Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review: Tracey O'Hara - Death's Sweet Embrace - Book 2

Book Description

After centuries of secret conflict, humans and parahumans have reached an uneasy truce. But unspeakable evil now threatens the tenuous peace.

Teenaged shapeshifters are being slaughtered by a sadistic serial killer who rips their still-beating hearts from their paralyzed bodies. A task force forms to halt the madness, including the vampiric Aeternus Antoinette Petrescu, as well as Kitt Jordan and Raven Matokwe, members of enemy Animalian tribes . . . and forbidden lovers.

A centuries-old blood feud has divided their shapeshifting peoples, and if their passion is discovered it will doom them both. But past hostilities must be put aside, for the killer they seek is but the first sign of the all-consuming nightmare of The Dark Brethren.

I got this book as an ARC for review.

I must admit I was hesitant about this book when I found out that the protagonist had changed to Kitt, a friend of Oberon’s (a secondary character in Night’s Colds Kiss). I tend to treat a spin off book with the same distrust I would give a TV series spin off or a sequel of a classic Disney movie. However, when I read Death’s Sweet Embrace I really enjoyed it. Antionette and Christian were still featured as secondary characters so I could see what they were doing and experience some more fight scenes featuring Antionette, while I learnt about Kitt and grew to love her as well. In essence, demoting Antionette to a secondary character really worked.

Kitt is a snow leopard shifter with black and white hair which is distinctive to the race. She works as a lecturer of parahuman forensic pathology. Raven is the love interest and he was a werewolf. The crime aspect of the story reminded me of the early work by Laurell K Hamilton’s with Anita Blake. Tracey O’Hara displayed the same attention to detail when examining the body post-mortem.

The story was layered with Raven and Kitt’s history. At the beginning it could be a little confusing where a feeling was created where you knew you were missing something, but this added to the intrigue. Just like the first book in the series, death’s sweet embrace had a fascinating mystery involving a serial killer that kept you wondering.

The book was a little slow at the beginning possibly because of the, at times, frustratingly slow revelations of information concerning Kitt and Raven’s past. In addition, the romance wasn’t filled with as much chemistry as I would have expected with their history. In this way it felt more like a dark urban fantasy than a paranormal romance, more focused on the world and the storyline than the romance.

However, I still enjoyed the romance between Kitt and Raven. I loved the idea of these two characters being apart for twenty years but still loving each other, as well as the progressively revealed story about why they separated and the sacrifices they made in their lives. I also really felt for Kitt and while reading I was continually hoping she would get treated with more fairness, be given access to her children and be accepted back into her pack. I was completely surprised when I found out why she was exiled by her father.

On a side note, I was very curious as to how old Kitt was when I read that the shape shifters (Animalian) could live for several hundred years. This wasn’t answered in the book. Raven had to be at least 80 but there was no mention of Kitt’s age that I noticed except a few things mentioned that leads you to conclude that she has to be at least 40 or older. I also had some standout favourite scenes that I absolutely loved. First I loved how Antionette helped Kitt get rid of some unwanted suitors, including the fight afterwards; it was so funny (If you have read the book you’ll know what I mean). Second, the idea for the shadow combat game was great. A unique twist on the idea of using magic and paranormal abilities to compete i.e. baseball with vampire players in the Twilight series and Quidditch in Harry Potter. Finally, one of my favourite parts was when Christian jumps out and surprises Antionette and Kitt.

In summary, I’m looking forward to reading the next book. I’m especially looking forward to learning more about the Dark Brethren.

My rating out of 5:


Waiting on Wednesday - Green-Eyed Demon (Sabina Kane) Jaye Wells

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Go check out Breaking the Spine if you are interested in participating in Waiting on Wednesday! This week's book:

 Green-Eyed Demon (Sabina Kane, book 3) by Jaye Wells 

  Publication date: February 22, 2011

Book Description: 

Things to do:

1. Rescue sister.
2. Murder grandmother.
3. Don't upset the voodoo priestess.

The clock is ticking for Sabina Kane. Her sister has been kidnapped by her grandmother, the Dark Races are on the brink of war, and a mysterious order is manipulating everyone behind the scenes.

