Tag Archive: vampires


Night Owls by Lauren M Roy

night owlsNight Owls by Lauren M. Roy

Published February 25th 2014 by Ace

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books a Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

Night Owls book store is the one spot on campus open late enough to help out even the most practiced slacker. The employees’ penchant for fighting the evil creatures of the night is just a perk.…

Valerie McTeague’s business model is simple: provide the students of Edgewood College with a late-night study haven and stay as far away from the underworld conflicts of her vampire brethren as possible. She’s lived that life, and the price she paid was far too high to ever want to return.

Elly Garrett hasn’t known any life except that of fighting the supernatural werewolf-like beings known as Creeps or Jackals. But she always had her mentor and foster father by her side—until he gave his life protecting a book that the Creeps desperately want to get their hands on.

When the book gets stashed at Night Owls for safe keeping, those Val holds nearest and dearest are put in mortal peril. Now Val and Elly will have to team up, along with a mismatched crew of humans, vampires, and lesbian succubi, to stop the Jackals from getting their claws on the book and unleashing unnamed horrors.

 

Rating: 5 star

 

Review:

I loved this book so much, it was a no brainer for it to be 5 stars for me. I loved the characters, I loved the setting, I loved the plot, I loved he bad guys, I loved the side characters, I loved everything! Yes, I literally mean everything. This is a series I will definitely be following. But let me break down for you just what made this so great.

Charaters: These characters were all so different and interesting that I had a different relationship with every one of them. Elly was a survivor who wanted so desperately to do everything right but got completely left in the dark with the death of her mentor. Val is a vampire who wants nothing to do with the life she left behind, she just wants to live in peace with her Renfield and run her all night bookstore. Chaz feels honored to be Val’s Renfield but is secretly in love with her. Cavale is the adopted brother of sorts of Elly who walked away from the hunter lifestyle but still does some of the work to pay the bills. Sunny and Lia are succubi and also lovers, and did I mention they are kick ass fighters too?

Oh and let me take a moment to say how much I fangirled that vampire’s assistants are called Renfields in this book. It was a lot.

Plot: This was multi faceted and yet everything fit together perfectly. That is a delicate balance to maintain but this book pulled it off. First we have the fact that Elly is hiding a book from the Creeps (aka Jackals, aka bad guys) and they want it more than anything. It gets hidden at Val’s bookstore and that’s where all hell breaks loose. But at the same time we have some of Val’s past coming back to haunt her. That part was not touched on quite as much but I still liked it and hope that it plays a bigger role in the future. Oh and that twist thrown in there with the Creeps and their hostages….bravo, I didn’t see it coming.

Bad Guys: My God, how creepy were the Creeps! They made my skin crawl. And every time we saw them I felt my stomach drop into my knees. And as their methods started to change and become more sinister it only added to the scariness that they brought to the story. I want to see more of them in the future books.

Random Fangirl:  Sunny and Lia were amazing! My favorite characters for sure. They were funny, sweet, loving, generous, and kick ass demons at the same time. I was very glad that romance did not play too big a factor in this book. Yes Chaz is all swoony for Val but it didn’t get in the way of the story, even though I kind of hope she falls for him at some point. The story moved too fast to spend time on a sappy love story, so I was pleased that it wasn’t a big deal.

Oh, I finally thought of something I didn’t like! The final battle scene at the bookstore. It hurt my heart. All those books, destroyed! I cringed every time the book mentioned the paperly carnage. It was an awesome battle scene to be sure but….the books!

 

nightlifeNightlife by Matthew Quinn Martin

Expected publication: October 21st, 2013 by Pocket Star

Pre-Order this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books a Million

Synopsis:

For centuries an ancient evil has slept beneath the streets of New Harbor. This Halloween, it wakes up.
An action-packed debut horror novel from talented new writer Matthew Quinn Martin, Nightlife pits a feisty bartender and a mysterious loner against bloodthirsty terrors as alluring as they are deadly.

Nightclub bartender and serial heartbreaker Beth Becker might be a cynic. But when her best friend goes missing Halloween night, Beth knows it’s up to her to find out what happened.

Her quest will take her on an odyssey through the crumbling city of New Harbor, Connecticut. Along the way she meets a homeless prophet warning of something he calls the “Night Angel”-a bloodthirsty creature that feeds on the forgotten. And she will form an unlikely bond with a hunted stranger who knows all too well what stalks the streets at night.

Rating: 4 star

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the publisher and author!

This book was both exactly what I expected and not at all what I expected, which is a rather strange sensation I’m sure you can imagine. I am always looking for a good vampire book but I want that vampire book to be something unique. That is why I am still giving this particular niche a chance, I want something different and new! In a sense, this book provided that. But also a lot of cliches.

