Posts tagged “steampunk

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!


The Mysterious Madam Morpho (Blud #1.5) – Love the cover, but more Criminy please!

This is a novella from the Blud series. As a follow-up to Delilah Dawson’s debut novel Wicked as They Come, to hold us over until the next book we get to revisit her alternative London and Criminy Stain’s caravan.  Instead of Criminy and Leticia (Tish) getting focus, we meet Madam Morpho, a new addition to the caravan with a unique ability to re-animate butterflies, and we meet Mr. Murdoch, the mysterious engineer behind the caravan’s clockworks and staging. Morpho is running from her past, but is she valuable enough for the caravan and Mr. Murdoch to run with her?

I love this series for a combination of reasons, from the quirky steampunk London makeover to the blud bunnies to enigmatic Criminy himself.  The first two are there in spades which is great, but I’ve unfortunately caught a case of Criminy fever and found myself missing his presence immensely this time around, Tish as well.  The world building remains impressive, with enough imagination to satisfy any urban fantasy/paranormal/steampunk fan, but the romance itself came up a bit short for me. Insta-love stories never really do it for me, namely because I just can’t suspend my belief enough to completely buy it, and that’s what we see here. Granted, Ms. Dawson is only working with 100 or so pages so she has to move quickly.  It’s just that it didn’t resonate with me very much and if I was going to read this for the romance, I think it would have enjoyed it more if it was Criminy and Tish, an establish ship that readers are already invested in. Nevertheless, it’s a solid read and I do recommend fans of the series give it a shot.


Kingmakers (Vampire Empire #3) – Powerful, Perfection

Epic doesn’t even begin to describe Kingmakers, the final novel of the Vampire Empire trilogy. Each installment is better than the last; Susan and Clay Griffith have done an amazing job at building momentum to this moment and it really doesn’t disappoint.

Adele leads the war against vampires to the north and Gareth is getting first hand experience with the it, fighting for Adele in the front lines of battle.  But the vampires are formidable opponents and have gained the upper hand, quickly bringing the humans to their knees. Something must be done and Adele’s geomancy powers may be the ace in the hole that the human race needs to win once and for all.

The last novel is jam packed with story, but there’s a lot of action so it gets going much faster than its predecessors. Politics, betrayal, and new revelations are key to Adele and Gareth’s development. They are the heart of this saga after all. But with their seemingly impossible love, can the heart still beat?

Adele has matured wonderfully over the novels and she’s become really admirable. I liked seeing her in a major position of power, strategizing and making difficult decisions that challenge morality. It’s a nice departure from other urban fantasy novels where the heroines start at the bottom and have to work their way up. She’s on a slippery slope as she tries to control her geomancy powers, which may be dangerous to more than solely vampires.

Gareth is as wonderful as always with his selflessness. He’s even adorable at times as he still tries to fully understand human customs and history. His light moments with Adele really gave me the case of the warm fuzzies, if only because it feels so fleeting as the pull of his vampire heritage requires that he finally face his brother once and for all. That, and her powers seriously conflict with his entire being on a biological level beyond their control.

This book has pretty much everything you could ask for and you’ll experience practically every emotion while reading it. The ending is very powerful, enough that you may want to have kleenex on hand, but I won’t spoil it any further. My only complaint is that I want more. I love this world and I’m sad to see it end; though unfortunately that must happen to all good things…

Well done to the Griffiths on their fantastic work! This is definitely one of my favorite trilogies ever.

*ARC provided by the publisher


Wicked as They Come – Winners Announcement!

wicked as they come, delilah dawson, bludHi everyone! As usual, I wanted to thank all of you for participating, but now we have our 2 winners. If you posted in the comment section of the announcement thread, you were entered for a chance to win.  I apologize for the late announcement, but my Internet connection has been on the fritz.  Without further ado, the winners are:

sharonstogner

littleread1

Please check your emails ladies!  Hope you enjoy! Thank you everyone for participating and I look forward to the next giveaway, which will be later this month!


Cover Reveal: The Kingmakers (Vampire Empire Trilogy #3)

ImageDid I spaz like a teenybopper at a Justin Bieber concert when I saw this?  Maybe just a smidgen.  I SO can’t wait to get my paws on this! If there’s anything I regret most with this series, it’s that I didn’t wait for all books to be released when I started it.

Anyway, the cover looks fantastic! Adele looks badass, too! This is probably my favorite cover with her. I liked his pose more on the second one. But I like the background the best here with the vampires. Looks scary!