Working on information provided by an unlikely ally, Sabina and her trusty sidekicks--a sexy mage named Adam Lazarus and Giguhl, a Mischief demon--head to New Orleans to begin the hunt for her sister. Once there, they must contend with belligerent werewolves, magic-wielding vampires and--perhaps most frightening of all--humans.

But as much as Sabina is focused on surviving the present, the past won't be ignored. Before she can save those she cares about most, she must save herself from the ghosts of her past.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Richelle Mead - Last Sacrifice - Vampire Academy Book 6

Book Description

Rose is on trial for high treason and the death of Queen Tatiana. Someone is trying to frame her and it looks like even Dimitri might not be able to save her now.


*May contain spoilers*

Out of the whole series I think this book was the one I least enjoyed. That being said it was still fabulous. Richelle Mead is one of my absolute favorite authors. I've never read a book of hers that I haven't really enjoyed and most likely gushed over. So when I say I think this book could have been better it is based on really high standards. 

First for a last book there were quite a few loose ends. Richelle has mentioned there will be a spin off series so I’m assuming these issues will be resolved in those books, since they don't directly relate to Rose. There were lots of little things but one issue that was not completely concluded was the servitude of the Dhampirs to the Moroi. I was really hoping there would be some change here. There was some indication by Lissa that there would be change concerning it in the future, but that was it. The same thing can be said for the Moroi fighting.

Second it felt a bit rushed in some aspects and drawn out in others. The romance between Rose and Dimitri had a sudden turn-around from Dimitri saying he couldn’t love anyone anymore, too I love you, and I want to be with you. In contrast the search for Lissa’s sister was longer than I thought it needed to be. I thought this could have been completed quicker and enabled Rose to return to court to flesh out the situation between Rose, Adrian and Dimitri and embellish on the conclusion and some of the loose ends. I think this would have been a better solution than cheating on Adrian. By the end of the book I felt really bad for Adrian.

A lot of time in the book was spent in Lissa’s perspective at court. I found a lot of this pointless. Usually I enjoy reading the bits where this happens but there was too much of it in this book. I would estimate 50% with Rose and 50% with Lissa. Most of this time with Lissa was searching for the queen’s killer and court duties which could be a bit boring at times. Other things that got concluded too quickly was the insanity Rose was gaining from Lissa, her relationship with her parents and her response to how she caused potential problems for other characters that helped her such as Jill.

My rating out of 5


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Afterlight - Elle Jasper

Book Description

Savannah's most unconventional tattoo artist, Riley Poe, lives on the edge. Now she's put over the edge when her younger brother is taken by a sinister cult led by vampires. Her only ally is the hot-tempered vampire Eli Dupre, attracted to Riley's beauty and rare blood type. To save her brother from certain un-death, Riley faces dangers she's never dreamed of, ruthless bloodthirsty enemies, and an evil of endless hunger that wants to devour it all...


Riley Poe, a tattoo artist and a former wild child, is a mortal with blood that irresistible to vampires. Riley’s brother begins to turn into a vampire after releasing two powerful and long entombed vampires. To save her brother Riley joins up with the Dupre vampire family to destroy the evil vampires before her brother finishes his transformation.


I really enjoyed Afterlight. I was initially attracted to the cover but was unsure on how good the story would be. I soon realized that this was going to be a great series.

The characters are engaging, the storyline is interesting and the romance is full of sexual tension and denied chemistry. Each character has a distinct personality. For example, there is Giles, the head of the Dupre family. He is upfront and doesn't beat around the bush, but he is a loving father and husband. His wife, Elise, seems delicate and too caring to hurt anyone but can fight and defend her family with the best of them. Then there are the Dupre brothers, Seraphin, Jean-Luc and Eligius (also called Phin, Luc and Eli). Luc and Phin are two peas in a pod but Luc is a bit vain in an adorable way, while Phin is a lot more laid back. Eli, Riley's love interest, is really protective of Riley, has a good sense of humor and can be a bit of a badass. The youngest Dupre, Josephine (Josie) is a two hundred plus year old vampire trapped in the body of a fourteen-year-old. She acts like a modern teenager with a healthy dose of mischief and a carefree attitude. Victorian, one of the escaped vampires, becomes obsessed with Riley and shows that even characters cast in the villain role can be intriguing. Finally Riley is really caring and protective but also resilient, determined and tough. 

