Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Review: Bitten by Kelly Armstrong

Hey All, time for my review of Kelley Armstrong's Bitten, Book 1 of the Women of the Otherworld series.

Title: Bitten
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: February 2004
Series: Women of the Otherworld, Book 1
Source: Library copy

From the author's website:
Elena Michaels is the world’s only female werewolf. And she’s tired of it. Tired of a life spent hiding and protecting, a life where her most important job is hunting down rogue werewolves. Tired of a world that not only accepts the worst in her–her temper, her violence–but requires it. Worst of all, she realizes she’s growing content with that life, with being that person.

So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where she’s trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him. Once this is over, she’ll be squared with the Pack and free to live life as a human. Which is what she wants. Really.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Bitten when I picked it up, I’d heard both good and bad things about it from friends. Some had loved it; others hadn’t even been able to finish reading the book.  I suppose my opinion fits somewhere between these two. I wasn’t a massive fan, but it was enjoyable enough to have me finish the whole 450 odd pages. Bitten starts following the daily life of main character Elena, who’s a werewolf trying desperately to prove she can function in normal society. She has a flat, a job and even a live-in boyfriend, something she had never expected. However her normal life all comes crashing down when Pack Alpha Jeremy leaves a mysterious message. Having promised to return home to the Pack when her Alpha called, Elena cannot ignore the message. Especially since no-one is picking up the phone at the house in Stonehaven or returning any of her messages. But Elena had run from the Pack for a reason...

There are few werewolves left and the vast majority are male, and by vast majority I mean all of them except for Elena, she is the only female werewolf in the world. However she was not born a werewolf like many, but bitten without her consent by the one man she trusted above all others. He’s the reason she ran, and the reason she won’t stay with the Pack longer than she absolutely has to.

When Elena returns to Stonehaven she finds the Pack members safe and well (though apparently unfamiliar with how to answer a phone). The townspeople however are another matter. There have been several deaths in Stonehaven. The police believe them to be the result of wild dog attacks, but the Pack knows better. A Mutt (a wolf not a member of the Pack) is killing the people of Stonehaven, leaving obvious signs of a werewolf killing. The Pack finds the murderer easily enough, but his death raises yet more questions. And when a member of the Pack is found dead it can only mean one thing....War.

To be honest, I wasn’t amazed by Bitten. I found a couple of characters a bit bland and the only one with any air of mystery is Jeremy and considering there are only 7 Pack members I had trouble remembering which was which (with the exception of the main 3, Elena, Jeremy and Clay). I mean, when one was murdered, I had to flick back to remind myself which one he was. I also found Elena a little annoying, she can’t forgive Clay for his betrayal, but she’s quite happy to sleep with him and by doing so betray her human boyfriend (who gets conveniently forgotten a lot).However, the interactions between Elena and the Mutts are great, and prove her to be a strong female who will not be intimidated or dictated to. This, and only this, improve my feelings about her character, otherwise I'm pretty sure I'd have stopped reading about halfway through. I also will give credit for the plot line, it’s not half bad. It doesn't focus too much on the screwed up relationship between Elena and Clay and everything is linked back to the finding and executing the rogue Mutts. I found the ending a tad predictable but other than that I have no complaints. There is non-stop action in this book which saves it for me. 

Would I pick Bitten up and read it again? Hard to say... I guess I would give it another chance, just to see if I liked it any better second time around, but not for a while yet...

My Rating: 3/5

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Review: Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Review time! This is the fantastic Sherrilyn Kenyon with her Dark Hunter Series, Book 1 of which is Night Pleasures, get ready for the world of Dark Hunters, Daimons and one spoilt Goddess.

Title: Night Pleasures
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Release date: 7th April 2005
Series: Dark Hunter Series, book #1
Source: My personal copy

From the author's website:
See how it all began...
Have you ever wanted to know what it's like to be immortal? To journey through the night stalking the evil that preys on humans? To have unlimited wealth, unlimited power?
That is my existence, and it is dark and dangerous. I play hero to thousands, but am known to none. And I love every minute of it.
Or so I thought until one night when I woke up handcuffed to my worst nightmare: an accountant. She's smart, sexy, witty, and wants nothing to do with the paranormal.
My attraction to Amanda Devereaux goes against everything I stand for. Not to mention the last time I fell in love it cost me not only my human life, but also my very soul. Now I find myself wanting to believe that love and loyalty do exist.
Even more disturbing, I find myself wondering if there's any way a woman can love a man whose battle scars run deep, and whose heart was damaged by a betrayal so savage that he's not sure it will ever beat again.

