Sunday, 31 May 2009

Succubus Heat by Richelle Mead

"Georgina Kincaid has been a bad, bad succubus…

…which should be a good thing. But lately, thanks to her foul mood over breaking up with bestselling writer Seth Mortensen, she’s been so wicked that Seattle’s ├╝ber-demon Jerome decides to 'outsource' Georgina to a rival - and have her spy for him in the process.

Being exiled to the frozen north - okay, Vancouver - and leaving Seth in the cosy clutches of his new girlfriend is unpleasant enough. Then Jerome is kidnapped, and all immortals under his control mysteriously lose their powers. One bright spot: with her life-sucking ability gone, there’s nothing to keep Georgina from getting down and dirty with Seth - nothing apart from his girlfriend that is. Now, as the supernatural population starts turning on itself, a newly mortal Georgina must rescue her boss and figure out who’s been playing them - or all hell will break loose…"

The fourth in the Georgina Kincaid series picks up a few months after the events of Succubus Dreams. Right from the start Georgina isn't herself, she's being a ... well, she's not nice. She's full of pain, anger, self pity and it's not pleasant. She's outraged to have her friends look out for her, telling her the truth about her attitude and what they really think of her boyfriend Dante too, and her boss has had enough. You already know from the back cover that her boss, Jerome, ends up disappearing and Georgie loses her powers as a result, but this doesn't actually happen until you're about a third of the way through the book. Up until that point, it's mostly about Georgina being mad at Seth, pining for him, and being furious with Jerome for sending her away. After, it's a combination of her trying to find Jerome, trying to stay away from Seth and feeling a little guilty about it cause he's her best friends boyfriend so she shouldn't even be thinking about him like that. Oh, and the hope that her semi-human state could possibly mean she can finally get pregnant.

The plot is tight, there aren't any real holes in it and there are a few good twists. But this book, to me, isn't as good as the previous one. Georgina seems to spend more time talking or trying to untwist her feelings for Seth, more than anything else, and she's not the easiest person to like in the process either. There are still a couple of good funny moments, but nothing on the previous books. And although I found myself happy to sit and read it for long periods, it wasn't very hard to put down. It didn't seem to have the same pace and energy of previous books. A good read, but I didn't love it. It seemed to be more of a filler book, dealing with the results of Succubus Dreams (Seth) and the return of certain characters more than anything else. There is a preview of the next in the series, Succubus Shadows, in the back (UK version at least, no idea about it anywhere else) and that had me wanting more, much more so than the ending of this book itself.

Overall, I'd give it 3, maybe 3.5 stars. A good, solid read, much better than some UF out there, but it didn't, in my opinion, show Ms. Mead's full talent.

Embraced By Darkness by Keri Arthur

"Just when guardian Riley Jenson thought her life was getting back on track, fate throws another curve ball. The alpha of her estranged pack - and the man who tried to kill her by throwing her off a mountainside - demands her help to find his missing granddaughter. Riley would love to refuse, but if she does, her mother dies. And if that isn't enough, something is tearing humans to shreds, and it's up to Riley to track down the killer before another soul is embraced by darkness."

The 5th Riley Jenson book is a good one, but it's got it's bad points. The plot involving the humans being torn to shreds is nothing more than filler, it starts as a promising part of the story, but it's quickly wrapped up with no loose ends and is promptly forgotten. The bigger plot of Riley being blackmailed in to finding the missing member of her former pack is better, though again, not without it's flaws. Still very entertaining and worth reading though.

Riley's character has developed well over the series so far, and I like her more and more. She's not the happiest person in this book, but it serves her well. Through all the work she has to do trying to find the missing wolf, she's also dealing with her romantic life, in the form of Kellen. It's really nice to see her focusing on one guy here, and one a damn bit nicer than Quinn. Didn't miss him at all in this book, though I know he's not gone for good. You can really feel for Riley as she's trying to figure out what she wants and how to handle it, so you're really with her come the final outcome. I've always enjoyed the relationship between Rhoan and Riley, the way they care so much for each other and are so alike. It was good to see Rhoan challenging Riley's romantic state for once, as she's so often done for him. And it was interesting seeing their different takes on their childhood with their pack, and their mother too.