Review + Giveaway: Wicked as They Come (Blud #1) – My FAVORITE book of 2012 thus far!!

wicked as they come, delilah dawson, blud
Yeah, those of you who follow me closely know I wouldn’t throw that out there lightly, but there it is!  I’d heard good things about the series but I wasn’t in the hugest rush to read it. Man am I SO glad I got around to it!

Delilah Dawson introduces us to a new world through the eyes of Letitia Everett (aka Tish), a nurse who spends most of her time tending to patients in reality, including her terminally ill grandmother.  That is until she stumbles upon this interesting ruby locket at an estate sale. Unbeknownst to her it happens to be enchanted, and once she falls asleep it thrusts her into an alternate world called Sang where she meets Criminy Stain, a rebellious gypsy Bludman (aka vampire) who has been waiting for her for a long time.  After all, he’s the one that had the locket spell cast to deliver the love of his life to him.

He leads a travelling circus mixed with fellow Bludman and Pinkies (aka humans) alike.  Tish will fit right in as she realizes her powers as a Glancer, where she can see into someone’s past and future with just one touch.  It’s a valuable ability and she learns her own fate when she touches Criminy, seeing her ultimate  doom.  Anchored between both worlds through wearing the locket, she can decide what she wants, but when the locket is stolen she goes on a journey with Criminy to find it. They face many enemies by land and sea, their ultimate target being the evil and manipulative Magistrate who hates all Bludmen and has a plan to eradicate them all from Sang. If they succeed, she must decide on a normal structured life or an unpredictable destiny with the person she was least expecting to love.  Is Tish meant for all of this?

I won’t answer that question here, but I can just say that I loved loved LOVED this book! Dawson has an amazing imagination and has crafted a truly unique world with the Blud series.  I wasn’t sure how much I could get into the world-building because Steampunk novels can be too heavy on the details for my liking.  But she was able to harness it and describe everything effectively while still keeping my attention.  I seriously don’t recall being bored at all and that’s saying a lot.

I liked that the Bludmen are really different for a change.  Instead of being at the top of the food chain and rich like vampires in normal series, their race is oppressed and their people are considered second class citizens.  Let’s not even get into the topic of a Bludmen becoming involved with a Pinky.  It’s super taboo and usually the two races aren’t attracted to one another (well, aside from Bludmen seeing them as food of course).  Because of this I enjoyed watching the tensions mount between the two.

Criminy Stain. Just one word to describe him: AMAZING!!  I just don’t know if we can get enough of this character. He is so unique in a genre where it’s only getting more difficult to separate the best from the rest. He’s a born leader, honorable and  adventurous; he cares about his people and hates that they’re suffering, but even still he doesn’t become emo and self-loathing.  He maintains a great sense of humor throughout it all.  I probably haven’t read about a more dynamic character since Algaliarept from The Hollows.  The only downside is that I’m not sure what the second book will have in store.  The book doesn’t end in a cliffhanger,  but I just can’t tell what’s going to happen next for him since the second book seems to shift focus. To ignore this character is to ignore a goldmine.  He’s got potential to be a fan favorite, like a Jericho Barrons, Algaliarept, Jean Claude, Curran, the list goes on.

I think the love story between Criminy and Letitia is very well done and not too heavy on that sap.  It’s definitely more of a romantic adventure so a lot of the focus is on the adventure side of things, which is just how I like it.  All the while the feelings build allowing things to happen at the right time.

I really wish this series came out bi-annually simply because of him.  Maybe we can coax the author into writing up some short stories or vignettes.

This series is one where I would love to see a movie adaptation created for it.  It could be a big hit, seeing all of this come to life.  I just can’t gush enough and I’ve decided to hold a giveaway right now! I can’t wait much longer for more of you to read it so….

Giveaway

I will select two winners for this and they may choose either the paperback or the ebook. I am collecting entries through May 4th. I will announce the winners on Saturday, May 5, 2012.

How to Enter (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY): My giveaways are only open to followers of Your Urban Fantasy who are 18 years of age or older.  In order to enter YOU MUST COMMENT ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT POST! If you’re a new member, sign up on the right panel to follow my blog via email and/or Twitter. (Make sure you check your email to confirm your subscription. You should receive a notification immediately, so check your spam folder if you don’t see it right away). Current followers can just say so in their post and your entry will be added. Overall, there are up to 3 chances to win:

  1. Follow this blog via email (THIS IS REQUIRED)
  2. Follow me on Twitter (bonus entry)
  3. “Like” Your Urban Fantasy on Facebook (bonus entry)

While I do appreciate RSS subscribers, I cannot confirm your status as a follower so your entry will not count (sorry!); however, you are welcome to sign up by email and Twitter or Facebook.


