at how much they both seemed to change before my very eyes in this book, and in each other's. They say that scary, life-threatening events will form an emotional bond between two people, and I certainly think that was part of it. But I also think Perry and Dex are two people who just fit together anyway. Like slightly broken puzzle pieces, they each may not be completely whole, but they still fit.
I have to admit to a certain amount of fangirl squeeing when it became apparent they would have to feign a higher level of closeness during the case they were working on down in Red Fox. Anything that might have forced them to be in the same room where they could get to know each other more would have made me happy, but the deception they had to maintain made it even better!
There were some really interesting secondary characters in this book including a blast from Dex's past who provided us with some much-needed back story on him. I loved all that but I'm not yet convinced I like the person who delivered it. His motives are highly questionable.
So, to sum up, in case you missed your cue—yes do I recommend this series! If book one was awesome on toast with a side order of shamazeballs, then book two was spaghetti bloody marvellous with Parmesan genius.
I'm really enjoying this series. I particularly enjoy Deuce's chaFind more reviews like this one at The Demon Librarian
A great follow up to Enclave.
I'm really enjoying this series. I particularly enjoy Deuce's characterisation. She gets so confused at times. Normally overly innocent or naive characters wouldn't be my thing, but her lack of understanding comes from her upbringing—or in her case, a distinct lack thereof. She plainly doesn't understand many things about regular relationships or male/female interactions in particular. When someone is displaying what to us are quite obvious signs of hurt and jealousy, she's totally clueless. She has no frame of reference for dealing with it. And I also like that she acknowledges this lack and rather than jumping wildly to conclusions all TSTL style, she queries it. She just says look, I don't understand all this stuff so unless you talk to me—actually say the words out loud—I am never going to guess what the problem is, 'kay? (Those were not her exact words but you get the general idea).
(How many times can I use the word lack in a paragraph...?)
The main four characters that entered the town of Salvation at the end of the last book: Deuce, Fade, Tegan and Stalker, are all there but have all been separated out into different "foster" homes. Some with more success than others. Fade isn't talking to Deuce and she has no clue why. Tegan is also avoiding her but she thinks she might have figured out the reason for that one. And Stalker...is just Stalker, and nothing seems to phase him and no town's rules will ever truly determine his actions. I've never really said what I think of Stalker. I am a bit conflicted on him, to be honest. His past actions are horrendous to me, but much like Deuce he's a product of his upbringing. He lived wild with his "wolves," more like animals than people, so I'm trying to keep that in mind and not be too hard on him. If Deuce can understand this about him, I should be able to too.
The town is pretty insistent that the new arrivals conform to their rules. Rules which would dictate that Deuce is now back in the "child" category even though in her former life she was an adult, and also that girls are suppose to wear dresses, sew, be pretty, bake, look nice, clean, be demure and polite. All things which Deuce is not and doesn't want to do, of course. She a Huntress, and as it turns out, the town might just need a Huntress a helluva lot more than it needs another pretty girl in a pretty dress.
I found some parts of this book a little slower than book one, if I'm honest, but the ending was excellent and quite moving. I'll definitely be picking up the next one to see how that all progresses from here.
This was great, fun, sexy Urban Fantasy.Joint read/review with Janice. Find more reviews like this at The Demon Librarian book blog.
What a fun read!
This was great, fun, sexy Urban Fantasy. Hedi's voice was immediately engaging as a protagonist, and you got the sense that she was talking directly to you, which I thought was great. It had some standard UF fare with the werewolves and Fae taking centre stage, but it definitely managed to put its own spin on even those regular staples of the genre.
And also some great new ideas as well. There were plenty of interesting plot developments and action to keep the reader glued throughout, and there was even quite a substantial amount of romance in there too! This was actually my only slight problem area. Not that I didn't like the romance - I did. I just felt at times it was moving too fast for me to keep up with. But then, I'm one of those strange people who doesn't mind being made to wait several books for a romance to form, especially in my Urban Fantasy series. I'm sure other people will be more than happy having things moving as quickly as they do.
I'm definitely going to be reading the next one as I liked the world building, the characters and the plot twists despite my minor issues with the romance. Can't wait to see how things pan out in book two: The Thing About Weres, when it releases in July 2013.
I really enjoyed this. I think anyone who enjoys emotionally-charged contemporary romances featuring messed-upA very sexy, very engaging read. Rawr!
I really enjoyed this. I think anyone who enjoys emotionally-charged contemporary romances featuring messed-up characters, such as Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, for example, will enjoy this book. (Although I must say this is a more polished, more grown-up, sexier and more realistic story than BD without quite so many WTF? moments.) I make the comparison only because of how this book made me feel, which was similar to my reaction to Beautiful Disaster, in that I connected easily and strongly to the characters' twisted relationship and felt like I got sucker-punched numerous times. And it made me cry, at least twice. Which, bizarrely, is something I rather like my books to do.
It's a character-driven story with some very minor subplots thrown in and a strong theme of 'fear of letting people in/getting hurt'. The main culprit of this particular character flaw being Joss (Jocelyn) Butler, the protagonist.
I liked Joss, I really did, but sometimes she infuriated me. She lost her family (mother, father and sister) in a car crash at age fourteen and went a little wild for a few years, then closed off and withdrew from people altogether. Cut to 8 years later and she's still mostly walled off from humanity, but has at least managed to acquire a few casual acquaintances. However, circumstances force a sharp change in her life when she moves into a new flat, with a new room-mate, on Dublin Street. And said room-mate has a very handsome, very charming, utterly egotistical brother called Braden, and this book is all about their tempestuous relationship.
It's an extremely sexually-charged relationship, with some absolutely scorching love scenes that were H.O.T. without ever crossing any of my personal boundaries of what I want to read about (like some other highly popular books floating about at the moment that you may have heard of...). Where the annoyance with Joss bit comes in, however—and really, it's not actually her fault at all—is that she has been so unhappy and alone for so long, that when the chance presents itself to become part of an adopted family of sorts, and a loving relationship, she's too scared to take it. And I just wanted to shake her at times and say "It's right there! What you are looking for is right in front of your damn face!". But then I also kinda wanted to cry for her as well, because she's clearly terrified of losing anyone again and thinks the answer is to not care about anyone...like, ever.
The use of 1st person narrative through Joss works really well for this book, even though it's much more common to find romances written in 3rd. Every thought, feeling and sensation is brought to you with first-hand descriptors taking you along for the ride rather than just being a witness to it. The other plus, IMO, is that it causes Braden to be that much more of a mystery as we never have the privilege of his thoughts, so we experience Joss's worries, insecurities and emotions about him which really draws you in, and it also means we only get to see Braden through Joss's lust-filled gaze, making him seem extremely appealing!
Not that Braden needed much help to sound appealing... My, my, my. He has his caveman tendencies, sure, and I could have lived without the string of ex-Barbie doll girlfriends (as I'm sure Joss could have, too) but he was also very sweet and understanding, even when Joss was being a total basketcase. I liked his character a lot and might have a teensy weensy crush on him. Just don't tell anyone, 'kay?
To sum up, I lurved this book. I didn't want it to end. So if you're in need of a steamy, well-written contemporary read, this is the very fella for you. Enjoy!
5 Stars ★★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher for an honest review.
Now then, this was something a little bit different. I don't tend to read many Regency Romances but somFantastic characters - a break from the norm.
