Oct 212013
 

Bound By Night (Moonbound Clan Book 1) A WOMAN OUT FOR BLOOD

Nicole Martin was only eight years old when the vampire slaves rose up in rebellion and killed her family. Now she devotes her life to finding a vaccine against vampirism, hoping to wipe out her memories-along with every bloodsucker on the planet. But there’s one thing she cannot destroy: her searing, undeniable attraction for the one man she should hate and fear the most . . .

A VAMPIRE OUT FOR REVENGE

A member of the renegade vampire MoonBound Clan, Riker is haunted by demons of his own. When he recognizes Nicole and remembers how her family enslaved his loved ones, his heart burns for vengeance. But when he kidnaps Nicole and holds her in a secret lair, his mortal enemy becomes his soul obsession, his greatest temptation, and, perhaps, his only salvation-a hot-blooded lover who could heal him with her touch . . . or bury him forever.

A new series by Larissa Ione??  Yes please!

With the Lords of Deliverance series ending and the characters merging with the Demonica, it did feel like there was now a void that needed filling (until Reaver is released!). Happily we now have Bound by Night and our introduction to the MoonBound Clan Vampires.

Nicole and Riker are just magic together and their interactions are brilliant whether it’s romantic or confrontational.  They have every reason to hate each other but being ‘with’ them as they worked through everything just made me love them more, even when they are being idiots. Such is the charm of Larissa Ione’s characters!  Intriguing glimpses of the other members of the MoonBound Clan give me hope that this series will have a good few books and I am really looking forward to reading the next, which I think will be Hunter’s story.

Initially I was a bit doubtful about ‘yet another vampire series’ but in all honesty, I loved the premise of this one.  Vampires are out in the world but are treated as little more than animals – kept as slaves, farmed and experimented on, yet there are also clans of ‘wild’ vampires who remain hidden and fight to live their lives with honour in spite of the human threat.

The lore is drawn from Native American history and again, while this is not an interest of mine, Larissa Ione made it interesting and added her own twist to it which I loved.

Everything I love about Ione’s clean writing style and visual storytelling is in this book; emotional conflict, characters you want to kick one minute and love the next, tense battle scenes and hot, hot sex.  By the end I was completely in love with the new characters and wish I could pick up the next novel already. The pace of the story was nicely judged and when mixed with fluid prose, it made for an extremely easy to read, but no less enthralling book.

Bound by Night is just amazing – more please!!

Book Information
  • Author: Larissa Ione
  • Series: MoonBound Clan Vampires (1)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★★ 

 

 

May 092013
 

The Shambling Guide to New York City (The Shambling Guides) Zoe Norris is a successful guide book writer/editor who lost her job due to a dalliance with her boss.  Unfortunately the boss turned out to be married, a fact he’d neglected to tell Zoe until his wife, also the town’s Chief of Police found out and became very unhappy. Conveniently made redundant and strongly encouraged to leave town for her safety, she heads back to her home city of New York.  A job advert pinned up in a very odd old bookshop seemed tailor made for Zoe except that she keeps being told that she wouldn’t be suitable… Being human had never had a downside before.

This is the first book I’ve read by Mur Lafferty and I really enjoyed it.  A travel guide for the non-human visitors and denizens of New York City was a brilliant premise and the author built up a great cast of characters centred around Zoe.

Each chapter is separated with an excerpt from the guide and they make great little informational snippets that helped flesh out the ‘world’ Zoe never knew existed before applying for the job.  Often they relate to a place you’ve recently discovered in the story and it was a really nice touch.

Zoe herself is a really well written character, and I loved her a lot; her sense of humour is very appealing and matched well with my own.  She also has a huge amount of determination and balls of steel to enter into a world where she is at the bottom of the food chain… literally.  Her co-workers and new boss are brought to life (so to speak!) with equal care and attention and made this an extremely well rounded book.

