Nov 282011
 

I was a bit on the shelf (as was the book for a while!) about this novel.  I’d heard both extremely good and bad things and it was very dependant on who was talking to me about it.  It’s a terrible cliche, but I wondered if Breaking Dawn was a Marmite type of book – maybe you either loved it or you hated it.

I finally decided to read it with the film coming out and while I won’t watch it until it’s released on DVD, I still wanted to know how the series ended.  I’d read the previous books some time before but hadn’t really found myself in the right mood to read this one until now.

Having finished it, I’m surprised to say… its not terrible.  That’s not to say it’s a great book either, just my expectations were low and it surprised me.  If anything, it was the book I enjoyed the most in the series; less angst, more signs of Bella taking control of her ‘life’, Edward being less of an idiot and Jacob becoming less selfish.

I felt the writing in this book was a lot better than the previous novels, whether that was down to a different editor or Meyer getting better at her craft I can’t say but it was a much smoother read.  It could have done with being shorter in my opinion but there weren’t many scenes that I felt could or should have been cut completely so that was a big plus for me.

The plot was decent and I liked how some story threads from previous books had prepared the reader for a big one here.  That it got straight down to the story without preamble was another positive for me, I didn’t have to force myself to keep reading until it caught my interest.  I did have to suspend disbelief on a few major events but in the context of the book, they fit and I could accept them.  The pace was well judged by Stephenie Meyer and unlike previous books wasn’t stop/start and that was some of what kept me reading.

The characterisations seemed much stronger and less annoying, and perhaps that is because the cast have matured from big decisions and events previously, but I just liked them a lot more.  There was humour to balance any angst and I found new respect for Bella in the decisions she made in this story, likewise the antagonism between Edward and Jake lost its childish and hard edge and became almost a familiar teasing thing.  The Cullen family as a whole I’d always liked, and their role in Breaking Dawn didn’t change that opinion, if anything, it cemented it.  Alice was a star and her part in it all was really well thought out and planned.  The end results of her actions were a bit ‘TA-DA!’ but I liked it all the same.

The big finale didn’t ruin the series for me but I did feel after all the build up and preparation that had gone on, it fizzled out a bit like a damp squib.  Since the book wasn’t just about that moment, the rest of the story carried it through and when I finished I was surprised to find not only had I enjoyed it but I was happy with the outcome (yes I am a hopeless romantic!).

Not an amazing book but a decent fantastical read and while I now understand why some people either love it or hate it, I find myself in the middle – I just liked it.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Stephenie Meyer
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Red

Aug 312011
 

I enjoyed this take on the red riding hood fairy tale, the premise that somewhere in Elodie Rose’s heritage was the woman who spawned the myth.  The book itself is a very sweet story of Elodie, a seventeen year old girl who just wants to be normal, but tragedy and a shocking truth divert the course of her life.  Her father, a man who would do anything to protect her from the curse that follows their family, drills and trains her to survive in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Sawyer is a young man who has his own family secrets and when Elodie comes to work on his father’s research project in the Park, he finds there is something irresistible about her; something that draws him to her but raises his suspicions.

Both characters are solid and likeable and work really well together.  You can believe their instant attraction and the struggle they have dealing with more than just the usual teenage hormones.  The intensity between them was well written, powerful and tasteful, leaving me and them just on this side of wanting more.

I liked the plot, that tragedy had followed Elodie’s family for generations and it was poignant that she believed she would succumb to it too.  The scenes in which she acts out her worst fears were especially emotional.  I enjoyed seeing Elodie’s confidence grow as she dealt with the more mundane bullies.   I also liked that she was willing to stand up for a new girl, it said a lot about her character.  The choice of ‘bad guy’ was good and made a lot of sense after the reveal, and it certainly had me fooled!

The pace was good and well judged, there were no moments where nothing happened, and there was always something pertinent to the story going on.

An enjoyable and engaging read in the Young Adult genre and Kait Nolan is an author I would like see more of.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kait Nolan
  • Format: Kindle
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May 052011
 

Marrying a pack Alpha might have its own problems but for Mercy and Adam, their honeymoon getaway should have been fun and peaceful.  However, when werewolves, the fae and Mercy’s newly discovered heritage get mixed up together, the results become more than explosive.  Has the coyote walker finally bitten off more than she can chew?

It always feels good to be back with Mercy again, every time I get the latest book in the series.  I even feel it when I pick them up again to re-read.  She is one of my favourite and most consistent heroines, and I have never been disappointed when it’s time for the next release.  River Marked takes that enjoyment up yet another notch in my estimation and not only because Mercy and Adam finally tie the knot.