Now then, this was something a little bit different. I don't tend to read many Regency Romances but something about the blurb piqued my interest for this one so I gave it a whirl and I'm very glad that I did!
This book breaks all the rules of Regency Romance as I've come to know them. Doesn't it know that the hero and heroine are supposed to meet within the first 20 pages, and then the hero is meant to be transfixed by her heaving bosom, and she's meant to turn into a blob of simpering girl goo every time he comes near. Yada, yada, pithy dialogue, blah-di-blah, several sex scenes involving creamy thighs, quivering members and throbbing manhoods, some other stuff, fiddle-di-dee, happily ever after - the end.
That is how it is supposed to go! Those are The Rules! But that's not what happened here. Far from it.
Instead, what we got were two flawed but fascinating main characters. In particular, the heroine, Mira, had a lot going on internally. She has some stuff to work through before she can even consider members of the opposite sex. So for this reason the romance had to wait quite a while to get going (which made perfect sense in context) while she sorted through some of her problems and issues.
Mira and Micheal are two people who share the same goal—vengeance and the all-consuming need to kill Michael's older brother, the Duke of Tallant. And on the surface, that's all they have in common. But as we go deeper we see that they are more like kindred spirits than they could ever have guessed. Both characters are a dichotomy in and of themselves. Michael, at the start of the book, has just returned from India to England after a decade-long absence. He outwardly looks like a total barbarian compared to all the pomps of London, but underneath, much as he would deny it, he is a decent and good man. Whereas Mira looks like an angel on the outside; soft-spoken and altruistic, caring for her disabled father and turning down frequent offers of marriage to devote herself to her father's few remaining months of life. But underneath that façade, she is a woman filled only with thoughts of revenge and calculating cold-blooded murder.
Neither character was wholly good or bad, but they were definitely interesting and engaging.
Obviously, to find out why they want to kill the duke so much you'll have to read the book, but it's quite harrowing and heartbreaking and I'm just glad that Michael and Mira found each other in time.
I have to say, I loved the setting and all the Indian fables and stories that were thrown in via Michael's Sikh friend Hari. They were used sparingly, but were a nice (and again, different) addition. I also really enjoyed the dialogue, I thought that was very well done. And it was really endearing to read Michael's hopes and dreams through his narration, even though he was adamant he didn't deserve any of what he secretly wished for. All that was just too cute!
If I could wish for anything, I would have loved a few more intimate scenes. However, I would not have brought them forward to earlier in the book, I would simply wish for it to have been longer or to have had a nice epilogue. Particularly after the way things went the first time they were together!
I definitely recommend this book. I may be no expert on this genre, but I know good characters when I meet them, and they certainly were that.
4 Stars ★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher for an honest review [image error] [image error]...more
This review will probably be rubbish and not do the book justice at all, for the simple fact that I was enjoying it so much thaLove, love, loved it!
This review will probably be rubbish and not do the book justice at all, for the simple fact that I was enjoying it so much that I actually forgot it was an ARC (for review read) and forgot to take ANY notes. Not. One. Single. Note. Normally, I keep a pad and pencil next to my eReader at all times and I'll jot down little scribbles whenever they come to me, but I was so engrossed, I forgot.
And, funnily enough, compared to other similar books of this genre, the book wasn't even particularly action-packed or fast-moving, so it wasn't that that had me flipping the pages. It was more that I was simply enchanted by it. By the world, the story and the writing. This is my first book by Marillier, but will definitely not be my last. Her writing style is immediately engaging, no doubt in part due to being in first person, which is quite unusual for this type of book.
Full confession time: this genre is fast becoming by own personal literary crack, I can't seem to get enough of it. So that will have upped my enjoyment and my rating because I was in my element, my happy place. It's a difficult genre to pin down, really. It's essentially a historical fantasy setting (in this case loosely based on a magical ancient Scotland) with lush world-building and a strong (either of magic, character or body) and often quite young, female main character, and usually has a slow-forming but very sweet romance. I may not know what the genre is called, but I know exactly who I would recommend it to. If you are a fan of any or all of the following, you should love this book.
Maria V. Snyder. (Study Series, Healer of Avry series) Kristin Cashore. (Seven Kingdoms series) R. L. LaFevers (His Fair assassin series) Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass series) Kristen Britain (Greed Rider series)
And probably more I'm forgetting or haven't 'met' myself yet.
I've seen from other reviewers who have had the pleasure of reading Marillier before, that this isn't even necessarily her best or most thrilling book, no doubt due to the aforementioned lack of action or solid conclusion. But it's a great opener for a series I'm now extremely excited about continuing. The main conflict of the story arc—the evil King Keldec and his mission to cull every town of anyone who has Canny magic (unless they work for him, of course) by whatever ruthless means necessary—is all still to come. It was only talked about in the abstract in this book because, as of yet, our brave young heroine—a girl called Neryn of almost 16 summers—isn't ready to face him. I would have had to suspend all disbelief if she were to have had a showdown with him in this book. This is no Mary Sue character and there was no Deus Ex Machina ending. She's not ready yet. She's on a journey, and it's only just begun.
At the start of the book, Neryn has just about lost everything and finds herself on her own and on the run. Help comes in the most unexpected of forms and there are many a challenge and test of wills along the way. Much like in the great fairy tales of the past, our heroine first has to prove her worth, have her mettle tested to breaking point, and that's exactly what this book shows us. Seeing these early stages of our heroine's growth, while she's still so young and even a little bit naive, will no doubt make seeing the rest of her journey that much more fulfilling.
Flint, who was the other main character out of the wide and varied cast, all of whom were vivid and essential, was a real treat. Not your typical hero by any means, but what an amazingly complex and conflicted character! I can't wait to see more of him.
Even lacking in action or any big, climactic ending as it was, this was not a boring book by any means, and I thoroughly enjoyed every page. There is a lot of time that Neryn is alone and travelling, but she's faced with constant challenges that kept me entertained. And then when Flint came on the scene...well, I was entertained for all kinds of different reasons then :)
Recommended to fans of all of the above authors, and to anyone who loved a good (and often rather gruesome) fairy tale as a child. Suitable for younger readers, but perfect for big kids too.
Thirty pieces of silver, but what is the price of a soul?
And we're back for book 11 in the In Death series with a gruesome killing spree that puts aThirty pieces of silver, but what is the price of a soul?
And we're back for book 11 in the In Death series with a gruesome killing spree that puts a taint on everything Eve Dallas stands for. As usual—and this is something that I find quite comical at this point—there's a connection to Eve's billionaire husband, Roarke.
Well, he does own half the planet!
I thought the crime and mystery aspect was a great improvement over the last one. There's nothing Eve won't do to avenge the dead, and it hits even harder when it's one of their own. The connection to Roarke and the re-emergence of a contact from his less than spotless past is worrying for Eve. In trying to protect Roarke, a wall of tension is built between them which leads to some really intense scenes that were very satisfying to read.
To break the tension...Well, what does a girl do when her husband is being a butthead? Why, go and get rip roaring drunk with her oldest friend of course!
Now, I think I've mentioned before how good the audiobook narrator, Susan Ericksen, is for this series. She's made me laugh many a time with her interpretations of Robb's characters. But drunk Mavis has to go down as the ultimate achievement in audio narration. Ever. Somebody hand that woman an award, please. It was just...ah, so funny.
