Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Prey by Rachel Vincent

"Sometimes playing cat and mouse is no game…

Play? Right. My Pride is under fire from all sides, my father's authority is in question and my lover is in exile. Which means I haven't laid eyes on Marc's gorgeous face in months. And with a new mother and an I-know-everything teenager under my protection, I don't exactly have time to fantasize about ever seeing him again.

Then our long-awaited reunion is ruined by a vicious ambush by strays. Now our group is under attack, Marc is missing and I will need every bit of skill and smarts to keep my family from being torn apart. Forever."

The writing of the Shifters series has improved with every book. It's grown up along side Faythe, and Prey is the very best so far. Not only within the series, but it's one of the best books I've read so far this year.

Faythe is well out of her comfort zone here, without the ever present support of her lover Marc, she is forced to be the strong one and lead the hunt for him. Knowing all along that they're more likely to find a body. She's got to deal with Manx's trial, a rebellious teen tabby, Kaci, who refuses to shift and her Pride in on the verge of war with several others.

One of the greatest aspects of the Shifters series is that the characters are far from perfect, making them easy to relate to. And no matter how much the characters grow and change in to the people they're becoming, they still have flaws. They're still real. Faythe shows a great deal of maturity throughout Prey, truly showing us the extent of her potential for the first time. But it doesn't stop her from making mistakes. The one character who arguably shows more development than Faythe in this, is Jace, which came as a bit of a surprise, but a very welcome one.

Prey is heartbreaking in places, and I'm sure there are many, many people none to happy about certain aspects, but everything has it's place and reason. It pulls no punches and is all the better for it. The plot is tight, with the subplots carefully weaved in to create a pretty prefect balance. There is no filler here. There are plenty of twists and turns, catching you by surprise on more than one occasion. It left me completely emotionally drained, I think I spent the last quarter of the book in floods of tears, it was intense and un-put-downable and still I just wanted more.

Rachel stated that Prey 'would change everything' and it certainly has. I think just about anything can happen now in book 5, Shift, and I can't wait to see what that is! 10/10

Friday, 26 June 2009

Feast of Fools and Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine

Spoilers warning! Review contains spoilers for book 1-3 in the Morganville series. Read at your own risk.

Feast of Fools

"In the town of Morganville, vampires and humans live in relative peace but Claire Danvers has never been convinced - especially with the arrival of Mr Bishop, an ancient, old-school vampire who cares nothing about harmony. What he wants from the town's living and its dead is unthinkably sinister.

Bad to the bone, the ancient old-school vampire cares nothing about keeping the peace; staying at the top of the food chain is enough. What he wants from the town's living and dead is unthinkably sinister. It's only at a formal ball attended by vampires and their human dates that Claire realises Bishop's plan - and the elaborately evil trap he's set for the warm-blooded souls of Morganville"

Feast of Fools is the fourth in the Morganville Vampires series and picks up directly after the ending of Midnight Alley. Claire and crew have unexpected guests in the form of Claire's parents and some new vampires who are clearly very powerful and equally evil.

With new evil in town, who is well known, and feared, by most, you know that the teens are in trouble. Amelie must join forces with her nemesis Oliver to try and come against the new comer. And yet playing by vampire politics means she welcomes him to town with a feast, where all vampires bring human dates. A recipe for disaster if ever there was one, but in the mean time, life goes on. Class, spending time with the boyfriend and stopping fights between boyfriend and his bestfriend, studying with a vampire who is crazy and growing more so every day, you know, the usual.

The characters are all still learning a lot, even those who have spent their lives in Morganville, and you can see how some of the stuff going on around them is taking it's toll on them. But they keep on fighting, trying to find a way out of the mess alive. I think this is my favourite book in the series so far. The plot moved along quickly and had me hooked the whole time. There were some darker edges to this book and that helped it a lot I think, drew me deeper in to the world and I couldn't put it down.

The ending is another serious cliffhanger, as has been the case for just about every book so far, but it's not the worst one. Did leave me wanting a lot more though. It's interesting to see where loyalties lie when it comes down to it, or what certain big players are really after in the end. To a certain extent it's a little confusing and hard to see where the series is headed for come the end of it. But it's still a very enjoyable series and one I'd recommend.