In general, there are a lot of similarities to the Twilight series but it is still a unique story. Elle created a world that was vivid and detailed with character history and context creation. The romance was a little predictable but still really enjoyable.

My rating out of 5


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tracey O'Hara - Night's Cold Kiss

Book description

The tension between the Aeternus, an ancient vampiric people, and humanity has been mounting for over a century. But when rogue vampires begin to drain humans in order to achieve an illegal blood-high, all bets are off.

After the death of her parents, Antoinette Petrescu devoted her life to becoming one of the top Venators, the elite hunters who destroy the rogue Necrodreniacs. Her kill count is legendary and her skills superb.

But now the serial killer who killed her parents has returned. And to stop him Antoinette must join forces not only with the Aeternus, but also their most legendary killer. One that is both dangerously attractive, and involved in buried secrets of her past. More dangerous still, a dark attraction grows between them--one that could doom both races.


When Antoinette Petrescu was a child she witnessed the death of her mother by a Necrodreniac vampire. This experience made Antoinette feel resentment to all vampires. This resentment fuels her motivation to hunt down criminal vampires, as part of an elite Venator corps. However, Antoinette may have finally met her match when she realises her mother’s murderer may still be alive and hunting her. Helping her is Christian, a sexy Aeternus vampire.


Nights Cold Kiss has a dark serial killer plotline that incorporates mystery with romance, action and good world building.  To counter the dark plotline, Victor, Christian’s best friend was successfully used to lighten the sometimes dark feeling of the book and bring about humour, witty conversation and one-liners. In fact, I loved the Victor character.

Christian and Antionette have a lot of differences that make them an unlikely match. Christian’s grief over the murder of his wife and father influenced him to kill many humans in his search for their killers, enough to gain the title of the crimson executioner. In comparison, Antionette hates any type of vampire (Aeternus and Dreniacs) since the death of her mother and sister.  However, there was instant chemistry between Christian and Antionette. Both characters are drawn to the other despite their denying it to themselves and each other. Their relationship is often fiery with lots of sexual tension and suspense. However, I would have liked a little more romance.

Excluding Victor, the character portrayal was probably the weakest area of this book. Christian and Antionette were not always the most likeable characters. There were moments where Christian could be domineering and aggressive (in an unattractive way) and moments where Antionette could be headstrong and rude. In addition, I felt the characters lacked character development. I think there could have been a bit more subtlety and more depth.

I really enjoyed the twists and turns of the mystery element of the plotline. There were times when I thought I had it all figured out and that it was maybe even a bit obvious but then I would be surprised with a great plot revelation. I also really enjoyed the action scenes. In fact, I thought the plotline, in general, was really good.

In summary, I think you could tell the book was Tracey’s debut book but it was enjoyable anyway. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series and seeing how she progresses as a writer. 

My rating out of 5


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Go check out Breaking the Spine if you are interested in participating in Waiting on Wednesday! This week's book:

 Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, Book 4) by Chloe Neill
 Publication date: May 3, 2011 

 Book Description: Not yet released

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Floods in Brisbane, Australia

Photo taken from

Much of Brisbane and upper NSW has been declared disaster zones. The Brisbane CBD has been flooded with about 100,000 people predicted to be cut off from power for the next few days and 24,000 people have already registered that they will be homeless.

It will be the biggest flood in 118 years. The last flood of similar proportions was in 1974. Since that time the Wivenhoe Dam was built to stop further similar disasters. The 174-foot-high dam has been doing controlled releases since 8 o'clock last night to avoid critical capacity. It has been theorized that if the dam was to break all of Brisbane would be flooded.

Over the next couple of days there is likely to be a shortage of water due to treatment plants reaching maximum capacity.

So far 12 people have died with critical concerns for another 18. At the present time there are still 68 people missing. Some areas have been flooded several times.

