Seriously, I didn't expect anything less. Anything Nalini Singh writes is able to completely suck me in irrevocably (I'll always think of T...more*4.5 stars*
Seriously, I didn't expect anything less. Anything Nalini Singh writes is able to completely suck me in irrevocably (I'll always think of Twilight when I use this word. Weird..). I didn't expect to like Talin and Clay all that much, but hot damn, theirs is a story that is compelling and exciting. Clay might not be the most tender of lovers, but he has a way of worming into all of us readers' hearts. :)
Review to come
P.S. I'm not reading this series in order, but I'm running out of Psy-Changeling books to read.
My first Ilona Andrews book and it's pretty not bad! I have never read anything like this before, and that ma...moreOrginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
My first Ilona Andrews book and it's pretty not bad! I have never read anything like this before, and that made CLEAN SWEEP a refreshing and exciting read. Judging from the cover I was expecting Fantasy, but it turned out to be URBAN fantasy. I was in the mood for some fantasy, but this turned out to be an unexpectedly-fortunate mistake.
Dina is an innkeeper, and that means she has magical abilities and she's strongest when she's within the boundaries of her inn. Innkeepers have a sort of connection to their inns that allows the inn to respond to commands and comments from their keepers. They're sort of like a really loveable pet dog - the inns, I mean. Inns thrive with the flow of customers and guests, so with good business, the inn becomes stronger; Too little or no guests will cause an inn to go into hibernation.
Dina's parents were innkeepers that run a thriving inn, with a booming business and top ratings, a whopping five-stars. A highly-rated inn will be reflected in the directory and that tells customers that it is safe and guarantees quality. Dina's learnt the ropes and is pretty familiar with the codes and etiquettes that comes with being an innkeeper. However, about three years ago, her parents and their inn vanished without a trace and her brother and her had spent a few years attempting to find clues to their disappearance but to no avail. She decided to settle down and The Innkeeper Assembly allocated to her Gertrude Hunt, an inn that went into hibernation years ago.
With time, patience and lots of TLC, she slowly coaxes Gertrude Hunt out of its slumber and even have a permanent guest, the eccentric but elegant Her Grace Caldenia who has a thing for Funyuns and Mello Yello...and who's cannibal too. Anyway, it's all peaceful until her neighbor's dogs start to turn up at public places grotesquely mauled that Dina starts to investigate. Innkeepers are neutral ground, and that means staying out of anything that does not directly threaten their inns and their customers. But Dina can't just stand by and let this...whoever it is start killing and threatening the lives of the people in her town.
In walks Sean Evans, ex-military and resident werewolf who just moved into town a few months back. When their town is threatened, werewolves usually feel the need to protect it and establish their claim on the town. Then the Marshal of vampire house Krar, Arland, from some other planet drops by too claiming that the one responsible was a wanted criminal from their planet. And so Dina will have to work with two very big, bad, infinitely stubborn and protective dudes to save their little town.
I want to be an innkeeper too, dammit! This writing-duo made Clean Sweep such an adorable and fun read that I just want to be a part of their imaginary world for just awhile.
Dina is a very relatable character. She might not be kickass, but she has a broom that can change shape when she sends her magic into it, a Shih Tzu that isn't really a Shih Tzu but is still plenty cute and an inn that can send out roots to hold down attackers and wield guns to help defend itself and Dina. Then there's the cool, calm and gorgeous werewolf, Sean, and reserved, mysterious and muscular vampire, Arland. I wouldn't say that they were terribly unique love interests in the UF genre, buuuut they do provide comic relief that's for sure. (Watch out for Arland with coffee, hahaha. Vamps have this funny reaction when they ingest caffeine)
CLEAN SWEEP is a short, light and fun novella with just the right amount of humor, action and good ol' UF mystery. The ending provided enough closure, but I sense so much more adventure coming our way. CLEAN SWEEP was originally published free at this website, chapter by chapter each week, and it's been announced that they're doing it again for the sequel starting early 2014. I'll probably wait for the final copy of the book cause I prefer to read my books in one shot. I'll definitely be checking out the Andrews' other works in the mean time though!(less)
*4.5 stars* LOVED, loved, luuurved Leila. Loved Vlad. Loved the simple yet oddly satisfying, addictive and fast paced plot! Admittedly,...moreQuickie Review
*4.5 stars* LOVED, loved, luuurved Leila. Loved Vlad. Loved the simple yet oddly satisfying, addictive and fast paced plot! Admittedly, there was more focus on the development in the romance department between the commanding, enigmatic Vlad and Leila in TWICE TEMPTED, but that didn't take away from the overall story or pace.