Rating: 8/10

Lord of Misrule

"Morganville. Texas. Just south of normal. In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans coexist in (relatively) bloodless harmony. Then comes Bishop, a master vampire who threatens to abolish all order, revive the forces of the evil dead, and let chaos rule. But Bishop isn't the only threat. Violent black clouds promise a storm of devastating proportions. As student Claire Danvers and her friends prepare to defend Morganville against the elements - both natural and unnatural - the unexpected happens: Morganville's vampires begin to vanish one by one. Discovering why leads Claire to one last choice: swear allegiance to Bishop...or die."

In a way, that blurb is very frustrating because it tells you the end before you start. And I think having read that, it does then take away some from the book and stop it holding the tension it could have. But hey, that's what the publishers put there to temp readers, can't really argue with them.

Things are much more dangerous in Morganville than they were before. Bishop has his followers and Amelie has hers. And Bishop's are getting violent and making no secret of their desire to really change things in Morganville. Starting with taking Amelie out. As she tries to solidify her position, the humans find themselves alone and trying to stay alive. Many humans have decided if the vampires are trying to kill each other, they should join the fight and destroy them all. And they've decided that vampire supporters, humans still working for the vampires, deserve their share of the pain too. So things are bad all around.

This book didn't catch me as much as the rest of the series, until the last few chapters, they were much more gripping and the tension levels were heightened considerably. The rest was just them getting there, and despite some good moments, I felt there were bits that could have been left out. There is a really sweet scene between Shane and Claire, which once more ends with him being the noble guy and saying no. I still find Myrnin's character fascinating, scary and funny and one of the best characters in the series. The return of Shane's father and Shane's confrontation with him was good and you really do have to feel for Shane, his life is far from easy.

The ending I felt, was very good. But it was this part alone that really propelled the story further. The rest was almost anti-climatic from the lead up in the previous book. Still, I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book, the ending of this has left a lot of new possibilities for it and I think things are going to get much more interesting.

Rating: 6/10

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine

"Morganville is such a nice place to live...and die. If you don't mind that sort of thing. When Claire Danvers learnt that her college town was run by vampires, she did what any intelligent, self-preserving student would do: she applied for a transfer and stocked up on garlic. The transfer is no longer an option, but that garlic may come in handy. Now Claire has pledged herself to Amelie, the most powerful vampire in town. The protection her contract secures does little to reassure her friends. All of a sudden, people are turning up dead, a stalker resurfaces from Claire's past, and an ancient bloodsucker extends a chilling invitation for private lessons in his secluded home."

This is a series that is growing on me more with each book. Midnight Alley picks up where The Dead Girls' Dance left off, with Claire having just sworn herself to Amelie, and currently hiding it from her friends. There are many, many secrets in Morganville, kept by everyone and everyone else wants to know. But knowing can get people killed. Still, nothing seems to stay secret for long, not with Claire around.

Midnight Alley introduces a interesting, if scary, powerful vampire to the scene. Hidden away, brilliant and rapidly going crazy, is Myrnin, a favourite of Amelies', he's Claire's new mentor (of sorts) and through him she begins to learn a lot more of the darker side of Morganville than she'd like. As if that wasn't enough, her best friends' psycho brother, Jason, is stalking both Claire and Eve, making the daylight as unsafe as night time for them. Boyfriends Shane and Michael are around to try and keep the girls safe, but there is only so much they can do before someone gets hurt.

Claire, Eve and Shane are also having to deal with the consequences of Michael's actions in the previous book, and it's not something that is easy for any of them, Shane in particular. But it adds an interesting subplot to the books and the tension that comes with it is pretty gripping.

I really enjoyed this book, and I'm glad I already had book 4 waiting for me so that the cliffhanger ending wasn't the killer it could have been. The plot here is still pretty tight and gripping, although not the edgiest or deepest I've read. It's all pretty easy to read, but there is enough depth to keep you really interested. Just when you think things can't get worse for Claire and her friends, that's exactly what happens. Whether it's new vampires wanting to munch on her, or her parents trying to stop her from living with a couple of 18 year old guys, it's all got to be dealt with. Hopefully without anyone being killed.

I still think it's much more a teen series than a teen and adult one, but it's a very enjoyable one. There is some nice character development beginning to show, although it's slow to surface. The books follow on rapidly from one another, and cover very little time, so you can't expect there to be a whole lot. But Claire is a fast learner, and as fast as things change in Morganville, that's a very good thing.

Rating: 8/10

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

"Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies...

