Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Review: This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Review: This Side of the Grave
Series: Night Huntress – Book 5
Author: Jeaniene Frost
No of Pages: 357
Release Date: 22 February 2011


Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones have fought for their lives, as well as for their relationship. But just when they’ve triumphed over the latest battle, Cat’s new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset a long-standing balance...

With the mysterious disappearance of vampires, rumours abound that a species war is brewing. A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage.

Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous “ally” – the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.

My Thoughts:

Oh, how it’s been too long since I have had a good dose of Cat and Bones.

After turning full vampire Cat thought her only troubles would be to do with her new eating habits, but before long she is thrown headlong in to the thick of another war which she just so happens to be the centre of. Starting with an investigation into the disappearance of some masterless vampires Cat and Bones soon realise that these seemingly random attacks a part of a much bigger plot.

Cat is absolutely awesome as always, with her new vampire eating habits the hilarity is only heightened and her abilities getting better and better. Cat couldn’t just be a normal vampire, she feeds on vampire blood and absorbs any powers that vampire also possesses, hence her pyrokinesis from Destined for and Early Grave. But now she realises that she needs to feed on younger vampires, because the blood she’s drinking – usually Bones’ – is too strong and she can’t cope with the powers she’s absorbing.

Bones is as funny as ever with his trademark English accent and absolutely fabulous humour. His most memorable line for me being when he was being interviewed by a human about being a vampire: “Ask me if I sparkle and I’ll kill you where you stand” – That made my day when I read that and it reminded me exactly why I loved Bones from book one.

Vlad made an appearance as well in all of his fearsomeness assisting Cat in controlling the powers she absorbed from drinking Ghouls blood and putting himself on the line once again and of course providing witty commentary to Cats new dilemma of repelling ghost using garlic and weed (yep, you read that right). I love that Frost doesn’t just stick to the dynamic of Cat and Bones but can also give us the added dimension of the friendship of Cat and Vlad without it seeming biased or awkward; it is just another testament to her brilliant writing.

Frost’s writing in this series and her ideas are continuing to amaze me. Her premise of the ghoul/vampire war and Cat’s powers coupled with the hilarity of the characters and just the sheer individuality of the things she comes up with are just astounding.

Oh and for the record, the “South Wales” reference I mentioned in Halfway to the Grave has now been corrected! The reference to “New South Wales” came up in This Side of the Grave and I was so proud to hear my beautiful state being referred to.

The only thing I don’t like about the Night Huntress series in general is that I read them way too fast and then I have to wait until the next instalment.

If you haven’t started this series yet I implore you to drop everything you are doing right now and run to the nearest store to get yourself a copy, I promise you, life is not complete without this series sitting on your shelf.

Other books in this series:
Halfway to the Grave
One Foot in the Grave
At Grave's End
Destined for an Early Grave
One Grave at a Time

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Book Review: Running Blind by Nicki J. Markus

Review: Running Blind
Series: Time Keepers – Part 1
Author: Nicki J. Markus
No of Pages: 10
Release Date: 4 March 2011

It seems like any ordinary day as Nick waits for the train, but then a chance encounter with a young woman turns his world upside down. What is it that she is running from and will helping her jeopardise his own secret, making him a target too?

My Thoughts:

Running Blind is one of the best short stories I have read in a long time.

Nick is minding his business on the train when he sees a girl running for the ready-to-close doors. His gut instinct is to help her get on the train, so he helps her, and then he sees the policemen running after her.

Running Blind is a fantastic quick read, and one of the most well-written short stories I have read in far too long a time. As with all short stories Running Blind gathered its steam from action and a bit of suspense, there was no time for back ground, no time for character or relationship development, just the in the moment spontaneity that comes with the territory.

And boy did Markus pull that off. She didn’t waste time with needless descriptions but still added enough detail to the story to create a fantastic fast-paced picture. The only thing that left me wanting was for a little bit more suspense, but with the cliff-hanger ending she left us with my mind is reeling from the possibilities of what could come next.

I am more astounded than anything that Running Blind was just so incredibly well-written. Writing an interesting, engaging short story seems to be so hard for some people to achieve but Markus’ writing was absolutely superb and I can't wait for Part Two.

Others in this Series:
The Beast Within

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Book Review: Strange Familiar by Hunter Cassidy

Review: Strange Familiar
Author: Cassidy Hunter
No of Pages: 146
Release Date: 14 December 2010

Fate finally brings Olivia her Familiar… too bad fate is a bored bitch with a dark sense of humor.

At last, Olivia Brew's Familiar has found her. Now that the search is over, her weakened powers and strength will be restored, and she can get on with her witchy life. But there's a problem. Her familiar's not exactly what she expected. And she just might be falling in love with him.

Kane Oliver's got problems of his own. He's not interested in being anyone's pet, and he's got secrets so deeply buried even he isn't aware of them. Though he can't deny the powerful connection between himself and Olivia, he's not exactly Familiar material. And there are beings more powerful than either of them who want to keep it that way…

My Thoughts:

Strange Familiar was hot, but extremely shallow.

