Archive | April 2013

Review – The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2) by Julie Kagawa

eternity cure“Blood calls to blood.”

From Goodreads:  “Out here in the Fringes, there is only one rule: Blood calls to blood. She has done the unthinkable: died so she might continue to live. Now Allie, the reluctant teenage vampire who was cast out of Eden, and Zeke, the human boy who loves her, must attempt to save the world from a deadly new strain of plague. In order to do so, they must first hunt down the monster who holds the promise of the cure—and Allie’s beloved mentor—in his sadistic grip…. Joined by Allie’s blood brother, Jackal, this unlikely posse of companions will brave a landscape stalked by raiders, rabids, and rogue vampires. But even if they survive, they’re bound for the Inner city, and a vicious showdown that will test their bonds in ways they never expected. It may just be that becoming undead was the easy part. Confronting the horrors of Allie’s awakening hunger, her growing feelings for Zeke, and the uncertainties of their future is going to be the ultimate challenge.”

The second installment in the Blood of Eden series by Julie Kagawa was, for me, an improvement on book one.  While the beginning was a little slow, the second half more than made up for it with action packed pages.  I wasn’t sure where JK was going with the unexpected addition of Jackal as Allie’s companion but she really delivered.  I would consider him the “Spike” of the BoE series.  Yes, he’s bad but there is a chance he’s got a little good in him.  Plus, he delivers great one liners and keeps Allie on her toes.  Zeke, the odd human out most of the time, is an integral part of Allie’s story and I hope that we don’t all end up broken-hearted.  And, Kanin, what can I say?  He is my favorite vampire master (maybe….I really do like Rhiannon Frater’s Cian.  Decisions.  Decisions.)

If Jackal is our “Spike” then Sarren is “Drusilla”.  To say Sarren is crazy would be a vast understatement.  You have to read to find out specifics but he is NUTS!  When he talked, I was hearing him in the sing-song type voice the Drusilla would use on Buffy.  It creeped me out then and it creeps me out now.

I cannot wait for the 3rd (final?) installment in this series.  5/5 stars.

Thank you to the publisher for providing a review copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review – A Bat in the Belfry by Sarah Graves

This 16th installment in the “Home Repair is Homicide” series is a pretty standard cozy mystery. Here is the synopsis from Goodreads: “As an epic nor’easter bears down on the idyllic island town of Eastport, Maine, Jacobia Tiptree hurries to prepare her antique house for the big blow, while the town battles to evacuate tourists and save the beloved 200-year-old Seaman’s Church steeple, threatened by the storm. But when a local teen beauty-pageant winner from a troubled family is found murdered in the steeple’s bell tower and Jake’s son Sam’s visiting childhood friend comes under scrutiny as a suspect, the resulting storm of gossip and suspicion rivals anything the Atlantic could brew up.”

Slight spoilers ahead:

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with the writing or the story in A Bat in the Belfry. My issue is that it was just kind of tired. Everything seemed predictable and there was no wow factor. The secret that Sam’s friend, Chip, was hiding was no surprise. I knew almost immediately what he had done (and with whom). Sam’s love life was also very annoying. He has a girl that loves him and that he loves but he breaks up with her because of the ‘pressure’ and starts sleeping with the town hottie. Then his true love acts like a doormat and stays in touch with him and continues to give him chance after chance. Maggie, you should kick him to the curb! Lizzie, a new character, was almost okay but she is drinking and driving in her first scene. There is very little Jake in this installment and in prior books in this series, she has been the driving force of the story.

I do understand that things are bound to get a little old after 16 books with the same characters in the same locale. But, it was disappointing. I may give the series one more shot but need more action! 2.5/5 stars.

Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review – Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) by Diana Gabaldon

Drums of Autumn“Nothing is lost, Sassenach; only changed.”

“Twenty four years ago today, I married ye, Sassenach,” he said softly.  “I hope ye willna have cause yet to regret it.”

Can we all just agree that Jamie gets the absolute best lines in this series?

