Originally reviewed at www.devastatingreads.blogspot.com So I picked up Crave this summer and it's my Random Read for the month. Crave is about a girlOriginally reviewed at www.devastatingreads.blogspot.com So I picked up Crave this summer and it's my Random Read for the month. Crave is about a girl who is dying of a rare blood disorder. Shay, our heroine, begins to receive transfusions that make her stronger than she's ever felt in her life. She loves the feeling. She also loves seeing visions of Gabriel.
So this book is set up in two parts: the first part is called Dreams, and though it all we get to know Shay and what her life has been like. It's been pretty crappy. She's always been sick, and she hates that everyone treats her differently because of it. She never goes to gym class, she's never dated, her best friend is a mother hen and Shay has always felt weak and looked after by everyone, treated kindly by everyone because of her rare blood disorder. In Dreams, we find out all of this about her, but we also see Shay getting stronger because of the new blood transfusions, and we start to see that she wants to live so desperately. She wants to act like any normal teenager and do stupid things, and just have fun with her friends.
In Dreams, we also get to learn about Gabriel. Gabriel is the boy Shay dreams about whenever she's receiving a transfusion. We see him at various stages in life, first as a young man about to become a vampire, and then as a small child, later as a someone Shay doesn't quite recognize because he seems so unlike himself. But what we do learn about Gabriel is that he values the experience of life. He's the sort of person that drinks in every experience, every moment and really lives. And Shay loves that about him because she's never lived that way, and she enjoys being in Gabriel's body and feeling how much he loves to live.
The second part of the book, called Reality is where things get a little more interesting. We find out Gabriel is real, but we find out some really horrible things about Shay's family. We also find out why Shay is sick, and why Gabriel's blood makes her feel so much better. But this part of the book, while great, made me uncomfortable. We get to really meet Gabriel, but he's not like the Gabriel in Shay's dreams. He's angry, rightfully so, but it seems so out of character, so different that I almost didn't quite know what to make of him. And although he finally becomes the Gabriel from Shay's dreams, a thoughtful, kind man, it happens so near the end that I almost missed how great he is. I almost didn't notice that the writing style wasbeginning to do a lot of showing versus telling, which is a style I enjoy a lot more.
So, book one was great! It ended on a cliffhanger which made me want to scream, but I can pick up book two easily enough I think. I think book one was largely about set up, bringing the two characters together and setting up some back story and now that we have that foundation, I'm hoping that the rest of the series will be a lot more powerful. As it was, this book really was well paced and the story is engaging enough that I found it hard to put it down. I wish the authors had done a better job of showing instead of telling, but I started to see that at the end and I'm thinking the next book will be more polished in that regard.
What can I say about Halfway to the Grave? I LOVED it! Just loved it. This might be my new favourite vampire series. I have so many favourite quotes and scenes that I couldn't possibly share them all with you, though I wish I could. You can find the ones I thought most devastaing at the end of the review.
So first off, I have to praise the fast pace of this novel as well as the great plot line. It was super exciting, totally realistic and just down right fun. I am really impressed with Frost's world building as well. Sometimes in a series first novel, the world building can detract from the story but that's not the case at all in Halfway to the Grave. The world building, plot and character development were spot on.
Now, on to the characters. Cat was awesome. This is a real kick ass heroine and I adore her. She has (figuratively speaking of course) balls of steel. She's like Xena, Warrior Princess. No one stands in her way, even Bones when she's set her mind to something. I loved seeing her take down the lewd, sadistic bad guys--humans and vampires alike.
Bones. I'm almost at a loss for words. I love Bones. He's hysterically funny with his quippy sense of humour, sharp tongued to the point of hilarity and so caustic that its devastating because its so easy to see underneath that layer (unless you're Cat). Bones is so much more than a Master vampire set out to hunt evil doers. So much more than a deliciously hilarious undead drop dead gorgeous vampire. He's also just a good guy, a man determined to have the woman he loves.
And wow, do these two set the book on fire with their romance. I really felt for Cat that she was so down on herself becaues of the manner of her birth, and how it had been ingrained in her that she was somehow partly evil because of her vampire blood. And I loved that Bones was patient enough to wear away at her prejudices so that she could see for herself that not all vampires are evil. I just totally loved how much he loved her, and how madly and deeply she fell in love with him. And I have to say, the bedroom scenes were exactly what you'd expect from this couple: hot and yet really tender too. There is something really raw about this couple that makes you want them to find happiness together.
I'm so psyched for the next novel because Bones is going to find Cat. He promised her that. And it's super exciting and somehow chilling to know that she knows he is going to come after her. These two definately suit each other--equally stubborn, brave and unselfish when it comes to how much they love each other.