Characters – Jack Jackson was a complete cliche if I ever saw one. The solitary man who has dedicated his entire life to hunting down the thing that caused him to lose the love of his life, working alone and very antisocial in his quest. But after awhile I didn’t really even mind the clicheness of it because I thought Jack was kind of funny. He made me laugh a few times and I really liked his character. Beth was a pretty good character overall but again, pretty cliche. The stubborn, tough, rough around the edges girl who tends to push everyone away from her but ends up being the unlikely sidekick of the previously mentioned antisocial man on a mission. And yet again, I found that I didn’t really mind the cliche. Beth was interesting and fun, and pretty kickass in her own right. Now she did have a certain amount of the required horror book idiocy about her but it was minor and short lived. None of the other characters really made much impact on me since they seemed so incredibly expendable. When they were around then they were decent enough but then they just are gone and I hardly noticed they were gone.

The plot was fairly interesting in that a bunch of vampires (or whatever they are) have camped out in this little town and are feeding on the homeless population…at least until that can’t sustain them anymore and they go after more risky targets. Jack comes roaring into town, runs into Beth, and together they go to fight and demolish the evil creatures. This was all great. Add it in a shadowy organization that seems intent on…well I’m not sure exactly because they are hardly mentioned at all. What made the plot all the more enticing for me was the origins and true nature of these vampires. I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it before. It was very unique and I loved it. I also loved that for once in a book like this the characters seem to be aware that other vampire books, movies, etc exist and have seen them. That doesn’t happen often and frankly it baffles me as to why.

By the last page I was really enjoying this book. I wish that we had heard more about “The Division” (previously mentioned shadowy organization) because it seems like that was going somewhere to just get left hanging. The ending was satisfying and not entirely a happily every after but pretty close. And it had enough of a set up for another book that I wouldn’t mind reading the sequel, but if I never read the sequel then the ending was a satisfying one for a stand alone book. This book gets one and a half thumbs up from me, add in more of The Division and it could be a full five stars next time.

The Farm by Emily McKay

the farmThe Farm by Emily McKay

Published December 4th, 2012 by Berkley Trade

Buy this book at: Book Depository / Books A Million / Amazon / B&N

Synopsis:

Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race…

Rating: 3 star

Review:

I’m not so sure what happened with this book. The premise is great, the characters are great, I’d heard such great things, but it just didn’t do much for me. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was my mood. I honestly don’t know. By the end of this book I didn’t feel passionately about it in either a good or bad way. Let’s talk about the things I can actually say I did or didn’t like.

Lily was a good character. There have been far too many shrinking violet women in YA books lately. I appreciated that Lily was fairly kick ass and willing to do whatever it took to protect Mel, her autistic sister. I also really loved the brief glimpses we get from Mel’s POV. On the negative side, it was precisely Mel’s POV chapters that allowed me to easily guess one of the “big reveals”. So in the end it was a double edged sword. Conner got on my nerves in the beginning but slowly he grew on me.  By the end I had a teensy crush on him, he’s adorable!

I really liked that we had two different kinds of vampires. On the one hand you have the Ticks, which were everything that vampires have been missing for a long time. They are monsters and I loved them. Then you have the more refined vampires that have retained their humanity…a little. Still monsters and still awesome.

I even really liked the plot, although at times it seemed a bit simplistic to me. The plan was this, escape the farm, run to Canada, hope that Canada is any safer than the U.S.  Hmm, doesn’t sound very brilliant to me. I didn’t mind it as long as what happened on the way to that plan was good and most of it was. But here’s where it fell off the rails for me, the “big reveals.” Big reveal one was not even a reveal since I had suspected as much for most of the book. Big reveal two actually surprised me but I am not sure what it actually has to do with anything about the larger plot. The second big reveal seemed to shoot the larger plot in the foot honestly.

Right now I am unsure if I’ll read the next book. I am leaning toward yes I will read it to see if the plot can recover from the nuke the author threw in it at the end of this one.

Review: The Twelve by Justin Cronin

the twelveThe Twelve by Justin Cronin

Published October 16th, 2012 by Random House

Picture and synopsis from the Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: Book Depository / Amazon / B&N

Synopsis:

At the end of The Passage, the great viral plague had left a small group of survivors clinging to life amidst a world transformed into a nightmare. In the second volume of this epic trilogy, this same group of survivors, led by the mysterious, charismatic Amy, go on the attack, leading an insurrection against the virals: the first offensives of the Second Viral War.

