Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Books

Vampire Academy (2014)

The Grand Shuckett

Official Website

Plot Summary: Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, half human/vampire, guardians of the Moroi, peaceful, mortal vampires living discretely within our world. Her legacy is to protect the Moroi from bloodthirsty, immortal Vampires, the Strigoi. This is her story.

Director: Mark Waters

Writers: Richelle Mead (novel), Daniel Waters (screenplay)

Runtime: 104 min

Main Cast:

  •  Zoey Deutch as Rose hathaway
  • Lucy Fry as Lissa Dragomir
  • Danila Kozlovsky as Dimitri Belikov
  • Gabriel Byrne as Victor Dashkov

Group Review: by Anthony, Lee, Nena, Erika and Tiffany

As a collaboration with our friends, Tiffany and Erika, we thought it would be fun to all read Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, watch the movie, and do a review on the two combined.

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UPDATE YOUR BOOKMARKS! I HAVE A NEW SITE!

ATTENTION WORDPRESS FOLLOWERS! Hi everyone! I apologize if you’re receiving this twice, but this is my post from the old blog. I have a new site, though things look similar.  If you follow my site through wordpress.com, please follow me at my new address http://www.YourUrbanFantasy.com .

If you follow my blog by email you should get this automatically.  Please update your bookmarks. It’s still a work in progress, but all should be well soon. Thanks!


Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy #1) by Karina Halle – You’ll want the next book ASAP!

Sins & Needles, Sins and Needles, Karina Halle, The Artists TrilogySynopsis: Ellie Watt is used to starting over. The daughter of a grifting team, Ellie spent her childhood being used as a pawn in her parents’ latest scam. Now she’s much older, wiser and ready to give her con artist life a rest. But returning to the dry desert town of Palm Valley, California means one more temptation than she bargained for – Camden McQueen. Once known as the high school weirdo, Camden is bigger and badder than the boy he used to be and a talented tattoo artist with his own thriving business. Ellie’s counting on Camden still being in love with her but what she’s not counting on is how easily unrequited love can turn into obsession over time. When Camden discovers Ellie’s plan to con him, he makes her a deal she doesn’t dare refuse, but her freedom comes with a price and it’s one that takes both Ellie and Camden down a dangerous road.

Review: When it comes to books I rarely venture into contemporary territory, but after enjoying Karina Halle’s Experiment in Terror series, I decided to give her new Artist Trilogy a chance.  The gritty and offbeat theme seemed particularly enticing, and after diving into the unpredictable and tumultuous world, you don’t really want to come out.
Ellie is definitely one of the darker protagonists, but it makes her decisions all the more interesting.  Though she does bad things, she is sympathetic character.  Though you can’t excuse some of her actions, she never really had a chance and just survives as best she can with the cards she’s been dealt. After such a tragic childhood, she could easily be worse.

Camden is even more intriguing. Since the book is not from his POV his decisions and reactions can be harder to gauge.  Based on the synopsis he definitely has a dark streak and you never really know what will set him off. That said, as I read the actual book he wasn’t as dark as I thought he’d be based on the synopsis.  It was more about what was going on around him as opposed to the character himself. I didn’t come into this expecting to like Camden but you can’t help but fall for him over time.

There’s a lot of chemistry between Camden and Ellie and the flashbacks to their past were a good device to cement the relationship and allow the reader to become invested in where things can go from here.  In the life of crime, there are forces bigger than the both of them that can change everything, but their moments are far from cliche and corny.  That’s one of Karina Halle’s best qualities as an author. Her main characters and their relationships are rarely cookie-cutter, conventional, or contrived.

Based on the subject matter and the main characters with questionable morals, I am not sure if this book is for everyone.  It might be too dark and times are rarely happy, but I enjoyed it a great deal.  It is one of my favorite contemporary series now and I am thrilled that she writes fast enough so that the second book isn’t too far behind.

*ARC provided by the author.


Once Burned (Night Prince #1) – Jeaniene Frost – Vlad Vlad Vlad!

Night Prince, Once Burned, Jeaniene FrostWhile Vlad Tepesh lends himself as a fantastic supporting character in the Night Huntress series, his personality has the word “lead” written all over it, and Jeaniene Frost was smart to take advantage of it.

He gets his own storyline that introduces his potential better half, Leila.  Though mortal, a freak accident as a child leaves her with the unusual ability to channel electricity into psychic powers. Her powers are attractive to a group of vampires with malicious intentions who need her abilities to reach out to Vlad, the most infamous of them all.  His power to wield fire gives him a significant upper hand, but everyone has a weakness and his adversaries may have found his through Leila.  However when they meet, you don’t need chemistry lessons to know that fire + electricity = one dangerous combo.

On the heels of a Vlad-less Night Huntress book #6, I wasted no time getting to this spin-off to get my fix.  Though this series is the Night Prince, the story is told from Laila’s POV, so we can’t get into his mind quite as much as fans were likely hoping. I didn’t mind it much because I actually liked Laila’s character.  Though tragic and sympathetic, she’s not helpless.  I look forward to the evolution of her powers over the course of this series.  Sparks were certainly flying between her and Vlad, and so far I approve.  There appears to be substance to her which I’ll take any day over the typical disposable heroine.  Her powers at times reminded me of Rogue from X-Men, who also wears gloves to protect those close to her. She is one of my favorite characters and Rogue/Gambit is one of my favorite all-time fictional ships.  It’s just that while Gambit couldn’t handle Rogue’s power; Vlad can handle Laila’s, allowing them to be more tactile.