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Stigoi; the fiercest and most dangerous vampires - the ones who never die.

The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway. Lissa's best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making her one of them.

After two years of illicit freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. Rose will continue her Dhampir education. Lissa will go back to being Queen of the elite Moroi social scene. And both girls will resume breaking Academy hearts.

Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vladimir's - inside the Academy's iron gates, their world is even more fraught with danger. Here. the cutthroat ranks of the Moroi preform unspeakable rituals, and their secretive nature and love of the night creates an enigmatic world full of social complexities. Rose and Lissa must navigate through this dangerous world, confront the temptation of forbidden romance, and never once let their guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever."

The Vampire Academy series is written in first person, with Rose as our protagonist. She's sassy and rebellious, but with a darker, more serious edge that clearly shows she understands a lot more about being an adult, and her role as a guardian, than you would initially assume. But she doesn't always show it. She's still got a fair bit of growing up to do, but you can see the potential in her even in this first book, and see the changes that are starting to come.

Vampire Academy starts strongly and doesn't let up. The world created here is vivid and intense, drawing you straight in to it and making it easy to get lost in. All the characters are well thought out and you get a really good sense of them in very little time. The plot flows quickly and smoothly adding to its can't-put-down nature. There are some really great one liners as well, creating a few good laugh out loud moments that you feel as much as the heartache and pain Rose goes through.

There is plenty of forbidden romance going on, but it's handled well and although romance is a good sized portion of the series, it is not the only thing. Rose is independent and doesn't spend all her time mooning after her (very tall, hot and Russian) mentor, Dimitri Belikov. It's pretty entertaining watching Lissa's romantic life through Rose's eyes too. Much more closely than a best friend should watch at times, something you'll understand reading the book.

Vampire Academy is the first of six books, and it's a fantastic start to something that so far only gets better. The follow up titles, Frostbite and Shadow Kiss are out now, with the fourth title, Blood Promise, due August 25th. They may be young adult titles, but they are edgy and have enough depth to them to keep adult fans of the urban fantasy genre hooked too. Not a series to be missed! 10/10

No Review...

Just a couple notes. One, there is a new Bitten By Books poll up, this one, sexiest character :) My personal favourite is nominated, Dimitri from the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, so of course I'd love to see him win, but who ever your fave is, go vote!

Two, I'm actually going to review said favourite series, because I realised I haven't yet. But it's very late here now (12.16am if you're interested) so it will probably be tomorrow that I do so. For the first book anyway, and then I'll review the others at some stage.

Three, went a bit nuts and bought 8 more books today and am already a 1/4 through the second of them, so there will be reviews up of the third and fourth Morganville Vampires books in the next couple of days as well, and they will shortly be followed by the fifth one, plus a couple Weather Wardens books, and Mercy Thompson ones. Plus the Jenna Black book I've mentioned previously, didn't get around to reading it over the weekend, and it's dropped down the TBR list because I've got new books in series I already know I love to read, but I promise it will come.

Promise that's all the random useless information for now too. Next post will hold a review ;)

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

That's Me Caught Up

Six reviews done in the past two days has me all caught up. I've forbidden myself to pick up another book today after finishing Moon Called yesterday. I'd read 6 books in as many days despite a hectic weekend that means I'm still recovering now, and I need to give my brain a break. Next on my reading list is The Devil Inside by Jenna Black, but in all likely hood I'm going to re-read Vampire Academy before that as a bit of lighter relief. Having read it cover to cover twice and my favourite parts many more times, it's an easy read and to be honest, I want the familiarity of favourite characters for a few hours. It likely won't be more than a few days before I'm reviewing again, and I once again have a long 'to buy' list for next week, so I'll keep them coming. But for now my mind needs a rest. So what am I filling my time with? Writting. Ha. Give myself a headache with that instead!

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

"'I didn't realize he was a werewolf at first. My nose isn't at its best when surrounded by axle grease and burnt oil ...'

Mercedes Thompson runs a garage in the Tri-Cities. She's a mechanic, and a damn good one, who spends her spare time karate training and tinkering with a VW bus that happens to belong to a vampire. Her next-door neighbour is an alpha werewolf - literally, the leader of the pack. And Mercy herself is a shapeshifter, sister to coyotes. As such, she's tolerated by the 'wolves but definitely down the pecking order. As long as she keeps her eyes down and remembers her place, the pack will leave her in peace. Hardly a normal situation, but then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly normal herself...and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble."