Overall, just hits the 4 star mark. It left me wanting more and wishing I'd been able to buy the next when I was shopping, just so I could find out how the end would affect her in the next book.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

No Review

No review today, but probably several in the coming few days. Basically, I ran out of books to read. Shocking. But never mind, going to buy masses tomorrow (the list stands at 18, I think, but can only afford a maximum of 10 - thank goodness for gift cards and birthday money or it would be half that). Since reading The Host I've read Beautiful Disaster by Kate Brian, but, quite frankly, it was dull and ridiculous and I can't be bothered to review it on here.

Great day though, finally picked up my new car!! A brand new Toyota Aygo Blue. It's gorgeous. I love it. My mom insisted it needed a name though. Everyone said that about my first car, that it needed a name, and I pretty much agreed, thinking I was the kind of person that would name a car, but I didn't. Just never cared, and right now, feel the same about this one. I get naming cars, and I think it's fine, but I actually just don't care when it comes to mine. If I wait, my sister will do the job for me anyway lol. Having a brand new car is awesome, and very scary, cause I don't want anything to happen to it, so much more than my old car (a 10 year old light blue Peugeot 206 if anyone's interested). Still, it's such a great little car :)

Current poll on BittenByBooks if for favourite paranormal series. My personal fave, Vampire Academy, missed out on nomination, so my (very close) second, Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews, got my vote. But if you're a paranormal fan, go check it out and vote!

Friday, 22 May 2009

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host is a long book, 600+ pages, with very little action. Most of what happens is an emotional thing. There is a lot of talking and personal thoughts going on, but not much else. Basically, the human race has been taken over by these very peaceful 'souls' they inhabit the humans (hosts) and in theory the person that used to live in the Host is gone. But not Melanie Stryder. Her body is taken over by Wanderer, but she's still there. She's fighting for control at times and against a common enemy they begin to form a friendship of sorts. Wanderer (or Wanda as she ends up being called most of the time) sees Melanie's memories of her love, Jared and her little brother, Jamie, and ends up falling in love with them too. This sends them on what should be a suicide mission to find out if they're still alive.

Wanda is captured by a group of rouge humans living in underground volcanic caves in the desert. The group includes Jared and Jamie. Along with Melanie's (slightly crazy) Uncle Jeb and a couple other relations, as well as 30-odd other humans. As far as most of the group are concerned, Wanda should die. They believe that she's trying to trick them all and bring the Seekers to them to turn them all in to aliens. But She quickly finds allies in Jamie, Jed and Ian, who do their best to help her adjust and survive. Jared however, is not so easy to come around. He sees an alien in the body of the woman he loves, and hates it.

Most of the guys start out being very violent towards Wanda, but by the end pretty much everyone is in love with her. Melanie's Aunt Maggie and cousin Sharon refuse to work with her or look at her for the most part, but this is something brushed to the side. There could have been something more interesting done with it, but instead they're just two people who are occasionally mentioned to be full of anger and hatred for what she is. Wanda doesn't entirely give up everything about her race, she's completely non-violent and will do anything for anyone, no matter the cost to herself. She's not completely spineless, she will put stand up for those she loves and put herself between them an danger. But for the most part she's a pretty weak person. Melanie is tougher, but she's also completely blinded by love. She's gets really stupid around Jared at times and tries to do fight Wanda at those times to do stupid things, stuff that would get her killed. So both of them annoyed me a fair bit and I found the predictability really beginning to wear thin come the end.

Rather like Twilight, this book is okay, but it isn't great. It was pretty easy reading so I could sit and read it for a long while, but I had no problems putting it down to do something else and I didn't find myself anxious to get back to it. Okay read if you're looking for something not too heavy to read or too involved, otherwise, I'd look elsewhere.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Paranormal Couples

The current poll on Bitten By Books is Who's Your Favorite Paranormal Couple? There are 3 couples there that I love to bits, but the answer was really easy for me. Rose and Dimitri, from Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series. Bella and Edward from Twilight are currently (shock) leading the board, though they only over took today, two days in. They are not one of my favorite couples. Rose and Dimitri were leading for a while and I really hope they take their place back. However, as with most things, the poll got me thinking about why I love them so much, and why I chose them over other favorite characters, Kelley Armstrong's Elena and Clay, and Rachel Vincent's Faythe and Marc. So forgive me while I indulge myself in getting in to it on here so it's clearer than in my head.

