Posts tagged “Harper Collins

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.


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/


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.


Blood Crime – Felt like familiar territory

blood crime, the hollows, rachel morga, ivy tamwood, kim harrisonI.S. cops Ivy Tamwood and Rachel Morgan were having a pretty good week, working their beat, busting brimstone street dealers left and right. That is until they realize someone may be gunning for them directly. That’ll put a damper on anyone’s week.  Fortunately dodging risky attempts on their lives, it’s up to Ivy to figure out whose targeting them and why. Could it be Piscary? Does he want to eliminate Rachel to get Ivy back in his clutches faster? Or could it be a new big bad with something else in mind entirely?

My favorite format of The Hollows will forever be in written novel form, but I’ll take it any way I can get it.  Ivy fans will enjoy this book as much as the last, Blood Work. It’s told from her POV even though Rachel maintains a consistent presence.  It’s not a requirement, but it will help to have read the short story told from Ivy’s POV, Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil, because certain characters and events become relevant again.

Considering that this is a graphic novel, I’ll start with the graphic part.  The cover is actually a bit disappointing.  The cover of Blood Work was one of my favorite parts about the novel. The colors and badassness really made it pop. This one? Not so much. It’s dark and vaguely mysterious, but it’s not interesting. I feel like the model should be wearing a more sinister expression.

It’s no secret that I’m not particularly fond of the artwork. Even though there’s a new illustrator, they implemented the original artwork so the overall style is unchanged.  After reading this one, I’m still not a fan but it is definitely improved over the first one in a few areas. For one, the coloring is more professional. It’s more vibrant and saturated, giving it an all around better look.  Interestingly enough, I think Ivy looks better in this one than in Blood Work. But on the other hand, I thought Rachel looked prettier in Blood Work than she does here.  Piscary looked pretty spot on to how I envisioned him in my head, and a new character, Celeste, actually had a pretty cool design.  The artist definitely does better work with her own original creations.

The story itself was pretty good, if a bit short. It’s natural to feel that way when a usual Hollows entry is over 400 pages. Though I’m pleased with the direction the later books have taken, I do miss the old I.S. runner days when they had to solve mysteries and tag bad guys.  This book brings a little bit of that back.  I liked how it continued the plot lines from Ivy’s short story because it expands the vampire world just a bit more when it comes to their politics, connections, and the domino effect that comes with certain actions. There’s a lot of inner turmoil with Ivy, fighting her attraction to Rachel, fighting her vampiric nature, fighting Piscary’s mind games. That’s pretty much all the poor girl does! Not to mention actually physically fighting the bad guys. Piscary was pretty scary at times, especially when pulling auras.  He’s certainly one you love to hate.  Kisten’s role is even smaller here than in Blood Work, but we do see enough to know how strong of a bond he and Ivy shared.  Rachel wasn’t quite as funny as she was in the first novel, but she still felt like Rachel, kicking butt, taking names.  And seeing her cherry red splat gun in action again was pretty cool too.

All in all, I don’t think these are the best that The Hollows has to offer, but it is worth a read and fans will appreciate the story.

*Review copy provided by the publisher


Who is my favorite Author? Kim Harrison, that’s who! Ever After ARC is MINE!!

Though I gave my copy away last year, this one is priceless for this very reason:

But don’t worry! I will be holding a giveaway for the official release!!


NEW and EXCLUSIVE! Hollows Short Story – Trouble on Reserve

Hi Hollows fans! Ms. Harrison certainly surprised us today (or yesterday for those of us in the know) with the new Hollows short, Trouble on Reserve. The good news? IT’S NEW HOLLOWS MATERIAL!! The bad? It’s only available to iPad, iPod Touch (with the later iOS), and iPhone users who download the Sony Reader App.

While I am typing this blog from my beloved MacBook Pro, I happen to be a Droid girl with an outdated iPod touch *Le Sigh*.  But knowing me, that certainly wasn’t going to get in my way.  Thanks to a WONDERFUL coworker, I was able to read the story on her iPhone.  It. Is. FABULOUS! Our favorite elf and demon witch team up once again with a wonderful twist.  While great, I noticed  a few significant spoilers from Ever After, so beware!

 


Book Release day! Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond – A little bit of old, a little bit of new

Just a friendly reminder to you guys that Into the Woods was released today! Below is my review that was previously posted. While the anthology was awesome and I loved Trent’s short story, Million Dollar Baby, I have to say that I liked the bonus chapter from A Perfect Blood even better.

