02 10 / 2011
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross. Where to begin, where to begin… With that title? Perfect. With the cover? Divinely beautiful. With the genre? Steampunk fab. With the language? Playful, clever goodness. World building? Amazing. Plot? Tight. Protagonists? Super powered teens take on the world.
I think you get the picture. I was supposed to write this review months ago, but the minute I opened this book I realized I wanted to make it last. So I did, rationing out pages here and there and rereading whole chunks of the book. And I think it spoke to me because of the attention to detail by Ms Cross and, of course, because it is this amazing marriage between urban fantasy and historical romance, two genres I love but so rarely coexist in a satisfying way. All the amazing action combined with sinister class wars, the battle between man and machine, and a fantastic lead in Finley as she struggles with her Mr Hyde.
I think I can safely say this is the ONLY YA book I’ve read that I totally forgot was YA as I was reading it. And that, for me, is high praise. So really, all I have left to say is, my apologies for taking so long to review this because everyone should get their hands on a copy and demand a sequel ASAP.
Disclosure: I received a Advanced Reader’s Copy for review .
27 9 / 2011
I love it when fantasy authors create new worlds and idea by appropriating totally benign words and concepts without resorting to making up whole new languages. In Blood Bound, Ms Vincent ensure I’ll never think of ‘Skilled’ in quite the same way again. Or blood. Or tattoos. Or vows. Ok, back to the book…
For a YA writer, the author has created an incredibly dark adult world with the Unbound series debut. It really reminded me of the HBO series The Wire for many reasons, but instead of drugs they’re dealing in people and bodily fluids. Throw in a dash of Romeo and Juliet style star-crossed lovers from different ‘Families’ and you get a heady, veering-on-dark tale (if you like the Stacia Kane Downside books then give this a go).
Ms Vincent excels in keeping a tight pace and throwing a twist in here and there; it kept me nosing through the pages at a incredible rate to find out how on earth Liv and Sam were going to get their happy ending with the amount of strings attached to their lives. Which I’m very glad they got; if this had been a cliffhanger ending this review may have been very different.
06 9 / 2011
I like a good romance with my urban fantasy but this crosses over into paranormal romance (by the way, what are the genre boundaries for PR vs UF? Anyone?). Not that that is a minus, but I seriously felt like this book was less strong in that department compared to the potentially amazing story I almost, almost got sucked into 100%. But 80% is pretty damn good too!
Chosen by Blood is definitely the first in a series in that a lot of time is spent prepping us for book two. Again, not necessarily a minus, but I wanted more of the adventure!
So much potential which I hope book two brings out.
05 9 / 2011
I have only praise for Kelly Gay and her books. She is one of my top four authors (including Chloe Neill, Ilona Andrews and Karen Chance). I counted down to book three of this series in a way that bordered on desperate.
I am so grateful that I have never even have had a twinge of ‘sigh. why am I reading this?’ with any of the books and fervently hope this continues in the books to come. She perfectly blends an incredible mystery and story with a nail-biting relationship between hero and heroine in every book and I think I should stop now before I just start fan-girling out and my brain pops.
Hour of Dust and Ashes is no exception. Seriously amazing story and character developments with world-building that is taken to a new level for the series. Insanely good. Period.
But start with Better Part of Darkness and enjoy the fact that you can gulp down three books in a row. Unlike me, who has to wait a whole year for book four.
04 9 / 2011
Quarter Square by David Bridger is going to be a difficult book to review. Not because I’m ambivalent or want to temper my response, but because of the beautiful way this book is crafted. Anything I comment on specifically will only spoil the tale for the reader. It is seriously one of those books, the first twist comes in the first chapter and I really don’t want to give anything away. It’s a slippery slope to stand on in terms of reviewing.
I actually can’t believe how short the book was in relation to how much ground it covered. Amazing pace and tension all the way through and it feels more like an old school fantasy than an urban fantasy book.
Suffice to say, I wholeheartedly recommend this, in many ways it reminds me of the magical English children’s books I grew up but with a gorgeous urban fantasy twist. Worlds piled upon worlds and history so thick you can see it. Joe, our hero, is as clueless as the reader and it makes for a page-turner of a book. A great male lead (right after I was bemoaning the lack of male protagonists in the urban fantasy genre as well!) from Mr Bridger and I’m looking forward to the next in the Wild Times series just to watch him find even more of himself and the world he’s in.
I will stop being so vague at this point and just let you go get a copy. It’s worth it.And yes, I did get my review copy for free but I honestly wasn’t influenced by that at all. No qualifications in this review.
30 8 / 2011
Do you have an ‘A’ list of books and a ‘B’ list? My wishlists always have books from the ‘B’ list on it. Reminders in case I’m ever hard up for a book and need something that isn’t going to be a complete disaster but then again isn’t an auto-buy. Unfortunately, despite having this on my to-read list (oh boy, I have waaaaaayyy too many lists. I apologize!) for over a year, the Red Headed Stepchild and the rest of the series is going on the ‘B’ list. I just couldn’t get into it, couldn’t fall in love, no matter how much I wanted to! I’m always looking for a new series to adore to fill in the gaps between books and dull the pain of waiting (drama!) but this isn’t it.
