This review has been cross posted on my blog. Check it out here for more book reviews!
Like all Rachel Caine books, Unknown was incredibly intense. Bu...moreThis review has been cross posted on my blog. Check it out here for more book reviews!
Like all Rachel Caine books, Unknown was incredibly intense. But unlike the weather warden series, where the intensity is balanced out by Jo's snarky remarks and hilarious actions, fallen Djinn Cassiel is serious from start to finish.
The first book in the Outcast Season contained a different kind of humour, where the reformed Djinn observed human emotions with a clinical efficiency. However, the 2nd book of the Outcast Season seems to lack this humour, as the whole book has a very dark premise - Pearl, a Djinn enemy is using children with powers to do her bidding, including attacking Cassiel and her Earth warden companion, Luis Rocha.
It seems Rachel Caine has a knack for end of the world, apocalyptic scenarios, and while most of the Wardens are out on a cruise ship preventing a massive storm from consuming them (in Cape Storm, Weather Warden #8), Cassiel and Luis are busy with preventing Pearl from destroying humans, Djinn, and everything they stand for.
While I like Cassiel and her scary badass Djinn ways, the whole reason I liked the Undone was because the story seemed contained. We never really got a break from the whole epic feel in the weather warden series; the cast is always at odds with the rest of the world, until Undone, the first of the Outcast Season. It was refreshing reading about this Djinn developing human emotions for a young girl and her uncle, which added to the charm of the series.
Unfortunately, that's the reason why I didn't love Unknown as much as the weather warden series and the first Outcast book. The world is constantly under gun from multiple forces, and it seems a little too dire for the humans.
I'm still going to keep reading though, because I love Rachel Caine's work. (less)
Chasing Magic signifies the end of my monthly buddy read on Dow...moreThis review has been posted on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews!
Chasing Magic signifies the end of my monthly buddy read on Downside Ghosts, which makes me sort of sad (at least until the next book comes out). While Chess’s world is definitely dark, gritty and an emotional investment, I’ll kind of miss revisiting the world of Downside every month. This series just keeps on getting better and better; while the world building, slang language and Chess’s drug dependency takes a while getting used to, once you’re there you realise how awesome it is.
Sadly, Chasing Magic did not live up to the last two books in the series for me. Usually we’ve been guided with a Church case and/or a murderous case in Downside. While this book started off with a murderous case, there seemed to be a lot of elements coming into play here. The case was not central to the plot, and a lot of other things were happening in Chess’s life and it just took me a while longer to get into it.
The drug addiction takes a turn for the worst. It’s really disturbing seeing Chess rely on it increasingly in her day to day life. She literally relies on the separate drugs to take her through her daily life, to numb her feelings and make her forget her traumatic past. I really hope that the author will move towards a better resolution for her, because I’m kind of getting tired of seeing her make bad decisions over and over again. Fair enough she’s damaged inside and scarred for life, but can this woman please get a happy resolution for once?
And that would be where Terrible comes in. They’ve finally managed to work out their relationship, and I think we’ve all established that he’s some sort of salvation for Chess. She’s finally coming to terms with having someone who actually loves her despite all her issues. Lex really disappointed us here and we see that perhaps all the power is getting to him. His behaviour really disgusts me and I’m really glad that she’s picked Terrible.
I just love how there’s a huge high at the end of the book (no pun intended) where Chess is empowered and you realise that she’s actually really good at her job at banishing spirits. Because she’s got such a low sense of self-worth, she has no fear in the heart of danger and she does everything she can to save people.
Overall, I did enjoy Chasing Magic and again delving into the world of Downside, it just wasn’t as brilliant as the previous books for me. I’m interested in seeing where Stacia Kane will be taking this series, and whether we’ll finally get a resolution for the poor, damaged girl that is Chess.(less)
WOW, talk about the mother lode of cliffhangers! Rachel Caine has done it again with the spin-off of the Weather Warden series, and what an amazing de...moreWOW, talk about the mother lode of cliffhangers! Rachel Caine has done it again with the spin-off of the Weather Warden series, and what an amazing debut it is.
Undone follows Cassiel, a Djinn that has been cast out of the Old Djinn by her boss Ashan. We don’t know why or what she’s done to deserve this. She’s left in the hands of Manny Rocha, an Earth Warden who teaches her the ropes and feeds her power to keep her going. Cassiel learns about being a human and finds herself growing close to Manny’s family, including his ex-gang member brother, Luis Rocha and Manny’s child, Isabel.
Before she knows it, Cassiel’s intense need to protect Manny and his family leads her on a mission that poses a sinister threat to all Djinn, and only her Earth powers and Djinn detachment can lead her down the path to victory.
I just loved how different this is to the Weather Warden series. Those books talk about the weather, stopping worldly disasters and the war between the Djinn and the wardens on a much more broader scale. The Outcast Season is where we can finally narrow it all down to one badass Djinn stuck in a human body with a narrow focused mission – to protect and save a child, while adjusting to her new form.
The voice given to Cassiel is also wildly different to the gossipy, warm, and snarky voice of Joanne Baldwin in the weather warden series. As a Djinn, Cassiel’s voice is quite clinical, matter-of-fact, and observational. She offers some interesting sentiments about being a human which is quite funny at times. Cassiel is really a badass character, she’s determined, ruthless, unyielding and focused, making her the perfect assassin of Ashan’s in the past.
I’m thoroughly impressed with the first of the Outcast Season and look forward to reading the rest – especially after that major cliffhanger.
Inevitably, all good things must come to an end. Joanne...moreThis review has been cross-posted on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews!
Inevitably, all good things must come to an end. Joanne Baldwin’s journey has been wrought with magic, fear, power struggles between Djinn and the forces of nature itself, some incredibly brave and charming people and with death itself. After following Jo since she discovered her weather warden powers to dating a Djinn who will go on and become one of the major players in the world, to coming back from near death and having to walk away from everything she’s ever known, you realise that a good character is someone who’s become as familiar as your closest friend. Reading Total Eclipse is a bittersweet experience, it’s sad to say goodbye to some of the finest characters (and book boyfriends) out there, but you’re glad to finally see them at peace.