Vlad himself is everything I wanted and then some.  I feel like Frost wanted to let loose a bit more with him here.  He’s sexy, hilarious, frustrating, and terrifying all at the same time.  I love those types of dynamic characters in literature.  However, this book was written making it clear that there would be more to come.  Vlad is extremely private and even though he heats up the sheets, it’s a taller order to heat up his heart. With centuries of success comes centuries of pain, so I’m glad it may take multiple books for this resolution.  I like it when my characters truly earn their happiness, and standalone books rarely cut the mustard or me when it comes to that.

There could have been a bit more development with the story, but the characters carried it enough that I found the read satisfying and refreshing from Cat & Bones’s world.  It’s part one of a trilogy after all. I’m just glad I don’t have a long wait for the next one.

 


One Grave at a Time (Night Huntress #6) by Jeaniene Frost – Finally All Caught Up!

It’s tough enough trying to take down vampires and ghouls galore, but what about ghosts? Particularly ones that continue to wreak havoc beyond the grave for centuries on end? It’s not an easy fix, but Cat and Bones are determined to do it. Heinrich Kramer, a witch hunter who’s been dead for centuries, has the ability to become corporeal for one night of the year every All Hallows Eve.  This allows him to torment and murder innocent women.  One of his victims turns to our favorite vampire duo for help because they may be the only ones who can put a stop to it once and for all.

I’ve stated how I tend to like the odd books with this series.  As an even numbered book this sort of broke that pattern, though it’s not really a favorite.  I am not typically a ghost person, so I believe it says something when I can be engrossed enough to want to see what happens next.  Frost makes it very easy to hate the villain and want to see him get his loooong overdue comeuppance.

The story was okay, but I admit that I missed Vlad somethin’ awful this time around. I know that he gets his own novel, but he’s become the character I most look forward to reading about in this series. I understand it’s Cat and Bones’s story but the heart wants what it wants.

Cat has been mellowing out a little more lately, in turn making her less annoying to me, but there were a couple of eye-roll inducing instances, particularly when she harps on how she was apart from Bones for 4 years.  I just didn’t connect with that “angst” because they’re  together now, have been for a few years, and will probably be together for centuries to come–a luxury (or curse) most couples won’t have.

All in all, while I didn’t have the Fever experience with this  series (I read all 5 books in 6 days), I’m pretty proud of myself for sticking it out and getting it done.  Now I look forward to Vlad’s book!


Happy Happy HOLLOWS DAY!!

Hi everyone! Today is the big day! Ever After (The Hollows #11) is out a whole month early for our reading pleasure. Since I pre-ordered the hardcover through Amazon, I actually received my book yesterday, which was pretty sweet! And while I can’t wait to read the final product, I have decided to repost my review of the ARC for this book that I read back in October.  So yeah, I think it’s been long enough that is refresher is in order, not that I could forget much ~_^! I doubt my sentiments will change. Thank you all for voting on my poll from this weekend. The strength of ebooks is really telling, especially for a series that was established well before this format came to fruition! I myself prefer reading ebooks these days, but I started reading and collecting The Hollows in paper form and I own every hardcover since Book 5 (For a Few Demons More), so I think it only fitting that I collect them all. There are only TWO books left after all. I hope you all enjoy it. I guarantee most of you will, and I encourage you to share your thoughts! HAPPY HAPPY HOLLOWS DAY!!

Review: Ever After – Like the finest of wines, The Hollows gets better with age

As you can see, I present definitive proof that I’ve indeed read the book! And man oh man is it fantastic! It’s my new favorite! I normally worry about using that term too loosely because it could diminish the potential quality of the series as a whole, but I genuinely think it’s the best book thus far.  Kim Harrison has done it yet again and all signs point to her doing it two more times, and in epic proportions.

This time the Ever After, home of the demons, is shrinking at an alarmingly fast rate, placing the existence of magic in a pretty vulnerable position; without one there couldn’t be the other.  So as if our favorite itchy witch, Rachel Morgan, didn’t have enough problems, this just sprang up to #1.  If she can’t solve this one, she won’t have any others.  If she can’t fix it, the demons want her head as her botched leyline creation caused this mess in the first place.  And no one wants to see that happen more than her old buddy, Ku’Sox, the former day walking demon who had the misfortune to cross Rachel and lose.  He even resorts to abducting her friend and goddaughter as insurance…and boy is it effective.  Thankfully she’s got Trent Kalamack and Algaliarept by her side to restore balance and take him down once and for all. But the price may be too high for things to ever be the same again.

I know there was criticism about not a lot happening in A Perfect Blood, though I personally enjoyed the old-school Hollows style mystery. But for those of you who didn’t, for EVER AFTER I think a better question is what didn’t happen!  There was so much going on that I genuinely can’t recall a dull moment. I think I felt and continue to feel every emotion possible, but I ultimately finished the book in pure euphoria.  In case you needed a little reminding, Harrison presents really harsh realities and difficult decisions that prove she’s an author with guts. I don’t think I’ve experienced so many pulse pounding moments since For a Few Demons More (book 5). This book left me reeling like no other.

