Sunday, 29 January 2012

Hard Bitten - Chloe Neill

Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, #4)Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires #4) - Chloe Neill
Grade: Adult - UF
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals-and they're camping outside of Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Inside its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan are...tense. But then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: get your House in order. Or else.

Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it doesn't help that she can't tell who's on her side. So she secretly calls in a favor from someone who's tall, dark, and part of underground vamp group that may have some deep intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in the heady, dark heart of Chicago's supernatural society-a world full of vampires who seem ready to fulfill the protesting human's worst fears, and a place where she'll learn that you can't be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands... (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~
I've been staring at a blank screen for quite a while trying to put my thoughts into words. 'Hard Bitten' definitely lives up to its name; it is a hard book to deal with, especially with the way it ended.

In terms of plot, this book has it all. Vampire drama has escalated with the announcement of the Shifters existence; and the humans have kicked up their protest against vampires in their city. Merit and Cadogan House find themselves to be the main focus in the new rise in protests. But to top it all off, this trouble is made worse by the fact that vampires are being plagued by drug and rave problems. Merit's investigating skills are tested again and, of course, she gets to show off her amazing fighting kills; so it is an action-packed novel.

I was, however, a little disappointed in 'Hard Bitten'. It lacked the same witty-banter and amazing dialogue that I've grown to love so much. I think that was partly because of the tone of the book. There was a sense of danger and darkness that wasn't in the previous books; a sense that Merit and her friends were walking on a ledge and one wrong step wound send them falling. I was also disappointed in the role Ethan had in this book. In the first three novels, I was so impressed with the way he was involved in everything, and in 'Hard Bitten'...nothing. That's not to say he wasn't there, but with all the vampire issues, they worked to keep him out of the thick of it all, which just isn't Ethan.

And the ending, oh wow, I'm still trying to process how that ending possibly happened and I'm not sure what I really think about it. I've been told everything will be alright if I have the next book, but we'll just have to wait and see.

4.5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Twice Bitten - Chloe Neill

Twice Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, #3)Twice Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires #3) - Chloe Neill
Grade: Adult - UF
Rating: 5/5 stars

Merit, Chicago’s newest vampire, is learning how to play well with others. Other supernaturals, that is. Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master Vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit. Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene—and to spy for the vamps while she’s at it. Oh, and luckily Ethan’s offering some steamy, one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.

Merit must accept the assignment, even though she knows that she’ll probably regret it. And she’s not wrong. Someone is gunning for Gabriel Keene, and Merit soon finds herself in the line of fire. She’ll need all the help she can get to track down the would-be assassin, but everywhere she turns, there are rising tensions between supernaturals—not least between her and a certain green-eyed, centuries old master vampire. (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

Like normal, when finishing a book within a series I adore, I find it hard to start a review without sounding repetitive. It's incredibly hard not to gush about how much I love Merit and Ethan and their supernatural adventures. 'Twice Bitten' picks up where 'Friday Night Bites' left off and we're thrown into an action packed story that never stops moving. What's not to love?

I love the drama and chaos that surrounds the vampires in this series. The fact that the vampires are out in the public eye means there's no chance to hide from humans. I like that this is both a help and a hindrance to the vampire cause. It makes you cautious about what might happen next in the vampire community.

We get to see more of the hidden supernatural side in 'Twice Bitten'. It's exciting to see how the shifters and sorcerers fit into the world; how different they are from what we've seen before or previously been told. I loved having Mallory explain more of her lessons to Merit and seeing her use a bit of her magical powers to demonstrate her skill (I just love Mallory) and seeing the shifters on their own terms, not just as a vampire enemy was enlightening. It's funny though, despite being a different kind of shifting community than I'm used to, the animosity between vampires and shifters still remains, I like that there's something familiar to hold onto, even within completely different series.

There is something unbelievably awesome about the dialogue in this series. Chloe Neill nails the "real" feel of her characters. You can imagine yourself discussing eating habits and best friend or boyfriend drama exactly the way Merit and her crew do. The witty banter and arguments are so normal and funny; I can't get enough of it, and I look forward to reading more of it in the next book.

And, of course, can't end this review without discussing Ethan. I love that he's such an important part of the series so far. He's not one of those potential love interests that only pops up occasionally, and so you're left desperate for more. I know he's not on every page - though I'd love it if Merit and Ethan were joined at the hip - Ethan's presence is unforgettable and he is so involved in every aspect of the story that you can't help loving him and loving his role; even if he does make a few strangle-worthy mistakes.