Weather Warden series is one of the most epic I’ve ever read, and has definitely become one of my favourite series out there. No matter what, Rachel Caine seems to always keep on surprising you with the depth of emotion and plot twists so unique that you’d never see them coming. If you think about the unpredictable nature of the weather itself, that’s what your journey will be like experiencing this series. I won’t deliver any spoilers here, but this is probably one of the most satisfying endings you’ll ever encounter. Jo’s journey comes full circle at the conclusion of the Weather Warden series, as she faces the largest nemesis the wardens and Djinn together will ever encounter – Mother Nature herself.
As you’ve probably come to expect from Rachel Caine, Total Eclipse delivers everything that you would want it to, and more. The entire story arc to the series has been leading up to this final moment, and the climactic ending is emotional as is it heart-breaking and satisfying.
To some of the best characters in modern day fiction, I will miss you. You’ve opened my eyes to a world I would have never known, and for that I am thankful. For now, the story of Jo and David has finished, and I’ll move onto the Outcast series to discover Cassiel and Luis’s story.
I read this for a buddy read here. Check it out for our discussions on the plot.(less)
One of the most anticipated sequels for me this year was the follow-up to last year’s brilliant Cinder, a fairy tale inspired sci-fi...moreActual rating: 3.5
One of the most anticipated sequels for me this year was the follow-up to last year’s brilliant Cinder, a fairy tale inspired sci-fi novel about a cyborg who has super powers. Cinder received 5 stars from me and was one of my favourite novels last year. Unfortunately, Scarlet didn’t seem to quite match up to its brilliance.
Scarlet, the 2nd book of the Lunar Chronicles, introduces two new lead characters which is also its namesake – badass tough-as-nails redhead called Scarlet, and a rough street fighter named Wolf who appears to have questionable motives. Scarlet’s grandmother has been kidnapped and the authorities won’t get involved, so she sets out to look for her. Unbeknownst to her, it’s a mission that will unveil some secrets about her grandmother and her heritage.
On the other hand, the novel switches perspectives to Cinder, who finds a way to escape jail. With her smarmy sidekick, Cadet Thorne (you better call him captain) the two are escaped fugitives who eventually find out their true mission and cross paths with the dynamic duo from before.
You’ve got to give it to the author to write in fairy tale influences into a sci-fi story line. While the first was essentially a nod to Cinderella, Scarlet is Red Riding Hood, only set within a futuristic world with Lunar influences and an evil queen. I enjoyed how the tales of both heroines were woven together, however there were some things that kept me from enjoying it greatly.
Due to the multiple perspectives, I found the novel to be quite difficult to get into as it would keep on switching between not only Scarlet and Cinder, but from the Evil Queen, Kai, and Thorne. Because it switches so much, there is only a limited window for character development and things appear to move slowly throughout the 450+ page novel. I understand the need to tell people’s story, especially when you’ve got a few new characters, but I really adored the ones from the first book and wished the focus was on them. My inner fangirl appreciated the return of Iko, Cinder’s beloved android and sidekick from the first book, but if that’s the highlight of the entire book, you know you’ve gotta put more in.
Iko and Thorne are there to lend some comic relief to the somewhat serious and intense development between Wolf and Scarlet.
The novel takes so long to get off the ground that it’s not until the very end of the novel that you’ll have the two paths intersecting. I found myself wondering when it was finally going to happen, and for the most part, I was just waiting for it to happen. Perhaps I’m being picky because I loved Cinder so much, but I still can’t wait to see what happens in the next installment, Cress.
Eh, I'm not quite sure what to think of this. The start was really promising, but the plot sort of loses itself shortly after the tw...moreActual rating: 3.5
Eh, I'm not quite sure what to think of this. The start was really promising, but the plot sort of loses itself shortly after the two main characters and then it turns into a heavy paranormal romance that was kind of unexpected.
It starts out with Diana, a professor at Oxford stumbling upon the Ashmore 782 manuscript. Diana also happens to be a witch who wants to be a human, and all manner of supernatural creatures turn up and stalk her to see how she summoned the manuscript. One of these creatures is Matthew Clairmont, another super smart professor who also happens to be a mysterious vampire.
At the starting point, I was really impressed with the detailed descriptions of Diana's world at Oxford and the historic accounts about Ashmore 782 and witches. Unfortunately, this impression disappears quickly after Matthew enters the picture.
From Chapter 8 onwards, you basically get a better written, adult version of Twilight, with a bit of witch and history thrown in. I wouldn't have minded the whole paranormal romance part even though it was somehow unexpected, however over the entire course of the book the Twilight references were endless.
Here's what I mean (contains spoilers): - Matthew's vampire possessiveness and over-protectiveness of Diana. - His stalker tendencies over watching Diana sleep. - Diana's apparent innocence and less adult moments, where you wonder where the smart professor has disappeared off to - The money and the riches that Matthew uses to shower his attention on - The fact that menstruation was brought up and that vampires aren't affected by it - Matthew's intense longing for Diana which seemingly came out of nowhere related to his wanting to hunt her - Matthew's family taking her in all of a sudden as their own - The only way they can be happy together is if Diana turns into a vampire - No sex, even though these are two grown, consenting adults
I could go on more, but you get the picture. It's as if the author has taken the main concept of Twilight and added several parts to it but that's still not enough to make it a completely different story. It just frustrates me because this had so much potential to be great, and the authors writing is definitely enveloping and descriptive. It kind of feels like I've read this story before.
Not to mention the convoluted plot (or lack thereof), I mean with all the mention of the manuscript (how many times was Ashmore 782 mentioned within the first few chapters?), the brief parts about planning a war, and the Knights of Lazarus, these things were all very interesting but barely touched upon. Instead, most of the pages are covered on the food that is being served or of Diana's yoga sessions. The book could have been condensed so much further if the less essential things were made more brief.