First, Edward and Bella. This is not a healthy relationship. To be with him she lies to her dad and her friends, she pulls away from real life and gives up her humanity to be with him. I'm sorry, I do actually like the series, but I don't love it. I don't think it deserves the hype it's gotten. It's just not that good. Bella is willing to change who she is to be with a guy, and that shouldn't happen. I don't think she should be lying to everyone around her in order to be with him.

Elena and Clay. Plenty of people will say they shouldn't be together, he's too possessive and it makes it a bad relationship. I don't think this is true. And I don't think he's that bad. He worships the ground she walks on. He would die for her in a heartbeat. He gave her the year in Toronto so she could figure out for herself that being with him was right, making himself miserable in the process. He may not be happy about it, but he does let her go and do her work elsewhere and take trips without him. He knows she capable of defending herself and doesn't try to protect her in that way. Their relationship is flawed, they fight, really badly at times, but it keeps it real. It's not straight forward and simple and easy. And I really love that.

Faythe and Marc. Again, a flawed relationship, but they love each other and they're willing to work at their problems to make things better. Faythe left Marc at the alter and when she returns home after 5 years, he still lets her know he loves her. He gave her the time and space at college in the hope she'd come back to him. Instead she's forced back and has to make the best of the situation. She realises that actually, she does still love him, but she's unwilling to just give in to him. There are outside forces at work to keep them apart as well, and they have to try and over come them. Marc is fiercely jealous and has serious anger management issues, and Faythe, being the strong willed cat she is, hates it. But they'll try and make it work regardless.

Rose and Dimitri. Oh man. Where to start. Okay, he's 7 years older than her, 24 to her 17. She's his student. They are meant to protect a Moroi Princess, Lissa, Rose's best friend, and not be thinking about each other. So, so many reasons why this relationship shouldn't work. But it does. And I love it. I think part of the reason is that I love Rose and Dimitri individually as well. They're strong characters and they don't rely on the other to survive. They're individuals as well. Dimitri falls for Rose early on after meeting her, but it doesn't change a whole lot. He trains her just as hard as he promised to, he doesn't show anything in the way of favoritism, and he doesn't hide the bad stuff from her. He doesn't try and protect her from anything. He's still trying to teach her to be the best Guardian for Lissa she can be, and succeeding. Rose doesn't spend all her time mooning over him, and their lack of relationship, sure she doesn't like it, but she's fairly willing to accept it. Shadow Kiss changes things and they spend a lot more time together, getting closer and closer. But it doesn't change how they work. It doesn't stop Rose from thinking about other things and it doesn't interfere with their duty. But they're willing to put the other first when they have to. I would love to talk about more, but I won't give away the major Shadow Kiss spoilers here. Not til I've read Blood Promise anyway.

Main theme here? Flawed, not all consuming relationships. I like something with realness to it. Twilight is romance with vampires thrown in, and maybe lying to parents about a guy is real, but voluntarily dying to be with him? Sorry can't go with that. I would love to see Rose and Dimitri win the poll for their decidedly complicated, flawed, not all consuming and yet loving relationship, and there was a glimpse as to why.

I'll stop boring you all now and go back to my closet to carry on reading The Host. Odd book. But okay so far.

On Faith and Family...

Challenges of.

My sister and I have not had the best relationship. We are very different people and we don't get along particularly well as a result. Mostly, we get on okay, but not well. Occasionally we have times where we get on really well and are able to have a great time. Occasionally we have days where we fight and she tells me how she really feels. Today is one of those days.

M.E. is an incredibly hard illness to deal with. It's hard on the sufferer and family equally. Family can't understand without having it, though they may try. My sister is not one of those people. She doesn't try to understand, she's happy to believe what she wants to. She believes that because I don't go trying every new and odd (and expensive) therapy for M.E. I don't want to get better. Because I choose to trust in God I don't want to get better. Because to her, He doesn't exist. She can't, or won't, see what He's done for me.