The scenes that take place in the Ever-After were some of the best of the series. The race against the clock really made this book so intense. Learning the history of the demons and the elves and the eventual degradation of their relationship was great, though I would have loved even more insight.  I just can’t get enough of it.

And that brings me to Big Al, who was totally amazing. Fans will absolutely adore him in this book as we learn more about his personal back story.  He’s much more prominent here than in A Perfect Blood and that’s fine by me because he literally lights up the pages and keeps things exciting in his own peculiar way.

After having read Trent’s POV in the bonus chapter of A Perfect Blood, I saw everything he did in a whole new light, and boy was it refreshing.  He’s got his own personal demons to work through and it really makes you feel for the guy.  He is in a rock and a hard place, accepting his actions that have led to certain consequences while still working to find the best solution possible. I loved seeing him use more magic. I feel like elves have a pretty powerful arsenal that deserve more exploration, so it was nice to see Harrison skim the surface here with the insinuation of even greater things.  Magic is amped up for the elves, while more human qualities are amped up for the demons, so it was an interesting trade off.

His teamwork with Rachel was one of my favorite parts of the book.  The tension was insane and placed so well all throughout. It’s seriously amazing to go back and read passages from Dead Witch Walking and then look at them now. Their progress is usually one step forward, two steps back, but the slow burn for this ship is probably what will make it my all-time #1 favorite if they end up together *fingers crossed*.

This book was just about everything I could ask for, but it wasn’t 100% flawless. With so much ever after, elf and demon action, the story manages to throw in a smidgeon of development in vampire politics. Unfortunately it felt very much like an afterthought and briefly broke the overall flow.  We know vampires won’t get a lot of focus until the final book 13, so 10 or so pages of development came off a random at best and forgettable at worst.

All in all, this is an absolute MUST READ for fans of the series.  Since Black Magic Sanction and Pale Demon the series has been invigorated and manages to improve as we reach the final stretch.  That is a rarity for 95% of series that make it this far.  I think it helps a lot that Kim Harrison has an end in sight and continues to write towards that.  Many others have jumped-the-shark by this point. The Hollows is absolutely revving up for a grande finale and I cannot wait to be there.


Poll: How will you be purchasing EVER AFTER (The Hollows #11) on or after this Tuesday?

It’s no secret that we’re all Hollows nuts around these parts.  I’ve actually been noticing a bit of a calm before the storm when it comes to the interwebs.  Though I didn’t have time to hold a proper giveaway (though I hope you’ll like the consolation prize), I am a little curious about evolving buying habits and want to know how you all plan to get your mits on your copy. I’ve been pre-ordering hardcovers since my closest bookstore closed down,  and same day delivery means it works out pretty well.


This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress #5) by Jeaniene Frost – Better than the previous book

Though vampires are arguably at the top of the food chain, somehow they are turning up missing.  It becomes doubly suspicious after rumors circulate about an impending ghoul/vampire war. It takes a ghoul to know a ghoul, and Cat and Bones will need to enlist help from the ghoul queen of New Orleans, but is she a friend or foe? There’s no real time to find out.

I am noticing a fairly bizarre pattern for myself with this series; I tend to enjoy the odd books much better than their even counterparts.  Though I wasn’t completely on board with the premise this time around, I was much more engaged than during the prior installment.  Unless I was just getting used to thing, I had noticed the amount of humor slipping a bit with this series.  I can safely say that it was a bit more prominent this time, or at least it struck the right cord with me, which I hadn’t been experiencing for a little while.

Cat seems to be adjusting to her full vampire status better, along with some pretty cool upgrades, inadvertent as they may be.  I am finding her slightly less annoying since the change.  Bones had me laughing a couple of times too (poking fun at Twilight), but, again, Vlad Vlad Vlad steals the show for me.  He probably has my favorite quote of the novel. It’s making me smirk just thinking about it:

“Premature inflammation! Very embarrassing, I don’t like to talk about it!”

It’s okay, Vlad.  Happens to the best of us.

Even though I had a few laughs, overall this definitely is not the series at its best. The end was pretty predictable which cost it some points for me, but it sets up the future books to potentially be more interesting.


Destined for an Early Grave (Night Huntress #4) – Felt like filler

Cat and Bones have more than earned a vacation. Away from their tough jobs, away from the politics, away from danger.  But while Paris starts off as the perfect getaway, peculiar dreams (or are they memories?) have been haunting Cat night after night.  It turns out she may be married to Gregor, a powerful vampire, and has been since long before she met Bones.  Hubby #1 wants his wife back.  Needless to say, that doesn’t go over well with Cat or Bones, but Gregor’s power is greater than theirs combined.

The title says it all.  This book felt like filler to me.  The premise didn’t really lend itself well to future plot development, at least not in a sense that rings true.  It technically does because there is a huge change, but I feel like practically anything could have spurred that major change along.  I never felt like Cat and Bones’s’ relationship was truly threatened so there was no tension or suspense, just contrived melodrama.  Just about everything is forgettable about this story save for the final 25%.

There is one plus, I think Vlad has emerged as my favorite character of this series.  He’s witty, fun, badass, and overall a well-done interpretation of Dracula. It’s a difficult character to really harness and make unique, but I think Jeaniene Frost does a great job with him.  It’s just never enough.  But knowing he has his own spinoff, makes me feel much better.