I'm hopeful though. Now that we've gotten the whole debut and setting out of the way, perhaps the somewhat strange lead into the next book will be better covered in Shadow of Night.
My first October Daye book was awesome! Being a huge fan of the author when she...moreThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
My first October Daye book was awesome! Being a huge fan of the author when she wrote the FEED trilogy, I knew I would love anything else that she’s written. October Daye was no different, there’s just the right amount of description, world building, and character development while moving the plot forward.
Rosemary and Rue starts off introducing us to a kickass changeling called October Daye, who has been knighted by Sylvester, the Duke of Shadowed Halls. She’s a really fascinating character that shows her vulnerabilities and her doubts, her strong beliefs being the bottom of the herd as a half fae/half human instead of a pure blood, but still manages to be totally kick ass despite her “weak” powers.
As the only knighted changeling who has actually earned her place, Toby commands a certain amount of respect in the fae world, even though she’s not a pure blooded fae. She is half Daoine Sidhe, the only fae who can taste other’s blood and read their memories and the first nobility of the Faerie. In this book, she slowly uncovers the companions from her past, including Devin, her magnetic first love who has created a cult-like Home for orphans, Tybalt, the King of the Cats, and Connor, the pure blood fling who is now married to the crazy successor of the Shadowed Halls.
One of the coolest things about October is that she’s a PI, and the book has her centered on solving a mystery that she’s binded to solve til the very end. The book has her looking for clues from her connections in the past, but it does reach a stall when she gets injured. She does get thrown around a lot in this book, getting injured by iron bullets, facing assassins and nearing death, and it sort of gets bogged down in her injuries in the middle.
I’ve read a lot of urban fantasies as one of my favourite genres, and this was probably one of the strongest debuts I’ve read in a long time. It had a strong, likable character voice and isn’t bogged down on heavy world building – even though there was a lot of it.
I’m keen to check out the rest of the series to explore this rich, magical world that Seanan McGuire has created and accompany Toby on her PI adventures as she navigates the strange lands of the Fae.(less)
I had high hopes for this book after hearing about all the interesting places Diana Bishop (witch and historian) and Matthew (her vampire husband) wou...moreI had high hopes for this book after hearing about all the interesting places Diana Bishop (witch and historian) and Matthew (her vampire husband) would visit using time travel. Unfortunately, what resulted in between the hefty 600 pages, was a lot of frustration, boredom, and just a general feeling of "make it stop".
The Discovery of Witches, the first in the series, had so much potential but just ended up having too much of a resemblance to Twilight and too much irrelevant waffle. Shadow of Night is even worse in that regard. While the Twilight veins have disappeared here, Shadow of Night not only capitalises on the worst frustrations of the first book, but adds its own as well.
Where we left off in The Discovery of Witches was Diana and Matthew heading to the past to find a witchy tutor for her powers, and to uncover the Ashmore 982 manuscript.
But when you pick up Shadow of Night, its best you forget where we were, the time travel elements, segregated world of witches, vampires and daemons, witch powers, and that snobby and possessive Matthew that you know (in other words, everything that was good about the novel). For you'll be thrust into the 16th Century with a bunch of historical characters and a bunch of new names that only history majors would recognise.
Both Diana and Matthew are also strangely different in this novel, and for the worse as well. Diana's "daftness" and complete stubbornness to listen to anyone who makes sense (including Matthew who is only looking after her best interests) plagues the entire novel. Matthew's snobbery, distance, possessiveness and all of that are emphasised too. These people just refuse to listen to each other, which is probably why they are perfect(ly annoying) together.
After giving Blood Bound a three star rating, due to heaps of world building and character development (and not enough action), I was certain that this one would be a better title. That's usually characteristic of urban fantasy; after you've gotten the setting after the way, they usually get better as the series progresses. Sadly, I wouldn't really call this an urban fantasy. It's more a paranormal romance, with some action sequences in it.
Rachel Vincent has created an interesting world in the Unbound series. Two syndicate leaders, Cavazo and Tower, seek to bind workers who are born with abilities. They are pretty much as bad as each other. The first book focused on the perspective of a blood tracker named Olivia, who worked for Cavazo, and this one focuses on her childhood friend Kori, a Shadow walker or Traveler who is bound by Tower.
In Shadow Bound, Kori meets Ian Holt, a handsome stranger who she must convince to sign up with Tower's syndicate. However, he has his own motives for wanting to get close to Kori, and the dual perspectives show what each character is thinking.
I was interested in Kori's perspective, as she's got a lot of spunk, strength and a filthy mouth. However, as the story unfolded, you realise that she's just a really angry, unpleasant person. Granted she has gone through a lot, especially being tortured and whatnot in Tower's basement, but it seems like she already started out that way based on her personality in the first book.
Unfortunately as I got into Shadow Bound, I realised the book was plagued with the same problems of the first. There's so much talking, character thoughts, and character development that pretty much nothing happens in the book. In fact, you could pretty much read the beginning, somewhere in the middle, and the end and you wouldn't have missed much of the story. The end was very abrupt and the final reveal wasn't very shocking at all. Or perhaps, that's because I just didn't really care about these two characters in the end. (less)
Unholy Magic is the 2nd in the Downside Ghosts series and boy, is it emotionally gripping and extremely intense.
Chess is a debunker for the Church wh...moreUnholy Magic is the 2nd in the Downside Ghosts series and boy, is it emotionally gripping and extremely intense.
Chess is a debunker for the Church who exterminates ghosts and more frequently, busts those who are set up fake hauntings for financial gain. She's also an extremely drug dependent, which helps her deal with the scars that early life experiences have caused.
In this book, we see her making horrible decisions that lead her to drive a divide between her personal relationships and the only person she really cares about, Terrible. Somehow, she's found herself wedged in between two opposing gang members, Terrible and Lex. It's evident throughout the book that she doesn't know how to deal when she actually cares about someone.