I cannot properly write a synopsis without giving away spoilers.  All I will tell you is that there is a lot of Claire and Jamie in this novel.  Yes, they do find a new home in the mountains of North Carolina.  (This made me especially happy as I grew up in South Carolina where the novel begins and we vacationed every year with my grandparents in the mountains of North Carolina.)  My favorite scene of the series so far was between Jamie and Claire.  They had an open, frank, adult discussion about relationships and death.  Claire is such a strong woman but was having a weak moment. Jamie knew exactly what to say because he knows her so well.  Part of my appreciation for this series is due to the fact that DG is writing about adults.  All of the love stories aren’t between teenagers or twenty-somethings.  Claire and Jamie are now in their 40s and DG embraces their continuing love story.

There is also a lot more of Brianna and Roger in DoA.  I cannot decide if that’s a good thing.  Roger is okay and Brianna has okay moments.  She needs to grow up some more before I can truly get on board the Brianna train.  Also, I do feel like there are times that DG is planning for Brianna and Roger to be the next Jamie and Claire.  There really is no comparison.  (Spoiler alert: the first love scene between B&R is pretty awkward for me.  I wasn’t a fan and it didn’t compare to the worst of the scenes with J&C.)

Brianna does go back in time through the stones (not really a spoiler since it’s on the book jacket).  How hard would it be to be able research your parents’ past and try to decide if you help them based on what you find?  It was heartwarming to read about Jamie’s first meeting with Brianna and then see them build a father-daughter relationship.  Jamie has waited so long for this but what an adjustment for both of them!  And, poor Claire in the middle of two-hot headed Scots.

5/5 stars for a really great story, great romance between Jamie and Claire and for including the Carolinas.  Thank you, Diana Gabaldon.

 

Review – The Arrival of Armando DeLeon (In Darkness We Must Abide #3) by Rhiannon Frater

armandoFinally, we meet Armando!

From Goodreads: “A mysterious new vampire appears in the life of the Socolis. Is he friend or foe?  In Darkness We Must Abide is the epic saga of one young woman caught in the dangerous world of the creatures of the night.  Already living in the shadows due to her albinism, Vanora is just a little girl when her older brother inadvertently unleashes a terrible evil from the family crypt that changes their lives forever.  As she grows up in a world where beautiful deadly beings hunt by night, one captures her eye and her heart. Yet, can she trust the mysterious Armando? For there is a powerful entity plotting to claim her when she reaches adulthood in order to fulfill an ancient prophecy, and her enemy has enveloped her in a web of deceit, casting doubt on all she believes to be true. Soon, she will have to fight not only to save those she loves, but also for her very soul.”

Episode 3 starts out strongly with present day Vanora driving for her life.  Someone is after her.  Is it Armando or is he trying to help her?

We revisit the past and learn how Vanora and her siblings meet Armando.  He clearly has an agenda but what isn’t clear is if he will hurt Vanora or protect her.

I loved the movement forward in this series and think that Armando is a great addition.  He is mysterious and I cannot wait to learn more about him.  Plus, I know there is so much more coming regarding the future relationship between these two.  Are they friends with benefits or more?

Vanora’s character is growing on me with each installment.  Roman is the ever overprotective brother.  Alisha, I’m still not sure about.

This was another 5/5 star read.  Pick it up on Amazon or at the author’s website.  You won’t be disappointed.

Check out the giveaway at Parajunkee.

Review – Death in the Shadows (In Darkness We Must Abide #2) by Rhiannon Frater

Beautiful lonely girl  in long dress“In darkness we must abide,” he whispered sadly.

From Goodreads: “Death has claimed a Socoli, but the family curse will not allow him to stay dead. Vanora and Alisha must battle the creature that stole their brother’s life while fearing the possible resurrection of Roman.”

This second installment is an interesting continuation of Vanora’s story.  The primary players are Roman, Alisha and Vanora.  We didn’t learn more about the mysterious Armando and I’m looking forward to getting to that part of the story.

