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: 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: Ghost Town by Rachel Caine

ghost-town-front-coverGhost Town is book nine in the Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine.

Since Ada (the ghost in the machine, a main character from Fade Out) no longer operates the machine that protects the boundary of Morganville and ensures those that do leave have a nice, wiped clean memory, the security risks to the town and its secrets have become big on the agenda.  Amelie, the Founder, has instructed super smart Claire Danvers to fix the machine – and the problem – for her or face some serious consequences.

Somehow Claire manages to do it.  But something is wrong.  The memory-wiping aspects of the device seem to be effecting those within the town, rather than outside of it.  And when there is only a fine line between vampires and humans co-existing on a good day in Morganville, you don’t want to be in it when the living and the undead have forgotten how they are supposed to be behaving…

Will Claire and her friends be able to fix the problem before it gets out of hand?  Or are they all destined to lose their memory?

Out of the series so far, this is my favourite book.  I am quickly finding once again how addictive these books are, as soon as I pick them up I struggle to put them down unless I have finished them!

Ghost Town is a high energetic, emotive read, full of action.  I liked seeing how the different characters we had come across in previous books behaved differently in this one, and the emotions of those witnessing what was going on could easily be felt as I followed the story.  In places I felt my eyes welling up, whilst in others I couldn’t help but cringe.

The storyline was captivating throughout, and as the twists and turns unfolded – many of which I didn’t see coming, especially the ending – I knew I just had to keep on reading until the last page.  All-in-all, great stuff!

At the end of the book was an extra short story based in the Morganville Vampires world.  This one, called Worth Living For, was set between Fade Out and Kiss of Death, and was told from the point of view of Shane.  I found this just as engaging to read as the novels, and so felt thoroughly treated! 🙂

I am eager to start reading book ten in the Morganville Vampires series, Bite Club,

Book Review: Kiss of Death by Rachel Caine

kiss-of-death-front-coverKiss of Death is the eighth book in the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine.

When Michael Glass is invited to go to Dallas for a recording session, his friends Claire, Shane and Eve are really excited for him.  This could be the big break he needs for his musical career.  However, the odds that they are going to be allowed out of Morganville are pretty slim.  If you want to leave you need permission.  The problem is, when most people get out of town, they are not too keen on coming back…

However, much to their surprise, passes are given and they are given the green light…only if they take an escort.  Oliver, Amelie’s right hand man and Eve’s boss.  Although this news dents their excitement a little – Oliver isn’t known for his fun side – they are still really eager and fired-up over their first road trip.

But the road trip they find themselves on isn’t the one they planned.  Especially when they believed they were leaving  the danger behind them in Morganville…

It has been a few months since reading book seven in the series, but it all came back as soon as I opened the cover and the detail that I couldn’t recall was nicely drip-feed through the story.

Again, these books are an easy, quick read and don’t take very much effort for the amount of entertainment they provide.  The story is filled with enough drama to keep you reading without being overly complicated and yet although you can guess the direction the story is taking, there are enough twists and turns to keep it interesting.

It was nice to have a change of scenery for this book.  So far, all the others have been set in Morganville itself.  Nevertheless, this is the first book in which I found a few of the characters slightly grating, something I hope is confined to this book only.

Kiss of Death is another sound instalment in this paranormal series, and I’m looking forward to reading book nine, Ghost Town, to see what happens next.

Book Review: The Dark Flight Down by Marcus Sedgwick

the-dark-flight-down-front-foverThe Dark Flight Down is the sequel to The Book of Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick.

The story begins a few days after The Book of Dead Days ends.  Valerian is dead, and Boy and Willow have been fending for themselves in The Yellow House.  Together, they are content, but this isn’t to last.  Kepler, Valerian’s once-friend then enemy, sends Willow to an orphanage whilst he takes Boy back to his own home to become his assistant.

However, when Boy is sent back to The Yellow House to retrieve an item for Kepler, he is captured by the Imperial Guard.  Everything that belonged to Valerian is to be sent to the Palace, and that includes his assistant.  Incarcerated in the Emperor’s dungeons, Boy is soon thrown into a world where finery and opulence are everywhere, but this gilding is hiding much.  Danger and madness are an even greater presence here than outside the palace walls.

Will Willow find out what has become of Boy?  Will Boy manage to escape from the confines of the palace?  And will The Phantom, which is still killing without warning, ever be caught?

I wanted to enjoy this book as much as the first, but for some elusive reason I did not.  Perhaps the character of Valerian in The Book of Dead Days was a more gripping evil character than I found either Kepler or Maxim to be.  Or it could have been the pace was slower and the narrative less dark and gothic in nature.

However, I was happy to continue reading about Willow and Boy, the plans they had for the future and the scrapes they found themselves in and got themselves out of.

Although this series of books is aimed at a young adult audience, I found this instalment much more so than the first, which, as an adult reading it clouded my judgement a little, but I can imagine that it would still appeal to younger readers.

Book Review: The Book of Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick

the-book-of-dead-days-front-coverValerian, a magician in The City, made a Faustian-style pact many years ago that would reveal to him the knowledge he was after.  However, such a deal always comes with a price, and Valerian’s time to avoid certain death is running out.  If he is to survive until the new year, he must find a book of magic that has not been seen for generations.

Along with his apprentice, Boy, they must follow a trail set before them with the aid of Valerian’s inventor friend, Kepler.  But as The Phantom roams The City, killing without warning, and Valerian’s enemies hoping he will fail, can they find the book and prevent the inevitable?  And at what cost?  Time is running out…

This is a young adult book where technology and magic are entwined, creating an atmospheric story full of mystery and darkness.  Although this book was aimed at a younger audience, I did find the story gripping.  There are dark Dickensian elements, Gothic buildings, a magician and a puzzle that needs to be solved in short order or someone will die  – what’s not to love?

Boy and Willow are great characters. Both are lonely, but while Boy seems to accept what fate has dealt him, Willow questions it.  It quickly becomes clear that the two are stronger together, giving each of them who have nothing in this world, something to hold on to.  Whilst the story is unravelling around them, dragging them constantly into danger, Boy is struggling to understand who he is and where he comes from.

All-in-all, I found this book to be surprisingly engaging and rich in dark description.  The City is an interesting place, full of interesting characters and reminiscent of many Victorian cities.

As I already had book two in the series (The Dark Flight Down) about the house, I started reading it as soon as I finished this one so that I could find out what happens next to Boy and Willow.