Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Today I'm feeling a little better today and I'm planning on ruining all my good work of getting better by going shopping tomorrow. Mostly for books, as per usual, and exhausting though it'll likely be, it will cheer me up. Buying books always does lol.
Hopefully in the next couple of days I'll review Snitch by Allison van Diepan, Max by James Patterson and Tempting Evil by Keri Arthur. But no promises.
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
From the back cover:
"Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with these days. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.But when Kate’s werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games - an invitation only, no holds barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament - she and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta’s shapeshifting community…"
Kate has a very volatile relationship with the Beast Lord, Curran, which is a wonderful thing to watch. Again there is something very real about this relationship (not that they're really in one yet) it's something that's built slowly, too slowly for some maybe, but it wouldn't have been nearly so good if it had happened any faster. They don't instantly fall for each other and start mooning over the other at every opportunity. It's as gritty as the rest of the books. They've seriously tried to kill the other at times, and fight (mostly verbally) on a regular basis. I am really looking forward to seeing what happens between them in the next book!
Another thing worth mentioning about this series is the humor. There are some serious laugh out loud moments in all the first three and some of the very best lines I think I've ever read. But the books can go from humor to serious in a heartbeat and you really feel it. It doesn't feel choppy or dis-jointed at all. It feels real.
I really can't do these books enough justice and I'm really not going to give anything about Magic Strikes away apart from to say it is the best one yet and completely lives up to expectation. Actually leaves expectations in the dust. If you haven't tried this series yet and you like Urban Fantasy, try it! I wasn't convinced when I first bought Magic Bites, but I needed something new to read and I am very, very glad I got it!!
Bring on book 4! And On The Edge. And the Must Love Hellhounds anthology. And anything else by Ilona or with Ilona's work in it. Please?
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
"Dante Valentine's working relationship with the Devil wasn't her choice - but you don't turn down a contract with Lucifer and live. Hired to kill fugitive Vardimal Santino, Dante's only allies are a demon familiar she doesn't trust and a small band of psychics. The thing is, Dante doesn't need friends, she needs a miracle. Because the first time Dante Valentine met Santino, she almost died."
This series is set somewhere in the future, with much advanced technology and a lot of magic. But the author is clever in not bogging the books down with explanations of all the technology. It's just there, with enough told about it so you know what it does, but a lot is left to your own imagination, allowing the story to be told without long descriptive sections.
Dante, or Danny as she's known to her friends, is someone who is struggling with her past. in particular the death of a very close friend of hers, Doreen, who was killed by Santino several years before. Doreen died saving Dante, so Dante feels she owes her. But if she dies in the process, she doesn't seem to care a whole lot. She is someone full of pain, and ending all that isn't something she's completely against.
Dante is a Necromance, who works as a Mercenary as well, when she's disturbed by a knock at her front door and opens it to find a demon pointing a gun at her head. Reluctantly she follows him in to Hell itself to speak to Lucifer. The demon, Japhrimel, is given to her as a 'familiar', his job is to protect her and keep her alive so she can do as asked, and kill Santino. They start off with a mutual hatred for each other, and Dante hating his kind, in other words, all demons. But working together changes things.
The story moves at a good pace, throwing a few surprises in along the way. There are various different 'types' of people in this, Skinlins, Shamans and others as well as different levels of powers. But again, there isn't masses of information on them thrown at you at once, little bits are revealed here and there, allowing you to take it all in and keep the differences separate, without feeling like you need to know a lot more to understand them.
I really enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Sunday, 22 March 2009
"Behind the closed doors of San Fransisco’s grandest mansions, beautiful people party the nights away in a heady mix of money, drugs, drink and sex. But the rich and famous aren’t the only ones with the keys to these most exclusive of addresses, someone else is intent on crashing the party.
A rock star, a fashion designer, a software tycoon and a millionaire heiress. Each is glamourous, stunningly attractive and incredibly rich, but their similarities don’t end there, they have something else in common too. They are all dead.