The pace of the book was well measured; slow at the start while Zoe was still trying to come to terms with the massive change in her life and figuring out what her new direction would be.  As she discovered this supernatural half to the city she never knew about, it started to pick up.  As she got to grips with it and the story progressed, it sped up until it was running full tilt at the end.  I was quite breathless!

The plot was equally as measured, and we discovered the new ‘world’ at the same time as Zoe and went through it all with her.  From co-workers who would love to have her for dinner to weird and wonderful establishments catering to the weird and wonderful, it was a great read.  What really made it good though, was the threat hanging over her that someone was out to get her and would stop at nothing to mess with her life.  Who that was, was very well concealed, and I was kept guessing right to the end.  The action scenes were entertaining, sometimes funny and it was a refreshing change to have a heroine who wasn’t suddenly a kick ass fighter with unimaginable power.  She was however organised enough to keep working on the book as her new found life threatened to come crashing down around her!

In summary, this is a great book and highly recommended to fans of Urban Fantasy.  I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mur Lafferty
  • Series: The Shambling Guides (1)
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Apr 162013
 

Blood Born Luca Ambrus is a rare breed: vampire from birth, begotten by vampire parents, blood born. He is also an agent of the Council – the centuries-old cabal that governs vampirekind, preserving their secrecy and destroying those who betray them.

When a cryptic summons leads him to the scene of the brutal killing of a powerful Council member, Luca begins the hunt for an assassin among his own people. But instead of a lone killer he discovers a sinister conspiracy of rogue vampires bent on subjugating the mortal world. 

All that stands in their way are the conduits, humans able to channel spirit warriors into the physical world to protect mankind. Chloe Fallon is a conduit – and a target of the vampire assassin who’s killing them. When Luca saves her life, an irresistible bond of trust – along with more passionate feelings – is forged between them. As more victims fall, Chloe and Luca have only each other to depend on to save the world from the reign of monsters – and salvage their own future together.

This is a great book with the promise of leading into a fantastic series. There was quite a lot of description and character introduction which meant the pace was a bit slow at times. This is only to be expected with a new series and will hopefully lead to having further books following the various characters. When the pace picked up and the action kicked in though, it was worth waiting for.

Luca totally rocks, I loved him a lot and while he had his happy ending here, I hope he will feature prominently in future books too. Chloe was funny, spirited and quite pragmatic when it came to her life chances! The other characters were interesting and even the ‘bad vampire’ won his way into my heart – not the bitch vampire though!

There was some sex but this book was not as heavy as most other paranormal romances.  The romance was also on the light side when it came to the plot, but I have to say it didn’t need any more than there was. Stopping the uprising was much more important than hearts and flowers!

I was on the edge of my seat in parts and I think I physically jumped at one point! The ending seemed a bit rushed after all the build up, but I got my happy ending and was left salivating for the next book. Can’t ask for much more than that!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Linda Howard, Linda Jones
  • Format: Kindle
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)

 

Apr 022013
 

Lover at Last: Number 11 in series (Black Dagger Brotherhood) Grete’s Review

When I heard that Blay and Qhuinn would have their own story I was overjoyed.  Then, once I knew it was due out, it was a mix of joy and worry about how J.R. Ward would handle the relationship of the two males.  Would she gloss over the passionate parts which she usually wrote so well, or would she focus on the romance more than the physical side?  I must admit when I had the book finally in my hands, I did feel some trepidation.

Having finished it the day it arrived and being completely unable to put it down, I wonder why I was worried.  J.R. Ward is fearless and if I wouldn’t look silly doing it on my own I would stand up and applaud her.  While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I felt these two characters deserved as much sexy time as any of the others had, and oh my was it hot!

As I finished the last page and closed the book I was crying, and the only word I could think of was… perfect.  It was everything I’d hoped for, and more.