Healing is strange. You can be praying for one thing and get an answer in a completely different way. That's whats been happening to me the last year or so. I've prayed for healing and gotten it. But not physically. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I'm not struggling with depression through this relapse for the first time. I'm not ignoring the approaching future. I have no idea whats going to happen, but it doesn't matter. I'm planning what I can. Trips to major horse events for example. Just stuff I want to do, and I'm not going to let having M.E. stop me. Why should it? So I'll be sicker afterwards, so what? Totally worth it. Badminton horse trials was.

My sister sees me home everyday, reading or online, and thinks that's all I want. That I'm lying when I say I want to get better. The truth is I want to get better. I want to go work on a yard somewhere, spend my time with horses. But am I bothered being ill? No. She's sees me home and sees someone who doesn't want to get better. The truth is I want to get better. But I'm not so bothered in the mean time. God's keeping me going, giving me good stuff to get through the bad. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel as it were. To me, it seems that she thinks that's not how it should be, that if I really want to get better I should be miserable the whole time. Been there. Didn't do a damn thing. In fact, stopped me doing stuff to help too. Half the battle with M.E. is staying positive. To not completely give up. Now I'm in a good place. And He's gotten me there.

You may wonder why the hell I'm writing this. Truth? I couldn't find the words to say this to her in person. I'm much better on paper (or screen) than with real words.

I don't mind being challenged in my faith. People can sit there and tell me God's not doing anything for me cause I'm still ill, but it's as much crap as they say my faith is. I can't list everything he's done for me. God works in mysterious ways. You don't always get the answer you want from prayer, but it's usually the one you need. Even if it takes a while to see it.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Chosen by P.C. & Kristin Cast

'"I guess it had gone okay with Stevie Rae. I mean, she had agreed to meet me tomorrow. And she hadn't tried to bite me, which was a plus. Of course, the whole trying-to-eat-the-street-person thing was highly disturbing ..." Zoey's best friend, Stevie Rae, is undead - in an eww! zombie! kind-of-way, not in a cool vampire kind-of-way. She's struggling to retain her humanity and Zoey doesn't have a clue how to help. But she does know that anything they discover must be kept secret. Trust has become a rare commodity. Sinister forces are at work at the House of Night, where the line between friend and enemy is becoming dangerously blurred.'

Chosen is the third book in the House Of Night series and picks up a month after Betrayed. Zoey has kept the secret of her not dead-dead best friend to herself. She want's to confide in her tight group of friends but knows doing so could get them, her and Stevie Rae killed in a heartbeat. So indead she's having to rely on help from a former enemy, Aphrodite, to help save Stevie Rae. And protect others from the person causing the problems, someone who everyone else believes to be good and pure, is in fact decidedly evil.

The hints are there pretty early on about certain characters and where their true natures lie, but even so, some of it comes as surprise. I'm liking Aphrodite more and more as the series goes on, I like her straight talking about certain things, even though she's not the nicest person around. She makes it all a bit more real when Zoey and her friends are being just a little too innocent and naive about things.

This book sees Zoey finally beginning to realise that she's really not putting a whole lot of thought in to certain things. Like guys. Trying to juggle three at once isn't a smart thing at any time, but when you're super powerful and the only one aware of who is the dangerous one that needs stopping, it's incredibly stupid. Yet Zoey doesn't seem to realise this and goes with whoever it is beside her at the time. This is something that is a little annoying, but right now I'm still mostly laughing at her for those parts of the book, so it's bearable. One guy in particular is another matter though, but I won't say who, it's easy enough to figure out when reading. There were flashing neon signs from very early on that this guy was on the wrong side of this fight, so why she allowed herself to be so taken in, is beyond me. But hopefully she'll learn from it.