Kyrian of Thrace

Ok then, first off, this book is NOT written from Kyrian's point of view despite what the passage above suggests. Also let me explain about who Kyrian of Thrace is just so no-one's confused. Kyrian of Thrace is the male lead in this book, he's an immortal warrior of the night and having been a General in the Greek army before he died and sold his soul to Greek Goddess Artemis, he's pretty kick ass, not to mention gorgeous. If you're wondering about the whole selling his soul to Artemis part, let me explain. Kyrian is a Dark Hunter. Dark Hunters are an elite group of warriors who died in their mortal life by suffering such a betrayal that their very soul screams out for justice. Enter Artemis, a Greek goddess who offers that person a chance at revenge in exchange for an eternity of fighting Daimons, and of course she also wants their soul.

For over 2000 years Kyrian faithfully served Artemis as a Dark Hunter, relishing in his job protecting the innocent, until one night when his battle with Daimons ended with him waking up handcuffed to his worst nightmare. An accountant.
Amanda Deveraux is quite content with her perfectly normal life, in fact she goes out of the way to avoid anything paranormal. Happy as the 'normal' twin (her sister Tabitha is a vampire hunter) Amanda is unprepared when she wakes handcuffed to an admittedly gorgeous man. Handcuffed together by a Daimon Kyrian is hunting Amanda wonders how she could have been caught up in this insanity...she's been mistaken for her sister. Running from the Daimon who has chained them together, Amanda and Kyrian have to fight for their lives. At the same time these two can't help but be attracted to one another, despite being exact opposites.
Together they face the strongest Daimon ever known and along the way they discover parts of themselves they'd buried deep inside. Together they must face the trauma of Kyrian's past, his betrayal at the hands of the woman he loved. Slowly Amanda reaches the heart of this warrior who shields himself from the world. But will she become the other half of Kyrian's heart or will she betray him to save herself?

I loved this from start to finish Kyrian and Amanda have such great chemistry, the way that this is written is just superb, the romance between Kyrian and Amanda does not detract from the general plot at all (as can sometimes happen). The humour in this is just genius, I absolutely love books that can mix a good sense of humour in with the storyline (I'm a sucker for a good giggle). We meet Julian again (who featured in Fantasy Lover...sort of the Dark hunter Prequel if you like) and we also meet Talon, whose book is coming up next. Finally we are introduced to the best character in the entire series, Ash a.k.a. Acheron, a.k.a. someone you do not mess with... or ask questions about...or question in ANY way...because he might decides the world would better off with out you, and you'd be in itty bitty pieces on the carpet. Ash has weird, scary-ass powers and is by far the most mysterious character I have come across in any series. I'd be happy to read the entire series just to find out more about him! The banter between the Dark Hunters is fabulous and constantly has me laughing, though I admittedly have an odd sense of humour. It just shows how much camaraderie these strapping warriors have and how much they care about each other, in a non touchy-feely way. Honestly can't see them having a group hug.

Thankfully this plot has enough twists to keep me interested but the character development is by far the best part. If Mrs Kenyon keeps this up I'm going to have to buy the entire series.. all 15 of them! Overall, a good read with fantastic parts (mainly Ash's bits). I loved the banter between the Dark Hunters and will happily buy the next one.

My Rating: 4/5

Saturday, 17 September 2011

100 books by December 2011

Right well, I've just signed myself up for the 100 books in a year challenge...which means I have 100 books to read by December...probably stupid to join so late but it certainly should be interesting. Hopefully since I'm reading about 5 per week at the moment I might just make it...maybe I've taken on too much but hey, should be fun anyways.

If you want to join me in my stupidity just go to Book Chick City and sign up....

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Review: A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole

Hello again. This time it's the turn of Kresley Cole's fantastic Immortals After Dark Series. Technically A Hunger Like No Other is book 2 of this series, however since I haven't read the anthology that contains book 1 I'll have to start with book 2.

Title: A Hunger Like No Other
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Pocket Star Books
Release Date: September 2007
Series: Immortals After Dark Series, Book #2
Source: My personal copy

From Kresley Cole's website:
After enduring years of torture from the vampire Horde, Lachlain MacRieve, leader of the Lykae Clan, is enraged to find the predestined mate he's waited millennia for is a vampire. Or partly one. This Emmaline is a small, ethereal half Valkyrie/half vampire, who somehow begins to soothe the fury burning within him.
Sheltered Emmaline Troy finally sets out to uncover the truth about her deceased parents--until a powerful Lykae claims her as his mate and forces her back to his ancestral Scottish castle. There, her fear of the Lykae--and their notorious dark desire--ebb as he begins a slow, wicked seduction to sate her own dark cravings.
Yet when an ancient evil from her past resurfaces, will their desire deepen into a love that can bring a proud warrior to his knees and turn a gentle beauty into the fighter she was born to be...?

Ok, first off despite this technically being book 2 in the series you really can't tell. It can be read as a stand alone book like I did and it won't make any difference. In fact I had no idea there even was a book before this one until I looked it up. This is something I quite liked about this, and it seems that the entire series is a bit like that, subtle interlinking of characters and plots in the different books but not enough to effect the story as a whole if you don't know the previous books.