The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire Trilogy, Book 2) – I read it in the day, it was just that good!

The rift walker by Susan griffith and clay griffith, vampire empireThe Rift Walker (Book 2 in the Vampire Empire series) takes place a number of months after first book, The Greyfriar. Adele is trying her best to stall her wedding, and in turn stall the impending war against the vampires, which would come at a much higher price than Adele is willing to pay. Lucky for her she has Greyfriar who returns to her side, putting us on pace for another swashbuckling adventure, and then some. They are on the run with her nation, her husband-to-be are on their trail, leaving her home vulnerable to enemy vampires’ advances.

Over the course of this novel Adele’s powers of geomancy are increasing to an end that no one can predict. Her love, The Greyfriar, is determined to stay by her side anyway, even if it’s to his own detriment, and the loyalties of a choice few in her court are tested as they also stand with the princess through much adversity.

First off, the model for the covers of these books totally reminds me of Mitchell the vampire on BBC’s Being Human, played by actor Aidan Turner.

I figured this was a good pic to use since the costuming is fairly close, though that’s from a photoshoot for The Hobbit.

As for the story, there was a lot of ground covered in this book with many significant developments. I was told that I should wait for the 3rd and final book to be released before reading this series; I though I’d be fine. But I’ve become quite attached to the characters and this world now. I am anxious to see how this saga ends so I sort of wish I heeded that advice.

Adele and Greyfriar’s love seems more and more impossible by the page but they are still fighting hard for each other and that’s really admirable to me. I just have a bad feeling about it, even though I want to be as hopeful as the two characters seem to be.

I still love Adele and Greyfriar the most, but her cat, Pet, is certainly up there. Their moments are super adorable with the little fur ball and (along with Adele and The Greyfriar’s moments) I admit it gave me the warm fuzzies.

Unlike the first book where it took the 50% mark to get me hooked, this book got going around the 33% mark, though the beginning is still fairly slow. At this point slow starts can be considered a pattern for this series.

Like the first book there is a blend of action, world building, and character development that really rounds out the story. It’s all well done, despite the boring politics. I really look forward to September, or maybe earlier if I’m lucky enough to nab an ARC. This series is a gem and it’s quickly become a favorite of mine. I read this in a day and I implement a 5-star policy for any full-length novel that can keep me engaged enough to read it that quickly. I suspect when the third and final book is released, it will be the same.


The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire #1) – Slow start but it’s worth the investment

greyfriar, susan griffith, Clay griffith, vampire empire trilogyThe Greyfriar (Book 1 in the Vampire Empire Trilogy) was my first proper introduction to the steampunk genre. In this bold alternate universe authored by husband and wife team Susan and Clay Griffith, vampires are vicious, powerful, and wisely feared by the human population. 150 years ago, vampires and altered the course of history as they emerged and destroyed much of human civilization toward northern territories, forcing survivors to move south. But humans are resilient beings and with time they become determined to fight back and restore their glory.

Part of that fight includes Princess Adele of Alexandria, a young lady poised to marry American Senator Clark in a political move that will unite their people and allow a full scale war against their fanged enemies. All goes according to plan until Adele is captured by the enemy and held prisoner in the northern lands. All hope seems lost, but there is The Greyfriar, a mysterious and legendary masked warrior that’s able to take on the vampires and win. He aides Adele, helping to keep her alive in this hostile territory.

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I will say that the beginning started out really great and action-packed, but then it hits a bit of a slump for me becoming riddled with politics and side characters that I know are important, but I found myself not caring about it very much. In short, I was bored for a good deal of time. I liked Adele and Greyfriar’s point of view and wanted more of that, so I was considering giving up on the book until it hit the 50% mark. After that I was really hooked and finished the book being really happy that the second book was available.

There is a lot of world building, but it’s really pretty fascinating as it incorporates airships, special weapons, and even a unique sense of wardrobe which really drives home that steampunk feel.

Adele makes mistakes, but overall for me she was a likable heroine. She is not the same person by the end of this book as she was in the beginning, so it was a satisfying evolution that promises even more as this trilogy unfolds.

I want to say a lot about the Greyfriar, but I found a pleasant surprise as I read the book, though I will not spoil it in this review. All I will say is that his character also experiences significant evolution. He was probably my favorite character. It’s nice when the title character can accomplish that, especially for me because I’m usually the type of reader who often follows a series for the sake of the side characters.

There’s a lot of action, a real sense of adventure, and a building romance that really make this book a success. I wasn’t expecting to become attached to these characters, but by the end I found myself completely invested in what would happen next. The book isn’t perfect, but I finished reading it being really glad that I invested in it.


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