Just as the rich and famous are the talk of the town when they’re alive, interest in them certainly doesn’t die when they do. In stark contrast, few people seem as interested when a local hero, Bagman Jesus, is brutally murdered. Reporter Cindy soon becomes interested in his story: his work with the homeless of San Fransisco was admirable. He was loved by so many – who would want to kill him? Could the down-and-out Samaritan have been hiding a dark secret?
And of course it isn’t just Lindsey who has questions to answer, she fiercely depends on Claire’s help to crack her case. Meanwhile, as Cindy tries to solve a mystery of her own, she seeks guidance from her friends, but in doing so, both Cindy and Lindsey are forced to confront feelings they’d buried away and Yuki falls quite literally head over heels in love but the man of her dreams isn’t quite who he seems.The Women’s Murder Club need each other more than ever but with tensions running high will the friends be strong enough to stick together or will the strain tear them apart?"
This series is hardly flawless, there are simple mistakes made constantly. Surnames of two leading secondary characters change almost constantly, and on a bigger scale, book three, 3rd Degree, mentions that Joe Molinari (Lindsay's boyfriend) has a daughter, but she is never mentioned again. These are really stupid mistakes that should have been picked up by someone before publishing, but I guess the rate at which Mr. Patterson churns his books out, means that they don't get the attention they need. Quantity = quality. And here, that quality is seriously lacking.
Overall, it's an okay book. There are a couple bits that I really like, but there is a lot I don't. I'm not sure what happened with this book, but the entire tone of the book is lighter than the rest, and not in a good way, in a way that makes you think the characters are constantly laughing at themselves, or maybe just high. There are phrases and words used by the characters that they've never used in the pervious 7 books, and they're ones that don't feel right. They don't fit the characters voices. It feels more like something written because it has to be, than because the writers had an idea they really liked. The two crime plots are just about interesting enough to keep reading, but they are far from the best.
Characters: Lindsay finally chooses between her partner and her boyfriend. This is something that needed to happen, and although I would have prefered the other guy, it works. It's not flawless. There are bits around how it all came to be that I don't think are right and don't make a whole lot of sense, but it's not as bad as other parts, so I shall put up with it.
Claire is hardly seen, apart from bits at work and being sat at the table with her friends. She doesn't have a lot of dialouge in this one, and it was very dissapointing not to see her talking the relationship stuff over with Lindsay, when they've been so close for 15 years and she has always been the one Lindsay turns too.
Yuki meets a guy who she falls for really quickly, a guy who seems great, but he's keeping a big secret. The secret is revealed towards the end of the book, but it's one I'll not mention here. It's going to have consequenses for her in the next book, should the writers decide to not simply forget about him. It was good to see her and Lindsay talking about her relationship problems, even if she's not the most natural choice. I really like her character, so its fine by me.
Cindy. Here the problems start. First off I should point out that I don't like her character a whole lot, she just annoys me a bit. I can buy her interest in Richie Conklin (Lindsay's partner) but without her having even mentioned thinking he's cute in previous books, it's a touch annoying to be told 'she's always liked him'. She's more annoying in this book than any other, and there is more of her in this book than any other as well. She's an idiot. She walks in to a building with drugged up squatters, ahead of the cop, Richie, ignoring him when he tells her to wait for him and does a lot of other stupid things as well. I mean, come on, have some common sense!! Another problem I have is her not having a clue as to why Lindsay would have a problem with her sleeping with Richie. She didn't know Lindsay had feelings for him, fine, but they're still partners and close. She knew that much so there is no reason she should expect Lindsay to simply be okay with it. She even tells Richie to not tell Lindsay cause 'she'll ruin it' then snaps at Lindsay when she's not okay with it, and with them hiding it from her.