The storyline for A Hunger Like No Other in short is that Lachlain (aka leader of the lykae/werewolves) has been captured by the Horde (Vampire clan) and chained beneath the streets of Paris, doomed to be burnt alive every minute of every day. His immortality makes this an eternal torment as despite his massive strength, the pain of the fire weakens him to the point he cannot escape but not so much that it kills him. Lachlain's torment seems ensured to last forever....that is until he catches the scent of his one true mate on the surface. The woman meant for him and him alone. Having waited over 1000 years for his mate Lachlain is not going to let her escape now. As her scent fades Lachlain, in desperation, pulls himself free of his chains, but before he gets his strength back to follow her, she's vanished. But Lachlain will not rest until he finds his woman...

Emmaline Troy is a half Vampire half Valkyrie searching Paris for information about the lives of her parents when she's confronted by a man who claims that she's his mate. The tall, muscular and ridiculously gorgeous stranger then insists she come with him to Scotland where they will live with his clan. The stranger introduces himself as Lachlain, king of the Lykae. However when Lachlain learns of Emma's vampire heritage he goes mad and attacks her, blaming her and her kind for the century and a half of torture he'd just escaped from. Dismissing her as not his real mate Lachlain is determined to drag her to Scotland and sort this all out. Timid little Emma is terrified of this man who attacks and brutally handles her. But despite all this Emma can't help but be attracted to him, nor him to her. Lachlain refuses to believe a Vampire is his mate and does not treat Emma gently, denying that she is the one for him, yet he is still drawn to her, all the time questioning whether fate could really have given him Emma as a mate....

The first part of the book is basically the journey to Scotland, where Lachlain is still denying Emma, and he attacks her several times, something I did not like about this book. Although the journey to Scotland is important to the development and the readers understanding of both Lachlain and Emma, I personally feel it dragged a bit. However after Emma is attacked by Vampires and the couple reach Scotland, the book vastly improved. Emma gets to prove she's not some meek woman when she's challenged by another lykae and Lachlain works on his temper and relationship with Emma and as a relationship blossoms I started to love the couple for all their faults. And the interaction between Lachlain and Emma's Valkyrie aunt's is just hilarious, especially Nix who is just awesome.

By the end of the book I was completely sold on the series, and went and bought the next one. So despite the problems I had with the beginning of the book I would still recommend it to anyone. Overall it's a pretty good read, you just have to persevere through the beginning, but the end is definitely worth it.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, 4 July 2011


Sorry but due to moving to a new house that currently has no internet I will be unable to post here from the 4th July to the 21st July :(

Sorry Guys 


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Review: Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur

Alrighty, time for another review. Here is the first book in the Riley Jenson Guardian Series by Keri Arthur. Here's Full Moon Rising...

Title: Full Moon Rising
Author: Keri Arthur
Publisher: Penguin Group
Released: December 26th 2006
Series: Riley Jenson Guardian Series, Book #1
Source: My personal copy

From Keri Arthur's website:

A rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf, Riley Jenson and her twin brother, Rhoan, work for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races, an organization created to police the supernatural races–and protect humans from their depredations. While Rhoan is an exalted guardian, a.k.a. assassin, Riley is merely an office worker–until her brother goes missing on one of his missions. The timing couldn’t be worse. More werewolf than vampire, Riley is vulnerable to the moon heat, the weeklong period before the full moon, when her need to mate becomes all-consuming.

Luckily Riley has two willing partners to satisfy her every need. But she will have to control her urges if she’s going to find her brother….Easier said than done as the city pulses with frenzied desire, and Riley is confronted with a very powerful–and delectably naked–vamp who raises her temperature like never before...

Well Full Moon Rising certainly gets off to an interesting start. Riley Jenson is heading home when she notices that the night is quiet...too quiet. Then she scents blood on the wind. Though not a Guardian (an enforcer of sorts) for the Directorate but an office worker, she decides to check it out. She finds a massacre and two vampires lying in wait, a messy fight ensues where Riley (not being a trained fighter) uses the only weapon made of wood she has to hand to stake the attackers....her high heels. Luckily she comes out on top, not too surprising when we learn she is a rare mix of vampire and werewolf aka. a dhampire, one who has the extraordinary strength of the two races behind her. 
When Riley thinks her night can't get any stranger she arrives back at her apartment to find an ancient, powerful and deliciously naked vampire on her doorstep. Having no idea who he is, and finding the vampire to be little help in that department, Riley assumes that the vampire (later discovered to be called Quinn) is trying to find her flatmate and twin brother Rhoan. Unfortunately Rhoan is missing having not reported back from one of his missions as a Guardian for the Directorate of Other Races. Riley's investigation leads her to be drawn deeper in to the heart of the Directorate as well as causing her to spend an awful lot of time with hansom Quinn. The investigation leads to a cloning laboratory and risks Riley's life multiple times as she battles to rescue her brother, and it starts to look like the perpetrator might be someone Riley knows. And before the investigation closes she is betrayed by one she holds close....