There are many things Ward does extremely well and one of those is writing an emotional scene so well that it resonates strongly with me.  She can make me laugh and cry with well turned words and this book made me do both.  I love the characters of Blay and Qhuinn so much and theirs is a story that has been on the sidelines for several books so for me it has been a long time coming.

The plot, true to form, was very good, although there were quite a few threads running at the same time.  The Band of Bastards continue their plans to take over the throne but I’m hoping we are seeing a chink in Xcor’s psyche.  The Lessening Society are back with a vengeance and it was oddly good to have them involved again, as horrible as they are.  There is a huge OMG moment which I won’t spoil but suffice to say it even had me a little shocked.

Layla, the Chosen is such a sweetheart, I’m glad she is finding her voice and I really felt for her.  Payne is a rockstar in my eyes for what she did, as I think the impact on Layla and Qhuinn would have been huge otherwise.  I do worry what the consequences for Payne will be though.

The pace of the story was excellent, the battle scenes fast and furious with some heart in mouth moments and then utter hilarity.  It was a really well written blend of everything I have come to love about the Brothers.

Some new players were introduced  and while they are quite interesting, they didn’t get to do much so I’m guessing they will play a larger role in the next book.  I love the way Ward can keep it fresh but also give us new characters to love and hate.

All in all, I loved this book so much I would rate it more than a five if I could!  The Black Dagger Brotherhood series goes from strength to strength and long may it continue!

Tracey’s Review

As with Grete I awaited this book with some trepidation but for different reasons. I have never read, or had any desire to read m/m romance, and while I have absolutely no problem with people’s sexuality whatever it may be, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read about it in graphic detail (which is what I was expecting based on previous books). I needn’t have worried however, at the end of the day a love story is a love story whoever is involved and I thought the sex scenes were well written without being OTT and in your face. As a true romantic at heart it was great to see Blay and Qhuinn get their HEA and I agree with Grete that the ending was perfect.

There were lots of side plots running through this book (some that make absolutely no sense but I’m sure will soon become clear) and a lot of loose ends left hanging, but that only makes me want the next book even more!! A whole year to wait! One thing I did think was missing were the interactions between the brothers and their shellans. Usually they need to be surgically separated from each other but there were few scenes between them.  I guess with the new people introduced and the expansion of characters who previously had minor roles there was no room, which is a shame.

It seems fairly clear who Xcor is going to have as his heroine and I am intrigued to find out how Ms. Ward is going to manipulate that one – I’m sure she has it all mapped out somewhere!

Overall another great addition to the BDB, although my rating would be 4.5 stars to Grete’s 5.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (11)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Mar 062013
 

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, Book 3) Moroi, magic and murder, oh my!  Sydney Sage is up to her neck in it and is increasingly fighting against the beliefs she was raised with as an Alchemist.  After a forbidden moment rocks her, she starts to question everything she believed in and doesn’t know where to turn.  When someone who managed to leave the Alchemists offers to teach her the secrets she was never meant to know and how to break free of them, she is sorely tempted.  But how can she leave her Moroi and Dhampir charges as well as the very real situation of untrained witches being killed.  Continuing her magic studies seems all the more urgent, and then there is Adrian…

I have to say I was a bit disappointed with this book… It felt a little lacklustre in comparison to the others in the series and not all that much seemed to happen, even though some major plot was moved on.  That’s not to say it’s a bad book, it just didn’t feel up to the standard I enjoyed in Bloodlines and The Golden Lily.  It was still enjoyable and interesting and as always, great to be back in a world with characters I love so much.  Sorry Sydney, but Rose and Dimitri will always be my first loves and I treasure any cameos from them ;)

Some of the characters felt superfluous and while I have no doubt they will come to play their part, having them constantly around doing nothing seemed wasted.  Having said that, had they not been mentioned at all, I would have missed them and I did love some of their interactions!