Review

Into the Woods by Kim Harrison, Rachel Morgan, Trent Kalamack, JenksEven being the Hollows snob that I am, I admit a couple of stories have slipped through the cracks for me over the years. That’s why I was quite pleased to hear that the stories would finally be included in an anthology! I’ll be honest and say that when I opened it I immediately skipped to “Million Dollar Baby”, the story centering on Trent and Jenks’s elf quest in Pale Demon, and it didn’t disappoint! Everything else for me was a bonus, but it was all worthwhile.  Here’s a breakdown of the stories and my general feelings:

“Million Dollar Baby”– this was easily the premiere story for this publication.  It was essentially priceless getting into Trent’s head and learning quite a few things that we never knew before.  It makes him so much more “human” this way. Trent and Rachel fans eager for anything to support development of these two may be disappointed a smidgen (though not entirely), but I think it’s important to remember when this story took place and what it’s about.  While I loved reading about Trent, I admit that I missed Rachel. I’m really attached to the itchy witch and they play off one another so well.  No worries though because the bromance that blooms between Trent and Jenks is plenty entertaining.  We see why pixies and elves get along so well.  Overall, I thought this was a well done story and I wish we could get more stories from Trent, though I know that won’t be happening much.

As for the reprinted Hollows short stories:

“The Bespelled” – a short story focusing on Al and how he ensnared Ceri of 1,000 years ago.  I always enjoyed this read. But it has Al so that makes it pretty easy…

“Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel”– a Robbie/Rachel/Pierce novella going back in time to when Rachel was 18 and struggling with her decision to join the I.S. This story was new to me. I was not the biggest fan of Pierce in the main novels, but I must admit that he is a little better here.

“Undead in The Garden of Good and Evil”– a novella focusing on Ivy in her earlier I.S. days.  Another entertaining novel with excellent doses of Kisten.  If you thought he and Rachel were hott together, you should read this to see vamp on vamp action. I read this some time ago, but I forgot how hott he and Ivy can be together.

“Dirty Magic”- short story about Mia, the banshee from Book 7.  While not my favorite I found it interesting to read about her and her complex thought processes.

“The Bridges of Eden Park”– a Kisten and Rachel short that no doubt makes you miss him all over again.

“Ley Line Drifter” – a novella focusing on Bis and Jenks. It introduces the character Daryl who we meet again in the later Hollows novels.  I will say it’s sort of weird to read A Perfect Blood and then go back to reading this.  My favorite parts were the moments between Jenks and Matalina since we never get to see that first hand.

Stories beyond The Hollows:

“Pet Shop Boys” – I admit that every time I see this title I just want to sing “West End Girls”.  Though I promise that the story is completely unrelated. It’s actually about vampires, but they are completely different from our Hollows vamps.  I think she could have had something going, but The Hollows vamps are better and more developed, not surprisingly.  They have an unfair advantage of having novel after novel of development. I would like to see this become a full novel or two to even the playing field. This was my favorite entry of the non-Hollows stories.

“Temson Estates” and “Spider Web”-a short story and novella focusing on dryads. I don’t think they are my favorite supernatural creature, but I would have liked to have seen a little more regarding the Spider Web story.

“Grace” – novella introducing new powers relating to people who hold special energy capable of destroying electronics. Their powers can be intense enough that, if left unharnessed, they can be a danger to society. This one is more borderline Urban Fantasy to me. It could be categorized as something else.

Overall, I enjoyed this book but normally I don’t enjoy anthologies very much simply because I prefer to read a whole novel as opposed to several novellas (just a personal preference). I found myself putting the book down more often for this reason, but I was definitely engaged enough to read the old stuff all over again along with the new stuff.

I follow Kim Harrison’s work more closely under the Rachel Morgan series than anything else, but the non-Hollows stories give the reader a taste of her skills as an author. It’s a good way to test yourself as a fan, determining whether you plan to follow Rachel Morgan or Kim Harrison in general.  The beginnings of the stories were sometimes a little hard to get into because I didn’t always want to switch gears from story to story, especially going from Rachel Morgan to something totally different.  But if you stay the course, each read is quite rewarding and interesting, even with such a short window of opportunity to tell the story.  I see myself following Harrison throughout The Hollows and beyond.


A Perfect Blood Paperback is out! And OH-EM-GEEE!!

“When this is over, can I fix that?”