Eagerly awaiting Merit's next adventure.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Monday, 23 January 2012

Summer of Supernatural: Cynthia Hand

That's right, Summer's still going strong here in Australia (even if we were hoping for a bit more sun) and Harper Collins Australia is hosting yet another fantastic author chat on the Summer of Supernatural facebook page.

This time with one of my favourite authors from last year: Cynthia Hand, author of Unearthly and Hallowed. Cynthia will be dropping in tomorrow (24th Jan) at 4pm AEDT to answer all your Unearthly related questions, particularly Hallowed, since I'm certain this chat is to celebrate its release. It's going to be an exciting afternoon.

Clara Gardner knew that as a part angel she would one day have to fulfill her purpose, rescuing Christian from a forest fire...what she never considered was what might happen if she were to fail. 

Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend Tucker, Clara must deal with the repercussions of what happened the day of the fire as the two boys vie for her heart. And, as she is drawn further into the world of angels and part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain after a shocking revelation, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning...
(Description from Harper Collins Australia)

To join, all you have to do is 'like' the Summer of Supernatural facebook page and post a question for Cynthia. I'm going to start thinking up questions now, I hope you will too! 


(If you're trying to work out time differences I recommend using Time Zone Converter just select the day/time, set the first location to 'Australia - New South Wales - Sydney', find your time zone and click convert!)

Friday Night Bites - Chloe Neill

Friday Night Bites (Chicagoland Vampires, #2) 
Friday Night Bites (Chicagoland Vampires #2) - Chloe Neill
Grade: Adult - UF
Rating: 5/5 stars

The story of a young heiress's initiation into the dark society of the Chicagoland Vampires continues…

Ten months after vampires revealed their existence to the mortals of Chicago, they're enjoying a celebrity status usually reserved for the Hollywood elite. But if people learn about the Raves-mass feeding parties where vampires round up humans like cattle—the citizens will start sharpening their stakes.

So now it's up to the new vampire Merit to reconnect with her upper class family and act as liaison between humans and bloodsuckers, and keep the more unsavory aspects of the vampire lifestyle out of the media. But someone doesn't want peace between them—someone with an ancient grudge… (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

After waiting a couple of very long weeks for the chance to read the next book in the Chicagoland Vampires series, I was finally able to sink my teeth into another Merit adventure. I cannot believe I waited so long to start this series and I'm so glad I'm playing catch-up now; such an amazing story so far. I had high expectations for 'Friday Night Bites', because I enjoyed book one so much I wanted that feeling to continue throughout the next book; and it didn't let me down.

Merit, like all good female leads, is a tough chick who doesn't let others walk over her. A woman who uses her own mind and who fights back when attacked, and with amazing skill too. I adore her. But on top of all that, she's flawed in a way that makes her more human, despite in fact being a vampire. She struggles with herself, has a delicate and complicated family history and a chocolate obsession that I'm sure we can all relate to. But she does find herself the subject of, or at least dragged into, a fair bit of supernatural drama; which I can't say bothers me, because it brings an extra edge of excitement and adventure to the story.

I love the mystery in this series. Merit and Cadogan House are faced with two problems in 'Friday Night Bites', one being the underground feeding raves that are causing bad press to fall on the Vampire community; the other being Celina's ever present influence and threat that Merit just can't seem to escape. I had my theories about who was kicking up a storm in 'Friday Night Bites' and I was pleasantly surprised to find I was wrong. I spent quite a long time plotting and scheming; trying to determine who the bad guys were and why certain people were involved in the drama. It's safe to say I'd never make a good detective. I love when an author manages to hide their clues so well that the culprit is definitely not someone you'd expect. Chloe Neill did this fabulously and at the same time managed to set up an unresolved mystery at the end of the book that has me desperate for the next book. Good thing I have it sitting on my shelf.

Like all good books I read these days, I can't pass up talking about the romance. I have my favourites and I'm not quite about it. Ethan rules my Chicagoland world and I was so happy to see how involved he was in 'Friday Night Bites'. The tension that builds and falls between Ethan and Merit is unavoidable, and I seriously can't see anyone else getting a chance to rule Merit's everything thought and emotion the way Ethan does. But Merit's a stubborn woman - a trait I really like in her - so anything is possible in future books. I guess I just have to keep my fingers crossed and hope they'll get together before I burst from the ignored emotions between the to of them.