Adrian has really come into his own in this book, he’s still the playboy we know and love but I think he is finally maturing and I have to say a large part of that is due to Sydney.  Sydney herself was brilliant but I did get a little irritated with her protestations. While they are valid, it just seemed to be more of the same.  I think I understand the reason why now though, and while it made the plot interesting, I felt it dragged on a bit too long.  The last quarter of the book was what engaged me the most and I may have had a little cheer at certain points.

The end though, oh very nicely done, a huge spanner in the works!

All in all, an enjoyable book and you definitely need to read it if you are a fan of the series, but not quite the quality I have come to expect of Richelle Mead.  This will not put me off waiting as eagerly for the next one though, oh no :)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Richelle Mead
  • Series: Bloodlines (3)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Feb 112013
 

The Farm (Farm 1) I don’t tend to read that much young adult fiction and the current trend for dystopian settings hasn’t really caught me yet.  I think this is mainly because I don’t have children so I don’t see what is current out there through them.  My cats unfortunately are not readers (unless I’m currently reading in which case they are *very* interested!)

So why did The Farm catch my attention?  Mel and Lily Price are twins about to turn eighteen and living in one of the ‘farms’ that were created after a strange virus swept through the United States, changing a lot of the population into blood ravening monsters. For their safety, all teenagers were gathered into various locations and protected with electrified fences as their hormone laden blood drew the monsters more than anything else.  They donate blood regularly but are not told why and at eighteen, they are no longer in danger and are released.  Lily suspects differently, that when she and her autistic sister turn eighteen, they will be killed as food for the ravening ‘ticks’, as their blood has been used from all the donating.  She is desperate to escape before their deadline and get her sister to safety.

There was a lot I liked about this book, and a couple of things that confused me.  The characters of Mel and Lily were good and I felt Lily was written pretty accurately for a seventeen year old in a terrible situation with a lot of responsibility.  Her decisions weren’t always good, she sometimes felt that Mel was a burden, but she also loved and protected her sister with everything she had in her; I liked her a lot.  Mel was outstandingly created and when we were in her ‘head’, it was fascinating to see how she worked and figured things out.  The use of nursery rhymes to communicate was sheer genius and the behaviours she displays all felt right.

When Carter was introduced, he was again a well created character and I loved his interactions with Lily when he was being honest as well as how he was with Mel, and that won me over a lot too.  He did annoy me a little with his secrets but you do find out why and again, he’s a seventeen year old with the weight of the world on his shoulders.

The thing that confused me a little were the perspectives in which the book was written.  It does change and while each chapter lets you know who is front and centre, with Lily and Mel it’s in first person but when it’s Carter, it changes to third (even if Mel or Lily are present).  It’s a little odd and I can’t decide whether it worked for me or not.

One thing that added depth to the story for me was the use of social media in telling us something about the world.  On twitter if you read https://twitter.com/EscapeTheFarm you get a feel for what happened in ‘real time’, and also look at http://www.npdco.org/ which is the ‘National Pandemic Disease Control Organisation’ – both are well worth a look at!

Pacing was quite good although it was slow to start with but I think that is something you expect when a lot of information about the world needs to be revealed.  In some ways I feel not enough was explained, but then again, if the characters don’t know what is really going on then I wouldn’t expect to either.  The pace does pick up and it increases throughout the rest of the book until the end.  The ending was a big emotional punch that was extremely well written and I was surprised to find that I really cared about it.

The story as a whole was good, entertaining and gave you a good sense of what was going on, even if it was a little convoluted sometimes.  I liked that there were no sappy Vampires or traditional Zombies and instead what Emily McKay gave us was something different and needed.  I don’t know where the next book will take us but I really want to find out.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Emily McKay
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Oct 042012
 

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy 1) If there was ever a book I regret not reading sooner, A Discovery of Witches would be it.  I didn’t think it would be quite my cup of coffee as time travel romance wasn’t really my thing and the comparisons I’d seen to Twilight put me off a bit.  I wholeheartedly say how wrong I was (and also not sure how *anyone* can compare this to Twilight!)  I was going through a bit of a reading slump at the time so was finding it hard to get enthused about many books.  That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it ;)