Richie Conklin. Ah, I love this guy. Or I did. I liked his character from when we first met him in The 5th Horseman. He's sensible, down to earth, fun and a really nice guy. He has made it clear on many occations that he's in love with Lindsay and yet respects her decision to be with Joe enough to not actually do anything, like trying to kiss her or anything. There is a heated kiss in here between them though. And one I'd hoped for. They have really great chemistry that's been developed well in the past couple of books. But in this book, Richie seems almost like a different guy. He's still clearly in love with Lindsay, all good and well, but he's being really stupid about it. Calling her 'Sarge-of-my-heart' at one point, which is so ridiculous I blinked and stared at it for several moments before continuing. Then, in agreeing to help Cindy out with something, has dinner with her (not a date) to hand over some files, and becomes 'mesmerised' with her. Apparently she's now too cute to ignore. Even though she's the best friend of the woman he's got serious feelings for. He apparently isn't bothered about hurting Lindsay with it either, which doesn't fit with him from previous books at all. And yet, his attraction to Lindsay is still there. He invites her back to his for a drink when they've been working til the early hours, and is joking with her about her 'getting naked' comment. And there is something there when she's at his. But he's already sleeping with Cindy. We're given the impression he intends to sleep with her, if she wants it, and this doesn't fit with everything we've been told about him being a really good guy until this book. Then we're given the impression that he's falling for Cindy and isn't interested in Lindsay at all anymore. Which, once again, makes no sense. Why he and Lindsay couldn't get over each other not involving a best friend, I don't know.
Can you see where I'm going with all this? Basically, Richie's character has been turned a little upside down, Cindy has become the cute bubbly one who any guy with sleep with cause she's so cute and innocent, and Lindsay is going to marry Joe, therefore cancelling out the chemistry with Richie. Right. Cause that's how it works.
So like I said at the start, there are a couple bits I like, but there is a lot that is wrong with this book. A real let down. Hopefully the next one will be better.
Okay, so it turned a little in to a rant. Sorry about that. But there ya go.
Friday, 20 March 2009
Today is a good book day though. Snitch by Allison van Diepen arrived in the post and I bought 3 books whist out shopping. Or rather, I went out shopping to get said books. And last night I started Working For The Devil by Lilith Saintcrow and shall admit to being hooked by Dante Valentine within moments. To the extent where one of the books I bought today is the second in the series even though I had only read a few pages last night. Impulsive maybe, but I really don't care! The other two books, in case anyone is interested for some completely ridiculus reason, are One Dog At A Time by Pen Farthing (a royal marine who started rescuing strays in Afghanistan) and Tempting Evil by Keri Arthur. Hmm, should make another confession there, Keri Arthurs Riley Jenson series is one I gave up on a couple of years ago. I wasn't getting on with it anymore, so I stoped reading them. But I was reading Keri's short story in The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance, which is from a different characters perspective, and got interested again. So I'm going to give it another try.
Final thing, yes book related again, the cover for Blood Promise has been released!! I'm ridiculusly happy about this. Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series is one of my most favourite series' ever. And certainly my favourite teen series ever. I'm a little obsessed, I admit, and I'm fine with that. The covers for the first 3 books have been redone too, and I prefer them. I don't think they come close to doing the content inside justice, but I still really like them. There is a problem with this though. They won't match. If I don't replace the first three, then the series won't match, I'll have 3 with old covers and 2 with new. So, I've got to replace the first three when they're out, more money lol. Another problem. Blood Promise is coming out in hardback, not paperback. Which Richelle totally deserves, the series is awesome and she deserves her books being in hardback for that reason. But, again, they won't match. And if anyone suggests me waiting for the paper back? *laughs histerically* Yep, never happen. So that means I'll be replacing the hard back with the paperback a year later too. Just so they all match. This is why publishers do it. Change covers and stuff half way through a series, so people like me who are OCD about books, spend more money. lol I really can't find the heart to care. Oh, and in case you want to see the new covers now I've babbled on about them, Richelle's Blog has the pics.