I'm not sure how to describe Leila, other than that she's loyal to the people she loves to a fault, she's stubborn, but oddly vulnerable to her feelings for Vlad and her family. She's such a beautifully flawed yet amazing woman, y'know wha' I mean? After acclimatizing to the harsher, more brutal (and oddly medieval) world of vampires, she's starting to stand on her own again, and she's gotten more badass! I liked that she faces her problems, that she tries to help Vlad any way she can while also thinking for her family, she doesn't make the same mistake of doubting Vlad again when people whisper poison in her ears, and have I mentioned she's definitely become more badass?
A determined new love interest, a vengeful ex-lover, and a stubbornly sexy man unwilling to open his heart. What is an electricity-wielding woman to do when life keeps throwing excretion in her fan? (Ok I tried to be less crude about it, but wasn't very successful I can tell. And sorry I butcher the English language. Whoops.)
Anyway, I couldn't ask for a better sequel, and I am dying to get my hands on book three. (Which still doesn't have any information released yet other than it's the last in the series. *sobs hysterically*) If you enjoyed ONCE BURNED, you'll definitely like TWICE TEMPTED. Maybe even more so! RECOMMENDED. :)
P.S. (view spoiler)[I have some questions about the book as I was reading ONCE BURNED and TWICE TEMPTED... Like when Vlad and Leila were hunting for the mastermind behind Leila's kidnap in OB, why couldn't Vlad just see Szilagyi's face in Leila's mind after she did her essence-tracing thing? Couldn't she just think of Szilagyi so Vlad can pick it out of her mind? And in TT, why Vlad couldn't read Leila's mind after she turned into a vampire? Vlad could read Maximus' mind before, so being a vampire shouldn't have given her extra neuro-protection... I'll email Jeaniene to see what she says. ;) (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
*4.5 stars* I didn't expect to like this so much right after devouring Unchained by J. Lynn (another UF) just a week ago, but I loved ON...moreQuickie Review
*4.5 stars* I didn't expect to like this so much right after devouring Unchained by J. Lynn (another UF) just a week ago, but I loved ONCE BURNED!
The plot was simple yet superbly enjoyable, and there were the action, the gore, the romance, so ONCE BURNED is far from a mindless good read, it's an amazing read. I loved the entire cast of characters - Leila, Vlad (though he does take high-handed to a whole new level), Maximus, Marty, everyone. Each character had their own distinct voice and (very endearing) personality.
Frost's version of vampires (and Vlad, the Dracula of old, the source of inspiration Bram Stoker drew from) was the classic, fly-superhuman-speed-and-strength, kind. If my memory doesn't fail me and Dracula could fly. Well, at least they don't sparkle in daylight (thank you, Jeaniene!). But in addition to the original vamp model, Vlad had an affinity for fire, able to summon and wield it. Others have other powers they inherit from their sires but it will only manifest after some time. The only thing that didn't really sit well with me was Leila's abilities to sense a person's essence - to see said person's defining moment in life, be it their darkest sin or life-changing tragedy, trace the essence to the person's present location and glimpse his/her possible future - and being a walking electricity generator after touching (and almost dying) a downed power line during a storm. I mean, come on, this might be an urban fantasy, but still. And the lack of world-building.
However, even with the minimal world building, ONCE BURNED had all the thrills and fuzzies that reminded me why I fell in love with this genre a long time ago, and it kept me glued to it's pages so much so that I didn't bother to update my reading status on Goodreads and grab the second installment, TWICE TEMPTED, right off my shelf once I was done with it. I don't know why I haven't ventured into Frost's Night Huntress world earlier, but I'd definitely check out Cat and Bones' story. I'd say ONCE BURNED is a pretty classic UF read, but there's just this something I can't put my finger on that makes it so addictive; Strongly recommend this to any UF/PNR readers and vampire lovers out there!(less)
“For a moment she almost relaxed. Then the mutton stew appeared. Blade spread his arms across the back of the seat and watched her stare at it as though she’d never eaten in her life…and had suddenly found a dead fly in her bowl.
“Try the fork,” he recommended. “It’s much easier than mentally consumin’ the meal.”
KISS OF STEEL was an impulse read for me, considering it's only 5 days till my exams start! That, and I've never really been a fan of steampunk romances - I've DNFed my first venture into this genre and the other one, Wicked as They Come, I did like, but I wasn't that sold on this genre yet. I came across a review of KOS and it sounded like a "my" kind of book - come on, innocent but strong-willed heroine fallen on hard times and an infamous cutthroat hero who's earned his reputation through his own sweat and blood...classic! Who can resist that? - so I went in search of it, devoured it, and am giving it a 4.5-star rating.