To do this, they must infiltrate a dozen hives, each presided over by one of the original Twelve. Their secret weapon: Alicia, transformed at the end of book one into a half human, half viral—but whose side, in the end, is she really on?

Rating (out of 5): 1 star

Review:

***Warning: Spoiler alert!  Consider yourself duly warned!***

It is with great sadness that I give this book one single star, and even that might be more than it deserves.  The Twelve is the sequel to 2010’s The Passage and is the second book in the trilogy.  I read The Passage and I absolutely loved it.  I admit that there was a large section of the middle that was horribly boring and tedious, but overall I thought the book was one of the best I had read.  I looked forward to The Twelve with much fervor and excitement.  I pre-ordered it almost a year in advance and tapped my foot impatiently that the release date wouldn’t get here any quicker.  When the book arrived at my house I tore open the packaging and spent a lot of time just starting at it in wonder.  It was finally here!  Then I plunged into it and was stopped dead in my tracks.  This book that I had looked forward to for over a year was just not good!  It took everything I didn’t like about The Passage and amplified it a hundred times.  I was so distraught that I thought perhaps it was my fault and I should put the book down for awhile and come back to it.  So I took a month long break, and it still wasn’t any good when I came back.

My first irritation with this book was something I noticed in The Passage but it was much much worse in this one.  Cronin has a tendency to use really weird word choices sometimes.  And he falls into purple prose constantly.  No, scratch that, he doesn’t fall into purple prose, all he writes is purple prose.  I got really sick of hearing about the undulating crimson waves of light shimmering across the cerulean sky as the sun peeked it’s head just over the dusky horizon as if afraid to make any further appearance.  It got really old and I just wanted SOMETHING to happen already. Stop describing everything in such an unnecessary way and give me some plot, please!  And the word choices were just strange at times.  It would completely pull me out of the story as I stopped short and thought, “What?”  For example he described Amy as “meager”.  Okay, I know what meager means, but he is using it to describe her as humble and that is not a very common usage of that word.  Or describing a rape as “peculiar ministrations.”  At first I wasn’t even sure what the hell he was talking about.  It took me almost five pages to realize that was a rape scene.

My next problem was how often we jump around to different characters.  Literally every two or three pages we jumped to a completely different plot and a different narrating character and then a few pages later it was something else.  This made it really hard to track what was going on or whether we were even in the same time period.  Were we at directly after the virus or a hundred years later, I often didn’t know.  Then you add in that certain characters were present in both time periods, with no real explanation of how that happened, so that made it extra confusing about where we were.  Then you have a huge cast of characters that is impossible to keep track of on top of the confusing narration.  At one point I had to put the book down to scratch my head because I know for a fact that X character died in The Passage (I read it 3 times, he died, we buried him!), yet all of a sudden he’s back and a viral.  I think the author confused himself with the multitude of characters.

I’m also still not sure exactly what the plot was.  When I finished The Passage, I was fairly certain that we were going to be hunting down the eleven remaining virals out of the original Twelve.  But, 95% of the book was spent NOT doing that, so I have no idea just what the hell we did for nearly 600 pages.  Instead we jumped around from character to character and had a character making the virals into some kind of deity and enslaving people.  Because the plot was so vast and confused, we missed out on some great opportunities.  At one point, a young boy wants to run into a stadium after the virus is released and they don’t want him to see the horror.  What horror?  I still don’t know.  They may have wanted to protect the boy but, I wanted to see it!  I wanted to know what was going on there!  The boy escaped the adults and managed to see it, but I still didn’t.  This trend continued throughout the book.  At another point Peter is fighting a viral while locked in a cage.  We get a whole two paragraphs before we get a narrative AFTER it’s over and find out it lasted a total of 27 seconds.  I felt so incredibly ripped off.  All of the potentially good horror or action scenes were skipped over like they didn’t matter so we could spend 10 more pages on purple prose that made my eyes want to explode.

Finally, I got sick and tired of the religious references.  I had the inkling that we were going down that road from The Passage and I didn’t mind it.  But the author just tried too hard to make the connections.  I started trying to predict what the next religious reference would be.  Oh, is he the new God?  Yep, he proclaimed himself to be.  Is she going to die and then get resurrected?  Yep, she did…oh look twice.  It was pathetic that trying to predict the absurd religious references was more entertaining to me than the book itself.  It almost felt like the author was standing and looking over my shoulder saying, “See, do you get it?  Twelve Apostles and Jesus?  I’m clever huh, don’t you get it?”  Yes I get it and it’s fucking stupid!