There is a lot going on in this book, many different threads all tangled together, Stevie Rae, Aphrodite, Nefert, Loren, Erik, Heath, the rest of her friends, her powers, and then throw in humans killing and nailing vampire bodies to crosses outside of the House Of Night, and you've got a whole heck of a lot going on. So much that it almost feels dis-jointed at times, going from one thing to the next, and yet, somehow, it works. Really enjoyed it.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Dangerous Games by Keri Arthur

"In Melbourne's urban underworld, there's a place for every fetish and fantasy. But for Riley Jenson, one such nightclub has become an obsession. Riley, a rare hybrid of werewolf and vampire and new agent for the Directorate of Other Races, hasn't come in pursuit of pleasure but of an unknown killer who's been using the club as his hunting ground. Leave it to Riley to find the only ticket into the heavily guarded venue: Jin, a deliciously hot-bodied bartender who might just provide the key to unmasking a killer unlike any other in the Directorate's experience. Taunted by a former colleague gone rogue, Riley follows Jin into a realm of pleasure she could never have imagined but as danger and passion ignite, a shocking mystery begins to unravel one where Riley herself becomes the ultimate object of desire"

Dangerous Games is the fourth book in the Riley Jenson Guardian series. I really, really enjoyed this book. Riley is constantly growing and learning more about herself and her nature. I like what's happening with her, how she's dealing with what's happening to her as well. She's very much forced in to a lot of the stuff she's doing, and in some cases it would be almost expected for her to just want out, or get really down. But instead she's trying to make the best of it, do things as much her own way as she can. She's beginning to realise that there are parts of her nature that she's always ignored and maybe she shouldn't be. But she's still essentially her. I love her determination and how she knows what it is she really wants from life, and how she wants it even though she knows it's incredibly likely she'll never get it.

The plot for this book gripped me from the start, and it flows really well too. I like the darkness in this book, how nothing is shied away from. It's pretty graphic and a little disturbing in places, which almost feels too much, yet works really well. There aren't a whole lot of surprises here. You can see most of the stuff coming, but it's still a gripping read somehow. And Quinn is gone!! For now anyway. I really, really don't like him, but I know he'll be back. But a small break from him is better than nothing. Looking forward to getting the next one.

Betrayed by P.C. & Kristin Cast

"Zoey has managed to settle in at the House of Night and come to terms with the vast powers the Goddess Nyx has given her. Just as she finally feels she belongs, the unthinkable happens: human teenagers are being killed, and all evidence points to the House of Night. While danger stalks the humans from Zoey’s old life, she begins to realize that the very powers that make her so unique might also threaten those she loves."

Betrayed is the 2nd book in the House Of Night series by mother and daughter writing team, P.C. and Kristin Cast. The House of Night is a vampire finishing school. What happens is certain teenagers begin their change in early high school, and must then give up pretty much everything about their human lives and join the House Of Night. They are Marked, with a symbol on their forehead. Zoey Redbird is different. Her mark is filled in, like an adult vampire, and also like an adult vampire, she quickly develops further markings, spreading from the mark on her forehead, over her cheeks, her shoulder and back. She's an exceptionally talented fledgling and learning fast. But who exactly can she trust?

I liked the first book in this series, Marked, but it was never going to be a favourite. This book however, seems to have found its stride. It's pretty funny in places, and even brought a tear to my eye at one point which was totally unexpected. Zoey is not the smartest girl when it comes to guys, something I've no doubt will actually get worse in the next few books, but I can live with it, cause mostly I'm laughing at it right now. I think Zoey has been created pretty well here. She's a bit geeky at times, and not the most confident, not naturally the most popular girl, but capable of adapting and leading when she needs too. I think she's someone that many teenagers can relate to because of that, and it helps. She can be a tad annoying at times, but somehow that works as well, in this book.

The plot flows well and feels much more solid than the first book. It gets very interesting at the end, setting up for future books, but I won't give the main plot away. I will say that I'm really looking forward to picking up Chosen, and am vaguely annoyed that I'll have to wait until August for the 4th book when book 5 is already out in the States. Ah well. It's great to find another decent YA vampire series to read.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Paradise Lost by Kate Brian

Edit: Formatting all got screwed up. Not sure why. Can't figure out how to get it right. So it can just be wrong. Going to bed now. Before I write anything more stupid.

Was bored and some how ended up writing this review on Amazon (after writing a short, very silly, fluffy Phantom Stallion fanfic - don't ask - and yes it's on so I decided I may as well post it here too. Can't remember when I read this, it was as soon as it came out and I could get my hands on it, I know that much.