So, all together a great instalment with some graphic scenes of violence, some tense emotional moments, and a drunk Mavis as the proverbial cherry on the top. How does that sound?
Oh, I really enjoyed this. It's definitely Steampunk with its steam cabs, bio-mechanic limbs, clockwork toys and MetaljacA sizzling Steampunk debut.
Oh, I really enjoyed this. It's definitely Steampunk with its steam cabs, bio-mechanic limbs, clockwork toys and Metaljacket soldiers. But it's also a Paranormal-Historical Romance filled with blood-drinkers, vampires and werewolves. In fact, the paranormal aspect I felt was actually stronger than the Steampunk stuff for the most part, which was mostly just used for worldbuilding and padding in the background.
It's also set in a kind of alternate history dystopian society. Oh heck, I don't know what genre it is, but it's a delicious mix of sexy Steampunk and Paranormal awesomeness. And I think I'd quite like to marry that cover too. Although, having read the book, I have to tell you that Honoria would never flash her garters in public like that. In private, well, that's another matter, and it all depends who's asking....
Honoria, of course, is our leading lady. She has an interesting tale to tell regarding how she's ended up the soul provider for her two younger siblings, the youngest of whom, Charlie, is very ill. She's having to live on the outskirts of The Rookery, which is the worst and most dangerous part of London, because it's all she can afford. A strategic position that she hopes will keep her well under the radar of the man who owns everything and everyone in The Rookery; the Devil of Whitechapel himself, Blade.
Why on earth would anyone want to avoid Blade? He's so yummy! He absolutely stole the show for me. Honoria was great as heroines go, but Blade. Ah, Blade. He was simply delicious; just the right amount of arrogance and vulnerability. Not impossibly beautiful, definitely a bit rough around the edges, but he won my heart with his willingness to give his to Honoria, whether she wanted it or not.
I thought McMaster got the balance just right in all areas of the book. Blade was aggressively male but not a dominant douchebag. Honoria was feisty but not bitchy. (She makes up for any excessive snappiness through her sacrifices for her brother and sister. And hey, if I was starving myself to leave more food for my family, I'd be in a bad mood too, let me tell you). The action scenes were bloody but not overly gruesome. And the inevitable Happily Ever After was sweet but not too saccharine.
Oh, and the sex scenes were extremely well done as well I thought! Sexy, but with an emotional connection to go with them.
My only complaint (because there has to be one, right?) was the way Blade's Cockney dialogue was written. Writing someone's accent can be a tricky venture and I felt like some of the dropped letters were incorrectly placed, forcing me to stumble through his dialogue sections, which just bugged me. But I have say this, and it's only a teeny tiny peeve really, was the only reason it didn't get 5 stars.
I'm very interested in several of the secondary characters that were introduced, including Honoria's sister Lena, and Blade's second in command Will the Verwulfen, as well as several others. I hope to see them starring in their own books very soon. I'll definitely be checking out the next instalment which is called Heart of Iron, when it hits the shelves in May 2013.
Recommended to fans of Meljean Brook's Iron Seas series, and Kristen Callihan's Darkest London series.
41/2 Stars ★★★★1/2 ARC provided for an honest review.
An enjoyable read with great characters and hot sexy times.
McCarty has been a hit or miss author for me. I persevere simply because when it's a hit,An enjoyable read with great characters and hot sexy times.
McCarty has been a hit or miss author for me. I persevere simply because when it's a hit, it really hits! This was a hit despite one or two niggling irritations. More on that in a second.
This book is the story of Kenneth Sutherland—a highland warrior already well on his way to becoming one of Bruce's phantoms, following in the footsteps of his late cousin. He's a charmer, a womaniser, too quick to anger, cocky and self-assured and absotively posilutely sure he will never, ever, not in a gajillion years, fall in love.
And then there's Mary—a widowed former child bride with a very sad back story. She was married off at a young age to a war hero who had no interest in her and who continued about his philandering ways right under her nose with nary a twitch of his conscience or a scrap of concern for her tender feelings. Ignored and unwanted, she lived a very lonely life. Her husband, when he was around, never saw her as an adult. Right up until the day he died when she was 23, he still thought of her as the nuisance child he'd been forced to wed. It was a loveless marriage (at least it was on his part), and to top it off, as was sometimes customary for noble children, her son was taken from her at 6 months of age to be brought up elsewhere. The pain of which Mary never emotionally recovered from.
(Side note: It's funny, actually, that there's been a bit of talk lately in the bookiverse about a 14 year old main character—Dani from Iced by Karen Marie Moning— and whether or not it's acceptable or appropriate for her to have way-too-old potential love interests. It's a subject that sets off all sorts of alarm bells with some readers. Alarm bells that sound like they're saying hinky hinky hinky. I haven't read Iced myself yet, but I'm aware of the discussions on the topic all the same. And then I pick up this book and see that the character was married at 14. MARRIED! And impregnated! The mind surely boggles. But it just goes to show how very much times and perceptions change.)
At the time our two characters meet, Kenneth is competing in the Highland Games and is surrounded constantly by a bevy of brain dead beauties. He's in the middle of copulating with one such female when Mary stumbles upon him in the stables and is transfixed.
This has got to be a first for me—for the heroine to see the hero banging someone else! How would you ever get that image out of your head?
Anyway. After a bit of persuasion, he also gets Mary into his bed. Since she's never known passion in the bedroom, she is unable to resist, but is adamant it will mean nothing and will never be repeated. She just wants some of what the other woman seemed to be enjoying so much.
What follows this is quite a messy relationship full of secrets, mixed-messages and an inability to commit which was nonetheless engaging and enjoyable to read. Because I like angsty, emotional story lines. I found it hard to get past my initial perception of Kenneth's character for a long time (can you blame me after that intro?) and he didn't help matters by his insistence that men can do whatever they want when married but women must be dutiful and faithful! I know it's the time it was set in and therefore more realistic that I would like to accept, but it's still annoying and off-putting for a hero to be that much of an arse.
However, I'd 99% forgiven him by the end of the book (which was quite an achievement, believe me) and I enjoyed their ultimate love story, and that's definitely what it became. I liked the action scenes, parts of the history and politics, and most notably, Mary's transformation, both physically and emotionally, from the mere shell of a woman she was at the start of the book, to the confident beauty who'd won the heart of a man who swore he had none.
4 Stars ★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
BeautifulDisasterhas to be the most apt book title I've seen in a while, because that's exactly what Abby and Travis's relationship is. When it'srighBeautiful Disaster has to be the most apt book title I've seen in a while, because that's exactly what Abby and Travis's relationship is. When it's right it's a beautiful thing, when it's bad....Oh boy.
I have been totally lost in this book for the last three days. It's a sneaky little thing. One of those insistent books that calls to you when you're away from it, drawing you back time and again until you're fully immersed in it and everything else fades away. It's very much a character driven tale; there was little going on other than the developing relationship (in all its twisted glory) between its two main characters: Travis "Mad Dog" Maddox, and Abby Abernathy.