Areas such as Ipswich and Toowoomba have been particularly affected. Toowoomba had little warning when the waters rose in minutes. It is understood the Australian Defence Force is working at Toowoomba Hospital to set up a morgue for at least 20 bodies resulting from Monday's flash flooding.

Sickness is a concern for people in flood areas and people who are going into the water.

Our thoughts are with those people affected by the flooding.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Go check out Breaking the Spine if you are interested in participating in Waiting on Wednesday! This week's book:

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning 
 Publication date: January 18, 2011

Book description 

MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.

Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister's murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals that have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief, while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh--a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King that contains the power to create and destroy worlds.


Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvator

Book description

This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one.

Just a few months ago, it was Sam who was the mythical creature. His was the disease we couldn't cure. His was the good-bye that meant the most. He had the body that was a mystery, too strange and wonderful and terrifying to comprehend.

But now it is spring. With the heat, the remaining wolves will soon be falling out of their wolf pelts and back into their human bodies. Sam stays Sam, and Cole stays Cole, and it's only me who's not firmly in my own skin.


Linger was just as beautifully written as Shiver (see review). The love between Sam and Grace was really beautiful. I could really feel their love through Maggie’s writing; the emotions were so clear. In fact the emotions of all the characters were strong and compelling.

In linger, Maggie uses two more points of view (POV): Isabelle and Cole. Both of these characters were complex with hidden torments and motivations. All the characters were completely human. No character was perfect. All were realistic in that that had times where they could be selfish or considerate. Isabelle and Cole were not always kind or sensitive but this did not make them unlovable. They had too much character and enough redeeming qualities to move them away from bad or unfeeling to complex and relatable. In fact Isabelle was my favourite character. Their story of improving themselves, self-forgiveness and healing was touching and confronting. I also adored how honest and upfront Isabelle was. 

However, once again, I found Linger slow to read. Not really a lot happened for the first half of the story. While the characters explored their relationships with each other, their own feelings and reminisced a lot for the purpose of character introduction, when I got to half way and thought about what had happened it was interesting to realize that I couldn't really identify much of a plot-line. As a result of this I enjoyed the second half of the book far more than the first half. While I liked the introduction of Isabelle and Cole the four different POV’s contributed to slowing down the plot progression. In essence, the story had emotional development with little plot development. The exception to this was the cliff-hanger ending. The ending was well thought out and interesting leading to a (potentially) really good book with Forever. 

While I enjoyed Linger I can’t say I think it is as good as the hype lead me to believe (sorry to those who loved it). In fact there were times when I was a little bored and went off to do other things even though there was nothing else I particularly needed or wanted to do. While Maggie’s lyrical writing makes wonderful quotable material, I don’t think the story was particularly memorable. 

My rating out of 5:


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvator

Book description

For  years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.


Shiver explores the relationship between Grace and Sam. When Grace was young she was attacked by wolves. One of the Wolves saves her and Grace develops a fascination with them and in particular the wolf that saved her (Sam). In time, Grace discovers Sam shivering on her back porch, then witnesses his transformation to wolf. The world falls into place for Grace with this discovery but it might all be taken away because Sam might not be able to turn into a human again. Instead, Sam may be stuck as a wolf forever.


I think the key feature of Linger was the beautifully written prose. There was a lot of descriptive language including metaphors, similes and poetic writing but it was also just really well written. To me the word beautiful can sum up the whole book. When, in the future, I think back to Maggie’s book that is what I will best remember.

The love story between Grace and Sam felt like a real, once in a life time, true love relationship. I think this feeling was, in part, largely created by the beautifully written prose, in contrast to gaining this impression from the story line or what the characters think or say. In spite of this it was still believable. In fact, I think it was more believable than if Maggie had explicitly stated how much they loved each other.

The character creation was also very well done. Both characters had a lot of depth and dimensions. Maggie created a complete view of the characters instead of a basic outline of a person. I felt that I really understood them as people and could understand their reactions to events and possibly even predict their reactions to future situations. Maggie achieved this though a detailed personality analysis, a clear character history and descriptions about their current environmental situation.