In the end I cared about this book so little that I honestly didn’t even want to finish it.  The only reason I did finish was to see if there would be ANYTHING that would spark my interest in the third book.  I couldn’t even care that my favorite character got raped, because I had no idea that’s what happened until long after it happened.  Then I couldn’t even care that she got revenge on her rapist because it was just glossed over like it wasn’t important…like everything else that was good in this book.  At this point, I will not be reading the last book.  I loathed every page of this book and I hate the direction this plot is taking.  I don’t care how it ends anymore, this book killed any enthusiasm I had for this story.  I keep trying to figure out where all these good reviews are coming from because I am not even sure we read the same book.

To end, I want to add a personal note to Mr. Cronin:  Yes, we realize that you are a highly literary, intelligent individual who has a degree and can write literary works of genius.  But, guess what, you are writing a horror trilogy.  I know you feel guilty about “selling out” for a big paycheck and being in that dreaded mass market category, but that’s no excuse to bastardize your own work.  You have destroyed this story by trying to make it highbrow and literary.  Assuage your guilt about selling out some other way.  I swear you are on some personal mission to make me hate your book, congratulations I did.

Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh

Published September 6th, 2011 by Berkeley Sensation

Author’s website: http://www.nalinisingh.com/blade.php

Photo and synopsis from Goodreads book page

 

Synopsis:

The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past…but Dmitri’s need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.

Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel’s right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality…the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.

As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting…and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more…

 

Rating (out of 5):

 

Review:

As you may have noticed, I am a huge fan of the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh.  I have breezed through the first four books in just a few months and already have the book of novellas and 5th installment on order.  Even with how much I had loved the series so far, I admit to being a bit apprehensive at the idea of a book about Dmitri.  I was intrigued with Dmitri and wanted to know more about him but an entire book?  I wasn’t quite so sure about that.  Yet, even though apprehensive it turned out spectacularly and I think I might like Dmitri more than Raphael!

Dmitri is a character unlike any that I have read recently.  He is a hard man, a dangerous man.  But there is a depth to him that I admit I wasn’t expecting.  I loved getting a glimpse into Dmitri’s life before he was a vampire and at the same time it was heartbreaking to watch it unfold.  I understand his character in a way I never thought I would, and I absolutely love him.

Honor is another character that I found both heartbreaking, real, and inspiring at the same time.  She is another flawed character but with an inner strength that makes her a great character as well.  I enjoyed her story no matter how hard it was to stomach at times.

The plot was one that was more predictable to me than the previous ones.  I enjoyed watching it play out and was surprised a few times, but ultimately there weren’t any earth shattering reveals.  But not everything needs to be about the surprise.  It was still a great story!  Someone is targeting Dmitri and essentially sending him a challenge.  He partners with the traumatized hunter Honor to figure out who wants to come after him.  It is quickly revealed that this is connected to an angel that Dmitri killed, Isis.  Since that was a thousand years ago,  grudges are something that near-immortals can hold for a long time it seems.  I liked the idea between the parallel plots.  First we were trying to help Dmitri figure out who wants revenge on him.  And we are also trying to help Honor get her own revenge for the horrific attack on her just months earlier.  The stories were similar enough that it was easy to follow them both and see the connection.  But they were different enough that they were engaging in their own right.

My only real disappointment with this book was the villain.  I have found all the villains from previous books to be terrifying.  I would get goosebumps and shivers when they were mentioned in the book and they had an air of menace that couldn’t be ignored.  This villain didn’t give me that impression.  Mostly I found him, and his story of revenge, to be rather pathetic actually.  He was a weak and petty little thing that didn’t really make me feel that Dmitri or Honor were in that much peril.  Not having your characters in mortal danger is not the hallmark of a good villain.

Regardless of the lack of a decent villain, I loved the story a lot.  The intricacy and engaging stories about Honor and Dmitri more than compensated for where this book was lacking.  It easily gets a four star rating from me and a nod to my new favorite character, Dmitri.

 

Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh

Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh

Published February 2nd 2010 by Berkeley Press

Author’s Website: http://www.nalinisingh.com

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux wakes from a year-long coma to find that she has become an angel-and that her lover, the stunningly dangerous archangel Raphael, likes having her under his control. But almost immediately, Raphael must ready Elena for a flight to Beijing, to attend a ball thrown by the archangel Lijuan. Ancient and without conscience, Lijuan’s power lies with the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena…

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Review:

Another winner in the Guild Hunter series for me!  This is quite possibly the most inventive and well put together fantasy world that I’ve read in quite a long time.  There were a few things that kept me from being able to rate this a solid 5 stars however, but nothing major and I still am going through withdrawal symptoms waiting for the next book.  I have so many ideas of what I’d like to see and what story I want to see next that I can hardly help myself from picking up the next book right now!