I admit, having scanned the reviews before starting this book, I was slightly nervous but also somewhat excited to begin, because it was clear that, good or bad, this is a book that brings out a strong reaction in its readers. (Which is awesome). There are wildly differing opinions and ratings. The negative reviews I've seen have been slamming the bad behaviour of the boy, Travis, as the main issue. Pointing out how wrong his actions are. But...that's kind of the whole point of the book. The very fact that it is so wrong and so dysfunctional, yet chocked full of such intense feelings and emotions, is what makes the story so absorbing. It's like a car wreck you don't want to see but your eyes stray back to it against your will and better judgement. So I find the negative reviews based solely on his behaviour, the very behaviour that makes the book interesting to read in the first place, slightly off.
Everyone interprets things differently, of course. And don't get me wrong, both Travis and Abby do some incredibly stupid and hurtful things to each other in this book, and also overreact or react badly in certain circumstances. It's an extremely intense, first love-type relationship between two people who have no idea how to be together. Or in Travis's case, to be on his own, either.
I really like flawed characters such as these; they're so much more interesting to read about, contemplate and analyse. But enjoying reading about themdoes not automatically mean I agree with their actions. That's a distinction that needs to be made. My rating it 4 stars doesn't mean I think Travis is perfect. I don't think anybody that reads the book would think Travis was perfect. Cripes, I wanted to bash his face in myself a couple of times during the read. But my strong, emotional reaction, and even anger, to me means the book was doing its job. It drew me in, it made me care, then it smacked me in the face. And I loved it for it! And ultimately, by the end of the book, I also loved Travis a little bit.
Moving on. The book was mainly focused around four characters: Travis and Abby, and their respective best friends, Sheply and America, who are also a couple. The highlights of this book for me were the development of the friendship relationship between Travis and Abby before the romance got in the way, and then the lead up to their falling in love. It was allowed to progress slowly and naturally. Once they began falling in love, I then developed more of a love/hate relationship with the book. I loved it because I like high emotion and drama in books, and I hated it because.... because it hurt my feelings! *sniff sniff*
There were also some incredibly sweet moments to enjoy; it's not all heartache and angst by any means. The clue is in the title, and some parts of it were beautiful and some very ugly.
The reason it didn't make 5 stars for me were that I felt the physical descriptions of the characters were lacking to non-existent. I don't know if this was intentional or not, but I had no idea what America or Shep were supposed to look like. The only one who got a lot of physical description was Travis, but that could be because it's written 1st person through Abby's eyes, and it's what she would notice. So not her best friend for years then, but the strange, tattooed boy that's suddenly following her around and grinning a lot.
I do also think the book could have been shorter. I was so absorbed in Travis and Abby that I actually wasn't missing any other kind of background plot, I just wanted to watch more of this strange yet weirdly addictive relationship, so I was quite resistant when the whole Vegas bit started interfering with my voyeurism. Which is unlike me, I'm normally the first to cry "let's play find the plot" if I find one lacking. In this case I just didn't care and didn't want any interference.
And lastly, I thought the descriptions of all the Barbie wannabes drooling over Travis, despite his reputation for being a serial one-night stander, to be slightly unbelievable.
To sum up- I was really lost in this book. It wasn't perfect, and it definitely wasn't always pretty, but oh boyo it was entertaining and addictive. If you enjoy messed-up characters, drama, growth, heartache, joy, intense love and very bad boys, then this book is for you.
4 Stars ★★★★ Review Copy: Received from the publisher for an honest review
**For anyone concerned about any potentially disturbing elements, let me confirm there is no abuse; sexual, physical, emotional or otherwise in the book.
There's plenty of jealousy, insecurity, neediness, pettiness and miscommunication. But no abuse. And also, I think the book is often referred to as a
YA title which is inaccurate. The
are teens (18,19) but it's not really a teen read. Not young teen, anyway. I'd say 18 + **
The Horngate Witches series is set in a post magical apocaFind more reviews like this one at The Demon Librarian book blog.
Five action-packed stars!
The Horngate Witches series is set in a post magical apocalyptic America and features badass sword-wielding, not quite human, warriors, mildly sociopathic witches, not very angelic angels, and all manner of other weird mythological creatures and beasties. With a splash of romance enough to make me grin like a weirdo, worldbuilding that knocks my socks off, and action by the bucket load, you can see why this series is right up their with my other Urban Fantasy favourites like Kate Daniels, The Hollows, Mercedes Thompson and all those other great female-led UF series. If you haven't started this series yet and you are a fan of any of the above, add this to your TBR today! You will not be sorry.
The warriors in this series—Shadowblades and Sunspears—act as guardians for the witches and are, in fact, the main focus of books, despite the slightly misleading series name. They're woven with spells that make them nearly indestructible, as well as faster, stronger, more resistant to extreme temperatures, etc. But the downside to all that is eternal servitude to the witch who turned them. Which wouldn't be so much of a problem unless, say for instance, that witch used to be your best friend and did it to you without your permission.
Our main character is Max (that's a girl, btw), but at this point in the series, it's fair to say that Alexander is just as much of a main character as it's told in alternating third person POVs between them. Max and Alexander not only have to fight all manner of nasty things in this book as part of their role as leaders of the Shadowblades, but they're also fighting some more personal demons, as well as their increasingly complicated feelings for each other.
Following on from the giant waves of magic that erupted a couple of books back, and then Max's trials in Shadow City, she and her fellow Blades are reunited once again and decide it's time they get out from behind the safety and insulation of Horngate's wards to check out the aftermath and find out what's happening with the humans still out there in the towns and cities. Which is nothing good, as it turns out. Food is in critical demand, people are reverting back to their baser natures, and where there's chaos and panic, there's always some douchecanoe wannabe dictator ready to lead them all up the creek without a paddle. Which loosely sums up the premise of this book, in a very crude and ineloquent way.
I thought the use of the split POVs proved really useful once again; allowing us to see the action from all sides at once. The awkwardness that's developed between Alexander and Max was showcased brilliantly, too. Max, being Max, isn't handling the new dynamic with Alexander very well. She's been acting like Jekyll and Hyde with him and he is both perplexed and annoyed by it. I fully expected Max to make some mistakes at the whole "relationship" thing, and she certainly didn't disappoint! I thought that entire situation was really well-written, and with a few unpredictable twists thrown in for good measure.
Overall, I thought the story was engaging, well-paced, amusing, emotional, exhilarating, intense...I mean, I could just go on and on. It was just superb urban fantasy.
So what are you waiting for, hmm? Go grab yourself a copy right now!
5 Stars! ★★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Lynsey: Well, as recommendations go, this was ceThis is a joint review with Janice. Find more reviews like this one at The Demon Librarian book blog.
Lynsey: Well, as recommendations go, this was certainly a winner!
I'd had this book on my TBR for a while and had snapped it up as a Kindle Freebie. I was vaguely aware of a good buzz surrounding it, but was ultimately convinced to bump it to the top of my list when Janice said the immortal words, "you have to meet Dex."
Now, when a character is so awesome that he defies describing in a few sentences, you just "have to meet him" to understand, I'm instantly intrigued because I am all about characters; the more unique, the better.
Not only was Dex 100% unique (literally unlike any other character I have read in any book from any genre), but so is Perry! I think possibly Dex gets mentioned in reviews more often since he's more mysterious to us as readers—it's written 1st person through Perry—but I have to give Perry a virtual high-five too because she totally rocks as a protagonist!
So thank you, Janice! I am so glad to have started this series and can't wait to read the rest! (I've already started book 2. TBR list? What TBR list?!)
Janice: You're very welcome, Lynsey! I knew you'd love it!