My fingers, he realized, shivering when she brushed his palm.  She’s talking about fixing my fingers.  “If you like,” he said with a false calm, then pulled away, stifling a spun-sugar feeling as her hand slipped from his.  It’s the adrenaline, he thought, not meeting her eyes.

Yeah, that. just. happened. Now READ!!

EDIT:  I got it for my kindle, but those who already have the book and don’t want to purchase it again can read the whole thing in the browse feature on B&N. It’s free and all you have to do is click the first “Teaser Chapter” link:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/sample/read/9780061957901

Thanks to our very own VirginiaHouston for bringing this link to my attention.  The Harper Browse doesn’t offer it at this time.

As you may or may not know, the mass market paperback was released this Tuesday and Kim added a special bonus which included a change of POV from a previous chapter. She decided to use Trent’s POV for the office scene where (spoiler ahead)……………Rachel takes off the demon bracelet that he put on her in Pale Demon. I just read the excerpt and well…

I’m about to go on a Goodreads quoting spree. Who wants to join me?!

It’s been a pretty good week for me. I scored front row tickets to the Madonna concert this past Sunday (I’d never been to one of her shows before), and now I read this MIND BLOWING excerpt from this book! Honestly, I’m speechless.  If you want to read it yourself (and believe me, you’ll want to), you could stop by your local bookstore and read the MMP, you could buy the ebook like I did. I like having ebook and hardcovers for this series, so I purposely held out for the ebook until now.  Kim NEVER goes for the jugular like that. She’s usually way more subtle.  That last paragraph was just… As I said, I’m speechless right now and that NEVER happens with The Hollows.


HOLLOWS ALERT!!! Excerpt of Ever After (Book 11) is here!

If you guys purchase (now for 99 cents though before it was free) the Pet Shop Boys short story, it includes the first excerpt of EVER AFTER! See, I love you guys so much I told you before reading it myself 😛 *now rushes off to read*

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Barnes and Noble

Buy from Google Book Store

Buy from iTunes

Buy from Sony Book Store

Edit: I just finished the excerpt. Bah! There’s NEVER enough Hollows! And I honestly was thinking about Carew towers recently so it’s right on time that Kim brings it up again.


Krampus by Brom – Santa Clause is kramping his style

If you are familiar with the artist/author, Brom, then you probably realize that he has a knack for taking popular children’s tales and re-envisioning them with a twist–usually warped, disturbing, and certainly not child friendly.  I absolutely loved The Child Thief, a dark retelling of Peter Pan, so I absolutely jumped at the chance to review Krampus.

Krampus is the Yule Lord, locked away for centuries thanks to Jolly Old Saint Nick.  But he is determined to come back and restore Yuletide to it former glory, after he takes care of that little Santa issue course…

We also meet Jesse, a deadbeat down and out 20 something, who stumbles upon the special key that Krampus and his minions have been searching for.  Begrudgingly he aids Krampus with hopes that the Yule Lord’s power will be enough to save his family.

Brom is first and foremost an artist (he illustrated this cover), but he is a fantastic storyteller as well. He purposely makes it difficult to question the true villain at times, so it’s hard to know who to root for even when it comes to the protagonist.  Every character has an agenda and nobody is innocent, save for Jesse’s young daughter perhaps. It wasn’t quite as gruesome as The Child Thief, but there were a few cringe-worthy moments.

I really enjoyed the comparisons of Krampus and Santa Clause.  I grew up with Santa in my life, so I couldn’t help but have a little bias towards him, but I also found myself appreciating some aspects of what Krampus signifies. Neither character is perfect, which once again leaves the reader conflicted.

Brom’s books are great to read if you want something a little different that breaks the usual formula.  I can say that I enjoyed The Child Thief more, but Krampus is still good stuff!

Maybe his message is that good or bad, there’s a villain in all of us.

*ARC provided by the publisher


Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond – A little bit of old, a little bit of new

Into the Woods by Kim Harrison, Rachel Morgan, Trent Kalamack, JenksEven being the Hollows snob that I am, I admit a couple of stories have slipped through the cracks for me over the years. That’s why I was quite pleased to hear that the stories would finally be included in an anthology! I’ll be honest and say that when I opened it I immediately skipped to “Million Dollar Baby”, the story centering on Trent and Jenks’s elf quest in Pale Demon, and it didn’t disappoint! Everything else for me was a bonus, but it was all worthwhile.  Here’s a breakdown of the stories and my general feelings:

“Million Dollar Baby”– this was easily the premiere story for this publication.  It was essentially priceless getting into Trent’s head and learning quite a few things that we never knew before.  It makes him so much more “human” this way. Trent and Rachel fans eager for anything to support development of these two may be disappointed a smidgen (though not entirely), but I think it’s important to remember when this story took place and what it’s about.  While I loved reading about Trent, I admit that I missed Rachel. I’m really attached to the itchy witch and they play off one another so well.  No worries though because the bromance that blooms between Trent and Jenks is plenty entertaining.  We see why pixies and elves get along so well.  Overall, I thought this was a well done story and I wish we could get more stories from Trent, though I know that won’t be happening much.

