Posts tagged “Mircea Basarab

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!


Fury’s Kiss – I *might* just have a new #2…favorite series that is

“We got unfinished business,” he reminded me.
“My name’s not Bill.”
He chuckled. “Yeah, I loved that movie. Shoulda brought a katana, but it seemed like an unfair advantage.”

– I love that movie too!

“I wasn’t the kind of gal who wore designer and knew what all the forks were for. I was the kind of gal who thought the nightgown drawer was where old T-shirts went to die and who had only started using forks in the last century. And who frankly still thought them kind of a waste when there were perfectly good knives handy.”

Dorina is awesome. Yeah, yeah, I know that’s not news, but we could SO be besties if it weren’t for her little quirk of blacking out into nasty dhampir rages that can level a whole village (think Saya from Blood+).

Though Dorina’s dhampir heritage has made her the pariah and enigma of the paranormal community, her skills are still quite useful to the Vampire Senate.  If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.  While working with them to smuggle magical items and weapons out of Faerie, the operation hits a snag that leads to Dorina’s capture.  Though eventually saved by master vampire Louis-Cesare, she has no memory of what happened, but she has to find out fast or else the vampire community and herself will be dangerously vulnerable.  This leads to new enemies, new revelations about her past, and ultimately a war residing completely within…herself.

She did make readers wait two years for it, but this is definitely the longest Dorina book to date! Karen Chance doesn’t let up when it comes to the twists, turns, and action sequences that you wouldn’t believe.  Chance proves herself to be a master story teller with the continuous world building, complex plot, and super fast pace; it makes me wonder how she keeps up with it all. There HAS to be a secret.

For the most part I was really with it, but I did have a couple of annoyances.  I sometimes felt like I was reading about a character with ADHD because there are a number of times when she doesn’t complete a thought before something else happens.  That felt a bit unnecessary because the books are fast paced enough.   By the 80% mark it sort of hit a wall, though it didn’t last for very long because the end was beyond stellar.

As much as I love her Louis-Cesare (they are probably in my top 3 ships now), the developments with Mircea were probably my favorite parts of this book.  Chance’s love of time travel is as present as ever.  She skirts the time travel idea often used in her Cassie Palmer books by pretty much turning Dorina’s mind into a time machine. Being 500 years old, she has a lot of memories she can recall.

We see romance all of the time in this genre books, but so rarely do we see such a the delicate father-daughter relationship like theirs develop and evolve over the course of a series. Absolutely it is unconventional, but at the root of it, we are seeing a bond that is unbreakable, as it should be.  They are both hundreds of years old, so it’s hard to navigate their relationship in a convincing way, but Chance does it and it works so well.  I got some serious warm fuzzies and my only complaint is that I wish we got a little more.  Though I would have liked more, what I want to see is probably more suited for the last book…woohoo for 4 more years! That’s assuming she ends this series at 5 books.

I would say that slightly less action, more Mircea, more Louis-Cesare, or just less pages would have put this book on the path to perfection.  These little things took it from perfection to NEAR perfection. It was definitely one of my most satisfying reads of the year!


Death’s Mistress (Dorina Basarab #2) – It keeps getting better!

“Louis-Cesare. It’s good to finally have you in hand.”

Indeed it is!!!

This time around our favorite ass-kicking dhampir Dorina Basarab now finds herself involved in a murder mystery “whodunit” style.  Someone has started murdering vampire Senate members and that may be too close to home. To make matter worse, her best friend Claire also needs Dorina’s help to locate a fae relic that could be used to harm her infant son, the successor to the fae throne.  With those she holds most near and dear in harm’s way, who can Dorina trust?

In usual Karen Chance style, Death’s Mistress is jam packed with story and there are even a quite few laughs. I feel like her imagination knows no bounds and that has to account for the super fast pace of her books, though Dorina’s pace doesn’t feel as hectic as Cassie’s. It feels just right.There is so much going on that I can’t even put it in one synopsis.

There is moving and shaking among all of the supernaturals: the mages, the  vampires, the dark and light fae, you name it.  About the only species with nothing going on is the dhampire community, and that could be because there are only a handful of them to begin with.  I would like to see Chance introduce us to the few that exist.  Why not? We’re seeing everybody else!