I loved this book. I love that Mercy isn't the toughest girl around, until the beginning of this book she's never killed, and certainly not deliberately. She cares a lot and she's pretty friendly, easy going and she's got a sense of humor. Her relationship with the alpha wolf, Adam, is pretty funny at times too. She clearly enjoys annoying him a little, but she also cares and knows how easy it would be for him to kill her and she respects him.

We get quite a bit of back story on Mercy as the book goes on, finding out about the oddness of her relationships with the other supernaturals around her, how she came to be living beside an alpha wolf and how she knows so much about wolf life when she's not one herself.

Mercy's problems start when a newly turned teenage wolf, not a member of the pack, appears at her garage and asks for work. She quickly decides to do what she can to help him, before realising he's in much more trouble than she first thought. Trouble follows Mac and soon Adam finds himself and his (human) daughter well and truly caught in it, with Mercy doing everything she can to help them.

The main plot is tight and moves at a good pace. The interaction of werewolves, fae and vampires, along with of course Mercy, a coyote, gives you a lot of supernaturals to enjoy, all with their own talents and agendas. It didn't take me very long to figure out this was going to be a series I'd adore. It's smart, funny at times, dark and pulls no punches. There is a little romance, but it's only a hint and I actually really like how it's just subtly worked in rather than being a major plot at this point. I love the friendships Mercy has with Adam and his daughter, who is one of my favourite characters of the series. While the main plots get wrapped up nicely, I was left wanting a whole lot more. The book isn't flawless, but I loved it far too much to care.

Rating: 9/10

Untamed and Hunted by PC and Kristin Cast


"A week ago Zoey had a group of special friends, three boyfriends and a (kinda) clear conscience. Now she has none of the above. Luckily ice-queen Aphrodite is showing signs of melting and ex-roomie Stevie Rae isn't as dead as she'd thought. Though Stevie's now hanging out in tunnels with freaks - gross. If she can get them to listen, Zoey will need all her friends as events take a frightening turn at the House of Night school for vampyres. Shocking true intentions are about to come to light, loyalties will be tested and an ancient evil is about to rise again. Some days being special just doesn't seem all that"

Untamed is the fourth book in the House Of Night series, based on the idea of a vampire finishing school. I wasn't a huge fan of the first book, but the second and third were better, but something about this book isn't quite so good. Untamed sees Zoey trying to make up for her mistakes in Chosen, trying to win back her friends and boyfriend(s?) as well as attempting to stop the evil, and increasingly crazy, Neferet.

Where friendships are concerned Zoey seems to be growing a lot and the development between her and Aphrodite in particular is good and interesting. This book sees things quieten down slightly where the boys are concerned, with Erik and Heath both furious and hurt. We're starting to see Neferet's big picture now too, and it's not a pleasant one. Luckily for Zoey, she's got the power to try and stop her. Or at least keep her friends safe until she finds a way to do so.

I like this series, and there is enough of a decent plot for me to keep wanting to read, but the language at times is very child friendly and verging on ridiculous (the word 'bullpoopy' appears several times and each time it's used I want to smack the speaker), yet sex is mentioned much more freely. Untamed has the introduction of several things clearly setting up for the rest of the series. There are a few new characters here, most of them a fairly welcome addition, if a little bit strange (like the nuns for instance. Yes I'm serious). Most of the characters are still a little flat and shallow, but there is just enough for you to care about them. Not my favourite in the series so far, but it has some okay moments. 5/10


"'The door closed with a sickening thud of finality, shutting my friends out and leaving me alone with my enemy, a fallen angel, and the monstrous bird creature his ancient lust had created. Then I did something I'd only done twice before in my life. I fainted.' It's all happening, though Zoey Redbird wishes it wasn't. She has her friends back, which is great. But a dark angel has taken over the House of Night, supported by High Priestess Neferet. Not so great. This leaves Zoey hiding out with the (supposedly friendly) red fledglings in Tulsa's prohibition-era tunnels. The not greatness continues. Zoey has some boy-thoughts to distract her, with a chance to make-up with super-hot-ex Eric. But thoughts of the archer that died, semi-permanently, in her arms also keep distracting her. Then he shows up as Neferet's newest minion. Well, hell. Zoey and friends need a plan to put things right, soon, if she's to keep both head and heart intact."