Ever After Chapters 1-6! You want it, You got! And a note to followers…

It’s taking a slightly different approach than the usual Harper Voyager link, but it’s easy to access all the same to read chapter 3:

http://harpervoyagerbooks.com/2013/01/15/exclusive-chapter-three-of-kim-harrisons-ever-after-122/

Of course if you’d rather read through part of chapter 6, then by all means go here:
http://www.harpercollins.com/browseinside/index.aspx?isbn13=9780061957918

Enjoy!

P.S. And forgive me for being a little slow on the posts lately.  Assassin’s Creed has pretty much occupied all of my free time! Ezio Auditore is just that amazing (and hott).  And this is why I’m glad I’m not a big gamer.  But I’ve finished his trilogy and things should return to normal soon (because I doubt Assassin’s Creed 3 will be as addictive)!


New Short Q&A with Kim Harrison

While the wait is probably getting even harder the closer Ever After’s release date becomes, Kim Harrison has provided a little insight about the series from here on out.

http://harpervoyagerbooks.com/2013/01/07/a-quick-qa-with-kim-harrison/


At Grave’s End (Night Huntress #3) by Jeaniene Frost – My favorite part actually WAS the end!

The saga continues with Cat, Bones and friends. Her usual methods of baiting vampy big bads are becoming increasingly ineffective as the community becomes privy to her many disguises. In addition, one of Bones’s many former conquests of the feminine persuasion happens to be up to no good, with vengeance and dangerous magic on her mind that are too much for even the most powerful vampire to take on alone.  Loyalties are truly tested this time around  and teamwork is the only way for everyone to make it out alive…or undead.

I didn’t enjoy the prior installment quite as much on a whole, but this one was a hit for me.  New side characters are introduced and others fleshed out a bit more. I’m really looking forward to what Vlad can lend to the series in future novels.  The others are sort of bland to me, but I think he has potential to be a real standout.

And while we’re on the subject of supporting characters, I am going to get on my soapbox for a little bit and rant about Cat’s comrade, Tate. He’s had it bad for her since she joined the team years ago.  Cat does try and makes it very clear where she stands on the matter, but he just won’t give it up. I find this worse than a love triangle because it really is a dead end that we have to see play out in painful detail, making me wish I were somewhere else…ANYWHERE ELSE! Does he REALLY think he’s got a chance against Bones? I mean, REALLY?! It’s Bones! Forget it! Personality-wise, Cat isn’t that great anyway, so I don’t get his hang up. Bones  is the only reason I invest at all in the Cat/Bones ship to be honest. But at least she actually gives him play. And when Cat describes Tate, it’s like…dude should be knee deep in poon. Sure, Bones may have slept with half the population by now, ruining them for all successors; I say this because practically ANY woman that’s come onto the scene, he’s been there and they want more. But I’m sure Tate is capable of wrangling up some for himself.  It’s a big world! *Jumps off soapbox*

So anyway, I enjoyed the book minus a couple of hangups. The end was particularly strong with non-stop action and suspense.  I’d say at this point that it’s my favorite of the series.


POLL!! The most anticipated read of 2013. YOU decide!

Happy New Year, Your Urban Fantasy.  A new year means new books!  I’m certainly looking forward to quite a few of them.  But I’m wondering about you guys.  I decided to take a select number of popular titles and let you all vote for the most anticipated book of 2013. 

I will probably read most, if not all of these myself, but which one is #1? Oh and what is today’s lesson? “Burned”, “Ever After”, and “Tempt” are popular title terms in the world of urban fantasy/paranormal fiction.   “Grave” too, but those additional book are omitted.


2012 in review stats!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.  Your Urban Fantasy reached 137 countries! That’s totally shocking, but no less amazing!

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 41,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 9 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.


2012 Year in Review!! My top books and series of the year!

If you have any favorite reads for this year please share! 2012 has been quite a year for me. I’ve read some incredible books, some great books, some not so great books, some terrible books.  But overall it contributed to read count of over 131 stories this year. It’s kind of funny because I feel like a slacker compared to some other Goodreads friends who I’ve seen read over 400+ books; one even read over 900. But good or bad, I’ll take it as a victory. Communiting to and from my job takes a good 2 hours of my day, which allows me to and dedicate most of that to reading. A broken iPod has helped quite a bit too, but Christmas kind of rectified that so I’ll have to see how my read count in 2013 compares. But in the meantime, I want to narrow things down and present my favorite urban fantasy/paranormal books of 2012.

1

Ever After ARC (The Hollows #11) by Kim HarrisonEver After

I debated listing this one because it technically doesn’t come out until 2013, but it rocked my personal socks this year, and I’m sure it will rock yours in January, so I’m going to list it.

2

All Dorina Basarab novels, including Fury’s Kiss by Karen Chance

Fury's Kiss, Karen Chance, dorina basarab

Though I was fairly familiar with its original sister series, Cassandra “Cassie” Palmer, I was really surprised to find that I love this series infinitely more. It’s got all of the pluses, none of the annoyances. Dory is a riot, but she kicks ass too. It just pains me that it take 2 years between books.