There were a few things that reduced my enjoyment of the book. First of all, Grace’s initial obsession with the wolves was a little weird. I thought it was sweet that there was such a connection between her and Sam after he saved her as a girl but it was a bit strong and a little unhealthy. After Grace’s attack looking for ‘her’ wolf and the wolves in general, were what her life seemed to revolve around. In addition, when she said her relationship had changed with the wolf lately (i.e. since she got older) and she couldn’t talk about it as easily with her friends, in combination with her previously made mention to not finding the right boy yet to have a boy friend, I couldn’t help but think ….. ‘beastiality’. I knew he was a werewolf, but she didn’t (at that point). 

Second, there wasn’t a lot of falling in love. They almost started out as ‘in love’ from the first meeting and at most the relationship developed over the first few nights after Sam had turned into a human. If you’re a fan of love at first sight this might be a good romance for you but for me it left the story a little lacking.

Finally, the story line was also a little lacking. The story seemed very slow. Not much happened in terms of a main plotline except descriptions by Grace and Sam to with their relationship and the problems involved with it, such as the possibility of Sam turning back into a wolf forever, at any time. The sub-plots were not explored to any great degree and they were in general far too predictable. In fact the whole story was a little too predictable. There was also a noticeable absence of tension between the characters. This made me a little bored with their relationship despite the obvious connection between them.

Of note for parents, there is a reference within the book to making love with the use of protection. However, the scene was discrete. It did not have detailed descriptions instead there was only a vague outline of the act.

My rating out of 5


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Book Chick City reading challenges

I found some more 2011 reading challenges that look really good. Both are hosted by Book Chick City. The first should be fairly easy since it is for Urban Fantasy and Horror and Urban Fantasy is my favorite genre. The second should be interesting because it is to read 100 books in 2011 and I've never counted the amount of books I read. It should be interesting to see where 100 books get me.

The Horror & Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge 2011

Challenge Details
  1. Timeline: 01 Jan 2011 - 31 Dec 2011 
  2.  Rules: To read TWENTY FOUR (24) horror & urban fantasy novels in 2011 (24 is the minimum but you can read more if you wish!)
  3. You don't have to select your books ahead of time, you can just add them as you go. Also if you do list them upfront you can change them, nothing is set in stone! The books you choose can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.
  4. You can join anytime between now and the later part of next year.
  5. At the beginning of Jan 2011, you will find a link to add your reviews.
  6. You don't have to have a blog to join in, just head over to Book Chick City for those details.
Reading List
1. Vicious Grace by M.L.N. Hanover           2. Awaken by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast, book 8

    100 Books In A Year Reading Challenge 2011

    Challenge Details
    1. Timeline: 01 Jan 2011 - 31 Dec 2011
    2. Rules - Read 100 or more books in 2011
    3. All books can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.
    4. Only print books and ebooks count (no audiobooks).
    5. You can join anytime between now and the later part of next year.
    6. At the beginning of Jan 2011, I will add a link so you can add your reviews but this is not obligatory.
    7. You don't have to have a blog to join in, just head over to Book Chick City for those details.

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    Parajunkee's View Challenges

    Parajunkee is hosting two reading challenges for 2011! One involves vampires and the other is werewolves. So of course I'm joining. First I love a good challenge and second vampires and shifters....these are my standard book diet :) hmmm... maybe it won't be that much of a challenge.

    Here are the details:

    • Post about this challenge on your blog stating that you are participating. That post is the link that you will include in the Mr. Linky below. The link should be the post link not just your blog link.
    • Grab the button and display it in the post (use grab code underneath the button) or on your sidebar so others can join in the fun.
    • Challenge goes from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011
    • The challenge is to read 20 books that have a vampire as a main character, either protag or antagonist (for vampire challenge)
    •  The challenge is to read 20 books that have a shifter as a main character, either protag or antagonist (for shifter challenge)
    • There will be a post that goes up for January 1 where you add each book as you read them and discuss books read in the comments. Post for Vampire challenge and post for Shifter challenge.
     Reading list for Vampire challenge           Reading list for Shifter challenge