Looking forward to seeing where the story leads to next.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

In My Mailbox #7

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

A Birthday IMM! My birthday was on Monday and I got a few books as presents (because my friends and family know me well)

Firelight - Sophie Jordan

I've had a few friends read this one and they said it was a really interesting concept. You don't read a lot about Dragons, especially not in a modern society situation. While I'm a big fan of certain supernatural categories (aka. vampires); I'm always looking for paranormal books that are outside the familiar. I really hope 'Firelight' will apply to this.

Carrier of the Mark - Leigh Fallon

A book I've been looking forward to reading for a while. I know almost nothing about it, except what is written on the back blurb (trying to keep outside influences away from my own views), but I'm interested to see what it'll be like.

Crossed - Ally Condie

Sequel to 'Matched'. I really liked 'Matched', it was a little more innocent than other YA books I read, but I loved the concept and am looking forward to reading 'Crossed'.

And for the non-birthday presents (although the first two on this list did turn up on my birthday, they were like gifts to myself)

Friday Night Bites - Chloe Neill

Yes! It arrived! So now I can finally jump back into the Chicagoland Vampire books and see what trouble will come to Merit this time. I started reading it yesterday and I adore it already.

Half-Blood - Jennifer L. Armentrout

I won 'Half-Blood' in a blog competition (thanks Kara @ Great Imaginings). I was interested to see what the book is like, after seeing Alex in the YA-Sisterhood's Heroine Tournament; and now I have the chance to do so.

I'm always hunting around for new paranormal books and this series sounded like a good one. A training camp for supernatural beings? Sounds like fun to me!

Under the Never Sky - Veronica Rossi

I've been wanting to get this book for a while and finally got a chance to buy it the other day (I also managed to break my Book-Buying-Ban in the process, but it was for a good cause).

Magic Graves -  Jeaniene Frost and Ilona Andrews

Another book (or ebook in this case) I've been trying to get my hands on for ages, but it's been tricky to find in Australia. Fortunately, I have a fantastic friend who sent it to me and I was able to read it on Friday. Amazing two novellas, exploring two worlds I adore: Night Huntress and Kate Daniels. I love both these worlds and loved being back in them, if only for a few moments.

And that's my mailbox for this week. Probably won't be one from me next week, due to the Book-Buying-Ban. I'll hand the IMM reins to Kerrie.


Friday, 20 January 2012

Shadow Heir - Richelle Mead

***Warning: While I have tried to avoid spoilers for 'Shadow Heir', this Review may contain spoilers for the Dark Swan series***

Shadow Heir (Dark Swan, #4)
Shadow Heir (Dark Swan #4) - Richelle Mead
Grade: Adult - UF
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Richelle Mead returns to the Otherworld, a mystic land inextricably linked to our own--and balanced precariously on one woman's desperate courage...

Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham strives to keep the mortal realm safe from trespassing entities. But as the Thorn Land's prophecy-haunted queen, there's no refuge for her and her soon-to-be-born-children when a mysterious blight begins to devastate the Otherworld...

The spell-driven source of the blight isn't the only challenge to Eugenie's instincts. Fairy king Dorian is sacrificing everything to help, but Eugenie can't trust the synergy drawing them back together. The uneasy truce between her and her shape shifter ex-lover Kiyo is endangered by secrets he can't--or won't--reveal. And as a formidable force rises to also threaten the human world, Eugenie must use her own cursed fate as a weapon--and risk the ultimate sacrifice.. (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

I was worried about reading 'Shadow Heir'. I've had a rocky relationship with this series and I know of a lot of people who loved the book, but disliked the way it ended; and while I'll get to the ending later, I have to say I really liked this book.

Eugenie's final story is no exception to the up-and-down nature of the series. I can honestly say I'm never quite sure what she's going to do next. Personally, I wanted her to forget about all the prophecy drama and potential threats on her life, so she could jump into Dorian's open arms and then the two of them could work out everything together. But Eugenie had other plans which involved making her own decisions for herself, without thought about those around her. I've discovered it's necessary to take a step back from Eugenie while reading about her journeys. I don't always trust her judgement and don't like to get caught up in her decisions, because I'm certain they'll cause me to go insane.