Well, this is certainly a new take on werewolves for me. Riley and other werewolves are driven by what's known as the moon-heat (the week before the full moon) to mate. Basically in that week she has lots and lots of sex, fortunately for Riley she has two partners, Talon and Misha, who are always around to help her through the heat. Vulnerable because without sex Riley will go mad with blood lust she takes 'relief' where she can, and this time Quinn (the naked vampire) is more than willing help her out as well. Naturally there are a few steamy scenes in this book but nothing too graphic. There is detailed exploration of the wolf clubs where werewolves go to 'dance' and humans are not allowed in case one of the wolves injures them in the process of 'dancing' due to the superior strength of the werewolf population.
The book is set in Melbourne, Australia where supernatural creatures live in the open and are policed by the Directorate of other races. It's well written and the characters are well defined, even Riley and Rhoan's lovers (of which there are many). I'm glad that Rhoan was written as a gay character and throughout the series you get to see how his relationships with both Davern and Liander change. Honestly I think Rhoan's love life and personal relationships are more interesting than Riley's, though Riley does have a strange and sometimes volatile relationship with Quinn as he does not like to share, where as it is Riley's nature to 'dance' with many wolves during the moon heat....something Quinn does not understand. By the end of the book you realise just how strong a woman Riley really is, she is tried and tested in every way and still comes out sane at the other side....just.

I do really enjoy this book, and have found it to be one of the best of the series, but if you enjoy paranormal romances where by the end the two main characters can't live without each other then this probably isn't for you. Having said that it is still a good read and I would recommend it to fans of the genre.

My Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Another review coming up, Moon Called is the first book in the Mercedes Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Here's to Mercedes, the VW mechanic.

Title: Moon Called
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Penguin Group
Released: 2006
Series: Mercy Thompson Series, Book #1
Source: My personal copy

Synopsis from back of the book:
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 a normal young lady... 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.

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy....well what can I say, she's a shifter with an Alpha Wolf for a neighbour, a Fey for a mentor, and a Vampire who brings the Mystery Machine to her garage upon occasion (yes, the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo). Needless to say Mercy leads an interesting life that not only becomes weirder but more dangerous when teenage runaway Mac shows up at her garage looking for work, because Mac is not an ordinary runaway. He's a Werewolf. A new Werewolf and therefore dangerous and unpredictable. But Mercy can't turn her back on a kid who so obviously needs her help, however knowing that Mac is Werewolf means Mercy is actually going to have to have a civil conversation with her hot tempered neighbour, Alpha Wolf Adam. Mercy's relationship with Adam is complicated at best due to the dominance of wolves over coyotes...well that and the small issue of Mercy being unable to help ticking him off, she's not too keen on Adam telling her what to do and is quite willing to retaliate in the best way she knows.
When there's an attack at her garage by two unknown Werewolves Mercy has to turn to Adam to help keep Mac safe. However when Adam is severely injured and his daughter kidnapped, Mercy is pulled back to where she grew up, somewhere she'd hoped never to return. She becomes embroiled in Werewolf politics and is kept under the watchful eye of the Alpha of all Alpha's (Bran) and his son Samuel (aka Marcy's ex). There are twists and turns along the way including witches, the Vampire seethe and a Werewolf community. Mercy will come face to face with her past among Werewolves while trying to find Adam's missing daughter and naturally Mercy will get into trouble along the way, she can't help it....

Well first off, the Mercedes Thompson series is more Young Adult than Adult Urban Fantasy. This is not to say that it won't appeal to older readers, but you can tell it's aimed at young adults. I enjoyed this book immensely, you're thrown into a world where the Fey live in the open but they're not the only supernatural creature that walks among us, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches and of course the occasional Coyote Shape-shifter.
Mercy is an extremely strong, independent woman who has a serious dislike of being ordered about, though she isn't stupid her mouth has a tendency to get her into trouble (especially with Adam). She tries her best to stay out of werewolf business, considering her childhood and history with a certain wolf it's not surprising why, neither is it surprising that she hasn't been back to where she spent her childhood in a very long time. She's a brilliant lead character and if there is trouble about you can pretty much guarantee that Mercy is right in the middle of it....though not necessarily by choice. Adam is also a very well written character, the no-nonsense alpha wolf who has to put up with his pesky neighbour. Though there is a certain spark between Adam and Mercy, she seems determined to fight it. Mercy certainly does not want to be tied to this domineering man, yet they seem inexplicably drawn least until Mercy's first love Samuel re-enters her life, then things become rather complicated.