Monday, 16 March 2009
Saturday was strange. I was actually seriously considering cancelling my riding lesson. That doesn't come easy! But my dad was nice enough to offer to take me, so I went. And found to my surprise that of the 5 of us that should have been in the lesson, there were just 2. Now, I ride at an RDA, Riding for the Disabled Association, so they deal with lots of people who have good and bad days, and people who are much more disabled than I am. And they are really, really lovely people there! So when I told my instructors that I wasn't very well I was given the option of staying in the arena and practising the dressage test the other woman needed to practise, or I could go for a wander outside. The weather was really nice and cause I felt like crap, going out for a hack, just walking around the woods a bit, sounded perfect. So I did and Poppy, normally a fizzy speed machine, was a total gem! She happily wandered along, following the instructor who came with me, not fussing at anything. Then when we got back, there was still about 10 mins of the lesson left, so I did a little bit of trot work with the other rider to finish. And yikes, Poppy is a different horse without an arena full of friends. She stays calm and responsive, and just works for you. Exactly what I needed.
So my prayers were answered there :)
Friday, 13 March 2009
There is a lot of stuff going on in the next 6 weeks and each new thing that comes up is making me want to cry. I'm not coping to well with it all. Again. Pretty much the only thing keeping a smile on my face is riding. What's really bothering me? Spring Harvest.
I've been to Spring Harvest the past two years. The first year I was at the highest point I've been since I got CFS and I coped really well, had a great time and had no hesitations on going the following year. Except by April last year I'd relapsed massivly and going really wasn't in my best interests. But I went anyway. I had fun with the girls I shared a caravan with, but the whole thing was way, way too much. Like half the group I came back with flu. Flu that kept me ill for about a month. Not fun.
This year, I'm still really not well and probably actually worse than last year. I want to go. I want to have a good time but right now all I can see is a week full of things I'll feel I have to do reguardless of how I feel and I know I'll be really ill by the time I come home. And seeing as that's 2 days before my 21st birthday, I'm not really looking forward to that.
There is a lot I need to fit in before I go too, so even though it's 4 and a half weeks away, all I'm going is stressing about it. I just don't want to know. I don't want to think about it. I can't think of it as a good thing right now, I can only think of it as a big bad thing and I want nothing to do with it.
Do I have any chance of recovering enough between now and then to even half enjoy it? Highly unlikely. Making it one of many things that should be a really great thing, but become really bad thanks to CFS. Oh the joy.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
One book you’re currently reading: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
One book that changed your life: Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
One book you’d want on a deserted island: Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
One book you’ve read more than once: Stray by Rachel Vincent
One book you’ve never been able to finish: Cat and Mouse by James Patterson
One book that made you laugh: Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
One book that made you cry: Coming Home by Lauren Brooke
One book you keep rereading: 7th Heaven by James Patterson
One book you’ve been meaning to read: The Host by Stephenie Meyer
One book you believe everyone should read: So Much To Tell You by John Marsden
Finally, grab the nearest book. Open it to page 56. Find the fifth sentence: "You behead a chicken, cut it open, and try to foretell the future by how its guts look." From Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews. (And I admit, it's the 6th sentance. The 5th was way too boring to use lol)
Monday, 9 March 2009
Back in 2007 I bought the first book in her Nadia Stafford series, 'Exit Strategy'. Nadia is an ex-cop who's career exploded when she killed a man. She lost everything as a result, her family, friends and started running a backwoods lodge instead. And working as a hitman. Very, very different to the rest of Kelley's books.
I'll admit, when I first got it, I got a few chapters in and gave up. It didn't really grab me and I didn't feel any sympathy for Nadia so I shelved it. Last year I was bored, needed something to read, saw it, and decided to give it a second try. This time I got hooked. I went out last Wednesday and bought the second in the series, 'Made To Be Br oken' as soon as I knew it was in store. And as it's not meant to be out here in the UK until April 2nd, I'm really rather pleased about it. Even more pleased now I've read it.