There was just so much in this book.  The romance between the two of them is so sweet and I think the book worked really well in that the cast was actually quite small in comparison to the earlier books.  Not that having the pack around is a bad thing, it just made a nice difference.  It started out great with the wedding and got even better, even though I knew their honeymoon wasn’t going to be all happy and easy.  Things just don’t work like that in their world and I would be disappointed if I expected it to!

The outstanding part for me was Mercy finally learning her history, who her father was… or wasn’t and coming to terms with what that meant.  Also that walkers aren’t quite what she expected.  Another part was Adam trying to be a good husband as well as the pack Alpha, and the conflict between those two roles was well written.  Being Alpha and having to leave most of the tough stuff to Mercy because so much of it involved water; definitely not an easy thing for Adam.

The theological side was a little bit confusing but I was also enthralled by it.  The stories were well crafted and I don’t know how much of it was based on Native American lore but it was intriguing and felt believable.

The action was fast paced and the fights with the river monster were exciting and had so much peril that I seriously wondered if Mercy was going to come out of it OK.

She is just a gutsy woman, aware of her limitations but refuses to give up anyway, has tenacity and love and makes the odd mistake.  My favourite type of heroine!

The letter at the end though, that made me cry.

A truly great read and a brilliant addition to the series.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Patricia Briggs
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Oct 142010
 

After a series of gruesome murders take place in Alaska, Elena Michaels agrees to investigate as they could be the work of a rogue werewolf.  Joined by her husband and pack enforcer Clay Danvers, they arrive to find all is not as it seems, and that there are things stranger than werewolves hiding in the icy wilderness.  Elena is already on edge due to a letter regarding her childhood and the mutts they have to deal with threaten to push her over the edge and render her incapable of action.  Her beast is something she worked hard to tame but unleashing it could be the difference between life and death, and they have to survive.

As I’ve noted before, Elena is probably my favourite heroine of Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series.  She’s just one of those characters that strikes a chord with me; her strength, compassion and love shine through in spite of the ordeals she has been through in life.  It was great to have another novel based on the werewolves and the Danvers pack.  They are always entertaining and while the book may not feature many of them other than Clay and Elena until later in the story, they don’t disappoint when they arrive.

I love how the relationship has evolved between Clay and Elena, especially now they are parents to twins.  Elena’s past rears its head in a sense and causes a lot of internal struggle for her.  It affects how she reacts to events going on and causes her to doubt herself and could cost her her life as well.  I admire the way Armstrong handled it to be honest, it was tactful but realistic and the way she resolved it led to a much greater understanding for Elena, to gain strength from it rather than let it diminish her.

The plot was actually very simple in this book, easy to understand but it suited the style, anything more complex and it would have detracted from the characters and what they have to do.  It was also brutal at times, but never gratuitously so.  There are a couple of  twists towards the end which were quite sad and as I was totally gripped by the story by this point, I felt the outrage along with Clay and Elena.  The odd spurts of humour and banter between the two even at the most dire of times were great and spoke volumes about how they feel about each other.  They are quite possibly one of Urban Fantasy’s most Kick-Ass couples.

All in all, this is a book I enjoyed a lot, and a great addition to the Otherworld series and the Danvers Pack ‘section’ of it.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kelley Armstrong
  • Series: Women of the Otherworld (10)
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Aug 312010
 

At 12 years old, Cheyenne Clark’s life was changed forever when she watched a werewolf devour her father.  Traumatised yet lucky to have escaped the same fate, she drifted through life, unable to forget the gleam of the monster’s unnatural green eyes.  Now 24, a chance meeting leads Chey being offered the chance and training for revenge, some closure and help prevent it from happening again.  All she has to do is travel into the arctic alone.

Cursed is a book I would not normally have picked up.  While I might like to think my reading range is quite broad, the truth is I’m a bit of a wuss.  Blood, guts and gore don’t particularly bother me but emotions are what get me every time and horror is a very emotionally and psychologically charged genre.

Having said that, when I was directed to David Wellington’s online stories, I was intrigued and once I’d started reading one, that was it, I had to work my way down the list.  Cursed is the result of one of those stories being expanded upon and released as a novel; and it deserved to be.  David has a very easy to read style of writing but that in no way lessens the impact the story has.  It’s gritty, raw and at times disturbing but I had to keep reading, I had to know how it turned out.