3

Wicked as They Come (Blud #1) by Delilah S. Dawson

Early on in the year this was my favorite book.  The world was new, interesting and exciting. And Criminy was awesome! I definitely can’t wait for the next book featuring him and Tish, but much like Karen Chance, this author alternates from book to book.

4

A Perfect Blood (The Hollows #10) by Kim Harrison

A Perfect Blood, Rachel Morgan, Kim Harrison

Yes, the Hollows takes two spots on my list.  In addition to the Ever After ARC, with all of the different publications this year from Into the Woods to Blood Crime to Trouble on Reserve to Trent’s POV from the paperback of A Perfect Blood, two spots can’t be surprising. However, while good, this book wasn’t quite in the same class as Ever After, but I did love it.  And like most Trenchers out there, Trent’s POV left me speechless! Oh and it’s also pretty awesome anytime I can meet Kim Harrison!

5

Kingmakers (Vampire Empire #3) by Susan and Clay Griffith

kingmakers, susan and clay griffith, vampire empire #3

This was another fantastic finish to a wonderful trilogy.  I was fortunate enough to read the ARC for this series and I loved it! If only there was more!

6

Dead Morning Sky (Experiment in Terror #3) by Karina Halle

experiment in terror, dead morning sky, karina halle

I wanted scary and I got scary! Just a little more than I bargained for with the weird crap that was happening OFF the pages while reading it.  And funny enough, there was no repeat of that peculiar activity after I was done. I have since stopped here, but there are definitely more books with Dex and Perry’s adventures. I plan to get to them after catching up with the Night Huntress series that I’m currently reading.

7

Ashes of Honor (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire

ashes of honor, seanan mcguire, october daye, toby daye

I read this book at a pretty difficult time. I started reading it and then I got my hands on the Ever After ARC.  I was riding too much of a high for anything else to compare, including this.  But in hindsight, this book rocks and I bet the next book will be my favorite of the series!

8

Tale of the Vampire Bride by Rhiannon Frater

Tale of the Vampire Bride, Rhiannon Frater

I was gripped from beginning to end on this one. It’s not an easy read, and do not mistake this for a romance. It’s more like one of those train-wrecks that you can’t look away from.  Unfortunately the sequel was nowhere near as good, but I hope this series continues eventually. I would love to read a third book if it could get back to the level of book 1.

9

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee

ANGELFALL, Susan Ee, Penryn & The End of Days

I have a bit of an aversion when it comes to the Young Adult genre, but this is an exception. I LOVED this book and I often find myself wondering how long it’d be until the second book is released. That’s definitely a sign of a book worthy of this list. Even better, it’s probably the best $0.99 I’ve spent on a book!

10

Love is Fear (Valerie Dearborn #2) by Caroline Hanson

Love is Fear, caroline hanson, valerie dearborn 2

Though this trilogy arc is complete, this book is probably my favorite of the three. I finished wanting more, more, MORE!

Honorable Mentions

Iced (Dani O’Malley #1) by Karen Marie Moning – I definitely didn’t inhale this one as fast as the original Fever novels, but it did leave an impression. Honestly though, I just want more Mac and Barrons!

At Grave’s End (Night Huntress #3) by Jeaniene Frost – The review is pending right now because I wanted to post this year in review first, but I did enjoy it the most of the three novels thusfar. This series isn’t really among my favorites, but it seems to be positioning itself in the tier of series that are right below my favorites.  Not a bad place to be. There’s Bones to thank for that.

Fire Baptized (Habitat #1) by Kenya Wright – I inhaled this book as well.  This fresh take on the urban fantasy genre was just what I needed at the time and unlike some series where the sequels don’t measure up, its sequel certainly did and I look forward to book 3!

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion – I enjoyed this book quite a bit, as well as the movie. It presented a different take on the genre that I found refreshing.

A Blood Seduction (Vamp City #1) by Pamela Palmer – an alternate Washington, DC gets some bonus points!  This book introduced a pretty intriguing world. I read it in a day and enjoyed it, so that’s why it gets a mention.  Just beware that this isn’t true romance.  If you go in with those expectations you’ll likely be disappointed.

The Fire Lord’s Lover (The Elven Lords #1) by Kathryne Kennedy – I read this particular book in one day and I loved the world building and build up to the eventual romance. Unfortunately the sequels never really struck the same chord.

So all in all it’s been a good year! This blog has been good to me. YOU guys have been good to me. And I hope 2013 is even better!! The great thing about books is that there’s something for everybody.  I wish you all a very Happy New Year!


Hollows Alert! Ever After Chapter 2!

Hi everyone! I hope you are all having a Happy Holiday Season! Kim Harrison has certainly tried to make it better for us by posting Chapter 2 of Ever After! If you were able to hold out from downloading it with a Fistful of Charms, you can now see it on her website. Just check it out here:

http://www.kimharrison.net/BookPages/EA/EA2.html


One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress #2)

one foot in the grave, jeaniene frost, night huntressIt’s been four years since the events of Halfway to the Grave. Cat, has honed the skills Bones has taught her, working for a secret government agency as the head of a unit that hunts down troublesome undead.  Her half-vampire heritage offers an invaluable benefit to the cause.  But you don’t do what Cat does without making a few enemies.  She’s now a target as someone has put a hit out on her.  Her only hope is Bones, the vampire she left behind.  Though he’s “dead” he’s the only one on this earth to make her feel alive, and those feelings come rushing back. But can she keep them at bay? Not if he has his way.