Hunted once again picks up just after the events of the previous book. Having escaped alive from the House of Night Zoey and her friends have arrived in the underground tunnels and have now got to decide what to do next. A lot of the first few chapters has Zoey (with the help of a couple of others) explaining what's happened to everyone else. For the readers, this is nothing new and gets very tedious and repetitive. Not all of it had to be spelled out again so clearly and it could have done with some serious editing. Thrown in to the middle of the explanation is a very unnecessary three-some scene which Zoey and several others witness. Doesn't make for a good start.

Having almost had a lighter dose of guy drama in Untamed, this sees Zoey back to having three boyfriends with no real lead up. One of the most frustrating things in this series is that when Zoey is with a guy (whichever one it is) she tends to be thinking along the lines of 'oh he's the one! Why do I bother with the others?' But two pages later she'll be with one of the others, and it's the same thing. She keeps insisting to herself that she's a 'good girl' she doesn't play around, but that's all she does, she never says no. She could try saying no to a guy once in a while, it does happen! Instead she allows herself to get tangled up with three guys, all of whom are tough guys and would be happy to take the others apart for touching her. And it's all just a repetitive circle, it doesn't change form guy to guy. She fights and makes up with all of them, usually by making out.

And the boy drama doesn't include new evil, fallen angel Kalona, whom Zoey finds herself deeply drawn too. Neferet is involved with Kalona as well as working with him, and she's decidedly unhappy about his being drawn to Zoey. As if she didn't hate Zoey enough already.

One of the few guys around that isn't all over Zoey (and straight) is Darius. He's a warrior who was introduced to us a couple of books ago, and when he was, he was very much a warrior. There were signs of it in Untamed, but in Hunted he is almost a different person. When eve he's around Aphrodite he stops being a warrior and goes all, well, giggly with her. Very playful and stupid, when he should be remembering his duty. I liked him when he was introduced, but now he's verging on annoying, switching to being the warrior guy when he's needed to fight, but otherwise he's a teenager again (which he isn't) and takes away the edge that was there with the appearance of his character. The other characters are cliched and unbelievable, with the gay guys way too feminine and only caring about fashion, and the language used by the black characters is the only thing that's more cliched (and very annoying to read).

This book covers no more than about 48 hours in Zoey's life, and it really starts to drag. There is a lot of talk, and a lot of repetitive talk at that, about what's going on, how much trouble they're in, how hard it's going to be for them all to survive and yet very little action. And at least half of this book is dedicated to Zoey and her boy troubles again. This series has always been a bit cliched and predectable, but this book is ridiculous. Readers do not constantly need to be told that Damien and Jack are gay, and we do by now know that Neferet is evil and all around her is badness. There is very, very little plot development in this book, and it's something that could easily be tagged on to the previous book, or the next one, and throw the rest away. I'm hoping that Tempted shows some real improvement because otherwise I will be dropping the series. If you want to read great YA vampire books, read the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. Or the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine. Both have more much kick and less whining. 2/10

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine

"Claire has her share of challenges. Like being a genius in a school that favours beauty over brains; homicidal girls in her dorm, and finding out that her college town is overrun with the living dead. On the up side, she has a new boyfriend with a vampire-hunting dad. But when a local fraternity throws the Dead Girls' Dance, hell is really going to break loose"

Bad summery, or misleading at least. The Dead Girls' Dance is a costume party held on campus and the girls, Claire Danvers and Eve Rosser don't go to it for fun, they go because they're looking for someone. Of course, it's not that simple, it turns in to a bit of a disaster, but that's part of the fun. Still, the dance is not a big deal, it's mentioned early in the book, then the girls end up there near the end, but it's more a plot device than anything of meaning.

This second book in the Morganville Vampires series is again a good read, but definitely teen oriented, not adult. It kept me hooked though and it wasn't something I could put aside until I was done. The twists come fast and the pace doesn't let up too often.

Claire may be book smart, but socially she's pretty naive, actually, very at times, but that's pretty realistic, the two don't always go together. But she's a fast learner and she's got bite despite her timid appearance. Particularly when the ones she loves (her room mates for example) are in trouble. There is one moment though when you have to wonder why it took her so long to realise that it was a big deal, but somehow it fits with her naivety and makes it forgivable, mostly. The characters aren't the most rounded out there, even in the YA section, but they're entertaining and as we learn a lot more about them through this book, they become more vivid and I want to know more about them. We get a lot more back story on Eve and Shane in particular with this second book, and you can really feel for them. And certain things are clearly being set up for the next book without taking away from this one.