Chess is such an interesting, complex character. We find out the reasons why she is so dependent on drugs and see her hit rock bottom in this book. Somehow, you just can't help but sympathise with her and wish that she will one day find solace in something that isn't drugs. Stacia Kane has a way with conveying heavy emotions throughout the book. This is not an easy read, with so many dark themes involving sex, drugs, and murder.
The world of Downside is so corrupt, dark and gritty. The crimes performed within this book are not for the squeamish, involving mutilated bodies, necrophilia, and the like. Once you become adjusted to the world of Downside, you'll be in for a heck of a ride as you follow Chess on her journey of debunking and ghost-busting.
Katherine "Kitty" Katt is the Commander of the Airborne Centaurian...moreThis review also appears on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews!
Katherine "Kitty" Katt is the Commander of the Airborne Centaurian Division, which is a group of extremely good-looking Alpha-Cetaurians (or A-C's) who use their powers to save the world. It's been five months since "Operation Fugly" and Kitty is happily dating Martini, her sexy A-C boyfriend who is also a high-ranking Commander. However, with a jealous lover after her and a host of mastermind stalkers, she's in for a ride in Alien Tango.
Having enjoyed the first book in the series, I was looking forward to this one, hoping it would meet my expectations. Perhaps I set my expectations a little too high, as there were some things that irked me. I found the plot was all over place and got lost every now and then. Instead of taking the book in a single direction, we get to see glimpses of Kitty's life, like finally meeting Martini's family, and a return of an old lover from high school.
Kitty is one weird lady. She's got a quirky sense of humour (highlight of the book was when she did the kung fu horse stance to try and control a gushing pipe and when she named two alligators "Alliflash" and "Gigantagator") which I find really hilarious. She's really smart, ballsy, quick on her feet and extremely charismatic. So much so, that she's able to command a unit with relatively no experience or powers (except for her sexual prowess, if you may like to call that one).
Unfortunately, she flaunts that sexuality a little too much in this book. She reminds me of the Flirty/Heartbreaker trait in The Sims 3, who can't help but be amorous with everyone they take a fancy to. She's got many men after her, much to Martini's displeasure and a lot of the book revolves around his jealousy and insecurities. In two separate missions, Kitty actually uses her sexual prowess to assist in the mission, and although effective, I couldn't help but wonder why the two most powerful aliens on the planet couldn't help instead.
Although these things really got on my nerves whenever they appeared, there were a lot of redeeming qualities that helped me overlook those annoyances. What I really enjoyed about the book, is the sci-fi, modern day setting where aliens have integrated themselves into our world, unbeknownst to most of the human population. The descriptions about their religions, technology, and powers satisfies my inner nerd. There's also a lot of witty banter between the characters, which is really fun and enjoyable.
The humour in this series is just pure gold. I mean these aliens prefer Armani suits, have extreme stamina, and all are apparently extremely sexy. Not to mention having the greatest empath in the world as her boyfriend, who knows exactly what she's feeling without her mentioning anything. He's great in bed, has excellent stamina, rich and powerful. Sounds like the perfect guy right?
I enjoyed Alien Tango and will be looking forward to reading the next title in the series. (less)
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Amor deliria nervosa, aka love, is a disease in the world...moreThis review has been cross-posted on my Happy Indulgence blog. Check it out for more reviews!
Amor deliria nervosa, aka love, is a disease in the world of Portland, where Lena resides. After being infected with the disease and successfully making it out of the city with Alex, the guy who 'saved' her, the novel follows her path of survival, falling in love again, and desperation.
Pandemonium was a better read than Delirium, which I criticised for its repetitiveness and predictability, although I enjoyed the story. The sequel is told in interchanging perspectives between then, when she first escaped after Alex's capture, and now, several months into the future where she apparently seems to have undergone the procedure to be cured and encounters a poster boy for righteousness called Julian. This formula definitely captures and holds your attention, and mesh together to flesh out the story between old and new characters.
Compared to Delirium, it is also much darker and grittier as we see the hardship she has to go through to survive out in the Wilds. She has to hunt for food, goes through poverty, and struggles against the Government and an impending war.
Although Pandemonium also suffers from a bit of predictability (especially after not knowing what happened to Alex), there are some beautifully written passages within the novel. The text interweaves action with poetic descriptions:
But the morning does come. It finds its way in through the cracks in the plywood, the fissures in the roof: a murky grayness, a slight ebbing of the dark.
I struggled with relating to Julian, he's been sheltered against women all of his life for the fear of contracting deliria nervosa, and he was just a bit beta male for my tastes. Bring on Alex again I say, even though that was some time ago.
Just as how Delirium ended, Pandemonium ends on a (predictable) cliffhanger, and we're left again to wait until the sequel comes out. I'm excited about the release and look forward to reading it.(less)
This review has been cross-posted on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews!
Wow, finishing that book was a chore. Time travel, a see...moreThis review has been cross-posted on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews!
Wow, finishing that book was a chore. Time travel, a seer who possesses bodies in different times, vampires with dark curls, vamp politics, mages, ghosts, mafia - what just happened?!
Most of the book is seriously just Cassandra surrounded by vamps in a room talking about politics and stuff. There is nothing more frustrating than finally getting around to some action (bedroom and fight scenes) to realise that the author is just going to cut a huge info dumping session or major chatter in the middle of it.
So much was crammed into this book that I couldn't even tell you now what most of it was about. I feel like I should get a medal for finishing this.
To summarise, if you love long scenes that never seem to go anywhere, terribly complex subplots layered upon subplots and a bunch of irrelevant information, you'll probably love Touch the Dark. I feel the need to give this series a shot, so we'll see how the sequel goes, I guess, even if it isn't terribly high up the list. (less)
Insurgent is an engaging sequel to Divergent, where the society is divided into several factions. It follows where the other book left off, so a recap...moreInsurgent is an engaging sequel to Divergent, where the society is divided into several factions. It follows where the other book left off, so a recap was necessary if you haven't read the book in a while.