The beginning of this novel was quite difficult for me to get into, and I had a hard time pinpointing why that was.  In the end I think it was a few factors that led to my disconnect from the first half of this book.  First, there was enough jumping around in the storylines to make my head spin!  One paragraph we were in the present, then suddenly in the past 20 years for a few sentences, then just as suddenly we were in a conversation from last night, then we were back in the present, then in the past by a year, then back to the present.  All of this within a few pages and it make my head hurt trying to keep up with it.  I felt like we weren’t sticking with one thing long enough for me to really be invested in it.  In addition we had 2 very different and distinct stories going on that were intertwining within all the timeline jumping.  I was interested in both of the plots, but they were so quickly presented and then passed onto the next thing I didn’t know quite how to feel about either of them.  In addition we add in things like flight training and weapons training and side stories with the other archangels and I felt like I needed a really strong drink.

Now, I know that all of this sounds very negative, and to a certain extent it was.  But the world and characters were still compelling enough for me to want to continue and I wanted to see how the two plots would come together and how everything would work out.  And I was certainly not disappointed.  Once the two stories really got going they couldn’t be stopped and I was glued to the page.   Both of these distinctly different plots came together in a way I hadn’t expected.  I vaguely suspected that something was off about the character who was ultimately the bad guy, but I wasn’t sure what it was and didn’t really see the ending coming.  Then right in the middle of the main plot, this secondary plot exploded into action and I was stunned and exhilarated!  I loved every minute of it.  And just as soon as we had resolution on that secondary plot the main plot burst into its finale.   That was even more exciting and thrilling than the first.  I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath and I couldn’t have been happier about it.  There were several times I found myself just staring at the page with an open mouth thinking to myself, “No way!  How did I miss that!?”  The ending made this book and bumped it from a 2 star to a 4 star book.

On a final note, I have to say one thing about Nalini Singh.  She is a skilled writer when it comes to a series.  Too often an author thinks that a series has to have a big cliffhanger in order to keep someone interested from book to book.  Sometimes this is the right approach, but not always.  And it’s gotten so prevalent in series that it’s almost predictable, what’s the cliffhanger going to be?  Ms. Singh doesn’t really give you a cliffhanger.  All the main plots are wrapped up and reach a resolution within that story.  But because the world and characters are so developed as soon as the plot ends you’re left wondering what the next story will be.  A series doesn’t always need a cliffhanger ending and this series is the perfect example of how to do it correctly.

Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh

Published March 3rd, 2009 by Berkley Sensation

Author’s Website: http://www.nalinisingh.com/

Synopsis from the author’s website:

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she’s the best—but she doesn’t know if she’s good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, only one thing is clear—failure is not an option…even if the task is impossible.

Because this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other…and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn’t destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break…

Review:

I loved this book!  I could not put it down!  I found myself reading through meals, reading while brushing my teeth, reading in parking lots, and reading late into the night long after I should have been asleep.  I have been looking for a paranormal romance/urban fantasy series to take the place of the Anita Blake series in my life…but that disaster is a story for a different day.  I think I may have found that series with the Guild Hunter Series.

First we have our two main characters, archangel Raphael and guild hunter Elena.  I liked them both.  Raphael has this air about him that is dark, scary, and dangerous.  But at the same time it is so enticing.  I wanted to know about him and I wanted to know what he was capable of.  Elena is similarly dark, scary, and dangerous.  But that was interesting and enticing too.  What really amused me was that through the entire book Elena keeps insisting about how different they are, when they are actually strikingly similar.  The sexual tension between the two of them was a constant tease through this entire book.  After awhile I wanted to just scream at them, “seriously just do it already!”  When they did it was passionate and sensual and such a relief.  It was about time and it was a great scene.

The idea behind this plot was simply fascinating.  It was something that I never would have thought of, and I found that refreshing.  Angels are the ones creating vampires, very unique.  Angels have the ability to turn into blood sucking monsters and kill hundreds, also unique and fascinating.  So many elements of this story were unique for this genre and it was so excellent to read.  I have been craving something I’ve never read before in the paranormal realm and I finally found it.

The only complaint I could possibly make is that there was so much going on that, at times, I had trouble keeping track of everything.  So many things were left unexplained until the very end that they melded together in mind and occasionally I found myself confused.  But this was a minor setback and ultimately didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the story at all.  I cannot wait to move on to the next in the series, and I look forward to finding out what’s going on with Elena next.  The hole in my paranormal fantasy shelf is filled and I couldn’t be more excited to watch it evolve.

Rating: A solid 4.5 out of 5.