All the different rules and interactions with the vampires that run the town, the humans on their side, and the humans without protection are interesting. And watching Claire trying to figure out where she stands in it all, without getting anyone hurt or killed, is entertaining, if partly for the fun of having evil vampires and not the cuddly ones. Well, most of the time. This series is growing on me, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest.

Rating: 7/10

The Darkest Kiss and Deadly Desire

"Dark secrets. Dangerous seduction. It all begins with a kiss...With a werewolf's uncanny instinct for danger - and vampire blood coursing her through her veins - Riley Jenson is an officer for the Directorate of Other Races, an organisation created to police supernatural beings. Now she's hunting for a killer who is targeting the rich and the powerful of Melbourne's society...But for Riley the case takes a chilling turn when a second killer - a crazed young vamp - starts leaving a trail of mutilated bodies of his own. Riley knows she's got the skill and cunning to catch two serial killers at once, until one of them strikes inside her own tight-knit clan - and a sexy beast of a vampire re-enters her life to aid in the hunt. His name is Quinn. He's lived forever, shed blood and shared pleasure - and he's the only man over whom Riley has absolutely no control..."

The Darkest Kiss is the 6th book in the Riley Jenson series by Keri Arthur, and it's my favourite so far (including Deadly Desire which follows it). It's a much more subdued Riley we find here, still hurting from her split from Kellen a couple of months before, and more than a little wary of being involved with anyone else, new or old. But Riley still has her smart mouth on her, and she's getting on with her job. She doesn't spend a lot of time whining as can happen in other books, so she's still a great character to read.

The plots through this had me hooked and it moved at a great pace. I guessed who the person within her group that got hurt was early fairly early on, but it didn't detract much from the tension. There isn't much seen of Rhoan, Riley's brother, until near the end which is a little unusual, but again, it didn't take anything away from the story. I've never been a big fan of Quinn, and I wasn't sure about having him reappear in Riley's life, but I actually found myself almost warming to him by the end. But Riley's desire to not have her heartbroken again has her staying away from the wolf clubs, and it means there isn't any sex in this book til near the end, and much less flirtation than normal as well. The book almost felt lacking for it, but down to it being unusual for there to be so little in a Riley book rather than it being odd for there to be so little sex in a book.

For me, the development of Riley through this book is what's made her a favourite for me, something she hasn't been until now. She's developed slowly to a more serious person, without losing her sense of humor or desire for fun. She's still talking back to those she shouldn't and doing things her own way to others frustration, stopping the books from becoming too dark. Overall, a really great read and the series is worth the not so good first few books to get here.

"Guardian Riley Jenson always seems to face the worst villains. And this time's no different. For it's no ordinary sorceress who can raise the dead to do her killing. But that's exactly what Riley expects to find at the end of a trail of female corpses used - and discarded - in a bizarre ritual of evil. With pressure mounting to catch the fiend, the last thing Riley needs is the heat of the upcoming full moon bringing her werewolf hormones to a boil - or the reappearance of a sexy bounty hunter, the rogue wolf Kye Murphy. Riley has threatened Murphy with arrest if he doesn't back off the investigation, but it's Riley who feels handcuffed by Kye's lupine charm. Torn between her vamp and wolf natures, between her love for Quinn and her attraction to Kye, Riley knows she's courting danger and indulging the deadliest desires. For her hunt through the supernatural underworld will bring her face-to-face with what lurks in a darkness where even monsters fear to tread."

I had the unfortunate luck of being accidentally spoiled on the outcome to this book, which admittedly did stop me enjoying it as much as I should have done. Reading it was different to if I'd gone in blind. But it was still a good story and had me wanting more. But even if I had read it without knowing the twists that came at the end, I still doubt I would rank it better than The Darkest Kiss.

I love the introduction of Kye. He appeared briefly in Embraced By Darkness, but we really get to know him here. The attraction between him and Riley is pretty funny to read because they both feel it, yet neither wants to, making it a dare as much as anything else. He's a pretty dark guy, a hired gun and he doesn't care what others think. He's not your average werewolf though and he's got his own secrets to hide.