I am always a little concerned about ships when the characters get together off the bat because I feel they become stale.  Even with the insta-love between these two, I thought the first book was exciting and fresh.  But this one felt like more of the same.  I liked Bones in book 1, but there wasn’t a lot of evolution here, so he came off as Gary-Stuish. And Cat, his Mary Sue.  Unlike the first go ’round, I didn’t find  the number of times one was jealous, insecure,  or baiting vamps for slaughter to be nearly as amusing.  And then Bones practically always had the answers to the problems so I just didn’t find him as intriguing and to be honest, his dialogue started to irritate me a bit with the “blokes”, “luvs”, “sods” etc. He’s over 200 so I wish he would have acquired vocabulary with more variety by now.

There was a fair bit of action and definitely some laughs, but Jeaniene Frost doesn’t include enough follow through after the build up. I feel like there’s this massive world with characters waiting to be explored, but we get less than I want to see in a read. I’m really big on supporting characters, yet I didn’t find myself attached to anyone here. Everything just kept working out a little too easily, so nothing was perilous, gripping, or gritty. I felt like it was basically all centered around when these two could get back to shagging.

And speaking of which, of course I can’t complete a review without my opinion on chapter 32.  It’s pretty much the only thing I was asked about or told about, even during Book 1.  To be honest, it wasn’t much to write home about for me.  It wasn’t bad (none of her scenes are) but the hype surrounding it made my expectations too high, so an underwhelming result was inevitable.  Don’t get me wrong, I  certainly have my short list favorites in literature, but this is just not one of them. Sorry! *ducks from flying tomatoes*

Overall, it certainly wasn’t a bad read, but it just wasn’t as good as I was hoping it’d be.  After the first book I thought it would practically inhale this one, reading it in no time, but that just wasn’t the case.  There’s still Book 3 which I do plan to read, but that will be the final determinant of whether or not I plan to keep going with this series.  Though I like to come to my own conclusions, I’ve heard that the earlier books are better so I don’t know how well that bodes for the rest.


Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1) – Finally taking the world of Cat and Bones for a spin again

Halfway to the grave, night huntress, Jeaniene FrostFor the record, I probably would have started this series a long time ago. It’s just that my first exposure to Jeaniene Frost’s writing included a spin-off book from this series that left a LOT to be desired. It took a while to build up the nerve to give her stuff another shot.  But thankfully, this particular book has a  more of what I’m looking for in an awesome vampire read.  My experiences were like night and day!

This series follows Catherine Crawfield, a half-human/half-vampire who takes it upon herself to dole out vigilante justice against vampires with the hope to meet her vampire father and put him on the business end of her stake.  She runs into the wrong (or right) vampire, Bones, who shows her that she is truly no match for what she’s up against. Being a vampire bounty hunter himself, he forces her into a partnership to take down fanged big bads together.  And so begins the story of the beloved Cat and Bones team.

I thought this was a really good start to the series.  Cat’s character starts out pretty self-righteous and angry, but she’s left questioning everything she believes in, which is good for character progression. I can see why Bones has a lot of fans. I found him very entertaining all throughout. I’m not an insta-love fan, and I do believe they get together a little too quickly here, but knowing that the whole series involves them allows me to be  a little more accepting of the dynamics. It’s at least good to know that not everything will be easy for them. I do worry that they’ll become stale for me since I usually become more attached to ships with better build up, but I am keeping an open mind.

I laughed quite a bit at the countless euphemisms and innuendo. They were effective even when I was in a bad mood and placed well enough so as to not become annoying.  The end really amped up the action which I totally loved. The carnage was awesome and I enjoyed seeing Cat and Bones as genuine badasses!

I purchased a copy of the book that contained bonus material with deleted scenes.  A lot of it felt really repetitive to what I’d already read and only a couple of developments added to the story.  The rest is forgettable, which is why it wasn’t included in the first place.

I definitely recommend at least giving this series a try.  It’s not a favorite of mine quite yet, but I definitely will be reading the next one ASAP.


Fistful of Charms for $1.99 with an Excerpt of Ever After!

Fistful of CharmsI heard this straight from the horses mouth on her blog today, but thanks to Jisha for the heads up as well! For the remainder of the holiday season, Book 4 will be offered for $1.99.  Get it as a gift, or get it for yourself if you want to read the first TWO chapters of Ever After! Chapter 2 won’t be released until Christmas day, but if you just can’t wait, you can get it here.

Barnes and Noble (NOOK)
Amazon (Kindle)
Books-A-Million (Nook?)
Kobo (Download options: Adobe DRM EPUB)
iBookstore (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch)

Keep an eye out for additional excerpts here:http://harpervoyagerbooks.com/2012/12/17/excerpt-chapter-one-of-kim-harrisons-ever-after-jan-2013/


Awesome Deal! Valerie Dearborn Trilogy (3 ebooks) for $2.99 on Amazon, one day only!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Valerie-Dearborn-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00AIABNZ8/ref=la_B005O2ZXN8_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1355715009&sr=1-6

Though you may not have won the giveaway, there is still a chance to get the series (normally $7.99) for the near unbeatable price of $2.99 for TODAY only on Amazon.com. Get it as a gift for the holidays or get it for yourself! It’s a wonderful series!