It’s not a werewolf story in the current and popular mold of wolf and human living symbiotically.  It looks back to the older stories of the wolf half being pure predator and the human side having to live with they find after they change back.

Wellington adds in his own twists to the lore which I found fascinating and he really manages to convey a heady dose of mixed emotions, from one end of the spectrum to the other.  By the end I felt a bit wrung out, but also that I’d read something different and really, quite special.

If you like your werewolves fluffy, funny and tamed by their human half then this book isn’t for you.  If you like a gripping horror/thriller that has a unique look at an ages old myth with some truly emotional scenes then read Cursed.  I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Cursed has been published in the US as Frostbite and you can also read more fiction by David Wellington on his website.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: David Wellington
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Feb 132010
 

I first read this book quite a few years ago.  Having bought the two latest books and wanting to re-read them all from the beginning, I decided the early ones deserved reviews too.

Kitty and the Midnight Hour is the first book in the series and introduces us to Kitty and her coming out of the werewolf closet.  She’s a graveyard shift DJ for a Denver radio station until she fills in for someone on the midnight hour request show.  Instead of music, it turns into an advice/talk show for and about the supernatural and becomes her regular gig.  Eventually though, problems within her pack, her Alphas not liking the success she is finding and the enigmatic Cormac, supernatural bounty hunter, paid to kill her live on air, Kitty wonders if she has bitten off more than she can chew?

This book really is about a young woman who through no fault of her own was turned werewolf and tries to find her way in an ordinary world when she herself is anything but.  She still wants the life she would have had, and works hard to try and make that happen in spite of the people who would rather she be a good wolf and sit, stay.  I have nothing but admiration for her and I absolutely love the character of Kitty. She starts off being as submissive in nature as her wolf side, but as she matures and grows in success and confidence, you start seeing glimpses of the sassy, sarcastic, stubborn and kick ass woman she will become.  The talk show segments of the book are really good and the advice Kitty gives often make me laugh out loud, as do the questions.

I thought the pace of the book was good, even the radio segments, and when the action does kick in, it goes with a bang.  I like that she isn’t a fighting expert but relies on her wits, intelligence and her wolf instincts to survive.  That and the ability to talk the hind legs off a donkey!

It’s a great story, and the first read through left me hungry for the next book, and that didn’t change at all on this re-read.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Carrie Vaughn
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Oct 302009
 

Still managing to hide her ‘hairier-than-thou’ status while holding down her job as an auditor, Sophie Garou thinks she’s finally getting a handle on her life.  If it wasn’t for the fact her attractive lawyer boyfriend has been working later and later with his beautiful assistant Miranda, life would be perfect.  Almost.  Her most prestigious and handsome client is making it clear he’s interested in more than business and the mysterious hot Tom Fenris confusing her every time he appears complicate things in the worst.. or best way.  The Houston Pack has finally found out about her existence and they now have to make a decision whether she should be killed, made to leave the area, join the pack or come to some arrangement if she carries out a teensy task for them.  Not much to ask at all…

This book was a little different than Howling at the Moon.  The pace was faster, with more action and Sophie gets into more trouble than is good for her but it was a good read.  The only complaint I have is the shaving thing.  Wear trousers girls for goodness sakes!  Also the fact that while when transformed into their wolf selves, they are naturally hairy… except for the shaved bits.  Not sure why that bothers me but it does.  Other than that, like the first book it’s a fun read, not as quite as lighthearted but I think that is better in several ways – more character depth and development which at times can be bittersweet.  I loved the addition of several new characters and Sophie meeting more of her kind, with often hilarious interactions.  I’ll definitely be looking out for the next book in the series.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Karen MacInerney
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Oct 272009
 

Life is anything but ordinary for Sophie Garou.  Her mother is a psychic witch, her father who she’s never met, was a born werewolf.  Being raised by her mother alone, for the first ten years of her life, they had to continually move as Sophie’s werewolf nature would cause her to go furry on a regular basis, not just tied to the moon but emotions too.  Daycares and schools seem to frown on that for some reason.  Having found a place in Austin, Texas without it’s own pack, they finally manage to set down roots and her mother perfects a recipe for a wolfsbane tea which suppresses the urge to change unless she wants to.  Apart from the four equinoxes.  Then she has no choice but to fur up and go wolf.  With a job as an auditor, a hot lawyer boyfriend and a best friend, life should be good but her secret is something she is too scared to share.  Things get very complicated as her boss and boyfriend both have plans for her on the coming equinox.  When her mother is arrested for the murder of a local politician and the police not interested in looking for anyone beyond her, it’s up to Sophie to try and find who the real killer is.  When she meets Tom, the golden haired and powerful born werewolf, her furry side hormones kick in to full.  Yup, life is definitely anything but ordinary.