I applaud Patricia Briggs for this book as it is a very good introduction to the Mercy Thompson series, well written, even the background characters like Zee are done well. This is one of those unusual books that can appeal to both young adults and adults alike. I am a big fan of the whole series and can tell you now they are all definitely worth a read.

My Rating: 4/5

Friday, 27 May 2011

Review: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Hey all, time for another review and today's pick is Dark Lover by #1 New York Times best selling author... J.R. Ward! This is the first book in her phenomenal Black Dagger Brotherhood series. 

Title: Dark Lover
Author: J.R. Ward
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Released: September 2005
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book #1
Source: My personal copy

From J.R. Ward's website:
In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There also exists a secret band of brothers like no other - six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Among them, none relishes killing their enemies more than Wrath, the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood...

The only purebred vampire left on the planet, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But when one of his most trusted fighters is killed- orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate - Wrath must usher the beautiful female into the world of the undead…

Wrath is the last purebred left in the vampire race, but due to a birth defect he has extremely poor sight. Wrath is also their King if he chooses to be. Too bad he really doesn't want to be King and that if you call him 'my Lord' he's likely to snarl at you or put you into a coma. Be careful not to become his enemy because if you are....he will hunt you down and tear you apart with help from the Black Dagger Brotherhood he leads. There maybe only be 6 of the Brothers left but that's more than enough to put a world of hurt on the Lessening Society (enemies of the vampire race). The Black Dagger Brotherhood is the elite group of warriors whose calling it is to exterminate the those humans who have sold their souls to the Omega (aka Lessers), who are killing off civilian vampires one by one. Lessers have the distict smell of baby powder surrounding them as well as hair and skin that turns white the older they get. All 6 brothers love what they do and are the ultimate alpha males of their world. The BDB is made up of; their leader Wrath, second in command Tohrment (Tohr), model gorgeous Rhage (aka Hollywood), tech-savvy, precognitive Vishous, and finally twins Phury and Zsadist. 

At the beginning of Dark Lover the brotherhood has 7 members but Darius is killed in an explosion, leaving his half human, half vampire daughter, Beth, unaware of her heritage or her fate. As a last favour to his fallen brother, Wrath decides he will help Beth through the transition from her half human state to becoming a full blooded vampire (something that occurs around age 25). Wrath becomes unexpectedly attracted to stunning Beth and his world is shaken up by her... he rejects his lust and attraction, fighting his feelings believing he is the last thing she needs...Beth, in turn, is frightened by this leather clad, muscled warrior who appears in her life telling her wild stories of vampires and her fathers involvement with them. However her attraction to Wrath is strong and soon they find themselves unable to live without each other...but the Blind King has enemies. Soon the Lessening Society is hunting them down, and the question becomes can they keep each other safe or will the Lessening society claim the lives of the Royal couple?

Wow, Wow, Wow.....Seriously..just Wow. I mean I'd read other people's reviews and knew it was going to be good, but I was still amazed at just how good Dark Lover was. This book has everything I could have ever asked for. Amazing characters, good plot and a genius author who pulls it all together with such brilliant writing that you can see what Wrath and Beth see, feel what they feel. I know I became so connected to these characters that I found myself willing them on.. hoping they'd see what's right in front of them, how good and perfect they are for each other . I must admit, I often found myself yelling at Wrath that he's an idiot for whatever he did to Beth this time to screw up their relationship! I could quite happily stay in the world J.R Ward has created for hours on fact I did...I read Dark Lover all in one sitting, completely forgot all about work and anything else I'd meant to do that day. It all became unimportant compared to my longing to know how Dark Lover turned out for Beth and Wrath. It was a decision I never regretted. Even the other characters who weren't the focus were complexly described so we could have an insight into them as well. Got to say I love Zsadist, can imagine his story's going to be brilliant. I've always had a bit of a soft spot for those strong characters with tortured pasts. The scar on his face, soulless black eyes plus the warnings the other BDB members give about him really intrigue me...there's going to be a deep story behind it all, something that will be equally as amazing, if not better, if J.R. Ward keeps this calibre of writing throughout the series.

The two things I've heard people don't like about Dark Lover are the language and the sex scenes. Ok well, the 'bad' language comes with the territory of these Brothers being the type of 'look at me the wrong way and I'll break you in two' men that they are so I have no problem with it. And the sex scenes were not so often as they detract from the book, just enough so that they add another dimension to Wrath and Beth's relationship, they're not too long and drawn out either, so again, this is not something I had a problem with.

LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! Definitely one of the best books I own. If you love paranormal romance you have to read this!

My Rating: 5/5  

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Review: The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter

Time for another review I think...The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter is the first book in the amazing Lords of the Underworld series. Check it out...