Quotes that devastated me:
"I held you and kissed you, watched your eyes light up with desire, and knew for once you were truly seeing me for all I was. Not just a non-beating heart with a shell around it. I dare you to look at me that way again..."
"I can't just let us go our separate ways, Kitten, because I am in love with you. I love you."
"I'm saying I'm a moody, insercure, narrowminded, jealous, borderline-homicidal bitch, and I want you to promise me that you're okay with that, because it's who I am and you're what I need."
"Not for a minute did I believe that this wasn't goodbye. Still, I had loved and been loved in return, and there was nothing greater than that...Bones thought five months was too short; I was amazed I'd been granted joy for so long."
Well, well, well what do you know, Ward has some magic left in her yet. Since I picked up the first book of this series, I've been hooked, in love, beWell, well, well what do you know, Ward has some magic left in her yet. Since I picked up the first book of this series, I've been hooked, in love, bewitched even by the romance and plot lines of each of the brothers. Sure, a couple books fell short for me but I always left the book with a huge grin on my face because a Brother had found his true love. What wasn't to love exactly? And then came Lover Reborn. I've stewed and brooded about that book for a bloody year, and I still cannot reconcile with it. Like every BDB book, it made me cry. But for all the wrong reasons. I felt like I had suddenly been Sorted into Slyterin House because I just didn't believe in it. But who the hell cares, because after Lover at Last, I'm back in Gryffindor!!
I'm not as magicked by the Warden as I once was. The spell was too badly book for me, but I have to say, I will definitely be continuing this series. Did Qhuinn and Blay get the story I wanted? No. I wanted sweetness. I wanted lots of pillow talk, raw character development and less of everyone's story thank you very much. But I went into the book fully knowing I was going to have to read about four other side story lines alongside my boys. So I went in prepared. But I also went in blind because I've actually managed to stay completely spoiler free, so I had no idea what had gone down in this book until I picked it up. So, they didn't get the story I wanted for them. But they got a story that I think was perfect for them in a lot of ways.
Qhuinn had a lot of growing up in to do. He'd been in denial about so much for so long thanks to his seriously screwed up parents and family life, that he simply could not let go of all of the hurt and insecurities they had wrought in him. For a big loud mouthed, tough guy, which Qhuinn has always been, there was a lot of hurt and confusion in the guy that I had previously not seen. At least not to the degree I got in this book. And Qhuinn manned up, I really thought he did. He reaches out to Blay repeatedly in this book, and I think as much as Blay curses the fact that he can't help but want Qhuinn, that the reason he is with Qhuinn all those times is because he recongzies that Qhuinn is reaching out to him. Why doesn't he tell Qhuinn that he and Saxton have broken up? Because as much as Qhuinn was reaching out to him Blay was also afraid that Qhuinn would pull away. Replace that barrier between them, and just not let him in. That's been Qhuinn MO for like, ever. The argument these two had the end threw me for a loop, (view spoiler)[ I'm not gay? No, Qhuinn, you're bi, what's the big deal? (hide spoiler)] but then I got a big slap in the face at the bar was Qhuinn was mulling over what Blay had said and realized (view spoiler)[holy crap, Qhuinn didn't know! (hide spoiler)] and after that, well, the rest, as they say is history. Everything just clicked for them then, and it was arguably one of the most romantic and touching BDB "I love you" scenes I've read to date. I cried.
Underneath their love story was a story about acceptance that really touched me. A story about family that hurt because family shouldn't do that one another, and also a story about family that reminds us that those relationships matter and can be built in the most unexpected places. I liked the way Ward dealt with Saxton and Layla as well--Saxton stepped aside because his heart was on the line and he couldn't take it anymore, no hard feelings, no angst. Layla and the baby story line were dealt with beautifully too I thought especially the way in which Blay got involved. And I'll never ever forget Qhuinn telling Blay, "I have been in love with you for years and years and years..." or Blay saying, "I was, and I remain, utterly and completely and totally...in love with you." Not much has topped that for me in romance-landia for me.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A special shout out to the J.R Ward (BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD series) here on goodreads for listening to my ranting and raving about this book. OtherA special shout out to the J.R Ward (BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD series) here on goodreads for listening to my ranting and raving about this book. Other people would have thought I was nuts, but you girls made the review possible. Thank you, sisters mine :)
So I finally read Lover Reborn. I will confess to having had worries about how this story would play out, and because of that, I did put off this read for a while. The thing is, J.R Ward is my favourite PNR author and the BDB is my most favourite series. My most devastating series. And that is still true.