Louis-Cesare tension is back and better than ever.  Their interactions, while extremely amusing and  pretty freakin’ hott, are ultimately dangerous.  Louis-Cesare’s affections are as transparent as it gets and that may be a problem since dhampir/vampire relationships are  about as taboo as it gets.  So a star-crossed appeal has become a component of their relationship.

The secondary character really shine here.  I was entertained to no end by Raymond, a vampire she beheads early as leverage, as well as her uncle Radu.  He is delightfully flamboyant, dramatic., and surprisingly relatable.  Papa Mircea was fabulous here as well with additional back story involving his past with her mother.  Then there’s her unconventional pet Stinky, a chimera, who sticks to her like glue every since she saved him in book 1.

All of these elements really give the series a life of its own outside of the Cassie Palmer series, and I think it’s for the better.  I can effectively say that I prefer the Dorina novels to the Cassie novels. I can’t wait two WEEKS for the next installment let along two years like the poor souls that read these books in real time.  It’s definitely one of my favorite series and I highly recommend this read.  It has everything I’m looking for in a great Urban Fantasy series.


Midnight’s Daughter (Dorina Basarab #1) – My socks have been rocked!

“”I ran out of stock around midnight and dropped by a place, got some Chinese.” I hoped he meant takeout….”Mu-shu pork” he told me indignantly.”

I held off from immediately jumping into the Dorina Basarb series, a spin-off of the Cassie Palmer novels by Karen Chance, for a couple of reasons:

1)I have some quirks with the Cassie Palmer books that I feared could spill over into this series

and

2)I wasn’t sure if I wanted to invest in a series with such a long wait between novels.  In my perfect world, I’d get two books per year when it comes to my fave series, not one every TWO years.

So it took quite a while to get around to this, but I am so glad I finally did.

This spin-off series centers around Dorina Basarab, a dhampir (vampire/human hybrid) assassin. Not quite enough of either species, Dorina’s kind is rare and doesn’t fit anywhere in either society.  It doesn’t help that she is subject to rages that cause her to black out and endanger not only those around her, but herself as well.

It turns out she is the daughter of the great and powerful Mircea Basarab, and he needs her skills to help capture her uncle and his brother, Dracula, who has escaped from prison.  Crazy and dangerous, this is a tall order, so Mircea also adds another master vampire to the mix, Louis-Cesare.  The goal is for Dorina and Louis-Cesare to work together, but we all know the results when you try to mix oil and vinegar.

This book was a lot of fun. This series has beaten the odds and has become an instant favorite, regardless of the lag time.  It’s missing my biggest annoyances with the Cassie books: an irritating love triangle  and Cassie herself (I’m not just a fan, sorry).  Dorina is much more likeable heroine for me. I laughed, I cried (okay, not really), I QUOTED!!

Chance really knows how to write compelling and downright delicious male characters. Louis-Cesare has shot up on my list of book crushes. He’s an amazing fighter, and the chemistry with Dorina is crazy good! It doesn’t feel like your run of the mill relationship like with so many other novels.  It’s dynamic, it’s got room to evolve, he isn’t invisible, and Dorina actually can take care of herself quite well.  It feels really natural, or about as natural as you can expect for supernaturals.

Another pleasant surprise was Mircea.  After reading the Cassie books we’re only used to Mircea the lover and powerful Senate member.  In these books we get to see Mircea the father. While we see the Senate member too, I really appreciate this perspective of him because it adds more depth to the character for me.  I like him more and more because we see more of his vulnerability here as opposed to the Cassie books. When it comes to Dorina, you can tell that he doesn’t have all of the answers, even when he tries to save face . It’s a subtle chink in his armor and I love it!

This is about as great of a start as one could hope for.  I finished this book and couldn’t wait to dive in to the next one!  I think it’s needless to say that I highly recommend this one.


A Family Affair – Okay, Pritkin’s Irresistable

John Pritkin - A Family Affair Cassie Palmer Cassandra PalmerOnly a couple of blog posts ago I was sort of ranting about this series and whether or not I would be able to keep going.  As much as its quirks get on my nerves, I can’t really see myself actually stopping and not seeing Pritkin’s story unfold.   While I do think Mircea has potential to be interesting, so far I don’t think the series is living up to it. Pritkin on the other hand remains shrouded in mystery and intrigue even as a lot of his background comes to light.   After reading his short story, I think I would love this series if it were primarily from his point of view.