I thought the beginning of 'Shadow Heir' was a bit slow. Eugenie's being attacked for being pregnant, but she can't fight back, because she can't endanger the twins. She's still stubborn and wants to fight, but by resisting we don't get to see her in her normal action-adventure ways. But she does get a chance to show off both fighting and magic skills after the babies are born and we're back to seeing how tough she is.

I really liked the direction the story took. I was concerned at first, because I was certain the plot would all be able Kiyo attempting to find the twins and that there would be a war between Eugenie and Maiwenn (obviously with Dorian being Eugenie's main ally) But there were more pressing matters with an outlying kingdom that caused most of the drama. I was really impressed with creatures Eugenie and her gang faced and I adored Volusian's role in this book. The action was well written; slightly rushed, but that might just be because I was enjoying it so much I wanted it to go on forever.

Now for the ending. I'll admit I was disappointed and a little angry. While I was expecting the two main twists, and they were perfect, they left me sort of empty. I don't feel like there was enough to completely end the series (and I know Richelle has blogged about why she ended it the way she did, but I still feel like more was needed). I want to know what happened to Jasmine. She was there for one of the major twists and everything was going fine and then she just sort of disappeared. I loved Jasmine the most in the book, so I was really sad not seeing her more at the end, especially since Eugenie and Jasmine seemed to form a true sisterly-bond in this book.

And then the actual last few pages. This is where my training in stepping away from Eugenie's decisions really helped. She makes a choice that I'm not a fan of. After everything she's been through, I thought honesty would be something she would hold in high regard. And while the decision is left open still, I was hoping for something more conclusive and for a better choice.

Overall, I loved it. It might not be the perfect ending I was looking for, but it was an extremely addictive read and I'm glad I know how it ended.

4.5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #2

'Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, where you can gush about books that you're desperate to get your hands on...if only they were published already.

My WOW for this week is: 

Release Date: 3rd February, 2012 (UK)
                      27th March, 2012 (US)       

About the book:

Jana Oliver's third spellbinding Demon Trappers novel - following The Demon Trapper's Daughter and Soul Thief - brings all new thrills, as Riley Blackthorne takes on demons, love... and the future of the human race.
The days are growing darker for 17-year-old demon trapper Riley Blackthorne. With her father’s reanimated body back safely, Beck barely speaking to her because of a certain hunky Fallen angel, and a freshly-made deal with Lucifer, she has enough on her hands to last a normal teenage lifetime. Though she bargained with Heaven to save his life, her ex-boyfriend Simon has told the Vatican’s Demon Hunters that she’s working with Hell. So now she’s in hiding, at the top of everyone’s most-wanted list.
But it’s becoming clear that this is bigger than Riley, and rapidly getting out of control: something sinister is happening in Atlanta… or someone. The demons are working together for the first time ever and refusing to die, putting civilians in harm’s way. Riley thinks she might know who’s behind it all, but who’s going to believe her? Caught between her bargain with Heaven and her promise to Lucifer, Riley fears the final war is coming – and it may be closer than anyone thinks…

I can't get enough of Jana Oliver's Demon Trappers series. From the moment I started I was hooked with no chance of escaping (not that I've ever wanted to). I'm desperate for the next in the series; it's sure to be a big one, I can't even begin to imagine how Riley will get herself out of all the troubles she stumbled across at the end of 'Forbidden'.

What I'm really looking forward to is more of the fabulous Denver Beck! Beck and his protective, determined, yet still slightly mysterious, nature makes me smile and I can't wait to see more of him (and hopefully see him finally get together with Riley)

Exciting new announced on the 16th. Jana said a fourth Demon Trappers book is official now. We're not losing Riley and Beck just yet. I'm super happy and excited to see what will happen in the final instalment (Info on the fourth book can be found Here!)


Sunday, 15 January 2012

In My Mailbox #6

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

First IIM for the new year and I've got a bit of catching up to do. 

Firstly, Christmas books...I know, I know; Christmas is long gone. But I didn't get a chance to do a proper Christmas IMM earlier as I was away.

Fatefull - Claudia Gray
Enthralled - Kelley Armstrong & Melissa Marr 
Dark Angel - Eden Maguire
Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor (NB: AMAZING BOOK!)
You Against Me - Jenny Downham
Froi of the Exiles - Melina Marchetta

I haven't read them all, so I'm looking forward to getting through them all. I was a pretty spoiled girl over Christmas.

Onto more recent books.