Tris and Tobias are on a train following the aftermath of the end of Divergent. The Erudite have broken out into a war on the Abnegation and it's up to the Dauntless loyals to stop them from controlling every faction. They meet up with friends and foes along the way, and it turns into an all-out political war between the rest of the factions.
As with any great debut, I find many of us had high expectations when it came to Insurgent. While I enjoyed the book, I think it tried too hard to be like Hunger Games 2 & 3, setting up a political backlash for an undoubtedly explosive finale. While Divergent had an extremely tight knit plot, as it focused on Tris and her initiation into the Dauntless, halfway through this one I still wasn't sure where the plot was going.
There was a large focus on the secondary characters (view spoiler)[even though most of the ones from the first book were killed off (hide spoiler)] and I had a hard time recalling who many of them were, especially since they did not receive a big focus from the first one. In this one, Tris also struggles with the guilt and mourning left from the aftermath of the first book, and it affects her relationship with Four. She's definitely not in a happy place, and it's apparent throughout this book.
However, Insurgent definitely brings about some deeper insights, as did Divergent. It flirts with the possibility of living without factions, and as Tris herself thought "How will we know what to do without factions?" The glimpses of the world built within Insurgent appear here and there, and by the end of the book, we're left with a lot of questions.
What each faction values also appears to be their Achilles heel; while the Dauntless may be brave they are also brawn without brains, while the Amity are peaceful they do nothing to prevent the war when it starts breaking out, and while the Erudite are smart they do not have the ability to act without thinking.
My feelings are that Insurgent was great for showing more about the fascinating world that Roth has created, and setting up the last in the trilogy, but it is not as well-focused as Divergent. I found it enjoyable, and no doubt look forward to the concluding book.
Blood Bound holds an interesting premise about a powerful blood tracker called Liv, who is bound by one of the harshest syndicate bo...moreActual rating: 3.5
Blood Bound holds an interesting premise about a powerful blood tracker called Liv, who is bound by one of the harshest syndicate bosses in history. There's people who are born with abilities, such as Tracking, Binding (contracts), Blinders, and Jammers. They are recruited into syndicates owned by two overarching gang bosses, Jake Tower and Ruben Cavazo.
While this story sounds like it'd be super action-packed with the focus on the abilities, much of the it was actually focused on world-building, dealing with past relationships and reminiscing about days gone. Liv meets Cam, the love of her life 6 years ago, and once they reach this point about 3/4 of the book is spent talking to each other and struggling against their attractions. I did enjoy the build up between these two characters, knowing their past histories with each other, however some of the decisions that they made just didn't justify the time they spent apart.
As things unfold and you find out about the situation surrounding two seemingly unrelated missions, things start to interweave and interrelate a little too too neatly. Everything seems to fall into place a little too nicely and while it makes for a good story, it's kind of unbelievable.
The world where people with powers are afraid to share their full names or shed a drop of blood was quite naturally worked into the story. However, I found most of the book to be quite slow-paced with only a few action scenes to keep us interested.
In plain terms and taking out all of the sizzle, Blood bound is basically about people with special abilities struggling to escape the clutches of two syndicate bosses. Interesting read, but not my favourite.
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Obsidian came to me highly recommended and I really want...moreThis review has been cross-posted on my Happy Indulgence blog. Check it out for more reviews!
Obsidian came to me highly recommended and I really wanted to love it. I mean, hot alien bad boy living next door? Yes please. I really hate to do this, but while I was reading it, the Twilight similarities just kept on popping into my head. And once I was there, I couldn’t stop seeing the references.
First, you’ve got Daemon, a sexy teenage boy who is repellent to Katy. He’s possessive, overprotective, and a total jerk (Edward). His bouncy sister wants to be best friends with her (Dee). Then you’ve got Ash, the bitchy gorgeous girl in their group (Rachel), the authoritative biology teacher (Carlisle) and the dude who just doesn’t support them (Emmett?).
The first half of the book was about getting used to Dee and Daemon and realising there was something weird about them. Katy walks in front of a truck accidentally and Daemon saves her from it with superhuman speed and some strange glowing. Later, she finds out that he not only glows, but he’s actually a source of light.
Not to mention the chase at the end of the book against an evil alien who wants to kill Katy (Victoria). I mean, does this not exactly sounds like the plot of Twilight to you? It’s as if the author has taken the blueprint of the book, changed the vampire to aliens, taken out the weird stalker tendencies and made Katy into a stronger/snarkier person. Funnily enough, Obsidian has achieved a near 5 star rating on Goodreads, which means even years after Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, it shows that readers are still loving the sexy supernatural dude going after a normal teenage girl.
I can see the appeal though. I mean this guy is HOT, six pack and everything. There’s ever-growing tension between him and Katy, and Katy just seems more real and likeable compared to Bella. It’s not hard being better than Twilight, but someone needs to start the trend. Pretty much a better Twilight, but with aliens, makes it hard for me to rate this highly.(less)
We’ve reached the halfway mark for the Weather Warden series and as f...moreThis has been posted on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews!
We’ve reached the halfway mark for the Weather Warden series and as far as I’m concerned, Thin Air is the best in the series so far. Since the epic world-domination build up from books 1-4, Thin Air throws all of this out the window and gets us back to basics.
Joanne Baldwin, our favourite weather warden with a wicked sense of humour, wakes up naked and shivering in a forest with no recollection of who she is. She is approached by Lewis, her colleague who tells her they have impending danger ahead. Slowly throughout the course of the book, she learns who she is by absorbing other people’s memories with the help of a Djinn and her own mysterious abilities.
There’s one thing evident about Rachel Caine ever since Ill Wind, and that is her skill in delivering flashbacks to supplement the current story. Thin Air is all about flash backs, but it’s from other people’s perspectives. Ever wanted to see what swimwear model Cherise thinks of Jo and Sarah, her money-grabbing sister? What the cold hard life of a twisted killer is like? Thin Air delivers all of these and more, and it really adds to the character development in the story.