I think one of the main reasons I was so taken with KOS was because McMaster focused mainly on character, plot and romance development, with just a little steampunk atmosphere, so I'm thinking hardcore steampunk fans ain't going to click that well with this one! The only steampunk elements in this book was the dark and gritty atmosphere, gas lamps, robots called metaljackets that has rocketlauncher hands, corset-wearing wenches and a darkly sexy rookery boss called Blade swooping in to sweep his lady off her feet. Just had to add that last part, haha. But other than that, it's really just about Honoria and her siblings falling on hard times, how she pulls through it for her family, hiding her inner demons and raising enough money for food and medicine for her brother.
That said, I LOVED the cast of characters and how the storyline developed! Lets talk about my favorite character first...Blade!! I mean, look how awesome his name is! He's not just another Lucas or Peter or Mark, he's Blade. Haha, he's the Devil of Whitechapel, protector of the people there but he's also feared and respected. His past is bloody and a mystery, he's also a man with a vengeance, but inside he's so sweet and charming! When he saw how Honoria was starving and struggling for her family, he helps her in a way that didn't hurt her pride. One thing I didn't understand was how fast Blade warmed up to Honoria though, the first time he saw her he was already attracted, and this is allegedly the Devil of 'Chapel that we're talkin' bout here, mind 'ya! (Yep, he has an accent! ;)
Honoria is a loyal, self-sacrificial, and strong woman who teaches gentlemen and women how to speak and act like proper gentlemen and women. When she brought her family to Whitechapel to hide from the clutches of her enemy in the Echelon, the pristine city behind walls with electricity-lasers (hmm, do I sense a little Dystopian here?), she had to pay the head honcho a little something to live in his territory and for his protection, but she has little money and she will not be his thrall (servants who are well looked-after but in turn has to provide blood for their Blue Blood master). Her pride will not allow it, and anyway, she's not that desperate. Yet. So she made a deal to teach him to speak and read in exchange for his protection.
Then there's stoic, quiet Will and Rip, his second-in-commands, O'Shay and his other loyal family he's adopted over the years. There's Honor's hotheaded sister and brother infected by the Blue Blood virus, bloodlust slowly clouding his vision. And then there's this really side character, Jasper Lynch, head of the Nighthawks guild, the Blue Blood outcasts who hunt targets for the Echelon. Even though he didn't play a big role in KOS, I thought he was almost as compelling as Blade!! He's this tall, imposing, straight-to-the-point man-of-few-words! He's going to get his own book in book 3, LADY QUICKSILVER, and I'm so excited to get my hands on it!
Anyway, it was a joy to see how Blade chipped away the icy fortress of Honoria's distrust, how she fought her attraction and charm of Blade. And how Blade protects her from the vampire terrorizing Whitechapel every night after the sun set. He's afraid he'll become a vampire one day, it's inevitable for every Blue Blood infected by the virus, once the virus level exceeds a certain level, the bloodlust will take over completely and turn them into slowly-rotting monsters. Even if he manages to convince Honoria to accept his care and feelings, how is he supposed to fight against the virus? And what about that vampire that is faster, stronger and more bloodthirsty than him who seemed to have a vested interest in Honor? And then there's the enemy from the Echelon and Honor's past.
I LOVED the ending! There was action, it was fast-paced and the plot was unfolding so quickly that the pages were just sweeping past me! The closure in the end was unexpected and heartwarming. Loved it!
There's humor, there's mystery, romance, heartbreak, family and loyalty. KISS OF STEEL was strangely addictive! I'd recommend this to paranormal romance, maybe historical and mild steampunk lovers!
“...I see a man who clawed his way out of the gutters and took control of his life. I see a man who made a family of his own. Who loved. And is loved. I see a man I want to kiss.” Her hand stroked down his back. “I see a man I want to…to give myself to.”
(I'm reviewing this assuming you're familiar with Singh's amazing Psy-Changeling world.)
*4.5 stars* So, just to make it clear, Nalini S...moreQuickie Review:
(I'm reviewing this assuming you're familiar with Singh's amazing Psy-Changeling world.)
*4.5 stars* So, just to make it clear, Nalini Singh's novels are always in a league of their own, I'm only rating it 4.5 because I'm comparing it to her other books. As usual, another very addictive, heartwarming romance between two individuals with their own scars and a gripping plot. But in this case, it's more about how Brenna and Judd finding a way to be together cause Judd's Tk abilities are so strong that if he loses control while sharing skin privileges with Brenna, he might very well kill somebody unintentionally.
Angela Dawe is my favorite audiobook reader! She can vary her voice so well and in so many intonations and pitch that it's easy to follow conversations with more than 2 people! Although I've only ever heard 3 other readers, she's by far waaaaay better than all of 'em.
I'm not reading this series in chronological order, but I'm loving Caressed by Ice! Though my favorite is still Hawke and ahemhem's story. ;) This series is highly, HIGHLY recommended to any PNR fans!(less)