I liked Quinn more in this book, probably really liking him for the first time. He and Riley seem to have a better, stronger relationship for all the trouble they've had in the past. Still not an easy one at times, and it certainly has it's flaws, but it was more enjoyable with this book.

The past two books have introduced a few other new characters, some who are around more than others, but they're all adding to the series. This book itself doesn't feel quite as solid, the plot not quite as strong as the previous one, but it kept me wanting to read it none the less, but without the same intensity. Some parts of this book almost make it seem more of a filler between this and the next one. Certainly certain things are just being set up for the rest of the series, and they left me wanting more. Overall, not the best book in the series, but still a great read showing the continued development of Riley and still with her sassy nature. Looking forward to the next with a lot of anticipation.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Bit behind...

So I find myself a few books behind in reviews. I need to review The Darkest Kiss, Deadly Desire and The Dead Girls Dance. But instead I'm reading Untamed, and I intend to read Hunted this weekend too. So, no reviews. Promise to catch up on them next week, but this weekend is pretty full of stuff, so I'd rather just read and relax when I'm not doing anything else! Hopefully I won't start getting details confused before then from reading so much in a short space of time!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Possession by Jennifer Armintrout

"My father always said fear was a weakness. Well, that's easy to say when you don't have to worry about vampire slayers or holy water. I hate fear, but undead life goes on. In the two months since I was attacked in the hospital morgue and turned into a vampire, I've killed my evil sire, Cyrus, fallen in love with my new sire, Nathan, and have even gotten used to drinking blood. Just when things are finally returning to normal -- as normal as they can be when sunlight can kill you -- Nathan becomes possessed. And then he slaughters an innocent human. Now it's my job to find Nathan before the Voluntary Vampire Extinction Movement does, because they're just waiting for an excuse to terminate him -- and anyone foolish enough to help him. But it gets worse. It turns out that Nathan's been possessed by one of the most powerful and wicked vampires alive -- the Soul Eater. And who knows what vile plan he's concocted? With the Soul Eater and my possessed sire on the loose, I have a lot to fear. Including being killed. Again."

Possession is the second book in the Blood Ties series. It picks up a couple of months after the events of The Turning, and Carrie is still living with her new sire Nathan, but things are not all well.

There is no real detail of whats happened in the previous book at the start of this one, it jumps straight in to action with Nathan being possessed (and subsequently nearly killing Carrie and then bolting) in just a couple of pages, with no real lead up, making for a jarring start. Add to that the constant switching of point of view between Carrie and her former sire Cyrus (and then a little later Max) it doesn't make for an easy start. It took me quite a while to get in to this book, but even then it was easy to put down.

The plot is pretty solid and most of the character development with Carrie, Cyrus and Max is interesting too, but I found this book to be lacking something. It wasn't as gripping a read as the first book, despite a fairly quick paced plot, and the ending was pretty anti-climatic. No real big fight as you would expect, and what did happen was over quickly. It was still a decent read and it still held my attention enough for me to want to read the next, but it's not the easiest book to get on with. There is a lot of angst surrounding every character, they're all grieving for many things and there is very little in the way of light to break up the dark making it a fairly depressing read at times too. Overall, 3 out of 5 stars. Hopefully the next will be better.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

New Books!

I finally went on my book shopping spree a week and a half ago and bought 9 books, came home, ordered 3 more online. This week, going to buy another 3. So I thought I'd make a note of what I've bought so you can see what reviews are to come as I make my way through the pile. I've already reviewed Ill Wind and Glass Houses by Rachel Caine, Succubus Heat by Richelle Mead and Embraced By Darkness by Keri Arthur, the rest that I bought on that spree that are going to be reviewed are:

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Possession by Jennifer Armintrout
The Devil Inside by Jenna Black
Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells

I also bought Don't Look Twice by Andrew Gross but I'm not going to review it on here, a new copy of Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast cause I had the US version and I'm OCD about books and wanted it to match the rest and I have the UK versions of the rest, and Eternal Lover which is an anthology and I probably won't review it.

The books on my 'must have' list for this week:
Untamed by P.C. and Kristin Cast
Hunted by P.C. and Kristin Cast
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (new covers - UK version and I'm buying a new copy cause mine have been re-read to often and show it a little too much!!)

There's a (pretty good) chance I'll buy the next Morganville Vampires book too, and of course all of these are going to be reviewed.

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

First book in the Morganville Vampires series.