While Joanne is trying to figure out who she is, we know exactly what has happened and the whole memory loss thing didn’t affect the brisk plot moving forward after the whole Djinn aftermath. We pick up where the previous book has left off, not knowing what’s happened to Ashan and Imara. There’s this awesome ‘Evil Twin’ plot thread happening too, an evil Demon who is trying to take over Joanne’s life.
I devoured the whole book in just 3 days, and things are really looking interesting in the weather warden universe. If you haven’t started it yet, you’re missing out on a really unique and exciting series!(less)
After seeing Joanne Baldwin, kickass weather warden being bruised, beaten, powerless, and everything else thrown in her way, it was great to see her f...moreAfter seeing Joanne Baldwin, kickass weather warden being bruised, beaten, powerless, and everything else thrown in her way, it was great to see her finally manifesting her powers here and using them to save herself and others.
Let's face it, she's been dragged through the ditches and back in the series so far, and we're all getting a little tired of that. But the stakes are now higher, with her adult, half-djinn daughter around and her sister under hostage by a madman.
She can no longer rely on David saving her in every situation because he can become psychotic at any point and kill her. It's an impossible love that you can't help to root for at any point.
I've thoroughly enjoyed the Weather Warden series and will continue to do so. Can't stop now, I'm halfway through!
This is fast becoming one of my favourite series, it just...moreThis review has also been posted on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews!
This is fast becoming one of my favourite series, it just gets better and better as the series progresses. My review contains spoilers for the first two books for the series so progress with caution.
Joanne Baldwin is a weather warden, the book opening with her racing towards Las Vegas to stop her enemy from creating the next Ice Age. Kevin is a force to be reckoned with, he's absorbed powers from the most powerful combined Warden ever, and he's also got an extremely powerful Djinn to boot.
Soon after, things turn around for the worse and Joanne starts to get jerked around by first the Wardens, a secret organisation, and her own worse nightmare. If it wasn't Joanne, I think anyone would have broken down from the things she endured in this book.
Joanne's an extremely likable character, she's powerful, has great fashion sense, has great strength of character, and she has lots of snarky retorts in this book. Unlike the previous two books, we learn that her character can be attributed by some nightmares in the past. This journey is highly personal for her, and had an incredible emotional impact in this book.
There's just so many aspects to the story that makes the series a 5 star one. The writing is just so absorbing and easy to read. It has an addictive quality about it. The scientific weather manipulation powers and the use of Djinn (or genies as we may know them) is unique and compelling. The Weather Warden world itself, is a fascinating one with Earth, Fire and Weather Wardens looking after the world. The story itself just feels so epic, with a powerful archenemy in each book. This always leads to an explosive grand finale at the end of each book.
Building upon all of these concepts, this book adds a different dimension to the world with a different organisation to the wardens. That's what makes this series so compelling, there's just so many factors to it that constructs the story. I'm glad I'm reading this in a buddy read, so we can discuss it to our hearts content. Check out our discussions if you’ve read the book.
If you haven't picked up this series yet, definitely put it on the To Read list! (less)
WOW what an exhilarating ride! Heat Stroke was a way slicker book than the first one, fast-paced and easier to get into than simply a road trip and re...moreWOW what an exhilarating ride! Heat Stroke was a way slicker book than the first one, fast-paced and easier to get into than simply a road trip and reminiscing about the times which was pretty much sums up Ill Wind.
I absolutely love the cool factor of both Joanne and her powers, either as a Djinn or Weather warden. This book contains descriptions of meteorology that border on being too scientific, but wow they just blow my mind! Not to mention the descriptions of how Djinn draw their power. The author holds great imagination and skilfully conveys something which seems to be difficult to understand into such a readable, easily digested format.
A thing I am loving so far about this series: it's so incredibly addictive, with a writing style so natural that it flows easily. That's probably a flow on from Rachel Caine's YA writing.
I absolutely adore the male leads in Joanne's life, David, the sexy Djinn and Lewis, the world's most powerful weather warden. Joanne's wit, charisma and sheer determination just matches both of these men well, and she can definitely keep up with them.
Later on in the book, you do meet some twisted and disturbing characters, but it does lead to an epic finale in the end. I was totally hooked into this book from the start and it was difficult to put down.
If I didn't have so many other books lined up to read for the next month, I'd be reading Chill Factor in an instant!
This review has also been posted on my Happy Indulgence blog. Check it out for more reviews!
The third book in the Downside Ghosts series, City of Gho...moreThis review has also been posted on my Happy Indulgence blog. Check it out for more reviews!
The third book in the Downside Ghosts series, City of Ghosts deals with some hard hitting emotions that this author so expertly conveys. In the previous book, Chess was dealt a big blow that left her reeling emotionally and unsure how to react and mend things with Terrible, the man in her life.
As a drug dependent user, she sinks deeper into using substances to cope with her feelings. She's a big emotional wreck in this one, and it's very depressing to read. It feels like she's bruised, beaten, and played with here and you can't help but hope that she gets a happy resolution.
The heavy emotions aside, Chess has been sent on another mission to work with the Black Squad from the Church. Working with the Grand Elder's daughter, Chess gets caught up in a whirlwind of sinister forces, dark magic, and ghostly murders happening in the dark, gritty City of Downside.
This series is definitely one to follow, it is written with expertise, in a way that every sentence conveys what Chess is feeilng (which is sometimes complex). Even though she's broken, truly drug dependent and emotionally hurt, she still does her best for the Church. What I like about Chess is that she seems so real, with her share of flaws and her raw emotions. Though I realise it's probably not for everyone, as the drug use is very confronting at times.
I'm really excited to see where this series is heading especially after the epic ending. It's quite a heavy read though, so I might take a bit of a break first.(less)
Kitty Norville pleasantly surprised me with it's unique radio talk show segments and intriguing heroine. Unlike most other heroines in PNR UF series,...moreKitty Norville pleasantly surprised me with it's unique radio talk show segments and intriguing heroine. Unlike most other heroines in PNR UF series, Kitty is at the bottom of her pack and she's the meek one who needs the protection of others. Her radio talk show about supernatural beings suddenly takes off, and intrinsically she finds herself wanting to break out on her own and lead the pack.