Paradise Lost is the 9th book in the Private series by Kate Brian

"Paradise awaits....

Now that Cheyenne's murderer has been revealed and Reed knows the truth about who's been stalking her, she's ready to leave the heartache and turmoil of last semester behind. And what better way to recover than a five-star Caribbean vacation?

Reed is reunited with former Billings Girls Kiran and Taylor, and she and her friends take over the exclusive island. They spend their days tanning on white-sand beaches and their nights partying on sixty-foot yachts.

It's heaven on earth.

But as they raise their champagne flutes to toast their friendship, Reed worries that it's all too good to be true. Because even in paradise, the Billings Girls are never far from trouble -- and nothing's more dangerous than the calm before the storm..."

After the dramatic ending of Revelation, Reed is now off to St. Barts with Noelle and the rest of the Billings girls for some sun and a relaxing time. Instead she ends up in the 'Upton game' who will be first to get with the hottest guy on the island, Upton Giles?

But of course, nothing is so simple for Reed. She isn't the only one who falls for him (despite declaring her complete love for Josh at the beginning of the book) and suddenly strange things start happening to Reed. She feels like she's constantly being watched and bad stuff keeps happening to her, putting her life in danger, leaving this book on a cliff hanger once more, not dissimilar to Revelation in anyway.

I'm sorry, but what here is new? We once again have Reed being stalked, currently by an unknown, she's once again falling for the new hottest guy who of course thinks she's more amazing than any other girl ever, and she's still being dominated by Noelle, refusing to grow a back bone and give the girl the slap she deserves, claiming instead to be best friends.

The pace of the book is enough to keep reading, but nothing here is new or enough that I couldn't put it down. It's getting a little more than tedious and I'd like to see something a bit different. Even if that's simply Reed going back to Josh! Reality has never been the series strong point, but it's been interesting and a bit of silly fun none the less. Not this, this is just a repeat of the previous few books, with the pace sped up a little. You could see everything coming in this one, it didn't have any of the tension of previous books. And the beginning after the long wait from the great ending of Revelation was actually a real let down, really pretty boring. A real let down. Won't be looking for the next with any anticipation.

Okay, apologies, that got a little rant-y. Never mind. It's late. I don't care. Will go back to reviewing UF soon.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Dayhunter by Jocelynn Drake

"At the request of the Coven, Mira finds herself in Venice with Danaus 'for their own protection'. Yet, the home of the nightwalker rulers is anything but safe when Mira discovers that the Coven has made a deal with a splinter faction within the naturi. Mira must deftly maneuver through Coven politics while protecting Danaus from both nightwalkers and the naturi. And before the end, she must find a way to stop the naturi without being stabbed in the back by her own kind."

Dayhunter is the second in the Dark Days series and picks up where Nightwalker left off. Mira is a mess really, she doesn't really know who's on her side and she's discovered she can be controlled by a lot of people, against her will. She's a weapon to be used by the most powerful. She wants nothing more than to be able to return home to her domain, Savannah, but instead she is forced to play the games the ruling vampire coven want her to. At the risk of her own life and those she's sworn to protect.

I liked Nightwalker, I found it hard to get on with in places. Mira and Danaus both really annoying me at times. But I liked this a lot more. Everyone seems to be hiding big secrets and have many different motives and desires. You think they want one thing, and then you realise it's the opposite. No one is really showing their true colors. There are members from each side of the fight ready and willing to do their best to destroy their own race it seems. But Mira and Danaus are doing their best to stop it all. And then they'll kill each other. Or so they keep reminding themselves.

Mira seems to regain some of her fire throwing, kick ass self that she lost towards the end of the last book, and by the end of this one, she's back to being on top. She's had enough of the games and wants to do it her way, as much as she can when others can control her actions if they don't like it. Danaus, the hunter, is finding that not everything is black and white. It will be interesting to see how he gets on in the next book.

Overall, still not one of my favourites, but I still really enjoyed this book. I'm really looking forward to the next one, Dawnbreaker, I think it could be the best yet. The ending of Dayhunter certainly left a lot of promise for it.

Monday, 4 May 2009

The Turning by Jennifer Armintrout

The Turning is the first in the Blood Ties series by Jennifer Armintrout.

