Book Review: Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine

Bitter Blood is book thirteen in the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine.

Summary:

Things are never easy in Morganville.  Now that the only thing vampires are scared of – the draug – are no longer a threat, the delicate balance in the town where humans and vampires have just about managed to get along, is thrown into disarray.  Vampires, who had kept some of their wilder instincts in check thanks to the effort by the town’s founder, Amelie, are suddenly allowed to indulge in their every whim – no matter the cost to the human population.

But this is Morganville.  Will the living inhabitants of the town decide to cower in a corner or fight for their lives?  Once again, the inhabitants of the Glass house find themselves stuck in the middle, and their list of friends is dwindling all the time…

To complicate matters further, a group of ghost hunters are in town, filming for their latest TV show.  Surely that can only end in disaster?

Favourite Quote:

I lifted up the right slipper again and addressed its soggy little head.  ‘I’m afraid I might have

to leave you behind.  And you too, twin.  It will be difficult enough to climb without you hampering me.

And your fangs aren’t very sharp.’

Review:

It’s been months since I last visited Morganville.  I must admit that I was apprehensive as I read the first few pages, wondering if I was going to enjoy this book as much as I remembered enjoying the rest of the series.  After all, we are on book thirteen now, and I kind of felt as if I was waiting for the bottom to fall out of the series; can something this good really stay this good or will there come a time when I think that the latest book doesn’t live up to the rest?

I needn’t have feared.  It wasn’t long before I was completely immersed in the town and characters’ lives once more, wondering how Claire, Shane, Michael and Eve were going to get out of the latest mess they found themselves in.  But as always, Myrnin stole the show; my favourite quote from the book is courtesy of this rather strange, wonderful character.

Again we are given glimpses into other characters POV, which certainly adds an extra dimension to the story as well as heightening the tension as the tale unfolds. There were a good number of plot twists that I didn’t see coming, and the drama was nicely interspersed with action, ensuring the pace never falters.  Al-in-all, an entertaining, addictive read.

As I write this review, I’ve already read books fourteen and fifteen in the series, so you can expect to see those reviews posted soon.

Rating:

Book Review: Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

angelology-front-cover

Angelology is the first book in the Angelology series by Danielle Trussoni.

Summary:

Evangeline has spent the majority of her life behind the walls of a convent, living a life of contemplation and prayer.  Her mother died in Paris when she was small, and only a few years later, she was given into the care of the sisters at St Rose Convent in New York by her father.  When she is old enough, she decides to become a nun at the same convent.  But, a chance meeting with a visiting historian has lasting consequences and turns her life completely upside down.

Secrets abound, and Evangeline and her family are caught up in them.  And as the truth unravels, Evangeline finally uncovers who her parents were and what they did…

Favourite Quote:

It’s funny how the past is so often judged sacred while the modern world is held in suspicion.

Review:

So, this is going to be a mixed review.  Let’s look at what I didn’t like to begin with.

First off, I feel like I should have liked this book more than I did.  I love paranormal fiction especially if it is blended with a nice dose of mystery and history too.  However, I think I’ve realised that I do not like my paranormal fiction to have a literary bend; to me, it makes the story too…heavy.  And I’m guessing it is that which is responsible for my feelings towards this book.  It was a heavy read, and that made it a slow read.

The other big problem I had with this story was the ending.  So, I had made it through the heavy, slow-paced 640+ pages, the driving force behind which was to finish the book and reach a satisfactory conclusion, only to be given the foundation of the next book in the series instead.  I had no idea this book was part of a series, so you can imagine that this was a major stumbling block to my enjoyment of it (which I freely recognise is more my own fault than that of the author’s).

And so to the good points of the book.  The characters.  They were great.  It was easy to like the good characters (Evangeline and Verlaine) and dislike the bad ones (Percival Grigori).  Also, if you like rich, fluid detail in your prose, you will love this book.  It is packed full of vivid descriptions, of settings, of people, of their thoughts and feelings.  The story was fresh and on the whole, engaging, which kept me reading until the end.  The mythology and lore that is wrapped up in the narrative is interesting and helped to create a fascinating premise, I only wished I enjoyed reading it more.

The next book in the series is Angelopolis.

Rating:

two-stars

Book Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

shiver-front-coverShiver is the first book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater.

Summary:

When Grace was small, she was dragged off the swing in her back garden by wolves and pulled into the woods behind her house.  Somehow she survived the attack.  Deep down she knows it has something to do with the wolf with yellow eyes – her wolf.