Title: The Darkest Night
Author: Gena Showalter
Publisher: MIRA Books
Released: September 2009
Series: Lords of the Underworld, Book #1
Source: My personal copy

From Gena Showalter's website:

All her life, Ashlyn Darrow has been tormented by voices from the past. To end the nightmare, she has come to Budapest seeking help from men rumored to have supernatural abilities, not knowing she'll be swept into the arms of Maddox, their most dangerous member -- a man trapped in a hell of his own.
Neither can resist the instant hunger than calms their torments . . . and ignites an irresistible passion. But every heated touch and burning kiss will edge them closer to destruction -- and a soul-shattering test of love . . .

Ok firstly, I love the cover! It's just, wow...I love the fact that it has the butterfly tattoo included, something all the Lords have, the design is great because it's bold and masculine...just like the Lords. Anyway this book is Maddox's story, Maddox lives in Budapest with five of the other Lords of the Underworld. As for what a Lord is....well once they were the loyal guardians of the Greek Gods and Goddesses. When a guardian needed to be appointed to guard a box (dimOuniak) inside which were demons too destructive that they could not be trusted even in Hell, (sounding familiar?) Zeus appointed Pandora as the guardian, something the Lords did not agree with about as they each believed that they were stronger than Pandora and she shouldn't guard something so important. To prove their point, all of the Lords stole the box away from Pandora and her guards, and released the demons inside.....once the demons were released however, the box vanished leaving the Lords unable to recapture the free demons. Zeus, as punishment, cursed each guardian to become a host to a different demon and cast them out of Olympus. Thus the Lords of the Underworld were born.
Several thousand years later Maddox, who is the keeper of Violence, lives in Budapest with five other Lords; Lucian (keeper of Death), Torin (keeper of Disease), Reyes (keeper of Pain) and Aeron (keeper of Wrath) and Paris (the keeper of Promiscuity). Each Lord is driven to do different deeds by their demon, else they can suffer horrendous pain. Needless to say that, as the keeper of Violence, Maddox loves a good fight. 
Maddox was the one responsible for Pandora's death after he's stolen the box from her. As punishment for Pandora's murder Maddox is subject to another of the God's curses. At 12 midnight every night, Reyes is forced to stab Maddox six times (as this was how Maddox killed Pandora) and once his body is dead Lucien escorts Maddox's soul to hell where he tortured for a good few hours. Possibly a little harsh? This nightly punishment takes up the majority of Maddox's life. As for what's left... he can't be around people for long without the stirrings of violence forcing him to lash out.
Maddox has never known love until the timid Ashlyn Darrow seeks out the Lords for help. Born with the ability to hear voices from the past (meaning she stands in one spot and is able to hear every conversation that has ever taken place there) Ashlyn is looking for a way to control her ability, and boy does she find one in the form for dark and brooding Maddox. His presence brings silence to her, where as Ashlyn's presence soothes Violence and reduces Maddox's need for it. Soon both the man and the demon crave her and brave little Ashlyn will change his life for all eternity.

All in all this is an enjoyable book, pretty well written with a new take on the Pandora's box legend and a good one at that. The men are all have troubled pasts and are haunted by the things their demons have done throughout their lives. The Lords aren't evil...but they aren't exactly angels either and their take on everyday things is certainly different as they don't exactly have much interaction with humans (well...except Paris anyway). The sex scenes between Ashlyn and Maddox are pretty graphic but don't take up a huge chunk of the book, just the right amount considering the length of the book. We get to meet some other Lords about half way through, Danika (a human kidnapped by Aeron) who causes Reyes no end of trouble, and a Goddess whose agenda is unclear. All in all an interesting story that held my attention throughout.

I look forward to reading Torin's book as he's a very intriguing character, unfortunately it's not published yet! Though I have the other Lords to keep me company while I wait, not a bad deal at all! Book 2 is Lucian's tale. Can't wait!

My Rating: 4.5/5

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

For my 3rd review I've selected the 1st book in the Southern Vampires series by Charlaine Harris (aka The the series of books True Blood is based on).

Title: Dead Until Dark
Author: Charlaine Harris
Publisher: Ace Books
Release Date: May 2001
Series: Southern Vampires Series, Book #1
Source: My personal copy

This book was bought for me by a good friend, Thank you!

Synopsis from the back of the book:

Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much. Not because she's not pretty. She is. It's just that, well, Sookie has this sort of 'disability'. She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill: he's tall, dark and handsome - and Sookie can't 'hear' a word he's thinking. He's exactly the type of guy she's been waiting for all her life.
But Bill has a disability of his own: he's a vampire. Worse than that, he hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, with a reputation for trouble - the murderous kind.
And when one of Sookie's colleagues is killed, she begins to fear she'll be next...