The whole 'pack' mentality was interesting in this one. Even as humans, the Alpha can do whatever he wants with the rest of his pack members, provided they have his protection. Kitty's gotten by so far by acting submissive and needing to be looked after, but slowly, she starts to break free of that. It's an interesting journey to follow, especially because she's not the typical kick ass heroine and she starts out from the bottom.
The radio segments were fantastic. Callers talk to Kitty about their supernatural questions, and it attracts the attention of the police, government departments, and her own boss. I'm still not sure how the existence of werewolves, vampires and other beings are handled in Kitty's world. Typically, it would be risky to expose these beings, so why is she so open about it?
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the series unfolds, this wasn't mindblowing in any sense but intriguing.
Ill wind is an explosive debut about a group of wardens who maintain balance to the Earth, fire wardens, earth wardens, and weather wardens. Joanne Ba...moreIll wind is an explosive debut about a group of wardens who maintain balance to the Earth, fire wardens, earth wardens, and weather wardens. Joanne Baldwin is a powerful weather warden who is running from the storm, looking for her powerful friend Lewis who is the only one who can save her from a demon mark.
The whole story is basically set out around a huge road trip, but it's a journey definitely worth travelling. The weather descriptions went over my head a little as they were a bit too scientific for my liking, but definitely makes it unique in a sense. Flashbacks are tied into the Joanne's road trip, fleshing out why she is running and looking for Lewis and the relationships she has with other characters.
When she meets a handsome hitchiker David, things get really interesting from there as he's not what he seems from the start.
I really enjoyed the writing, it is personable, down-to-earth, and does not try too hard to be descriptive or poetic. The author weaves complexities into the storyline really well. Both Joanne and David are extremely likeable characters, while they aren't perfect in any sense, they are void of any annoying character traits that are so common in PNR/UF titles.
I loved how the story unfolded and felt like I went on a little journey myself, reading about the circumstances following Joanne. The way the story was set out definitely led up to an explosive finale that had me gobsmacked with an ending I did not see coming.
The weather warden series is an interesting one, and I'll definitely pick up the next books in the series to see how things pan out.
This review also appears on my blog. Check it out for more reviews!
Sweet Evil is about a pure and innocent teen called Anna, who looks for the good in...moreThis review also appears on my blog. Check it out for more reviews!
Sweet Evil is about a pure and innocent teen called Anna, who looks for the good in others and who helps people in any way she can. The only thing, is that she has powers with all five senses emphasised, and she can see people’s auras. One day, she meets a bad boy drummer called Kaiden who unveils an entire world that she didn’t know existed – it turns out he’s a Nephilim like her, and she delves into the world of Dukes, Nephilim, and Angels.
Sweet Evil holds a fascinating twist on the theme of Angels. Nephilim, who are the children of Angels and Demons, are tied to do their fathers’ (who are also the Dukes of Hell) bidding. The Dukes are centered around certain sins; Anna’s father, Belial, is the Duke of Substance Abuse and she feels particularly drawn to drugs and alcohol. This means that Anna must influence her peers towards that particular sin.
Although Anna seems to be really pure, innocent, and religious, she never appears to be prudish or too stereotypical. She’s up for a good time, which probably shows her naive nature more than anything. What I really enjoyed about Anna’s voice is that she just seems so real. Her concerns and her thoughts are not too shallow or whiny as other YA heroines may be.
I also liked how the story continued to evolve over a time period, it wasn’t just the typical predictable insta-love, happily ever after sort of deal. It’s things like that which keep you guessing throughout the story, and you’re always hanging on for more to see what happens. The story also converges into a climactic end, showing that there’s a point to it all.
Overall, I really enjoyed Sweet Evil and it’s probably one of the best YA titles I’ve read all year. I can’t wait for more!(less)
With a name like "Touched by an alien", it's no doubt that this book would be hilarious and unconventional, not taking itself seriously. Even the blur...moreWith a name like "Touched by an alien", it's no doubt that this book would be hilarious and unconventional, not taking itself seriously. Even the blurb was funny, I mean handsome aliens dressed in Armani suits? The book delivered lots of laughs, action, romance, and more.
Nothing could prepare me for the entertainment that ensued upon reading the book. The witty banter alone was incredibly fun, between the Alpha-Centaurions (or A-C's) which are all incredibly good looking, smart aliens who are great in bed and who hold superpowers like "extreme empathy". When you look at the book as a whole, it's really funny but it definitely doesn't try too hard to be that.
Kitty is a great heroine with an excellent sense of humour. She could win battles just on her quick wit and taste in hard rock music alone. Her parents are also an interesting pair, one of which is even more kick ass than her daughter.
This book wasn't perfect however, with a political and religious agenda explaining why the aliens came to Earth. It did confuse me in some parts, but carried on at a fast pace. There was heaps of action moving the book at a fast pace, although I was disappointed that the Montblac pen didn't make a reappearance later in the book.
*minor spoiler*(view spoiler)[The contrived love triangle was probably something I could have done without, I felt like I was watching another episode of Vampire Diaries again, with the heroine caught between two hunks! (hide spoiler)]
I definitely enjoyed this title, and will be continuing with the rest of the series. This series is definitely underrated, if you want a good, entertaining sci-fi romance then pick this up!
While reading Unholy Ghosts, what struck me was how strange and unusual it was in some parts of it's storytelling.
Chess is a witch who hunts ghosts f...moreWhile reading Unholy Ghosts, what struck me was how strange and unusual it was in some parts of it's storytelling.
Chess is a witch who hunts ghosts for a living, but she is also addicted to drugs and uses them to deal with her life. In order to use magic, she is an employee of the Church of Real Truth, yet she also hangs out in all the wrong places. This juxta-positioning was a little strange, especially when she snorts drugs, listens to sermons, and hangs around rough-talking males. She certainly is an intriguing character, definitely not predictable or run-of-the-mill in any sense. I'm still unsure whether she's a likable one or not, but I guess I'll just have to wait and see as the series unfolds.