What is wrong, you ask? Or maybe you just want me to get to the point, NOW! Our heroine just isn’t believable. She is this assassin extraordinaire who just can’t quite convince me that she is ‘all that’. Too weak at strange moments and instead of revealing her vulnerable humanity, this just creates an odd frustration for the reader. It felt like this book was just step one in ‘how to set up a UF series’ and unfortunately it missed the all-too-important step of ‘make reader fall in like with protagonist’. And to be honest, I have forgotten huge chunks of the story already. But it could just be me, so go ahead and check it out for yourself. I will probably even give the second book a go because I so badly want to like more series.
29 8 / 2011
Refreshing. That is the dominant ‘taste’ I was left with after reading Hounded by Kevin Hearne. Not just because of the male protagonist (seriously, why are there so few??), but because of the general lack of angst and baggage Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, was carrying around. Impressive, considering he’s been around for 2,000 years and spends a lot of time jumping in and out of negotiations and trysts with insane and ancient deities with not a lot of humanity left in them.
Teamed with a good (and I mean GOOD) story, it was a breeze to read. The again, maybe the angst has its place. I will definitely pick up the next two books in the Iron Druid Chronicles, but was it a ‘its2amandIneedthenextbooksobadithurts’ thing in the vein of the Ilona Andrews or Chloe Neill series? No. I’m not clutching the edge of my chair in suspense, but maybe that will come with future books. For now, the funny one-liners, flow, talking dogs, and crazy gods and goddesses are a brilliant breath of fresh air in the UF universe.
And a bonus- no “leather-clad and tramp stamp female torso with dark hair and weapons” cover! (side note- designers, please stop copy pasting!).
04 8 / 2011
Avalon Revisted by O.M. Grey was on my to-read list for a while with good reviews and an intriguing steampunk world with vampires and spinsters.
And it started off strong, with a interesting and different male voice completely unapologetic for his lifestyle with a fantastic backstory. And then he met the girl. And instead of being something that took the story to the next level it actually put a dampener on the whole thing.
That said I did finish it and the action and pace was great to the end. Just a shame about the eponymous Miss Avalon and her rather unfortunate effect on the hero…
20 6 / 2011
This a tale of love and meh. The first book of the Dark Ink Chronicles, Afterlight, came out last year and when I stumbled on it, I gobbled it up and wanted to read the sequel immediately. Fast forward six months later and to Everdark. Which by the end had me teetering between the cliff hanger ending rush and a strange ambivalence regarding the rest of the book.
Elle Jasper desperately needed a structural editor and proof reader for this second book and I’m not sure why she didn’t get one from Signet.
She fell into so many of the traps of the genre, most damningly turning a great heroine from the first book into a Mary Sue.
Despite this, I would say pick up the first book for sure as Riley Poe, our tattooed reformed bad-girl, and her exploration of the vampire world will keep your attention all the way through. The author has some beautiful turns of phrase, a unique take on the urban fantasy genre, builds great tension and Southern atmosphere, and writes a hot love story. And really, what more do you want?
I really hope book three breaks away and up to surpass even the first book. It would be a great shame to see the potential in this author wasted.
22 5 / 2011
Vegetarian vampire. Stop right there. Say what now? Welcome to the alternate universe of Dana Marie Bell’s Blood of the Maple and the set-up for some fantastic lines aiming straight for the jugular of our hero, Parker. “She turned you into Bunnicula,” was a particular favorite of mine.
The ‘she’ is an ex of Parker’s who curses him after he leaves her. Decades later he is still dealing with the aftermath of being unable to drink blood. And then he meets of heroine, the lovely, fey Amara, a dryad outcast in the town of Maggie’s Grove (which is also a haven for all supernatural folk, by the way).
Cue visions of tiny flying cupids, white picket fences and vamplings. It is true luurrrrvvveee. And boy, do they express that love. Everywhere. Explicitly. But it can’t all be happy endings (boom tish!) for our couple. They have to deal with the psycho with stalking Parker and the strange animosity that the other supernatural folk demonstrate towards Amara, who has some secrets of her own to deal with. I won’t spoil it, but when you find out what she is, you will laugh out loud (in a good way- it’s totally out of left field!)
I loved the premise for this book- the supernatural community (just as closed minded as any human one), the vegetarian twist, the unique, slightly off heroine and the amazing battle scene were all highlights.
I just wish the author stopped and wrapped it all up there at the big battle, it felt like a very natural climax, but I guess she wanted to tie up more of the loose ends for the readers.
But overall, a fun read with twists galore to keep your attention even if you are a long time fantasy reader.
Disclosure- I received a digital ARC for review.