Ever After – Like the finest of wines, The Hollows gets better with age

As you can see, I present definitive proof that I’ve indeed read the book! And man oh man is it fantastic! It’s my new favorite! I normally worry about using that term too loosely because it could diminish the potential quality of the series as a whole, but I genuinely think it’s the best book thus far.  Kim Harrison has done it yet again and all signs point to her doing it two more times, and in epic proportions.

This time the Ever After, home of the demons, is shrinking at an alarmingly fast rate, placing the existence of magic in a pretty vulnerable position; without one there couldn’t be the other.  So as if our favorite itchy witch, Rachel Morgan, didn’t have enough problems, this just sprang up to #1.  If she can’t solve this one, she won’t have any others.  If she can’t fix it, the demons want her head as her botched leyline creation caused this mess in the first place.  And no one wants to see that happen more than her old buddy, Ku’Sox, the former day walking demon who had the misfortune to cross Rachel and lose.  He even resorts to abducting her friend and goddaughter as insurance…and boy is it effective.  Thankfully she’s got Trent Kalamack and Algaliarept by her side to restore balance and take him down once and for all. But the price may be too high for things to ever be the same again.

I know there was criticism about not a lot happening in A Perfect Blood, though I personally enjoyed the old-school Hollows style mystery. But for those of you who didn’t, for EVER AFTER I think a better question is what didn’t happen!  There was so much going on that I genuinely can’t recall a dull moment. I think I felt and continue to feel every emotion possible, but I ultimately finished the book in pure euphoria.  In case you needed a little reminding, Harrison presents really harsh realities and difficult decisions that prove she’s an author with guts. I don’t think I’ve experienced so many pulse pounding moments since For a Few Demons More (book 5). This book left me reeling like no other.

The scenes that take place in the Ever-After were some of the best of the series. The race against the clock really made this book so intense. Learning the history of the demons and the elves and the eventual degradation of their relationship was great, though I would have loved even more insight.  I just can’t get enough of it.

And that brings me to Big Al, who was totally amazing. Fans will absolutely adore him in this book as we learn more about his personal back story.  He’s much more prominent here than in A Perfect Blood and that’s fine by me because he literally lights up the pages and keeps things exciting in his own peculiar way.

After having read Trent’s POV in the bonus chapter of A Perfect Blood, I saw everything he did in a whole new light, and boy was it refreshing.  He’s got his own personal demons to work through and it really makes you feel for the guy.  He is in a rock and a hard place, accepting his actions that have led to certain consequences while still working to find the best solution possible. I loved seeing him use more magic. I feel like elves have a pretty powerful arsenal that deserve more exploration, so it was nice to see Harrison skim the surface here with the insinuation of even greater things.  Magic is amped up for the elves, while more human qualities are amped up for the demons, so it was an interesting trade off.

His teamwork with Rachel was one of my favorite parts of the book.  The tension was insane and placed so well all throughout. It’s seriously amazing to go back and read passages from Dead Witch Walking and then look at them now. Their progress is usually one step forward, two steps back, but the slow burn for this ship is probably what will make it my all-time #1 favorite if they end up together *fingers crossed*.

This book was just about everything I could ask for, but it wasn’t 100% flawless. With so much ever after, elf and demon action, the story manages to throw in a smidgeon of development in vampire politics. Unfortunately it felt very much like an afterthought and briefly broke the overall flow.  We know vampires won’t get a lot of focus until the final book 13, so 10 or so pages of development came off a random at best and forgettable at worst.

All in all, this is an absolute MUST READ for fans of the series.  Since Black Magic Sanction and Pale Demon the series has been invigorated and manages to improve as we reach the final stretch.  That is a rarity for 95% of series that make it this far.  I think it helps a lot that Kim Harrison has an end in sight and continues to write towards that.  Many others have jumped-the-shark by this point. The Hollows is absolutely revving up for a grande finale and I cannot wait to be there.


Redemption (Penton Legacy, #1) – Had to push through to finish this one

Redemption, Penton Legacy, Susannah SandlinIn Susannah Sandlin’s new series, Penton Legacy, a vampire’s nightmare is realized when human blood, their major food source, is no longer readily available.  Vaccinated human blood for an unrelated pandemic has proven deadly to their kind, making supply low and demand high. With their race on the brink of starvation, a civil war looms.  This becomes a problem for master vampire, Aidan Murphy, who has managed to create a small peaceful community in Penton, Alabama with vampires and unvaccinated willing human donors.  Only one thing is missing–a doctor.  Aidan plans to remedy this by recruiting Dr. Krystal Harris with or without her consent. This obviously creates tension, but maybe it creates something else too…

Maybe it’s the timing, but this book really didn’t work for me. I am typically not a big insta-love fan, which is a major part of this book.  I had to pick it up and put it down more than once, eventually planning to give up altogether until I found an opportunity to finish it while doing a mindless task.

The writing isn’t the worst, but the overall impression came across as more formulaic than I was hoping because the synopsis seemed pretty interesting. It has occasional action and a truly deplorable villain whose inevitable demise is certainly easy to root for, but I believe the overall execution and world building could have been better. The ideas weren’t fleshed out well enough in favor of more mundane and uninteresting details.