Dead Until Dark is the first book in the Southern Vampire series and what a start it is as well. Since the vampires came out of the coffin 4 years before, Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress at Merlotte's Bar and Grill, has been anxiously waiting for her first vampire customer. So when one walks into the bar and sits in her section she couldn't be happier. The only problem is that he seems to have no interest in Sookie, that is, until she saves his life. The vampire introduces himself as Bill Compton (I had to laugh with Sookie because Bill is just not a name I would associate with dark and handsome vampires). Sookie finds Bill fascinating, not because he's a vampire but because she can't 'hear' him. You see, Sookie is telepathic (although most of the locals just think she's crazy). And she can 'hear' peoples thoughts, or at the very least get images or feelings from the person. But not Bill. Bill in turn is fascinated by Sookie as she isn't susceptible to Glamour (something vampires use to wipe the memories or control the actions of humans).

The storyline involves the murders of 2 girls Sookie knows (an old classmate and a fellow waitress at Merlotte's). The police believe Sookie's brother Jason could be the killer. In an attempt to prove Jason's innocence Sookie begins to look into the murders herself using her ability. With Bill's help she gains entrance to a vampire club both women had visited, catching the eye of Eric Northman (a 1000 year old Viking who is the most powerful vampire in the area) in the process. Something that she will come to regret later on.
The killer is targeting women who associate with vampires and because of Sookie's association with Vampire Bill she becomes the next target. When someone dear to Sookie is the next victim her whole world falls apart.

Overall this is a pretty interesting read. It's a pretty light hearted take on the world of vampires rather than being the dark and sinister world you would usually expect of a vampire novel, though there are parts that stray into that area. Needless to say Sookie is not your average lead character either, despite being 'just a waitress' she manages to attract all sorts of trouble supernatural and human alike. She also hold the affections of Bill and Sam Merlotte (her boss) as well as the interest of Eric (though for him it seems to be purely business). Also the vampire politics involved were new to me and held my attention as it was different to anything else I'd ever come across, it'll be interesting to see how that works in more depth in books to come. Vampires are not the only supernatural creature involved.....someone is keeping secrets about who they truly are and looking at the rest of the books in this series..vampires were only the beginning.

The only problem I had with this is that the ending was a disappointing conclusion to the serial killer aspect, with Sookie more accidentally discovering the perpetrator rather that finding clues in order to figure it out. Plus whenever Sookie is injured it's just a case of 'here, have some vampire blood' and then everything's back to normal which seemed a bit pointless to me.
Despite this I would recommend this book to fans of the Vampire genre.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Ok time for my second review, and I've picked Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews. This is a series I've recently discovered but have completely fallen in love with. GO KATE!

Title: Magic Bites
Author: Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace Books
Released: 2007
Series: Kate Daniels Series, Book #1
Source: My personal copy

From Ilona Andrew's Website:
Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for magic… One moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds. In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, she must choose to do nothing and remain safe or to pursue his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy…

This has my favourite pair of characters in of all time, Kate Daniels (our heroine) and Curran (Beast Lord). The plot is pretty good and easy to follow, starting with Kate's guardian being murdered whilst investigating the disappearances of young women as part of his job as the Knight Diviner for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid. Kate subsequently decides that she will find and slowly and painfully kill the one responsible so begins to do her own investigation. Naturally she ends up right in the middle of a nasty situation, involving vampires, shape-shifters and the Order. The plot has many good twists and turns, that lead to a pretty interesting conclusion where the reader is left wondering if there is more to some characters than meets the eye.

Sharp witted, sarcastic Kate is a mercenary for the Guild. As a Merc she doesn't earn much but she gets to do what she's best at...killing things. She carries a sword called Slayer everywhere with her in a back sheath. Her waist length dark hair is usually kept in a plat (practicality I suppose). I think she lets it down once when's she's out to dinner in an elegant dress with heels that, having being seriously injured earlier, were uncomfortable to say the least. As for her features... well she says 'Beautiful I would never be. Striking, that I could manage', which I suppose sums her up. Kate has a tendency to piss off the wrong people including the idiotic head of the Order but namely Beast Lord Curran who she meets during her investigation. You can't tell if they hate, like or even respect each other and that is what makes the scenes between these two engaging and pretty funny. Kate has a knack of getting under Curran's skin with her retorts, comments...basically her general behaviour, and vice versa. Curran is the Beast Lord, the leader of the Atlanta shape-shifter pack. He looks younger than his 30 or so years and is supremely strong, has short blond hair and is heavily chorded with muscle. He has a handsome face but his nose looks to have been broken at some point, which according to Kate means 'someone must have pounded his face with a sledgehammer' as shape-shifters heal rapidly. Curran does not take kindly to people undermining his authority, unfortunately Kate does this with practically every breath, starting with the comment 'Here Kitty, Kitty' what she first meets Curran. He the ultimate alpha male and wants Kate to do exactly as he tells her, when he tells her....All I can say is dream on buddy, Kate is hardly a pushover. The interactions between these two never fail to bring a smile to my face. I hope they keep this up in books to come because it's just fantastic.