The story itself is just okay for me, but it’s rare that novella’s are as compelling as a full novel.  What I really liked the most was the potential and getting a little taste of John’s world from his perspective and seeing how he juggles several responsibilties from his dedication to Cassie, his heritage, and his mission.  I would probably be a Cassie/Pritkin shipper more easily if it were from his point of view.   If you like the ship, I really don’t think you’re going to want to miss this one.  It’s just too bad Karen Chance has to follow the trend and keep her urban fantasy series from the female’s point of view.


All caught up with the Cassie Palmer books by Karen Chance

I have to start off by saying that the biggest plus to this is how well the book matches my blog background, haha.

Just forewarning that I do have a bit of a rant ahead in general, and it contains some spoilers.

I was considering writing more, but I realized this would either be super long or fairly short, so I’m taking the shorter route.  After much lauding I finally got around to the Cassie Palmer Saga.  I expected a lot of action and supposedly a ton of love interests that would leave me not knowing which team I shipped.  That’s not really my thing but I gave it a try anyway…and this series only affirms why is isn’t.  The series kicks off with a ton of options, but by the 5th book there’s really only two as one was swept under the rug.  The first one gets a little side story that I’m in the middle of reading now (though it feels like such an afterthought since I know the character literally goes nowhere) after he’s just used as a plot device to take Cassie’s virtue.

As for the other two, they are at least interesting as characters in their own right, but I really have a hard time even beginning to talk about their complications with Cassie.  You have Pritkin (the overwhelming fan favorite), who starts out trying to kill her, yet they end up in a partnership and grow close over the course of the series.  Then there’s Mircea, super mysterious vampire, Dracula’s big bro, Senate member, and super sexy to boot who is Cassie’s current boyfriend, though it’s hard to tell most times.  The only real reason for their attraction initially was because of a spell.  With that done, why still go there with Pritkin obviously poised to be end game?   Mircea’s busy trying to lock her away, never telling her anything and then Pritkin’s always around for the action.  To me it just doesn’t feel like a real contest, so I was really irritated to hear the “L” word (for “love” not “lesbian”~_^) thrown around for Cassie and Mircea and then you have the kind of ending for this book where it’s very obvious she loves Pritkin and vice-versa.  Her issues with Mircea are dragged out and out and out to where it now just seems stupid.   I just don’t really see the point of them being together. I feel like it’s been books since Cassie can’t figure out who a special brunette girl is that Mircea keeps photos of.  Of course, if you’re not Cassie you know it’s Dorina, Mircea’s daughter (only because she’s the focal character in the spin-off series).  And actually as I think about it, it’s been 3 years, 3 Cassie Palmer books, and 2 Dorina books. What gives?

So after 5 books, I officially declare that I am not “Team Pritkin” or “Team Mircea”. Cassie ruins both for me.  I’m not sure if others aren’t quite bothered because as far as Pritkin’s concerned, it’s a matter of “when” they get together, not “if,” so pretty much anything Karen Chance throws in there in the meantime means nothing.  But that just doesn’t jive with me.  I don’t support either ship enough to validate essentially making Cassie…kind of a hoe.  Not really sure what else you can call it.  Cassie doesn’t really think on it much herself, be it before or after which is even more stupid.

I’m also not a huge fan of the pace.  It’s super fast and a lot of the action is really difficult to get into.  I have taken a liking to her body guard, Marco.  Sometimes you just feel bad for the guy since he’s pretty much responsible for Cassie and she’s always off nearly getting herself killed.  No, she can’t sit tight and look pretty, but there’s got to be a middle ground. Neither side is wrong per se.

I was strongly considering the Dorina Basarab series, but I hear that it’s just as fast-paced and on-the-go as Cassie Palmer.  A better lead female (at least for me because I’m not a Cassie fan at all) and no stupid “triangle” would be a plus, but the pacing usually exhausts me and I just READ the stuff so I’m not sure if I want to get to that right away.  There are a number of other series in the TBR pile that I’m more excited to get around to in the meantime.

Not sure if I will keep up with this series or not. I may read a couple of spoilers first. I would wait until couple of books are out, but I suspect that too much Cassie at once is more irritating than one every year, so I’m at a loss… We’ll just see how I feel in 2012. I mostly want to see what happens to Pritkin (as a character, not a love interest though I predict she’ll end up with him), but since Book 6 won’t be the final book I can expect the same song and dance, dragging it all out.


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