I discovered Karina Halle's Experiment In Terror series earlier this year and fell instantly, utterly, in love with both it and Halle's engaging writing style. In anticipation of the release of book #6 (Into The Hollow), I decided to re-read the entire series, beginning with Darkhouse, and I gotta say, it was even more enjoyable the second time around. There were so many little details I'd forgotten, hints and clues of things to come in future books. But more than that, I just wanted to revisit the world of Dex and Perry. It's a very cool and creepy place to be.
Lynsey: It certainly is. I think this will be a series I end up re-reading, too. Once I finally get some answers about Dex, I'm sure it would be fascinating to go back to the beginning and look again at some of his scenes and be like, "Ohhhhh, I get it now," lol.
So, aside from having two fascinating, intriguing and endearing main characters, what is the book about? Well, ghosts and ghost-hunting, essentially. I suspect there's a lot more to the series once you get a few more books down the line, and I definitely get the sense that we've only seen the tip of the iceberg where Dex and Perry's back stories are concerned, but for this first book alone it was the story of how Perry met the delightful Dex who is a webshow filmmaker, cameraman, composer and all-round enigma with an... unusual approach to conversation, shall we say (understatement alert), and how they set out to make a documentary-style film about a haunted lighthouse.
Janice: But who, exactly, are these incredible characters Lynsey speaks of? Well, Perry is a twenty-two year old college grad living at home with her parents and younger sister, working a dead-end receptionist job and sort of drifting through life without any real purpose or direction. She's always been the odd duck in her family, always felt like she was meant to do something more, only she could never quite figure out what that something was...that is, until one fateful night when she investigates the lighthouse on her uncle's property and bumps into a trespasser named Dex Foray.
If there was a moment that determined the course of my future, I'm pretty sure this was it. I had two somewhat simple choices. I could make a run for it and go back to Uncle Al's. Back to the bonfire where my cousins and dear sister would be drinking and revel in the normalcy of a Saturday night and forget I ever went to this horrid place and ran into this weirdo. Or I could go with said weirdo up the stairs in this decrepit old lighthouse, which was most likely condemned and unsafe, towards some unknown person (or thing) that was walking around, potentially waiting to murder us in horrific ways.
It didn't seem like a very hard decision to make. In fact, I think 99.7% of people in the right frame of mind would have picked from column A and gone on with their merry lives. But for some freaking crazy reason, I thought that maybe, just maybe I should go with this stranger up those kelp-ridden stairs and toward the lair of unimaginable horror. You know, because it was the more interesting alternative.
That's what I love about Perry. Even when she's scared out of her mind, she is not a roll-over-and-play-dead type of girl. As a narrator, she's snarky and so easy to relate to; she just draws you into the whole experience. What she feels, you feel. She is also more than able to hold her own with Dex, which I don't think many people could do.
I wish I could describe Dex to you. Oh sure, I can rattle off an impressive list of adjectives - intense, flawed, enigmatic, funny, maddening, and sexy, just to name a few - but the truth is, Dex is not a man who can be pinned down with mere words. He must be experienced.
Lynsey: That's so true; I can totally see why you say that now. It's almost like it would do him a disservice to try to sum him up or something...
Janice: Exactly! Dex is...well, Dex. I love the dynamic between him and Perry. It's so electric and brimming with possibility, and Karina Halle does a brilliant job conveying the tension in their relationship. They are constantly pushing and pulling each other. Can I trust you? What are you going to do in this situation? How will you react if I say this? Who are you, really? And as the reader, you're totally caught up in it. And you know, instinctively, that these two characters are going to take you on a journey unlike any other.
If any two people were fated to meet, Dex and Perry were. Don't believe me? Ask the Creepy Clown Lady. (That restaurant scene.....*shudder*....freaky!)
Lynsey: No, not Creepy Clown Lady! Anything but her! Lol.
There were quite a few interesting secondary characters, actually. It wasn't just the Dex and Perry show (although they totally stole it). I quite liked Perry's kid sister, Ada, for example. I really felt like she added another layer to Perry's character. I haven't encountered many heroines with a teenage sister before—in fact, quite often they have no family at all or were adopted or fostered—so it's refreshing to read about Perry's relatively normal family and all its accompanying issues.
Like most things with Dex, his family (or lack thereof?) remains a mystery at this point.
I thought Halle's writing overall, although quite straightforward in style, was extremely effective in creating a scary movie-like atmosphere and made everything very easy to visualise (Creepy Clown Lady being a prime example!). I thought all the ghostly action scenes were really well-done; nicely spooky with a sinister edge. And although much of the book was an introduction to the characters (to be expected in a first book), there was definitely plenty there to keep action-lovers happy. My favourite thing of all, though, has to be the dialogue—I do love reading dialogue and body language! Especially when you have to work at reading between the lines, seeing past what you're being told to what might really be the case.
Janice: For me, the beauty of Darkhouse - of all the EIT books - is how well it blends the mundane and the scary. You're going along, cheering for Perry or laughing at some shocking thing Dex has said, and then....everything shifts. The tone darkens. Sometimes it's sudden, like a door slamming down the hall, making you jump. But most of the time, it's more insidious, creeping over you like a rolling fog. As I was reading Darkhouse (both times), I could often feel my body curling in on itself in a sort of defensive posture, as if I was subconsciously preparing for an attack. My grip on my ereader tightened, too - not quite a death grip, but close - and I was suddenly, intensely aware of every shadow in every corner of every room. That uncomfortable, on-edge feeling, it doesn't just go away when you put the book down, either. It lingers. That, to me, is more frightening than any monster in any horror movie.
Lynsey: So have we convinced you yet? I hope so because I definitely, wholeheartedly recommend this book. Especially while it's still a Freebie. I mean, what have you got to lose? Answer: nothing!
Janice: Seriously, folks, don't wait. Get your copy of Darkhouse today and START READING! You'll thank us, I promise!
Lynsey's Rating: 5 Stars ★★★★★ Janice's Rating: 5 Stars ★★★★★ *This is currently a Kindle freebie - snap it up while you can!*
Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. I'm a little tiny bit in love with Father Tomas!
This was my first book by Maggie Shayne. She's a rather wellForgive me, readers, for I have sinned. I'm a little tiny bit in love with Father Tomas!
This was my first book by Maggie Shayne. She's a rather well-established author, however, so even though it was my first time reading her, I felt I was in safe hands hands.
Her writing style—at least in this instance—was quite interesting in that she switched from first person narrative for the heroine, Indira's, POV, and then to third person for the hero, Father Tomas'. That's 'Toe-MAAHS', not 'Thomas'. A distinction made by the author several times.
The main themes of the story are those of lost or broken faith, self-doubts, guilt, beliefs, convictions, all wrapped around a wonderful story of three sisters from Babylonian times, and their connection to our current-day heroine, Indira.
Indira's character was likeable—she's smart, attractive, kinda quirky—but I couldn't help but notice that sometimes her light-hearted "voice" was often in direct contrast to the overall feel of the story. Her misplaced humour and flippancy grated initially, until I recognised it for the defence mechanism that it was. In times of trouble, she uses bad jokes or that old faithful 'denial', that so often comes in handy. But until I came to that realization, it was just annoying. And I also felt it lessened the impact of what was being revealed in the dreams, because if Indy wasn't taking things seriously, then why should I?