It’s a kindle Prime freebie, so it doesn’t break the bank, but I don’t feel the need to continue with this one.


Dead Morning Sky (Experiment in Terror #3) – Thrills and chills ON and OFF the pages!

Dead Morning Sky, Experiment in Terror #3, Karina HalleI decided to knock out the first three Experiment in Terror books, and I can say book 3 was by FAR the scariest one yet! They are easy reads, but the writing quality gets better book by book.  This series follows amateur ghost hunters Perry Palamino and Dex Foray as they investigate locations near and far that exhibit paranormal activity. Something’s always been a little special about Perry. She may not be the most beautiful or glamorous (in her eyes), but she has a special affinity with the dead, making her skills (unintentional as they may be) invaluable to producing good content for the show.  Dex has his own demons as well, unraveling more and more by the book as he tries to keep Perry safe.

This particular investigation will prove to be their most dangerous and terrifying yet as they travel to a remote island between British Columbia and Washington state.  There’s no romantic getaway here, unless a former leper colony with dozens of unsettled souls somehow qualifies.  And to make matters worse, that’s the least of their problems; moment by moment, the ones they need to fear most may be each other…

I definitely came into this series wanting good creepy storytelling. The first couple of books had its moments, but it was clear that the primary focus was the evolution of Dex and Perry’s relationship. It’s great if you’re into the slow build, but that wasn’t exactly what I was looking for…until this book. It struck a much better balance with their development and the story’s horror element.  I got some occasional “The Shining” vibes which really worked in its favor.

One thing I notice with these books is that there’s not total resolution for a case.  Perry and Dex definitely get more answers, but they don’t completely solve the crime or remedy things. They just get the hell out of dodge when the gettin’ is good. If you want a little more resolution to the mysteries then this may not be the series for you, but I actually find this aspect somewhat refreshing. I’m curious as to if the sequels follow that pattern as well.

But now I’ll switch to a personal experience with this book. I initially started this series reading the first two books during my daily commute, but I decided read the bulk of this one at home and at night just to amp up the spook factor. And let me tell you, some peculiar things happened:

  1. So here I am innocently reading the book at a particularly creepy moment and then all of a sudden the power goes out completely. It’s eerily quiet aside from a leaky faucet and those random noises a house tends to make.  I’m alone at this point aside from the cat who was sitting next to me.  Then the lights come back on a few seconds later. We rarely lose power for anything other than a storm, but it is completely dry with nary a cloud in the night sky.  So I chalk it up to randomness and continue reading.
  2. And then it happens again…and again…and again. So I decide to put the book down for a bit. Power is finally going strong so then I pick it back up because I want to finish the story. I just make sure to turn on every light in my vicinity.
  3. No power outages this time, but the cat (who is clean of catnip at this point) is mysteriously staring at something out in the hall.  You can tell because his posture is rigid and he’s looking up.  He even gets off the bed to get a closer look.  I follow him, wondering if he’s spotting a fly or something. But there is nothing there. I sort of have Paranormal Activity 2 flashbacks when the dog was presumably barking at the demon that we can’t see.  But of course that’s just poppycock in the real world, right?

So I finished the book thoroughly freaked for more reasons than one.  I will certainly continue the series, though it will no longer be in the comfort of my own home, but I’m going to take a break to read a few other books first.

Be careful what you wish for. 


Warm Bodies – Readable and re-Readable, hope the movie is just as watchable! I’m going to see the film TONIGHT!!

warm bodies, isaac marionI’ll be honest and say that I really hadn’t heard much about this book before seeing the motion picture preview; it looked really funny and campy. I’m always up for a good zombie satire (I’m a big Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland fan), but in this case I wanted to read the book as well. Why not? It’s only 240 pages.  Certainly doable.  And boy am I glad I did.  It’s a refreshing take on the genre that you may want to read time and time again.

We’ve become so accustomed to vampires, werewolves and the like dominating as love interests in paranormal/urban fantasy realm. We may get the occasional demon or angel, but rarely do we see zombies fill that role, and for good reason.  It’s really not that hott when the guy is rotting away and wants to take chunks out of you.  But after reading this novel, Isaac Marion proves that he not only knows the rules, but he knows how to break them too.  We have the initially subtle star crossed lover feel as R, our zombie in question, falls for a human girl and finds himself becoming a little more human himself as they spend more time together.  Yeah, he has the usual craving for brains, as do all zombies, but something deep inside of him yearns for more that that–and no, it’s not more guts. He’s the most cultured zombie you’re going to find, loving music, collecting souvenirs, and riding escalators.  Believe me, it sounds ridiculous but I really thought it worked here.

Though it’s not as funny as I thought it would be, it’s well-written with an existential quality that makes me understand why it’s become a big screen adaptation (though that ain’t always the case).  And lucky me, I actually have movie passes to see an advanced screening of the film TONIGHT!  It’s not officially out until February of next year, but I’m not complaining. I finished the book wanting to see the movie right away.  And then I learned about the screening! If only my luck were good enough to hit the lottery! But I digress.  After enjoying the book so much I’m now super excited.  They’ve made some obvious changes, but I think it will work here.

If you’re a zombie fan who doesn’t mind a deviation from the norm, this is the book for you!


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