"I'm no coward. I want to make that perfectly clear. But after my life turned into a horror movie, I take fear a lot more seriously now. I finally became Dr. CarrieAmes just eig ht months ago. Then I was attacked in the hospital morgue by a vampire. Just my luck. So now I'm a vampire, and it turns out I have a blood tie to the monster who sired me. The tie works like an invisible leash and I'm bound to him no matter what I do. And of course he's one of the most evil vampires on earth. With my sire hell-bent on turning me into a soulless killer and his sworn enemy set to exterminate me, things couldn't get much worse -- except I'm attracted to them both. Drinking blood, living as an immortal demon and being a pawn between two warring vampire factions isn't exactly how I'd imagined my future. But as my father used to say, the only way to conquer fear is to face it. So that's what I'll do. Fangs bared."

That summery from the back of the book sums up the plot really well. That is pretty much what happens, with a few surprises thrown in along the way. So I'll bypass that and talk a bit about the characters first. Carrie is a strong woman, but with a vulnerable side. She wants to be needed and loved desperately, almost to the point where she'll destroy herself to get it. But she won't sacrifice those she loves for anything. Carrie doesn't have any family or real friends before she becomes a vampire, so she's not dealing with the pain of leaving that behind. She does however, have to deal with walking away from her job. Her career was her life and she didn't want to give that up.

The vampire who helps her through her change is Nathan. He's a 'good' vampire, he belongs to the Voluntary Vampire Extinction Movement, a group of vampires dedicated to wiping out their own species, and as such, he should kill Carrie. Nathan has an adopted humanteen aged son, Ziggy, who is awkward and knows too much darkness for someone his age. The relationship they have is very, very sweet. You get to see from both sides just how much they love the other, without it really being said.

Cyrus is Carries Sire. He's a very dark and twisted vampire, but there are times when you almost feel sorry for him too. Until you see just how evil he is. Thenthere's Dahlia. She's a human witch with a lot of power and she is in love with Cyrus. She would dearly love to see Carrie dead. For some reason I quite like her character. Or maybe she's someone I just love to hate. Either way, she's pretty entertaining.

This book isn't for the faint hearted. It's really graphic and gruesome in places, and generally very dark. Everyone has deep, dark secrets to hide, things they don't want anyone to know, things they blamethemselves for with no reason at times. You think you know whats going on for one particular character, and then something happens and you realise it wasn't even close to that. Life, orun-life, for these guys, is not easy.

The plot starts a little slow, but it picks up and then flows pretty well. There are a few laughs thrown in to keep it from being too dark, and they work really well. The balance of the Movement vampires against the evil ones, and how Carrie feels stuck in the middle, is very well done. The world created here is pretty intense, but it helps give everything more depth. Overall, a really, really great read!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Dead Man Rising by Lilith Saintcrow

I finally finished Dead Man Rising by Lilith Saintcrow today.

"Something is wrong in Saint City. Psions are dying. The cops can't catch the killer or find out what connects the victims, leaving them with only one option. They call in Dante Valentine."

This book is the second in the Dante Valentine series and I really didn't enjoy it nearly as much as the first one. It's set about 10 months after the first. Dante spends about 3/4 of her time whining about pain in her shoulder, how much she misses Japhrimel, how bad she feels about how she's been treating Jace, and about being a part-demon. It's taken me a month to finish this book because Dante's constant whining made me want to slap her. I felt like I was having to trudge through it to get to the story. The plot is all linked in to the pain Dante's feeling and everything, but if you look at the actual plot, pick out the real parts of the story, it would probably be half the length.

Dante is called in to help with a series of violent murders involving supernaturals, pisons. They're all connected to Rigger Hall, the evil school Dante went to as a little girl that still causes her nightmares. Dante has to figure out who's doing the killings and stopping them. This story really wasn't all that interesting either. I suppose we're meant to feel sorry for Dante and understand all her pain and everything, but it really does get tiring. And almost brings the story to a halt as well. It takes a long time for the plot to progress with pages of whining from Dante. The final fight and closing to the case is really quick and sudden. And half of it is ignored because Japhrimel is resurrected and appears at that moment. All in all, a very forgettable read.