The book features an interesting and unique setting. It's set in a dystopian world based around ghosts, where a Church has been established to deal with the ghost problem. As the first in the series definitely had a lot of world-building to it. Despite this, a perfect sense of pace between mystery, character development, and world building sucked me into the story.
Chess's drug using however, was a bit hard to swallow (no pun intended). She's describe as an addict and that she definitely is and we hear about her need throughout the book.
The men in the book were kind of strange. I don't really buy Chess being attracted to either of them, and they are both are written a bit too similar in my opinion. They're both from opposing gangs, and both use rougher, street speech to talk, and both apparently perfect gentlemen. I kind of find this difficult to believe, but I suppose they are meant to be love interests.
I'm glad I've picked up this series as I've heard it gets really good later on and will be definitely continuing to read it.
The second book in the Hollows series is written much better than the haphazard style of Dead Witch Walking. I'm glad I stuck with the series because...moreThe second book in the Hollows series is written much better than the haphazard style of Dead Witch Walking. I'm glad I stuck with the series because it's a really unique and interesting one. Firstly, it seems like the author has done with some good editing and slowly interweaves the world building with what is happening at the time, instead of having huge info dumps at random intervals.
Rachel Morgan slowly learns to stand on her own and develop her powers further in this book. As an FIB consultant, she's assisting in a murder investigation using her strong intuition and witchy powers. The host of side characters such as Ivy, Nick, and Jenks are developed further and they are complex characters so it's interesting to follow.
There's some interesting developments to follow in this book, and I especially find entertaining how tomatoes are feared by all humans due to them containing a virus that wiped out 1/4 of humanity. This book is multi-layered and has complex characters and developments, and it is easily enjoyable.
I recommend The Hollows series to anyone who hasn't started it yet, and keen to start on the next one.
As one of the most popular urban fantasy titles out there, I was really excited to start The Hollows series. I have a thing about the supernatural, ev...moreAs one of the most popular urban fantasy titles out there, I was really excited to start The Hollows series. I have a thing about the supernatural, ever since I was young I've been intrigued with the world of witches, vampires, werewolves, and the like. The blurb to Dead Witch Walking sounded promising.
Once I got into Dead Witch Walking however, I found it difficult to get into. There's just something about the writing that is difficult to follow. Too many fragmented sentences, and there wasn't really a proper introduction. I felt like I was an outsider looking in, although I'm certain that it's just 'first in series' syndrome as the writer warms up her characters and the world building.
There were some intricacies which kept me reading, such as faithful companion Jenks, the interesting world-building, and how Rachel was going to get herself out of her own mess.
I found the relationship between Rachel and Ivy strangely perverse. A few times during the book I was questioning whether Rachel swung that way or not, but she did clearly state that she didn't. It's evident that the characters are quite complex, which will probably develop over time.
I'll keep reading because it's fascinating so far, and hopefully the writing gets better from here on out (and I've heard it gets really good, so I'm keen on following the series further).
Red Headed Stepchild is about a half mage, half vampire assassin called Sabina Kane. She's been sent into the enemy's base to infiltrate their secrets...moreRed Headed Stepchild is about a half mage, half vampire assassin called Sabina Kane. She's been sent into the enemy's base to infiltrate their secrets and perform an assasination that gets complicated, as she finds out more about the people and her own birth.
At the very start of the book, there was a part that revealed that every vampire is a red head. The ones with darker mahogany hair are older and more powerful, while the ones with lighter auburn hair are newborns. I found this reference to be interesting and a little comical, but it was unfortunate that it wasn't really followed through well for the rest of the book.
There's this hilarious demon called Gighul in the book. Later on, he gets stuck in the form of a hairless cat. He steals every scene that he's in, and he does provide a bit of comical relief for the entire book.
Unfortunately, Red Headed Stepchild failed to grab me with it's run-of-the-mill story. As I've mentioned in the Serious Overload of Series Buddy Read thread, the story failed to convey a depth of emotion even though the circumstances affecting Sabina were personal. I just found like I was reading a straight action story all the way through, and in the end I failed to care about the main character. For an assassin, I expected her to be more on her guard and less trusting of others, but that didn't seem to be the case.
The mythology covering Lilith and Cain in Adam and Eve's place was quite interesting, and the book does spend quite a lot on it's world building. It seems character development was sacrificed in its place however. A 3 stars read for me, but if I did pick up the sequels it would be to read about what becomes of Gighul.
There's a certain comfort in the zombie genre because you know what to expect. The back story is pretty self-explanatory, a virus breaks out, people g...moreThere's a certain comfort in the zombie genre because you know what to expect. The back story is pretty self-explanatory, a virus breaks out, people get infected, and a zombie apocalypse happens. What better reason to offer action and gore than with that simple explanation?
Feed offers so much more than what the usual zombie novel entails. Instead of horror and the survival, it goes into the epidemiology of the zombie virus, and how the world has dealt with it 20 years after the zombie outbreak. It's a world underpinned by blogging and journalism to bring the truth about zombies to the masses.
Georgia and Shaun Mason, adoptive brother and sister, and Buffy the perky technophile are bloggers on the brink of their greatest story when they are chosen to offer news coverage for a US Senator's campaign. Equipped with hidden cameras and enough recording equipment in case of an emergency, they accompany the Senator to his meetings. Unwarranted zombie attacks start happening and the Masons soon discover they may be on the hinge of a conspiracy.
I really adored the characters within this book. It delivers a complexity rarely seen between character relationships. Shaun is a happy-go-lucky, over-protective brother who can strike a chord between his readers. George is a hard-nosed journalist with a sole purpose to uncover the truth. She may seem emotionless and uncaring, but the only person who she lets her guard down around is her brother. Buffy offers them a reprieve from the tougher side of life with her bouncy personality.
Continued here...on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews!(less)