"To the outside world Nadia Stafford is a smart, g ood-looking, law-abiding citizen. Well, two out of three's not bad...An ex-cop with a legal code all her own, Nadia has a secret life as a world-class assassin. She works only for one New York crime family, who pay her handsomely to bump off traitors. But when a troubled teenager and her baby vanish in the woods near her home, Nadia's old detective instincts - and the memory of a past loss - compel her to investigate. With her enigmatic mentor Jack to support her, Nadia unearths sinister clues that point to an increasingly dark and deadly mystery. As her obsession over the case deepens, Nadia realises that the only way she can right the wrongs of the present is to face her own painful ghosts - or die trying. And so she sets off on the trail of a young woman no one else cares about - and a killer who is bound to strike again..."
The second book in the series shows us more about Nadia's past, about how she struggles with feelings of guilt over her cousins death many years before. And how it affects her when local teen, Sammi, and her baby girl disappear. Nadia gets very obsessed with finding Sammi's killer to the point where she starts risking everything, making stupid mistakes with a one track mind. Thankfully her mentor (and possible romantic interest) Jack is there to help keep her in line and watch her back. And so is Quinn, a federal agent who's a vigilante hitman in his spare time, Nadia's other love interest. The book keeps up a decent pace and there is a good balance between romance and action. As well as giving us a good look at how Nadia sometimes struggles to balance her 'real' life with her job as a hitman. I find myself feeling more and more for Nadia, and the amount of pain she's trying to hide. The story takes a few surprising twists, looking at the darker side of adoption as the search for the missing baby gets messy.
The relationships between Nadia and the three most prominent secondary characters, Jack, Quinn and Evie (Jack's mentor) are all very complicated and twisted up with each other. Evie is a very sharp mind, but clearly dangerous. Not someone I particularly like, but I also kind of like to hate her. She's someone who wants much more from Nadia, trying to coax her vigilante tendencies to the surface, whilst Jack is trying to keep Evie away, to protect Nadia. Clearly not something easily done.
There is a lot left unanswered for Nadia at the end of this book, personally speaking, the case is wrapped up nicely. And I seriously hope there will at least be a third book in the series to follow them further.
Over all, this series has a lot of promise, but while reading them, I can see why people wouldn't get on with the books. Finding sympathy for a hitman (yes, un-pc, but she calls herself a hitman, so I'll go with it happily) is not the most obvious thing. Nadia is a very private person too, not very outward in her emotions and even internally she keeps herself on a tight leash, not allowing herself to think too much on certain things. But as a reader, you can feel that all she's doing is holding back pain. And while that draws me in, I'm sure it doesn't work for everyone. I like the isolated world Nadia lives in, not really knowing who to trust, and hiding the real her from everyone. It's different for pretty much everything I read. It left me wanting a lot more, so here's hoping that there will be!
Sunday, 8 March 2009
I spent a good portion of today sorting through books on my bookcase, some of which are now in a bag to go to a charity shop, others in boxes for the attick (sorry mom! I will try and clear some stuff out of there too!!) and others to possibly be sold via ebay if I can be bothered. And the reason I may sell them, is cause there is a mountain of them, so trying to make a few quid on them isn't a bad idea, I don't think.
My problem though, is that I haven't really stopped for the past two weeks. My body hasn't had time to recover from anything and now all it wants to do is not work. So my back is really sore again, all my aches from riding yesterday have grown tenfold and my wrists are really hurting simply trying to type this. So instead of heading to Church now, like I'd really like to, I'm staying in. And resting. Or, I'll try too!
Sorting out most of the books was easy enough, there were entire series' that I knew could just go in the lost, so they went. And most of the books going to the charity shop were easily decided too. My problems came with Buffy. I admit here and now that I'm a big Buffy and Angel fan. And yes, I have a mountain of Buffy books. Plus a few Angel ones. However, they've been untouched for years now, so really, having them all is a little bit of a waste of space. There are some I easily decided could go, others, not so. But by the time I was done, I had probably split the mountain in half. Which with the other books going or in the attick, I now have shelf space!! For probably the first time in, oh, I dunno, a year? Two? lol, there isn't much of it, but it's better than nothing. It will stop me worrying where all the new releases this year are going to go at any rate. Though I suspect next year I shall have to cave and get another bookcase. There are only so many books you can fit on to shelves!!