The first thing that grabbed me was the attention to detail.  I didn’t know at the time that Deborah Harkness is actually an Historian and that many of the things she wrote about, she knows on a professional level.  Her love for the subject showed through her writing and that same love was displayed in Diana, the female lead character.  Diana Bishop is a witch that has turned her back on her abilities and chosen the route of science and history in academia, a specialist in the subject of Alchemy.  She is a great character, level headed but also has good reasons for the denial of her heritage as a witch.  I loved seeing her work through her eyes and the curiosity that drives her.  When she finds a magical manuscript in the course of her work, life takes an unexpected turn.  Matthew Clairmont is a vampire geneticist who has been observing Diana and realises she is in trouble when the supernatural community take notice of her too.

The supernatural world is split into four types.  Humans, daemons, vampires and witches.  It should be noted that Daemons are not the Christian version of a demon but instead are creatures that are incredibly unstable and talented geniuses.  Humans are, or should be, unaware of the existence of the others but the other three can tell each other apart instantly.

When the lost Ashmole 782 manuscript, rumoured to hold the key to the origins of all three types of creature, is discovered and awoken by Diana, the long journey for her and Matthew really begins.

This is not a fast paced, action packed book, it takes its time to get where it wants to be and I actually liked that a lot.  I had time to get to know the characters, their habits, to get a good sense of who they are.  The romantic side was slow paced as well and while I am a girl that enjoys a good sex scene, I felt the gentle approach really suited the pace of the story. It was sweet and romantic and the concept of bundling was fascinating.  The gradual development also made for a good long build up to a solid relationship between Matthew and Diana.  That the pace of the story is slow didn’t make it any less enthralling and I found it very hard to put down.

It’s quite a long book and Deborah’s writing style can be very descriptive but for me, it just added depth to the story.  It also made me want to drink a lot of tea ;)  As an aside, look out for the house which is almost a character in its own right… I so want it!

All in all, a wonderful story, full of rich detail and characters who while may not be human, still make mistakes and are not perfect.  I can’t wait for book two, Shadow of Night!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Sep 202012
 

Darker After Midnight (Midnight Breed 10) Sterling Chase is Breed, descendants of an alien race who arrived on earth centuries ago, humans would call them vampires. He also used to be part of the Order, a group of warriors dedicated to protecting humans and Breed alike from their race and keeping their existence a secret.

Chase has been on a downward spiral for the past year which culminated into him walking out of the Order’s headquarters and into the arms of human police.  Tavia Fairchild, a human witness to one of his crimes, is pulled into the world of the Breed when Chase finds that the Power-mad breed male (and arch enemy of the Order) Dragos is interested in her.

Chase kidnaps her and what he discovers is something none of them could have ever predicted…

This is the tenth book in the Midnight Breed series and in my opinion the best one. If you have not read any of these books please start with the first book – Kiss of Midnight. While every book has its own standalone romance pairing, the underlying story threads will have you missing out great chunks of information if you read them out of order.

Chase is one of the characters I struggled to like, some of the decisions he made in previous books and his attitude were not pleasant! In this book however, we get to see another side of him and discover he has been battling the threat of blood-lust for much longer than we thought. Tavia is a great heroine but I cannot say too much without giving away a major surprise, suffice to say she will be a fine addition to the Order and their mates.

The romantic storyline is predictable but hey, without a happy ending the book wouldn’t be complete, and of course there is lots of sex!

In my opinion the underlying storyline has gotten better with each book and this one brings everything to its conclusion. There were surprises being thrown up all over the place and although this is the end of a major story arc there are lots of indications that the series will continue. I am excited to see what happens in future books.