Vanora’s world is full of changes right now and these changes will impact her for the rest of her life.  I’m sure we’re going to see her growing up much too fast which happens to many young people when the lose those around them.  My hope is that it won’t be full of sadness and she will find some happiness along the way.

I won’t share any more as it would be spoiler-ish.  But, it is good!!  Episode 3 will be out the week of 4/8.  If you haven’t yet read Episode 1, you can pick it up for free on AmazonEpisode 2 is a steal at .99.

5/5 stars.

Review – The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1) by Julie Kagawa

20130402-212255.jpg“I’d learned that worrying about things you couldn’t change was useless and just kept you from getting sleep.”

“I was a vampire. And, despite everything, I still wanted to live.”

Allison lives in the Fringe as an Unregistered in the outskirts of a Vampire City. The Registered citizens provide the blood for the vampires and in return they receive food rations. As an Unregistered, you have to fend for yourself and it isn’t easy. Allie lives with a few friends and they barely make it. One night, while scavenging outside the city walls, Allie is attacked and almost dies. Almost only because a rogue vampire kills the rabid who is attacking her and offers her the choice of a quick death or immortality as a vampire. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that she becomes a vamp. After all, she’s crying blood tears on the cover. The real meat of the story is her struggle to maintain her humanity with the new hunger that she deals with daily.

Minor spoilers ahead:

Julie Kagawa is a great storyteller. I loved her Iron Fey series and, as a story, this is one of my favorite vampire novels. But….I can only give it 4 stars for a few reasons. Allie isn’t the warmest person (even when she’s alive) but that’s understandable given her hard life. But, her friend Stick is a LOSER. He hasn’t learned to take care of himself and manipulates Allie. Could anyone really survive the vampire apocalypse if they were this whiny and needy. I don’t think so.

Kanin, Allie’s vamp father, is okay but I’m a little tired of the father-figure/reformed vamp/troubled soul/trainer as a character. I hope to learn more about him and care more for him in the next book.

Zeke, our love interest, is also just okay. There were times he showed strength, determination and the ability to see past the obvious. Then, other times, he was bone-headed and weak. I wanted to like him more than I did.

But, but, but….I really do recommend this one. Even though I didn’t absolutely love it, I can tell you I am on the edge of my seat waiting to read book 2. In fact, excuse me while I go start it now.

Thank you to the publisher for providing an e-book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review – The Trouble with Fate (Mystwalker #1) by Leigh Evans

trouble with fate“I have two words for werewolves: Bite Me.”

Hedi Peacock, half fae and half werewolf, is in hiding with her Aunt Lou.  A werewolf killed her father and the fae killed her mother and took her twin brother when she was a child.  Since then she has hated the wolves with a passion but hasn’t really had to worry about the fae.  They closed all portals into this world; so, she and Lou (a full-blooded fae) have been stuck here.  Her troubles start when Robson Trowbridge, son of the former alpha and her lifelong crush, walks into the Starbucks where she works.  He meets with another wolf but luckily neither recognize Hedi.  Soon after, Hedi is attacked by a wolf and Lou is kidnapped.  Hedi has to figure out who she can trust to help her rescue Lou and stop the big bad.

The Trouble with Fate is a lot of fun to read and was a pretty light paranormal romance.  Until the end…I’ll get to that in a second.  There is a great cast of characters.  Hedi isn’t the nicest person.  She steals (even from her blind landlord, yikes) and lies regularly.  Lou is crazy and not that nice.  We only see her sporadically through the story.  Robbie is everything an alpha should be – attractive, damaged, loyal.  Cordelia was a new one for me.  Loved her.

OK, that ending – I did not expect to cry.  What just happened?  Unexpectedly I found that I had come to really care for both Hedi and Robbie.  I won’t include any spoilers but there is a one little section that just about broke my heart for Hedi.  Wow, I’m about to cry now just thinking about it.

This is the first book in a new series and the second comes out this July.  If you like romance, paranormal or just really good books, you should give this one a shot.  I am waiting impatiently for the 2nd one.  4/5 stars but very close to getting 5.

I received this book through the Goodreads-Firstreads program and thank them!