However, the second half of the book seemed to change Indy's character once the straits got considerably more dire, and once Father Tomas became that much more of a distraction.
He's a priest. A really good looking and somewhat tormented priest, just to make things more complicated. And that's not all he is, either, but you'll have to read it yourself to find out the rest.
I really enjoyed the slowly drip fed back story of the three sisters. We got a little nugget more each time. I also enjoyed reading about the Wiccan practices and rituals. And of course, the other issues of faith, the dangers of extremists and close-minded people in any religion, was all interesting to explore.
It did, unfortunately for me, utilise a plot device that I personally don't care for very much, and this is probably why I was unable to rate it quite as high as others have. But, overall, I thought it was an interesting, mostly fast-paced, read, with a nice romance and some good twists and turns. It was quite suspenseful and thrilling, and I'm interested enough to read the next two books in the trilogy.
Oh, this was exactly what I was in the mood for. I enjoyed every single minute of it! Sometimes I just need some goofy jokes told by somSo much win!
Oh, this was exactly what I was in the mood for. I enjoyed every single minute of it! Sometimes I just need some goofy jokes told by some loveable and familiar characters, and that's exactly what Charley and gang provide, without fail, every time. As well as, in this instance, a good dose of action, interesting plot developments, and some more sombre moments that really make me excited for what's to come.
And it also has Reyes Farrow! Let's not forget him. He wasn't in it a great deal at first because Charley has been avoiding him (along with the rest of the world) for 2 months at the start of the book, ever since the happenings of the last instalment when Charley was brutally tortured. The fact that Reyes set her up for that seems to have pissed her off somewhat. Weird, huh?
That's actually a bit of a recurring theme in this series; betrayal. And it's so odd, because Charley is one of the most likeable, all-round awesome, not to mention hilarious of personages, and yet her closest friends and even family seem to keep shitting all over her. It's enough to give a girl a complex! I find it quite sad that in the face of these betrayals she still tries to maintain her humour and sarcasm, but it's only the thinnest of coverings for the hurt she is clearly experiencing :(
I'm quite liking the strained relationship between Charley and Reyes at the moment, as odd as that sounds. I feel like it's at least more real than him just turning up all the time and Charley melting into a big pile of girl goo, losing all coherent thought. She's analysing now, making decisions based on more than just lust. It's got a long way to go yet before it could be called a healthy relationship, but I now at least have hope for the future where they are concerned. Reyes also seems a lot more human (which is ironic) and a lot less cartoon-like in this instalment, which is a welcome development.
Charley really doesn't do anything by halves, and being depressed isn't any exception. She's really going to town on it at the start of this book—copious amounts of ice-cream, a burgeoning addiction to tele-shopping, and a couch that's developing a perfect moulded impression of her backside—all included. Feeling sorry for yourself is never attractive, but BFF Cookie soon puts things in perspective again. Then Charley gets hired in her P.I. capacity by a woman who's being tormented with dead bunnies left in her bed and other places. It's just what she needs to get her out of her funk.
The mystery was pretty good but slightly overshadowed by the Reyes stuff and also some other issues with her family. Not to mention Charley's own demons that she's working through. But the balance worked and, as I said, I enjoyed every minute of it.
I can't wait for book 5, Fifth Grave Past the Light, which releases in July 2013. This series comes highly recommended as an audiobook, read by the very talented Lorelei King.
This series of high action, high romance, historical paranormal romances in the beautiful Gothic setting of lateA fantastic follow-up to Firelight.
This series of high action, high romance, historical paranormal romances in the beautiful Gothic setting of late nineteenth century London, is swiftly becoming a favourite of mine. It's often the case that when a series starts out really well, as this one did with Firelight, the follow-ups are almost inevitably a disappointment. Especially if the best character pairings were used in the first book. I was hoping and praying this wouldn't be the case with Moonglow, but my outlook was gloomy since I hadn't developed any great love for Ian, one of the main characters, in book one.
In Firelight Ian played the role of antagonist to Miranda and Archer's relationship, throwing a spanner in the works at every given opportunity, and generally being a pest. Although, even then it was clear he wasn't as bad as he wanted people to believe him to be. But, nevertheless, his interference and general attitude didn't endear him to me, so I began Moonglow with slight trepidation. And at the start of the book, his constant talk of whoring-- particularly with red-headed, green-eyed prostitutes-- didn't help his cause much. He tells the readers early on how he had fancied himself in love with Miranda (who is red-headed and green-eyed). And why not? She is stunningly beautiful, after all. But it is later revealed that his obsession with red-haired women stems from something much further back than we were led to believe, and he has a past that may make you forgive him for all of his sins.
I ended up enjoying Ian's character immensely. He was a lot more complex, gentle and caring than you'd have ever suspected. And he has a cheeky wit and rakish charm. His werewolf mythology that was explored was interesting and showed a new way of looking at immortality. It's not always a bonus for a race that has few females and a very low birth-rate. What's the point of living forever if you're destined to be alone?
Daisy, our other lead character, was wonderful also. She's Miranda's older sister and has been in a loveless, sexless marriage for the last six years to a complete pig. At the beginning of the story she's just finishing up her year of mourning his death (bah!) and wearing black to keep societies' tongues from wagging, and is looking forward to finally being free, throwing caution to the wind...and possibly getting a little som'n, som'n. She's a lady with a healthy appetite for pleasure- something her late husband never failed to make her feel dirty about- but that's in her past. No one is going to tell her what to do, say, wear or how to behave ever again! She's even more 'no nonsense' than Miranda was, if you can believe that. She's having absolutely none of it from charming rogue Ian. And he just doesn't know what's hit him when they meet. Miranda who?
I enjoyed their developing romance. The obstacles that were put in their way were believable and there were several really charming scenes, as well as the obligatory scorching hot ones, and some heartbreakingly tender ones. Moonglow had a slightly different feel to it than Firelight in that both Daisy and Ian worked together to solve a mystery, rather than one of the characters themselves being the mystery. This gave us some great scenes as their relationship developed.
I did find some of the descriptions of the seedier side of London, the side that Ian had previously been revelling in, rather crude and vulgar at times. All the talk of whores and such. Speaking of the seedier side, there was an appearance by the street thug Billy Fingers whom you might remember from Miranda's days on the streets in Firelight. I swear I have no idea what that man is saying. I'm a Brit, I can understand Cockney Rhyming Slang and the colloquial language of Londoners, even if it's not from this century I can usually decipher it, but what comes out of Billy's mouth is unlike any slang I've ever heard. It doesn't even make sense half the time. Oh well.
In summation, I'd say the romance side of things was just as compelling as book one. I also enjoyed some of the new world-building elements that were introduced, including the GIMs, this mysterious 'Mother' person, and several other things I shall keep schtum about for now, and it was altogether a great sequel and highly enjoyable.
If you loved book one, you will love this one, too. Go forth and enjoy!
4 Stars ★★★★ Review Copy: Received from the publisher for an honest review
I have to admit, I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy Andrea's POV; I thought I would miss Kate more, but it turns out that AndreIt's Andrea, bitch!