As for the reprinted Hollows short stories:

“The Bespelled” – a short story focusing on Al and how he ensnared Ceri of 1,000 years ago.  I always enjoyed this read. But it has Al so that makes it pretty easy…

“Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel”– a Robbie/Rachel/Pierce novella going back in time to when Rachel was 18 and struggling with her decision to join the I.S. This story was new to me. I was not the biggest fan of Pierce in the main novels, but I must admit that he is a little better here.

“Undead in The Garden of Good and Evil”– a novella focusing on Ivy in her earlier I.S. days.  Another entertaining novel with excellent doses of Kisten.  If you thought he and Rachel were hott together, you should read this to see vamp on vamp action. I read this some time ago, but I forgot how hott he and Ivy can be together.

“Dirty Magic”- short story about Mia, the banshee from Book 7.  While not my favorite I found it interesting to read about her and her complex thought processes.

“The Bridges of Eden Park”– a Kisten and Rachel short that no doubt makes you miss him all over again.

“Ley Line Drifter” – a novella focusing on Bis and Jenks. It introduces the character Daryl who we meet again in the later Hollows novels.  I will say it’s sort of weird to read A Perfect Blood and then go back to reading this.  My favorite parts were the moments between Jenks and Matalina since we never get to see that first hand.

Stories beyond The Hollows:

“Pet Shop Boys” – I admit that every time I see this title I just want to sing “West End Girls”.  Though I promise that the story is completely unrelated. It’s actually about vampires, but they are completely different from our Hollows vamps.  I think she could have had something going, but The Hollows vamps are better and more developed, not surprisingly.  They have an unfair advantage of having novel after novel of development. I would like to see this become a full novel or two to even the playing field. This was my favorite entry of the non-Hollows stories.

“Temson Estates” and “Spider Web”-a short story and novella focusing on dryads. I don’t think they are my favorite supernatural creature, but I would have liked to have seen a little more regarding the Spider Web story.

“Grace” – novella introducing new powers relating to people who hold special energy capable of destroying electronics. Their powers can be intense enough that, if left unharnessed, they can be a danger to society. This one is more borderline Urban Fantasy to me. It could be categorized as something else.

Overall, I enjoyed this book but normally I don’t enjoy anthologies very much simply because I prefer to read a whole novel as opposed to several novellas (just a personal preference). I found myself putting the book down more often for this reason, but I was definitely engaged enough to read the old stuff all over again along with the new stuff.

I follow Kim Harrison’s work more closely under the Rachel Morgan series than anything else, but the non-Hollows stories give the reader a taste of her skills as an author. It’s a good way to test yourself as a fan, determining whether you plan to follow Rachel Morgan or Kim Harrison in general.  The beginnings of the stories were sometimes a little hard to get into because I didn’t always want to switch gears from story to story, especially going from Rachel Morgan to something totally different.  But if you stay the course, each read is quite rewarding and interesting, even with such a short window of opportunity to tell the story.  I see myself following Harrison throughout The Hollows and beyond.


Into the Woods (The Hollows Anthology) Excerpt is Available

Into the Woods by Kim Harrison, Rachel Morgan, Trent Kalamack, JenksI gotta say I’m loving all of the new Hollows updates these days.  While the pull of the upcoming anthology’s release has motivated me to finally finish the ARC of this novel (I’ve had it since June, I’m a terrible Hollows snob, I know), I figured you guys would love to get a taste of the premiere story, Million Dollar Baby, that showcases what happens during Pale Demon as Trent and Jenks go on their bromance-filled quest.  To read it, just click here.

I’m finishing up the whole thing myself (I’m about 70% done now, made good progress today), but I made sure to read Million Dollar Baby the second I got my paws on it.  Priorities are priorities.  Either way, I can guarantee Hollows fans are in for a rare treat and some pretty interesting insights.

So, how are you liking the excerpt so far?


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