Olivia is a witch in need of a familiar. Kane is a man who has a sickness he can’t cure. Both are weak from what they lack and are drawn to each other when they meet. Olivia senses it immediately, as strange as it seems, Kane is destined to be her familiar.

Olivia is an easy, shallow, mildly stupid character. Although at times she was good for a laugh, as soon as anyone touched her, all she could think of was sex. That could have been a good thing, but she used sex in ways that just annoyed me, instead of telling Kane when something was wrong she would throw herself at him and forget with the use of pleasure. At times she shone through as a tough, intelligent witch, but all of it was overshadowed by her easiness with not just Kane but anyone else who touched her.

Kane was a stubborn egotistical male, but he was also a fairly well rounded character. He had an element of realness to him in that he would walk away to think and not just use sex to forget like Olivia. Kane didn’t really seem to care for Olivia though, he thought he was under a love spell so wouldn’t reveal himself to her, it was just shallow sex. Even when Olivia told him she loved him, he would never say it back, he could imply it, but would never say the words.

Strange Familiar just seemed to keep going. More than one plot seemed to be playing out even though it was extremely frustrating that we never got any answers to the big questions. There was no real background into the dynamic of witches and their familiars or why it was so strange that Olivia bonded with a part human, there was no back ground into Kane’s story or answers to questions like who Aunt Herman really was or if Olivia’s father ever told the truth to his wife about his heritage.

Strange Familiar had the potential to be a whirlwind of a story, but the sex overshadowed every element of it. The characters were two dimensional and were only ever detailed enough for their small part in the plot to move forward, nothing but the sex was explored and although it was very hot even that became mildly repetitive toward the end.

The thought actually crossed my mind of “ugh, not again” when the characters took another sex break as it felt forced and completely unnecessary. There was no real bond between Kane and Olivia, and it was painfully obvious. All they had was the physical side to their relationship, nothing more was developed.

Strange Familiar kept me interested because of the shred of a plot we got to witness, but other than some hot sex and a few flash in the pan characters it won’t be a memorable experience.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

TBR Drawer: April 2011

  • Just After Sunset by Stephen King
  • Enchanted. Inc by Shanna Swendson
  • Night Rising by Chris Marie Green
  • Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
  • Need by Carrie Jones
  • Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Claimed by Shadow by Karen Chance
  • Jessicas Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
  • Original Sin by Allison Brennan
  • No Rest for the Wicca by Toni Lotempio
  • Blood Magic by Eileen Wilks
  • Tempting Danger by Eileen Wilks 
  • What's a ghoul to do? by Victoria Laurie
  • Soulless by Gail Carriger
  • The Boys Next Door by Jennifer Echols
  • Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper
  • Shades of Midnight by Lara Adrian
  • Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
  • Bloody Jack by L. A Meyer
  • The Awakening by Kelly Armstrong
  • Dark Beginnings by Gena Showalter
  • The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom
  • The Taken by Sarah Pinborough
  • Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
  • Bloodlines by Lindsay Anne Kendal
  • Dead Men's Dust by Matt Hilton
  • Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs
  • Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs
  • Mortal Remains by Kathy Reichs
  • Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs
  • Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs
  • Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs
  • Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs
  • Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs
  • Monday Mourning by Kathy Reichs
  • The Shadow Seer by Fran Jacobs   RC
  • Everything Erotic: Volume I   RC
  • Everything Erotic: Volume II   RC
  • Everything Erotic: Volume III   RC
  • Bloody Bones by Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Another One Bites The Dust by Jennifer Rardin
  • Biting The Bullet by Jennifer Rardin
  • The Killing Dance by Laurell K. Hamilton 
  • Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
  • The Lunatic Cafe by Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Fatal Embrace by Aris Whittier   RC
  • Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb
  • Embrace by Jessica Shirvington   RC
  • Enticed by Jessica Shirvington   RC
  • Revving Her Wild Engines by Bethany Hale   RC  
  • Ada Legend of a Healer by R. A. McDonald   RC 
  • Cleopatra's Men by Eve Langlais   RC
  • Playthings of the Gods Anthology   RC 
April Arrivals:

  • Defense Against the Dark by Emily Carlin   RC

Friday, April 1, 2011

Monthly Wrap-Up: March 2011

March is done, and this wrap-up is late. But that's ok because I said. March was in a way a good month and yet at the same time...really crappy.

My books and work were the only things worth doing this month, and work is only worth it because I'm getting paid. Yes I'm a little cynical at the moment but once again that's ok because I am an accountant and we don't get jobs unless we hate the world.

Hopefully my faith in mankind shall be restored by next month...if not...well let's see what I come up with lol.

My Favourite book for the month was definitely: This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

In March I read 9 books.
  • Water Song: A Retelling of "The Frog Prince" by Suzanne Weyn
  • Lover Unbound by J. R. Ward 
  • Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost 
  • Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready 
  • This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
  • Breaking Down by Maia Kinney-Petrucha & Stefan Petrucha
  • Strange Familiar by Cassidy Hunter
  • Running Blind by Nicki J. Markus
  • The Lottery by Alexandra O'Hurley 

I reviewed 5 books:

My Shelfari TBR Pile at the start of the month was 1,037 At the end of the month it is 1,034 (yeay!)

My physical TBR pile increased this month from 50 to 54


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