I have to admit, I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy Andrea's POV; I thought I would miss Kate more, but it turns out that Andrea's just as much of a badass as Kate, just with different weapons selection.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for her ex, Raphael. He is no Curran. Not that I would have expected him to match up to my book husband, but he didn't even come close. He ticked me (and Andrea) off quite royally at the outset and acted like the spoiled baby he's been brought up to be, and never really recovered. There was progress made with him throughout the book, of course, but I'm still only luke warm about him at this point. Naturally, as a die hard Ilona Andrews fan, I'm more than happy to keep reading until they convince me to change my mind. But it was disappointing that the bantering dynamic they're so good at, was absent in this first book.
Back to Andrea for a second. There was a wealth of information provided on her back story. Up until now we've known she'd had a terrible time with her first Bouda clan, but the details we garnered in this book were still shocking. We also find out where she went and why during her absence in Kate's books right after dear Aunt Era came a-visiting. All of which only endeared her to me and made me root for her all the more. And want to slap Raphael all over again!
The plot, which was mostly easy to follow (although I did get a bit lost in the details on occasion) focuses on yet another branch of mythology—Egyptian. The Andrews writing team seem to like focusing on one per book. Lucky for me, Egyptian is one of my faves.
So, to sum up, I enjoyed this a lot but not quite as much as a Kate and Curran book, mostly because of Raphael's failure to impress. But it's still a solid UF read with all the fun stuff you've come to expect from this duo I like to call Team Awesome.
Kim Harrison is the reigning Queen of Urban Fantasy!
One of the most highly anticipated reads of 2013 for many people, Ever After by Kim Harrison most certainly will not fall short of expectations. It will, in many areas, surpass them. It will also shock, it will thrill, and my goodness it will entertain. An outstanding instalment, easily replacing any and all past favourites as the new pinnacle of the series...so far.
As is usually the case, the story picks up a couple of months after the events of the last book, A Perfect Blood, and sees Rachel meeting up with Quen to discuss the prospect of becoming a part of Trent's workforce once again. Only voluntarily this time, and will no bodily threats involved. Which makes a nice change. Rachel's not too sure, though, and perhaps not for the reasons you might expect. It seems she puts more faith in Trent's abilities to protect himself than Quen does these days, and doesn't think he needs anyone else watching him. Quite the opposite, in fact. However, after a drastic and heartbreaking turn of events, the choice about working alongside Trent is taken out of her hands completely. It's now imperative, especially since she feels partly responsible for what's happened.
Fans of the series will recall Rachel's unfortunate experience with a ley line back in book nine, Pale Demon. For me, personally, those last few chapters of Pale Demon were where my appreciation of Kim Harrison's worldbuilding went from thinking she was simply fabulous, to thinking she might actually be some kind of supernatural creature herself. I mean, she must have been to the Ever After in person to be able to describe it so vividly. And not just visual descriptions, either, but the magic, the culture, the social structure, the history, the wars, the continual decline of the demons as a race. Which, incidentally, Rachel has managed to speed up exponentially by ripping a large hole in one of the ley lines. If only the demons thought it was so incidental. Strangely, they're rather annoyed about their impending doom, and in this book they use one hell of a bargaining chip to make sure Rachel fixes her mistake, and fast. The clock is most definitely ticking.
I'm reticent to highlight too many other plot points as I think it's best to just experience it as it unfolds. And it was a real roller coaster, that's for sure. Totally unputdownable with near-perfect pacing. There are some big shocks in store, as I mentioned earlier, some controversial returning characters, plenty of conflict—both internal and external—and a fair amount of introspection for our dear Rache, as well. There were a couple of instances where the plot moved a bit slower, but out of a 500-and-then-some page book, that's really not bad at all. Perhaps even a necessity. Overall, this instalment felt really meaty, with little filler and lots of massive plot twists and character progression that really change the game entirely for the last two books. And of course, being titled Ever After, you can expect to bask in yet more of Harrison's phenomenal worldbuilding for that setting, and also, get some fantastic insight into everyone's favourite demon, Algaliarept. Outstanding stuff!
For the Rachel and Trent shippers out there (much like myself) you'll be pleased with the amount of time spent together in this book. Gone are the days where Trent would make one, maybe two, brief appearances—usually managing to annoy the crap out of Rachel in the process—but it's clear now that, in whatever role, Trent is a part of Rachel's life. They make strange bedfellows in some respects, but in other's, they couldn't be more compatible. What's lovely to see as well is the developing trust between them; something we couldn't have ever imagined coming from Rachel even as little as three books ago. It's an amazing transformation and a fantastic journey Kim Harrison has taken us on. I'm sad to think there's just two teeny weeny little books left in this series, but judging by the ending of this book, they're gonna be good ones! Oh, yeah.
5 Stars ★★★★★ A special thanks to Harper Voyager for the ARC. I read many ARCs throughout the year, but to receive one for your favourite series is a special treat. Like Christmas come early!
Ahh, so good to be back in this world! There are a select few urban faFind more reviews like this one at The Demon Librarian.
Don't fear the Damphir.
Ahh, so good to be back in this world! There are a select few urban fantasy authors that really take their worldbuilding seriously, and probably none quite as seriously as Ms. Chance. She knows her vampire lore inside and out, and is steadily increasing the intricate layering of her fey mythology as well, both within this, the spin-off, and the main Cassandra Palmer series. And it's fabulous stuff, let me tell you.
Everyone does vamps slightly differently, of course (although, let us never again mention the sparkly vegetarian variety, please, if you don't mind), but Chance's are without doubt my favourites. From their ability to take blood without biting, to the sense of family and loyalty they have within their feudal society, to the various extra abilities they acquire once reaching master level status. And just when you think you know exactly what it means to be a first level master, such as Mircea or Louis Cesare, there's more! And I do so enjoy the richness of it all; that no detail has been overlooked, even though I'm sure much of it doesn't even make it into the books, it's clear Chance knows the rules and limitations of her world, and that leaves us as readers feeling completely secure and able to just sit back and enjoy. Which I did!
In this instalment, we not only delve deeper into both the vampire and, to a lesser extent, the fey societies, but we also look more closely at our very own, very rare, resident damphir, Dory. Or should that be Dorina....?
She's not the only damphir in existence, but they are so rare and so short-lived, she might as well be. But we've never really examined too closely the why of it, of her. Why has Dory lived centuries longer than all other damphirs in existence? Why has she managed to stave off the insanity where none of the others have? Why wasn't she killed on sight like vamp law says she should have been? And why can't she ever remember what happens during her rages?
Wanna know? Read this book!
As well as the excellent worldbuilding, you've also got some pretty fabulous characters that are all equally fleshed-out and real. In some cases, quite literally real. Real historical people, that is. I thought the scenes with Mircea and Dory were really nicely done, and although I like Mircea in both series, it's nice to finally see him in a better light through Dory's eyes in this one. Also seen in a slightly new way were Kit and Louis Cesare. The latter of which gets a bit of a hard time from Dory. There's nothing quite as resistant as a scared damphir, it seems.
For me, though, the stand out character, the scene-stealer, the handsdown winner for best dialogue and most improved character, has to be Ray. I'm not even going to try to describe him or explain why; I wouldn't do him justice, I'm sure, but I just loved him. He has a new fan!
As is often the case with Chance's writing, although brilliant, it can sometimes seem a little hectic in places, or, in complete contrast, over explanatory in others. You've got some action scenes where it's hard to follow what's happening because everything is moving so fast—Whose foot was that that just kicked Dory in the face? You fell through where into a what now?—Then the next thing you know, you're reading a conversation over a chessboard that takes almost three entire chapters. Go figure.