This is the first book I’ve read by Karen MacInerney and it’s a fun read.  Nothing too deep, the story flows easily and engages you quickly.  Often whimsical and funny, I couldn’t help but like the main character of Sophie.  She’s brave and gutsy and the moments she starts wolfing out in inappropriate places just made me laugh.  The chemistry between her and the mysterious Tom is well written and hot.   In contrast when she is with her boyfriend Heath, while it’s good between them, you know there is something not quite right.  Sophie’s best friend is funny too, acerbic and witty and willing to help solve the murder case and get her mother out of jail. Her mother is really the icing on the cake for the book.  She’s scatty and loves her daughter, wants the best for her but her methods are usually a bit madcap and involve the use of attraction amulets or love potions. As a mix they work really well, their interactions are funny, well written and enjoyable.

The pace of the book is pretty good, and while the plot is fairly simple, it doesn’t really matter as the charm of story is the characters.   There were a few plot devices that were actually pretty funny but it did jerk you out of the story to go hmmm…  But it did keep me reading and entertained and by the end was relieved I have the second book on the shelf waiting.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Karen MacInerney
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Oct 152009
 

Following on from Cry Wolf, Anna is still coming to terms with her past and being married and mated to Charles.  She is now firmly established as Omega in the Pack and learning about her new status.  Bran as Marrok continues his plans of bringing the American Werewolves out into the public world.  He sends Charles and Anna to Seattle to meet with international Alphas to settle any concerns they might have and has the meeting arbitrated by one of the Fae.   The French Alpha, after provoking a fight ends up being murdered and all evidence seems to point to Charles.  Knowing he’s innocent, Anna sets out to discover who is responsible for both the murder and framing Charles.

I read this book straight after Cry Wolf and it was a very smooth transition, just sucked me right back in as if I hadn’t switched books.  The plot was a bit more complex this time but didn’t detract from the heart of the book, the characters of Anna and Charles.  Her growth from being a submissive victim to a more confident, loving and protective young woman has been really well done.  The development of her human side was well written, and the werewolf aspect almost secondary.  On the opposite side, seeing Charles becoming more relaxed, getting used to having a mate and having to be softer with Anna has been just as good.  Even with the bond they have as mates, communications still get mixed up and it can sometimes be amusing as they sort it out.

There are a lot more characters in this book than the last and it was interesting to see how Charles and Anna interacted with them all both as a couple and separately.  I didn’t predict the ending at all which surprised me, the clues I spotted led me in a completely different direction and I thought it was cleverly done.

It was a good second book, as easy to read as the first and I fell in love with Anna and Charles all over again.  I really hope there are more to follow!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Patricia Briggs
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Oct 152009
 

For Anna being a werewolf was about pain, torment and submission.  Even after she was rescued by Charles, the Marrok’s enforcer, and claimed as his mate, she expected more of the same.   Finding it hard to believe not all werewolves were as sick and brutal as the ones she left behind, she reluctantly journeys to Montana with the wounded Charles and learns she is a special type of wolf – an Omega.  Neither submissive nor Alpha, she has the power to soothe the savage beast within others and as such should have been a much valued member of the pack.  Her wolf side was all for the mating with Charles but the human side is too scared to let go and trust another person, even the one she was meant to be with.

Anna and Charles first appeared as minor characters in the Mercy Thompson books and then had their own short story told in the ‘On the Prowl’ Anthology.  I’d read those and thought they were interesting characters and was happy to hear they had been built on and now had their own book.  I didn’t really have many expectations as it doesn’t always work and sometimes it is best to leave well enough alone.

Having just finished the book my impression is of having read a very touching story of survival and cost, and learning to trust again.  Familiar themes within urban fantasy but as with the Mercy Thompson books, Patricia Briggs has a fluid and easy to read way of writing that drags you into the story.  I loved the characters of Anna and Charles, Anna being very sweet and likeable, Charles being an Alpha and dominant wolf but tempered with intelligence, his position within the pack and his obvious love for Anna.

From the start the empathy with them returned, pretty much picking up where the short story ended and I liked that.  The original tale was quite brutal and I needed to know that for Anna it was starting to work out – and this book delivers on that front.  The plot was good, not very complex but since the book is character driven, it didn’t need to be and by the end I was firmly in love with these characters.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Patricia Briggs
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)