"College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation, where the popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks in the school's social scene: somewhere less than zero. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they come out fighting when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood..."

A lot of YA vampire series (and adult ones for that matter) currently seem to have the cuddly kind of vampires, rather than the evil ones. This isn't one of those and it's a nice change to have vampires as evil creatures again. The vampires here are evil, can't come out in daylight and they're in charge of the town, stopping humans from being out after dark. Oh it's nice to be back in a world where that happens!!

I find it much more common for books to be written in first person than third, so I was a little surprised to find that this is written in third. It doesn't stop you getting in to Claire's head or really getting a feel for the place, but it does get a little confusing at a few of the action sequences I found.

I enjoyed this book a lot. It's a little predictable at times (2 girls + 2 guys in the same house = 2 couples for example), but it's still enjoyable, quickly paced and well written.

Claire is just 16, being a bookworm and incredibly smart she's skipped a couple years of school and has just started her first year at college. Unfortunately she finds herself instantly on the wrong side of the nastiest girls in school, the queen bee is Monica Morrell and she would love to see Claire dead. Seriously. The girl is crazy. So to protect herself Claire moves out of the dorms and in to the house of Michael Glass. Michael initially tells her she can't stay, she's 16, the rest of the roommates are all over 18 and for the guys, that could mean trouble. But he knows she's in danger and gives her time to find somewhere else. But because so much happens, she ends up staying.

Claire has no clue she's living in a vampire town but as soon as she's told, things get even trickier for her. She quickly finds herself the target of a vampire by the name of Brandon, and chaos ensues. She finds firm friends in her room mates, Michael - who is never seen in daylight, Eve - a goth who is crushing on Michael and Shane -hunky, tough, hotheaded and full of pain at the death of his younger sister. And together, they're just trying to survive.

The characters are not the most well rounded, but they're still fun. The bad guys are not always obviously bad, and not always as bad as you might think. The ending it very sudden and a heck of a cliff hanger, leaving you wanting more.

Overall 4/5, just. I'm 21 and reading this I can see how anyone much older than me wouldn't enjoy it so much. I'm used to hanging out with teenagers the age of the characters because of youth work, so I don't mind the flatter characters so much. But if you want a better rounded story and characters, read Vampire Academy.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Ill Wind by Rachel Caine

"Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden. The Wardens Association has been around pretty much forever. Some Wardens control fire, others control earth, water or wind - and the most powerful can control more than one element. Without them, humanity would be wiped off the face of the planet. But now Joanne is on the run from another kind of storm: accusations of corruption and murder. Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful Warden. Unfortunately, he is also on the run, having stolen three bottles of Djinn and become the most wanted man on earth. Joanne must find him, and find him fast, as some really bad weather is closing in..."

Ill Wind is the first book in the Weather Wardens series, and honestly, I wasn't sure if it was going to be all that interesting. It sounds pretty good, but so much about the weather? I wasn't sure. So glad to be proved wrong! I loved this book, it's pacy and fun, with a serious side and good characters.

In some ways, this is mostly a long car chase across America, only the girl in the car is being chased by a storm. And some pretty nasty people who believe she killed a powerful Warden and would like to see her dead for the mistake. The back story, why she's running, why she's going to Lewis for help, how she met various other characters, are told in flashbacks that work surprisingly well. It's hard to make flashbacks work in a book, particularly several of them, but here they fit perfectly, breaking up the drive and fights with the weather well.

Joanne is pretty funny, but she is a little all over the place. She claims not to get close to people, but she seems to have feelings for all the good men in this, and falls in love within minutes of meeting one of the men. And she does fall in love with a car when she's meant to be running for her life too. But that's more funny than anything else. I find her love of fashion and fast cars a really good mix that's not often found. Overall, I really like her character, and I'm looking forward to getting to know her better.

All the information about the weather, how it works, and how the wardens work, is given in bits and pieces, not all thrown at you at once, which again works really well. It's not nearly as detailed as I'm sure it could be, so it's simple enough to follow, yet gives you a good insight in to it. The premise behind this series is a bit of a fresh breath of air in a genre dominated by vampires, shifters and various other minions of hell, and it works really well. The book is pacy and has some good twists that you (mostly) don't see coming. The ending was a little bit odd, but not in a bad way. It will be interesting to see where it goes in the next book.

Overall, a great fun read. I've already added the rest of the series to my 'must buy' list. 4/5 stars.