If like me you love sex, romance and the paranormal you will love this series, some of the books in the middle were a bit lacklustre but as the storyline progressed, the books got better and better. Having finished this series I will have to go and see what else Lara Adrian has written while I wait for the next instalment :)

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Lara Adrian
  • Series: Midnight Breed (10)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

 

Sep 042012
 

Bloodlines: The Golden Lily (book 2) I don’t read that much Young Adult fiction, not because I don’t like it, but more because I don’t have children, so titles pass me by without much notice.

Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series however, was one I got very enthusiastic about, absolutely loved, and was so sad when it finished.  Thankfully she decided to write another series, this time featuring some of the minor characters.  It began with Bloodlines and The Golden Lily is the second book in the new series, and I absolutely loved it from beginning to end!

As an Alchemist, charged with hiding Princess Jill Dragomir at a human boarding school, Sydney Sage is finding it increasingly hard to sustain the strict beliefs drilled into her from a young age. That belief, that Moroi and Dhampirs are unnatural beings and should be kept separate from humans, is tested to breaking point as she grows close and emotionally involved with a group she is trying to protect.

Sydney became a much more likeable character in the first book but for me, this is the book where I fully put my belief in her.  She grows so much as a person in her own right rather than ‘An Alchemist following orders’.  The fictional and dysfunctional family the group hides as have really captured my heart and even though my favourite badass and former Strigoi Guardian appears, it didn’t take over the story.  Sydney is breaking out of her indoctrinated beliefs and rules about Moroi and Dhampir’s and she clearly cares for her charges.  She has a lot of responsibility but she bears it well and at times with a lot of humour.

Jill is still a sweetheart and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.  She is coming out of her shell a lot more and finding out who she is rather than what she represents.  She is also still a fifteen year old girl with hopes and dreams, so that causes problems all of it’s own.  Eddie is Jill’s Guardian but is also posing as her brother.  I have no idea what is going to happen there… I know what I want!  But sadly I don’t always get what I want ;)

Adrian, ah… I could write paragraphs about him.  He is a character that both irritates and makes me want to cry.  He has so little belief in himself and with everything that happened in Last Sacrifice, he is at an all time low.  I love the way Sydney interacts with him, at first assuming what everyone else does about him, but then as she takes the time to listen, she gets to know the real Adrian, the one we see so rarely and is startlingly brilliant.

The story was wonderful, I loved learning more of the history of the Alchemists but just get more angry at their rigid and hidebound beliefs, not to mention their punishment methods.  I’m hoping there will be a big shake up happening there soon and it will be stamped with the name of Sydney Sage!

Mead’s writing is so easy to read, engaging and powerful without being wordy.  She doesn’t dumb things down either, which means it can be enjoyed by both young and adults alike.  Her style just drags you in and doesn’t let go until you are finished and leaves you wanting more; always needing to know what happens next.

There are some fascinating threads introduced in this book that I think will play out in the next book, and I honestly cannot wait!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Richelle Mead
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

Jun 072012
 

Sarah’s blind date was going from bad to worse – it turns out he is a vampire and to top it off he bites her. Before she can get used to her situation she finds herself being chased by vampire hunters who refuse to believe she is not evil incarnate. Things start to look up however  when she meets sexy Thierry de Bennicour who happens to be 600 years old and looking mighty fine with it!

This book was humorous and enjoyable with the plot being simple and easy to follow but did lack a bit of substance, I do not feel that very much happened. The romance aspect of the story was very minimal and definitely took a back seat to the humour, even the ending seemed a bit rushed.

Our heroine Sarah did annoy me at times with how stupid she seemed to be – no common sense, although as the story developed she did grow a set as it were! Thierry is the strong silent type which is all well and good but really he was a very minor character in this book after the first few pages – too silent and uninvolved!

I enjoyed it while reading, but after finishing it I struggled to remember exactly what happened in any great detail, probably because there is no great detail in the book. If you are looking for a light-hearted read, which will not twist your brain into knots trying to work out what is going on, this book is for you.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Michelle Rowen
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)