As the years pass, she marks the changing seasons by the presence or lack there of, of the wolves in Boundary Woods.  When they’re not there, she misses them terribly.  When they are, she knows the yellow-eyed wolf is close by, watching.  And there is something almost human about him…

Sam is a young man caught between worlds.  In winter he is destined to live his life with the pack in the woods, the only true family he has ever loved.  In summer, when the temperature allows, he shifts back to being human.

Then, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy, and she just knows he is her wolf.  But things are never that simple.  Sam’s time is running out.  When it does, he will lose Grace, forever.

Favourite Quote:

She made a soft noise that, roughly translated, meant piss off in sleep language.

Review:

First, I loved this book, even though it made me cry.  Yes, I can be terribly soft and sentimental…

As a YA book, it was a quick and easy read, and it didn’t take long for me to get swept up with the story.  One thing in particular stood out to me as I read it: it is full of gorgeous descriptions of the setting, convincingly transporting me to Mercy Falls.

Shiver reminded me a little of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books.  Star-crossed lovers, impossible odds of being together, paranormal boyfriend – human girlfriend…and yet I felt they were so different, probably due to the style of the author’s writing.

I enjoyed the mythology surrounding the wolves.  Having the temperature play such an important role in the story really added drama and tension to it.  I also liked how we got to see what was happening from both Grace’s and Sam’s point of view.

I liked Grace; she is a strong young woman, and will do what it takes to fight for who she loves.  And Sam, caught between the life he knows and a life with the woman he loves…it’s not hard to feel for him.

I am looking forward to reading the second book in the trilogy, Linger, to see where the story leads next…

Rating:

four-stars

Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

switched-front-coverSwitched is the first book in the Trylle trilogy by Amanda Hocking.

Summary:

Wendy Everly knew she wasn’t like everyone else when her mother tried to kill her when she was six years old, convinced that she was a monster.  A decade later, Wendy is living with her brother and her aunt.  They move around a lot because Wendy, who can’t settle, keeps getting thrown out of school.  But she has a secret…a secret power that means she can influence peoples thoughts and decisions to her own advantage.

When Finn, the new boy at school, starts staring at her intensely whenever they are in the same space, Wendy begins to worry.  Does he know her secret?  Or does he know more about her secret than she does?  One thing’s for sure…Wendy’s life will never be the same again…

Favourite Quote:

I look at you because I can’t look away.

Review:

I have only read one other Amanda Hocking novel before this one, Hollowland, which I thoroughly enjoyed, so when I came across Switched at the bookshop I knew I had to read it.  I wasn’t disappointed.  It took me a few pages to connect with the character of Wendy, but after reading further, if felt like that was intentional and the reason behind it unfolds as the story does.

Switched was a very easy book to read, thanks to the author’s writing style.  Also, the mythology around the Trylle is very different from what we know of trolls from myths and legends and that made the story fresh and exciting.  The other characters are likeable, and the story moves along at a good pace.  There is action, romance, loss, secrets and revelations all nicely woven into the plot.  The bonus short story at the back of the book was a great read too!

I have added Torn, the second book in the trilogy, to my “To Be Bought” list.

Rating:

four-stars

 

Book Review: Jingle Spells edited by Heather Marie Adkins (part 2)

Here’s the second part of my review of the CyberWitch Press anthology, Jingle Spells.  If you missed part one, you can check it out here.

Molly by Brittany White

Molly has had a tough life. Now living on the streets, she is in a bad way.  When she is held at knife-point and robbed in a dark alley, she is saved by a stranger, who realises what she is.  But if he knows, others will too. There’s no way Molly can imagine the danger she is in…or how special she is…

As I read this short story I couldn’t help but feel for poor Molly.  She’s had such a hard time – I had to keep reading just to see how things turned out for her.  An engaging read.

Holiday Dreams by K. Laslie

Ayden is quite different and always has been.  He dreams things that eventually come true.  It’s a secret he’s never been able to share, and so he’s kept it to himself for years.  But one winter the dreams change and what he is shown scares him.  Is he going to be able to deal with what he has seen this time?

I liked this story; it’s different, and Ayden is a character one can easily empathise with.  His story is a hard one, made harder because of his “gift” but it was interesting to read how Ayden developed throughout the tale.  A compelling read.

The Witch’s Brew by Heather Maria Adkins

Daiya runs “The Witch’s Brew”, a coffee shop in Tates Creek, where she adds a little bit of magic to each drink she brews for her customers.  On the way home from work one night, Daiya discovers the body of a murdered man in the woods.  But who is he?  And who has killed him?