Magic Gifts - Ilona Andrews
I HAD to have the free ebook that Ilona Andrews had uploaded on their blog for Christmas (If you missed out, apparently the novella will be included in Andrea's book 'Gunmetal Magic'). I'm a HUGE Kate Daniels fan and I needed more Kate and Curran scenes to tie me over until Andrea's book comes out later this year. Magic Gifts was perfect for this purpose, though I wish it had been longer, but I can't complain, since it's a free novella and it's style suggests it's going to be small (novella!)

The Bite Before Christmas - Lydsay Sands and Jeaniene Frost.
I've never read any by Lydsay Sands and I'll admit to not reading her story. I only wanted this one for the Night Huntress story. It did not disappoint. Simple fantastic novella. Can't pass up a good Cat and Bones piece.

Twice Bitten, Hard Bitten & Drink Deep - Chloe Neill
I read Some Girls Bite recently and had to have the rest in the series NOW! Unfortunately Friday Night Bites (#2) hasn't arrived yet, so I can't dive into the rest of them yet; but I have plenty of other books to keep me entertained at the moment.

Dark Seeker - Taryn Browning
I've been interested Dark Seeker for a while. Teenage girl hunting the undead? Sounds like my kind of book. I can't wait to read this one.

Wicked Game - Jeri Smith-Ready
Jeri's YA series 'Shade' was one of my favourites for 2011 and I've decided to try out her adult vampire series. I'm 100% sure it'll be amazing, and I'm always looking for new vampires books. You can't go past a good vampire story.

Shadow Heir - Richelle Mead
The last in the Dark Swan series. I've heard it has a strange ending, but so far I haven't run across any spoilers. I'm a big Richelle Mead fan so I'll definitely be reading this one soon (if only so my twitter friends can finally discuss it online without ruining it for me. Sorry for holding you up, guys)

The Shadow Reader - Sandy Williams
I bought this as an ebook last year and decided myself I needed it as a physical book too. I adored it and can't wait to reread on paper and then lend it to everyone I know.

Mastiff - Tamora Pierce
Tamora Pierce is my absolute favourite author. I'm convinced she's the reason I started my insane reading obsession as a young teen, reading the Song of the Lioness Quartet. I still go back to reread the Alanna stories when I'm looking for a comfort book. Mastiff is the third, and final, book in the Beka Cooper series. I'm half-way through it at the moment and keep dragging it out so I can make the journey last longer. I'll be sad when there's no more Beka books to look forward to.

And that's it for my mailbox.


Monday, 9 January 2012

Hunt the Moon - Karen Chance

Hunt the Moon (Cassandra Palmer #5) - Karen Chance
Grade: Adult - PNR
Rating: 5/5 stars

Cassandra Palmer recently defeated a god, which you'd think would buy a girl a little time off. But it doesn't work that way when your job description is Pythia-the world's chief clairvoyant. Cassie is busier than ever, trying to learn about her power, preparing for her upcoming coronation, and figuring out her relationship with the enigmatic sexy master vampire, Mircea.

But someone doesn't want Cassie to become Pythia, and is willing to go to any lengths to make sure the coronation ceremony never happens- including attacking her mother before Cassie is even born. (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

Poor Cassie! There's always someone or something trying to kill her. The girl needs a holiday- stat! With that said, what an amazing book. I think Karen Chance's writing gets better and better with every book. She invites you into her crazy world and you just don't want to leave. Hunt the Moon has it all; plenty of 'hold on tight' action sequences, 'laugh out loud' moments, 'swoon-worthy' romance and revelations you never saw coming.

The writing flows effortlessly and is so witty that I was laughing out loud many times. I also found it hilarious how Cassie always seems to find herself in dangerous situations butt naked. I know the girl has clothes (she's always putting them on), but she seems to have trouble keeping them on. It makes for some really funny and embarrassing moments.

Now, what can I say about this love triangle Cassie finds herself in? I can count on one hand (with fingers to spare) how many love triangles where I've liked both guys. This series has been added to that very short list. Don't get me wrong- I am most definitely a Mircea girl, but this book focuses largely on Pritkin and Cassie's relationship, with Mircea only making brief appearances (but, oh what good appearances they are). And the thing is...Pritkin and Cassie have a beautiful relationship. If Mircea never existed, then I'd be all for Pritkin and Cassie. They have a rather real relationship. They care for each other, they piss each other off and they protect each other. As I said, I'd be all for them if it weren't for that sexy vamp.