But, I cannot deny that I did not love this novel. There was a lot about Tohr and Autumn's relationship that I simply could not find believeable. And I was truly upset about the introduction of the In Between as I felt it was unfair to the characters in the book. Despite that, I thought that by the end, it would come together and I would love the book and this couple. Ward is magical that way. However, I fell into the camp of readers who wasn't magicked into believing that this couple fit together and that has nothing to do with Wellsie. I don't feel as though Autumn is replacing her at all. It has to do with my preceptions of some of the rules/concepts of the world being nudged off to the side, and therefore I cannot believe in Tohr and Autumn as a romantic couple. I dislike being in this camp of readers, the one that just doesn't believe in Tohr and Autumn. I truly want to be in the other camp. It's like the Sorting Hat just sorted me into Slytherin when I really wanted to be in Gryffindor.
So, yeah, it sucks to be me.
That said, I thought the book was good. Ward expands her world and we are going to see some serious political/societal strife in upcoming books, and I'm very excited about that! I'm especially dying to see the role of the Band of Bastards will play in that, and some of their characters have caught my attention in a good way.
I was also delighted that the gender roles (which some readers, I not personally being one of them, have had issues with) were somewhat balanced out in this novel. And I think Layla will play a far greater role in any future "feminism" in this series than Xhex. I thought Layla's character is finally really beginning to own herself.
And Qhuay...wow, how far our boy Qhuinn has come! He is finally ready to be with Blay and he's going to make that happen. I'm so happy about that I already have visions of how that could all go down. But more specifically, I was impressed with Qhuinn laying aside all the rejections he's endured in his life from his family and society, and deciding to create a family of his own. I know some readers have concerns about Lover At Last, but from what I saw of Qhuinn and Layla and Blay, it can only play out well. See, I still believe in the magic of Ward.
The writing? Raw. Powerful. As always. I was moved to tears as only Ward can move me.
I'd give this book 4.5 stars. I wasn't expecting to like this book half as much as I did after reading the first few chapters. Spoilers ahead, be warnI'd give this book 4.5 stars. I wasn't expecting to like this book half as much as I did after reading the first few chapters. Spoilers ahead, be warned!!
I guess what kind of threw me in the beginning was the way the story opened up in that seedy night club with Gabrielle and all her friends. Kinda made me wonder what the heck it was all leading up to. A lot of people said this series reminded them of The Black Dagger Brotherhood and those opening pages seemed like a pale imitation. Later, Gabrielle just falling into Lucan's bed made me cringe. Sure, hot vampire equals human girl temptation, but some getting to know you is usually required before the inevitable I-can't-deny-this-animal-magnetism-and-must-sleep-with-you scene rolls around.
So, yeah, I wasn't sure what to make of that. Or of Lucan. He didn't strike me as the usual broody, broken, haunted vampire with the traumatic past. He just came across as broody and callous.
And then the plot thickens. From there, Adrain did a good job if creating her own vampire world nestled into our own, and I liked the touch of sci fi she brought in since her vampires are descended from beings from another planet. Thought the glyphs interesting as well. I wish she had explained why they can't father female children (again, how does the species survive if you can't procreate among your own kind? What did they do before they crash landed on earth and starting breeding with humans? Why don't these authors think of this when writing series about vampires? Adrain ain't the only one to pen this silly oversight) but the novel does an adequate job of establishing the vampire world and some history, customs etc
Both Gabrielle and Lucan become more likable. Gabrielle grows a backbone and stands up to Lucan time and again and Adrain has to be applauded for creating a woman who doesn't find out her love interest is a vampire and is totally fine with the notion. That was a refreshing change, that she feared it and questioned it. Lucan we discover, is on the verge of losing himself to Bloodlust and is not such a callous bastard after all, just slightly maddened by his hunger and his feelings for Gabrielle and the war brewing all around him. And of course, the story is not complete until he finally figures out (takes him a while after several centuries of emotional disconnect) that he loves Gabrielle and she is the soothing balm that will keep him from going over the edge. Finis!
As for comparison to Ward's series, I see what people mean in some respects. Both series have bad ass warriors sworn to protect their people. Clearly they also all have emotional baggage. The ladies offer them love and joy. Betrayal is everywhere, things aren't looking good for the vampire race. BUT I think both can hold their own ground equally well and I'm looking forward to the next book in the Midnight Breed series.
I wasn't sure I liked this book at first. It took me over a hundred pages to really get into it, but then I figured the characters out. Byron is all oI wasn't sure I liked this book at first. It took me over a hundred pages to really get into it, but then I figured the characters out. Byron is all old world gallantry and Antonietta is all strong independence. I like them as a couple, they make sense together.
The mystery in this novel didn't grab my full attention however. It was a little loosely woven I thought. But, I get the feeling it was contrived in order to push forth findings about what is going on with the Carparthian species, so yeah it works that way I guess.
My favorite moments on this novel involve Josef. I was glad for some moments of hilarity during this read. And I liked how Byron seemed to take on more human qualities when he was talking about his annoying nephew. ...more