I loved this story, and if I was in Tates Creek I would definitely be getting my hot drinks and pastries from “The Witch’s Brew”.  Daiya is a great main character and my kind of witch – magical and practical.  The supporting cast are great too, as is the setting.  A thoroughly captivating read.

So that wraps up my review of the anthology.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  All the stories were quite different, and I would certainly like to read more from each of the authors in the future.  I am honoured to have my work appear amongst theirs.  You can download a copy of Jingle Spells for FREE via Smashwords, by following this link.

Book Review: Jingle Spells edited by Heather Marie Adkins (part 1)

Up first for 2016’s Festive Reads Fortnight is Jingle Spells, a multi-author anthology from CyberWitch Press, which you can download for FREE from Smashwords.  I usually review the short stories in an anthology individually, but this time I am going to divide the review into two parts.

Now, before we begin, a little disclaimer: this post is equal parts shameless plugging and book review.  Why?  Because I have a short story in it.  Needless to say, I’m not going to review my own contribution, but I will add a short description of what it’s about, just in case anyone is interested.

So, let’s begin…

Jingle Spells is the first of the CyberWitch Press Short Fiction Anthologies, and is edited by Heather Marie Adkins, who runs the small press.  She also designed the pretty cover.

Solstice Flames by J. Laslie

Solstice Flames tells the story of Anya Sutherland, an ordinary girl from Meade Harbour, Massachusetts, awaiting the coming of the school’s Holiday Dance, where rumour has it, Heath Lockhart was going to ask her to go with him.  Anya couldn’t be more excited or more nervous, but in the run-up to the dance, something she can’t explain begins to happen to her…

This was quite an individual tale, where the modern world maintains out-dated laws.  I really felt for Anya, and I wasn’t sure how the story was going to end, which kept me guessing until the very last lines.  A great read.

A Midwinter Manifestation by Sammi Cox

It is Midwinter Eve, and Maeve Featherstone, a modern-day sorceress, is having a quiet night in and hoping to plan her Winter Solstice celebrations.  However, her presence is urgently required at Evie Whitworth’s house. Evie has repeatedly been told to stop dabbling in magic, but she never listens.  The question is, what has Evie done this time?  Will the arrival of an unexpected guest ruin the festive period for Evie and the entire village of Wood End? Not if Maeve can help it…

This is the first short story to feature the Secret Sorceress, Maeve Featherstone, but look out for more from her in the future…I have a few ideas planned, and some all ready finished…

The Witch’s Shoes by Sidonia Rose

Arwen goes out one evening with her cousin to a club, in the run-up to the winter solstice.  In the club she meets Brogan, next to whom she wakes the following the morning, only to find that the room is full of falling feathers.  It’s clear that magic is afoot, but Arwen has no idea who Brogan is and what his presence means for her.

This story is told from both the viewpoints of Arwen and Brogan, which added a nice dose of humour to the story as we saw it unfold from their individual perspectives.  An interesting read.

Part 2 will be posted soon…

Book Review: Black Dawn by Rachel Caine

black-dawn-by-rachel-caine-front-coverBlack Dawn is the twelfth book in the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine.

Morganville – the small Texan town where humans and vampires live together in relative harmony – is falling apart.  After the arrival of the draug, the only creature that can truly inspire fear in the heart of a vampire, things take a decidedly dark turn in the town.  When the draug show up, vampires either run or die.

However, whilst most of the town’s inhabitants have been evacuated, Claire, Eve, Shane and Michael decide to stay and take the fight to the draug.  They do, after all, have good reason to wish them dead.

But when Amelie, the town’s founder is bitten by the master draug, not only do they have to win the battle but find a cure…before it’s too late.

I am really enjoying reading the story from the many different viewpoints, so this development in the storytelling was a great idea.  It gives the reader a wider scope and can reveal more of what is going on beyond the the main character’s immediate environment.

The draug are an interesting enemy and I found learning how they effect both humans and vampires both scary and intriguing.  There are a few major plot twists that I did not anticipate, which is always great, and the pace of the story kept me hooked until the very end.

When you reach this far in a series, you always wonder how long the author can keep you interested in the characters and the trials they face.  That doesn’t seem to be a problem with the Morganville Vampires, I am happy to say.

I am looking forward to reading book thirteen in the series, and I am intrigued to find out where Morganville and its inhabitants can go from here.