I fell for Mircea when I first read Midnight's Daughter and I just want him to be happy. Mircea and Cassie's relationship is intense and passionate. I love this quote from him:
"It's beautiful, dulceata," he said, his tone awed. "Do you see? Beautiful".
"What is?"
"The snow. The night." His arms tightened. "You."

He is completely swoon-worthy. I think to be fair the next book needs to be Mircea's. I really missed him when he disappeared. Unfortunately, with the way this book ended (yes it end on a cliffy), well I don't think it will - but I can hope.

Not looking forward to the wait for the next book, but I can't wait to see what crazy situation Cassie finds herself in next. The girl has more lives than cats.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Chime - Franny Billingsley

Chime - Franny Billingsley
Grade: YA
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know. (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

I started 'Chime' not knowing much about it, except that one of my closest friends adored it and that there was something to do with witches. Turns out they're not the type of witches I'm used to (ie. casting spells and circles, magic wands etc.) But I really enjoyed reading something new and unfamiliar to me. It was a really good book.

I love the setting of the book.'Chime' is told in the town of Swampsea, in the second decade of the twentieth century. Electric lights, train lines and motorcars are new to the town folk, who still rely on horses and candles for the most part. But the town is wary of the swamp nearby, as it is overrun by the Old Ones; a race of dangerous, magic beings controlled by witches and seen only by those with the Second Sight. Consequently, witches are not never popular in Swampsea, if they're caught, they're hanged.

Briony is a wicked girl; so she's been told, so she believes. When bad things happen to good people, it's usually Briony's fault; because she is a witch. It took me a while to get used to the tone of the narration. Briony is very pessimistic about her life, due to the fact that she hates herself because of all the "wicked" things she's done as a witch. You start to recognise Briony's way of thinking and action and you manage to get into the rhythm of things, but it takes a little while. I love seeing Briony evolve. How she acts takes a dramatic turn, mostly because of the arrival of Eldric, the mysterious fidgeting London bad-boy.

I am a big fan of romance, especially in YA books, I like to swoon at the amazing guys. Eldric fint into this category, but unfortunately (for me) there isn't nearly enough romance. While the mystery of witchcraft and the need to overcome Briony's hate of herself take centre stage - and I loved that part of it - I was hoping for a few more moments between Briony and Eldric. That being said, I loved the little bits and pieces we do get, they definitely left me swooning.

I'm sad this is a stand-alone book, because I was really enjoying Briony's world; but at the same time I wouldn't want the story dragged out more than necessary. It had a perfect ending.

4.5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Pledge - Kimberly Derting

The Pledge (The Pledge, #1)The Pledge (The Pledge #1) - Kimberly Derting
Grade: YA
Rating: 5/5 stars

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime. (Description from Goodreads)

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'The Pledge' lived up to my expectations and more. While I hadn't read any reviews before reading the book, I had been told about a mixed response to the story. I'm glad I didn't have my opinions influences too much. I loved this book. It had everything I would want in a YA book: mystery, magic, romance (especially in the form of a protective male) and an action packed ending that makes me desperate to find out what happens in the next book.

'The Pledge' is set in Ludania; a country ruled, like all others in the world, by a Queen, Queen Sabara. Unfortunately the Queen is dying, with no female heir to take over, because no-one these days would risk having a King rule their country. To add to these troubles, enemies are approaching, destroying towns and causing the citizens of the city to panic. The war with neighbour countries is not resolved at the end of the book; I'm interested in seeing where, or if, the war will continues. I was a little confused at times about the attacks that were made, I might have to reread those parts to wrap my head around them. Aside from the confusion, the idea of war spices things up a bit and provides the action that I crave in novels.

Charlaina "Charlie" Hart has a secret. Despite class divisions that have been created in Ludania, - despite the law stating each class has its own language, only to be taught and spoken in that one class - Charlie has the ability to understand (and speak) all languages, even ones she's never heard of before. If her ability was discovered, she would likely be killed. Charlie struggles to keep her gift unknown. I'm impressed that her parents are able to keep a normal life, there's a big risk letting Charlie out, not that she goes around breaking the law with her gift, but one slip could cause a lot of trouble. You spend most of the book wondering why Charlie has her abilities; waiting to find out what they mean.