Mystery and intrigue surrounds both Kate and Curran's pasts and heritage as they both seem stronger than your average Merc or shape-shifter should be, what with Curran being over 5ft tall at the shoulder in his lion form...and striped somehow. Though Kate especially seems to have an interesting past as she says she was brought up knowing how to kill and it's very important to her that no-one gets a hold of her blood...something I am looking forward to discovering the reason behind.

This is just fantastically written and the characters are amazing, the connection with the reader is great, and you can't help but love Kate. I immediately ran to my computer to order the next in the series hoping it will be just as good! I'm telling you after you read this you will want to follow Kate anywhere, just to see the havoc she and Slayer will cause.

My Rating: 5/5

Review: Dark Prince by Christine Feehan

Ok guys this is my 1st ever review, so I picked the series that got me interested in the Paranormal Romance genre in the first place.

Title: Dark Prince
Author: Christine Feehan
Publisher: Dorchester Publishing/Love Spell
Released: July 1999
Series: Dark Series, Book #1

Source: My personal copy

From Christine Feehan's website:
A telepathic hunter of serial killers, Raven Whitney helps catch some of the most depraved criminals. But her work keeps her from getting close to others, and has drained her body and spirit. In need of rest and rejuvenation, she embarks on a vacation far from home.
Mikhail Dubrinksy is the Prince of the Carpathians, the powerful leader of a wise and secret ancient race that thrives in the night. Engulfed by despair, fearful of never finding the mate who can save him from the encroaching darkness, his soul cries out in loneliness. Until the day a beautiful voice full of light and love responds, softly soothing his pain and yearning.
From the moment they meet, Raven and Mikhail are helpless to resist the desire that sparks between them. But just as fate unexpectedly brings these life mates together, malevolent forces threaten to destroy them and their fragile love. Yet even if they survive, how can these two lovers – Carpathian and human – build a future together? And how can Mikhail bring Raven into his dark world without extinguishing her beautiful goodness and light?

First I'll give those of you who are not familiar with this series some background to the Carpathian people. Carpathians are a race of beings as old as time itself, their homeland is the area of the Carpathian mountains. They have an endless lifespan, but don't get me wrong they can be killed, it just takes an awful lot to do it. They do not take nourishment from food, rather they live on blood. THEY ARE NOT VAMPIRES, though male Carpathians can 'turn', basically they kill while feeding and become soulless, evil shadows of the proud warriors they once were. Carpathians also have immense power, control the elements, compulsion, memory wiping, shape-shifting the list goes on.
Their race is dying out, each Carpathian has a lifemate who completes the other half of their soul. Without a lifemate, male Carpathians are far more likely to turn the older they get. Lifemates are rare and especially in the last 1000 years or so the number of lifemates being found has dropped dramatically, and only a handful of infants make it past their first year, all of them male. Not good.

Ok background over, hopefully that was helpful. I absolutely love this series and who better to start it off with than the leader of the Carpathian people aka. Mikhail Dubrinsky. Mikhail is 1000 years old (give or take a couple of decades) he has gorgeous long black hair and his body is in fine form for someone his age. But the pressures of being leader of a dying race are starting to overcome him and he doubts his his people will survive much longer. He has given up all hope of finding the other half of his soul when he stumbles across Raven (or rather she stumbles across him). Raven is an American human, who also happens to be telepathic. She's staying in the Carpathian region after using her power to hunt down some of the more depraved serial killers in America. One night Raven feels Mikhail's despair (even though he is miles away) and reaches out with her telepathy to comfort him. Her life will never be the same as Mikhail discovers she is his lifemate and intends to make her fall in love with him. He basically follows her trying to keep her safe, which, because of who Raven is, is not the simplest of tasks and she is not the kind of woman who lets someone walk all over her, even if he is a handsome Prince.

This is a very good start to the series and you learn all you need to about the Carpathian lifestyle within the first few chapters so it's easy to follow. We also get introduced to some interesting characters including Mikhails fearsome bodyguard and best friend Gregori Daratrazanoff, he basically is so powerful that other Carpathians avoid him and Vampires do not want him hunting them, it's not a fight they will win. Anyway back to Mikhail, he's quite dominating at first, wanting to control Raven's actions and change her nature in a misguided attempt to keep her safe. Raven is not someone who does something just because Mikhail tells her to though and she ends up in trouble a few times, attacks from both vampire and humans alike does not a calm Mikhail make. Despite these troubles love blossoms between these two and there are several beautiful scenes between them (though some become quite erm... descriptive shall we say).

Overall a pretty good book, one I re-read often because it's a story of the kind of love every girl dreams of, and in the end, Mikhail is the perfect match for Raven. If you love paranormal romance, this is one to look out for.

My rating: 4/5

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