Happily, before all this mad sorting, I managed to get edits done on the next SoD chapter. Which I'm very happy about. And happier yet that there were hardly any to do! Thats what happens when you go over the same things half a dozen times when writing it cause you change stuff lol. So, that's basically done, just need to put them in on Word, cause right now their on the printed copy, and then on to the next, and almost certainly final, chapter. Joy!!
Okay, enough tired idot ramblings. I do have a half written review for Kelley Armstrong's Made To Be Broken done, expect that up tomorrow.
Monday, 2 March 2009
First up, The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance.
For starters, I really love this cover!
With anthologies I never sit and read all the stories straight through, so far I've read 2 of them, so I shall review them.
Grace of Small Magics by Ilona Andrews
Really enjoyable short story. New world for Ilona and it drew me straight it, and the length left me wanting a lot more from these characters. The story is about a girl forced in to helping a stronger supernatural, her family is tied to his as slaves. From which he quickly releases her after meeting. Grace is a strong character and not just accepting of her fate. The romance feels slightly rushed, but totally understandable with the length of the story, and it is still believable. Great story.
Paranormal Romance Blues by Kelley Armstrong
This story shows us a little of life for minor supernaturals in Kelley's Otherworld. The narrator is a girl who's only power is super hearing. She's had a really tough time in romance lately, with other supernaturals, but allows her friend to drag her to a bar, a vampire bar. There things get interesting when it becomes clear that there really is a vampire at this vampire bar. Was good to see Cassandra and Aaron as secondary characters, to really see them through new eyes. Enjoyable short story.
A Rush Of Wings by Adrian Pheonix
HIS NAME IS DANTE.
Dark. Talented. Beautiful. Star of the rock
band Inferno. Rumored owner of the hot New
Orleans nightspot called Club Hell. Born of the
Blood, then broken by an evil beyond
HIS PAST IS A MYSTERY.
FBI Special Agent Heather Wallace has been
tracking a sadistic serial murderer known as
the Cross Country Killer...and the trail has led
her to New Orleans, Club Hell, and Dante. But
the dangerously attractive musician not only
resists her investigation, he claims to be
nightkind: in other words, a vampire. Digging
into his past for answers reveals little. A
juvenile record a mile long. No social security
number. No known birth date. In and out of
foster homes for most of his life before being
taken in by a man named Lucien De Noir, who
appears to guard mysteries of his own.
HIS FUTURE IS CHAOS.
What Heather does know about Dante is that
something links him to the killer -- and she's
pretty sure that link makes him the CCK's next
target. Heather must unravel the truth behind
this sensual, complicated, vulnerable young
man -- who, she begins to believe, may indeed
be a vampire -- in order to bring a killer to
justice. But what Heather doesn't know is that
Dante's past holds a shocking secret, and
once it is revealed not even Heather will be
able to protect him from his destiny...
In theory this is a book I would really like. Crime and the supernatural all mixed up together, something I normally really enjoy. But this book just didn't do it for me. I just didn't feel for the characters, the way the world is set out and the whole tone of the book didn't work for me. There are many Cajun words thrown in and having to flick to the glossary every couple of pages to check the meaning of things really ruins the flow of the book. I'm sure there are people who get on fine with it, but I'm not one of them. The book started out pretty well, made me want to keep reading it, but I very quickly got board. I didn't feel for the characters and ended up not caring at all what happened to them or if they were going to live or not. The book gets pretty graphic with torture scenes but because I didn't care about the guy being tortured, I winced only at the graphicness, but with little feelilng. A shame really, but that's the way it goes sometimes. Don't think I'll be picking up the second book.