I really like the way 'The Pledge' is set out. There is a mix of POVs and styles. We see Charlie's scenes in first person, and she has the most page time, which is good because it is her story and it's better to see more of her and her thoughts. But with first person stories, I'm always left wondering what happens when the main character is not around. Kimberly Derting resolves this issues but switching to third person to follow three of the other main characters: The Queen, ruler of Ludania, searching for the last remaining female heir to take her place on the throne; Xander, club owner with an unknown background; and mysterious Max, with his steely eyes and who pops up around Charlie at unexpected times. I like seeing these other POVs, it makes me feel like we're looking behind the main story; being privy to hidden moments, and the things that get revealed during these scenes leave you desperate for more.

Loved it. Waiting (im)patiently for the sequel.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Magic Burns - Ilona Andrews

Magic Burns (Kate Daniels, #2)
Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2) - Ilona Andrews
Grade: Adult - UF
Rating: 5/5 stars

As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels knows how waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta's paramilitary clan of shape shifters, she quickly realizes much more is at stake. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug of war between two gods hoping for rebirth, and if Kate can't stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive. (Description from Goodreads)

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I absolutely adore this book! I cannot remember the last time I laughed so much. While the series certainly wouldn't be labelled a "humour" book, the one-liners and tension filled conversations are insanely funny, that you can't help wanting more.

Magic Burns takes us further into the world of shifting power and magic. We get a better understanding of how society is constantly shifting between tech and magic, as though on a pendulum swinging between the two zones. Magic is taking over throughout the book, leaving less time in the tech zone and causing quite a few problems because of it.

Kate is an amazing protagonist. She is loyal and fierce and I love that she can't seem to control what words come out of her mouth. Despite realising just how much trouble her mouth gets her in, there's an unstoppable need to say the first thing that comes to mind. Her fighting skills are amazing, I wouldn't want to come up against her. I love Slayer, it's the coolest sword ever. And yet, she's got some super power magic mystery going on. I think I've managed to piece together some of the mystery, but there are still parts left undisclosed.

I love how the characters keep developing. Derek was a young wolf in Might Bite and has turned into someone loyal, protective and dangerous. Saiman, god I love him, he's so crazy you can't escape him, and I find it interesting how different he is from everyone else, magic affects him deeper, makes me wonder what he'll do next. And Curran - sweet, funny, fierce, sexy, in control Curran - Can't get enough of this man.

Can't wait to get into Magic Strikes.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Monday, 2 January 2012

Some Girls Bite - Chloe Neill

Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires, #1)Some Girls Bite  (Chicagoland Vampires #1) - Chloe Neill
Grade: Adult - UF
Rating: 5/5 stars

First in a brand new series about a Chicago graduate student’s introduction into a society of vampires.

Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was Merit’s. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker—and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead.

Turns out her savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now she’s traded sweating over her thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan "Lord o’ the Manor" Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred- year-old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects her gratitude—and servitude. But an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan’s attitude are the least of her concerns. Someone’s still out to get her. Her initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war—and there will be blood. (Description from Goodreads)

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I love finding new vampire novels. Despite the diversity of novels these days, I'm always going to love a good vampire story. ‘Some Girls Bite’ definitely fits into that slot. A kickass heroine, sexual tension, addictive blood cravings (though always slightly gross to imagine) and an amazing mystery that I certainly didn’t see unfolding the way it did.

What I really liked about this books with its setting. Not the Chicago aspect, but that it’s set in a world where vampire existence is knowing, they’re out in the open and newly announced too. There’s little guessing and secrecy, but also uncertainty about how vampires fit into society. The vampires are sorted into twelve houses, with only the Master of each house being allowed to change twelve humans into vamps each year. But there’s still that sense of mystery in the supernatural world with a sect of vampires (Rogues) and various otherworldly beings still keeping their identities hidden.

What can I say about Merit? Apart from a burning desire to find out what her full name is; Merit is exactly the type of female lead I love readings about. She has flaws, misguided thoughts and sarcastic comebacks to lighten the mood. It’s extremely fun to see her adapt to her new life and I can’t wait to see more of her in the next book.

I was a little worried about the potential love interests in the story. I know which guy I prefer (despite the obvious attempts at staying away from Merit), but it seemed like every new, supernatural guy Merit met in this book was single and hot. While a few of these guys were knocked out of the running pretty quick, I’m hoping there won’t be a massive love triangle for long – although I adore the sexual tension that builds up in the absence of a steady relationship.

Can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)