Once the story had built sufficiently, however, and the mystery was in place, it was one of those books that you just wished would never end. Just keep going forever. More adventures, more fight scenes, more worldbuilding, more revelations, more sweet, sexy moments. Please just keep them coming!
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. And I'm even more sad this it will likely be two years until we get another Dory book. They are most definitely worth the wait though, much as it pains me to admit it. But please, Ms. Chance, for the sake of my sanity, couldn't you just write a little faster?
It's the amazing disappearing reappearing novella! But I have to say it was worth the wait and a great follow up to A Family Affair. John is a great cIt's the amazing disappearing reappearing novella! But I have to say it was worth the wait and a great follow up to A Family Affair. John is a great character and the scenes with Casanova and Cassie were priceless!
Toby kicks ass in this high octane addition to the October Daye series.
At this point, six books into the series, we've seen October's character makeToby kicks ass in this high octane addition to the October Daye series.
At this point, six books into the series, we've seen October's character make quite the transformation, both emotionally and physically. From orphaned changeling kid, wandering lost in the human world. To wife and mother, trying to play Fairy Bride. And finally, where we are today; to kickass hero and knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills, friend and ally to the King of Cats and Sea Witch, rescuer of lost kids, acquirer of loyal friends, and just all-round reckless but totally lovable main character with an infectious personality. I absolutely love her! For reals.
And throughout all these changes in her circumstances, and the physical changes and power-ups she's gone through that make her now almost as indestructible as May (her former Fetch and kinda twin sister), she's somehow managed to keep that wonderful glibness, that highly inappropriate wit that so often gets her in trouble, but that is hilarious to read.
I have to say, Seanan McGuire's writing of Toby's dialogue is so funny, and so...random. I think her humour is quirky and possibly won't be for everyone, but it really tickles me. I often have to stop to do that silent laughing thing when she catches me off guard. I just like the silliness of it, especially when it's completely inappropriately-timed.
The plot for ASHES OF HONOR was a little more simplistic than past instalments have been, which I think is a good thing because this world is complex enough without having head-bending, multi-stranded plots to try and wrap my tiny mind around. It's another missing child case; a changeling teleporter this time. Which is problematic since Toby can't exactly follow a teleporter around. But that's why it helps to have friends in high places, such as the Sea Witch who can make a spell for almost any occasion, or the King of Cats who can travel through the shadows (which is almost the same thing as teleporting, but significantly more uncomfortable for a non-Caith Sidh like Toby).
There was also a separate subplot surrounding the Court of Cats which brought with it some new and very exiting developments. (You can't see me, but I'm grinning).
Most of the characters from past books made and appearance with a few notable exceptions: There was no Queen of the Mists this time (not really sad about that since she's batshit crazy and hates Toby's guts), but also not much mention of Danny the Bridge Troll (who I really like), and no one from the Undersea realm either. But I was happy to see we revisited Tamed Lightning. I love April the techno-Dryad and her complete inability to understand, sarcasm, jokes, emotions or anything said that's not meant 100% literally.
The best thing about ASHES OF HONOR for me was seeing the character development of many key players, but especially Toby. It's been a year since the last book (in Toby time as well as our time), and much has changed: Quentin, who's around 18 now, is growing up fast. May is becoming more and more like the twin sister people think she is. The Luidaeg still hasn't killed Toby. And maybe, just maybe, Tybalt doesn't dislike Toby as much as she once liked to believe he did. But at the start of the book, the one person who hasn't changed in the last year or moved on from the sad events of ONE SALT SEA, is Toby. Lucky for her, she's surrounded by awesome peeps who won't let that continue for much longer, and the progress she makes here in this book is immense.
For fans of the series, I think this instalment will become a new favourite. It certainly has for me. I feel like McGuire delivered everything I could possibly want from a UF novel, and I simply can't wait for the next one. I still have unanswered questions, but I'm confident McGuire has a master plan set in motion for revealing the answers in due course. For example, when are we going to see Amandine again and where the hell has she been? Who the frack are Quentin's parents? And what did the Sea Witch mean about the Selkies having to pay their debt soon? All these questions and more will have me counting the days until The Chimes at Midnight, which releases September 2013. Go faster time, damn you!
A PERFECT BLOOD has absolutely everything you have come to expect from a Hollows novel: humour, mystery, magic, romantic eWow! What a fantastic read!
A PERFECT BLOOD has absolutely everything you have come to expect from a Hollows novel: humour, mystery, magic, romantic elements, danger, adventure, friendships and so much more.
A lot of series would be losing steam and momentum by their tenth book. Not so for The Hollows. Instead, it feels more like Kim is finally getting to have a bit of fun by letting some of the seeds she's been sewing come into fruition and it marks some exciting changes on the horizon, as well as some potentially sad and poignant ones.
The characters in this series are some of the most diverse and interesting I have ever come across. And any writer that can make me go from hating a character in one book, to having me jumping up and down in fangirl excitement every time he steps on the page in recent books, has my utmost respect. Yes, of course I am talking about the delectable, incorrigible, part-time businessman, part-time badass, all the time pain in the ass, Trenton Aloysius Kalamack. There is yet more development of his character in this book, as if the huge steps he made in the previous one, Pale Demon, weren't epic enough. This time we get to see Trent when he's relaxed, Trent when he's having fun, Trent when he's furious and many other Trent's that we haven't ever seen before because they were hidden underneath his professional façade of political bullshit. I loved every single one of his scenes in this book and I'm so excited to see what else Ms. Harrison has up her sleeve for the elf you love to hate and hate to love.
The rest of the supporting characters were excellent too, of course. We saw all the usual faces and returned to many familiar settings which was nice after the departure we took in Pale Demon. Rachel is back in her church trying to lay low and take some much needed me time after the hell she went through four months ago. She's also got a new bodyguard- a Were named Wayde, whom I though was an okay addition to the cast, and who now lives in her belfry. We also saw quite a bit from David and, if anything, this is probably the character and relationship I understand the least. I think from what I've read on Kim Harrison's website, the werewolf angle was something she would have liked to have addressed in more detail, but decided against it when she plotted out the Demon/Elf/Witch story arc for the remaining books. So now David feels a bit surplus to requirements within the series. I was glad to see she got her werewolf tattoo sorted out, but it had a definite "tying up loose ends" feel to it.
Jenks has some great moments and one-liners as always. Still worshipping the almighty Tinkerbell in all of her red-thonged glory. There wasn't a great deal of Ivy and it's made clear that Rachel feels they might be drifting apart. I wish I could say that really, really bothers me, but to be brutally honest, their relationship has always seemed to have an unhealthy balance to me, so I'm glad Ivy is moving on a bit and isn't quite so focused on Rachel. That doesn't mean Rachel is happy about it, though. It's more like something that she has accepted as inevitable, but still finds very sad.
There were a few more new characters introduced as well but I shall leave them for you to discover yourself. They were very intriguing, though. As was the mystery plot. There was truly not a dull moment throughout.
There may be a slight upset for Al fans as he has very little screen time in comparison to others, but for me, again, this wasn't so much of a problem because I'm all about the elf.
All together, a wonderful addition to the series. Easily Pale Demon's equal and one I look forward to re-reading again next year while I wait impatiently for "Ever after" to come out in early 2013.