Archive for Book Reviews
Series: Beyond Human
Published by Loveswept on 04/22/13
Genres: Paranormal Romance
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Francesca Marie Stewart has never wanted any man as much as she wants Jake Rios. His chiseled body and dark, intensely masculine energy draw her like a moth to a flame. But Frankie has been burned before, and now a mysterious figure from her troubled past has resurfaced with a terrifying new threat. Can she trust Jake not only with her heart but with her very life?
Jake’s hunger to possess this beautiful redhead goes beyond searing desire. He’s a vampire, and his very existence depends on bonding with a mate. He aches to ravish Frankie, but he must take it slow—for what he will ask of her will require profound sacrifice even as it gives her unimaginable pleasure. And once he has claimed her—body and soul—Jake will go to any lengths to protect her.
A Vampire’s Salvation is the first novella in Virna DePaul’s Beyond Human series and tells the story of Jake and Frankie.
Jake is a vampire who is almost 200 years old and reaching a very important stage in his life. In the Beyond Human world a vampire who lives over 200 years without finding his or her mate lose their immortality and go insane. Fortunately for Jake, he found his mate, Franscesca, six months ago. He’s spent the last six months trying to keep his vampiric nature in check and let Frankie get to know him in the traditional human way.
Frankie is a human who works as a consultant for the Governor. She has spent her life dedicated to her career and has found it very rewarding. She had a traumatic event happen to her when she was a teenager which left her both emotionally and physically scarred. Her intimacy issues were never a problem until Jake started working security for the Governor. Now she can’t stop fantasizing about the huge, alpha male who makes her knees go weak without even trying. But Frankie is flawed so why would this big, gorgeous male ever want her?
With the novella format, world building was minimal so you don’t learn a lot about the vampires or their traditions. A Vampire’s Salvation was short, sweet, and smexy. The vampire mythology was a bit different than other books I’ve read and I immediately liked both Jake and Frankie. I look forward to reading more in the Beyond Human world and am curious who the next novella will be about. I give A Vampire’s Salvation 3 stars.
Published by Dutton Juvenile on 1/10/12
Genres: Tough Issues
Source: Gifted ♥
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Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
I have busted my John Green…I have broken John Green ground, finally! Thank you to everyone who voted for this book during my April book poll. As difficult as this book was, I thank you all for giving me the push to finally dive in. I am happy to have finally experienced John Green’s brilliance. He certainly knows how to tell a story, and more importantly, how to write characters.
Hazel and Augustus. I am not even sure what to say about these two characters that would prove the magnitude of their presence and spirit in this book. Both are afflicted with different types of cancers, in different stages and with different outcomes. Both have been through utter hell and continue to experience the physical and emotional pain and suffering of terminal illness. However, there are times where I would not have even remembered they were sick, had it not been for Hazel’s need for oxygen and Augustus’ limp. When they found one another, they both started to truly live again. And live they did. They had big moments and small moments and glorious moments and devastating moments. But they experienced them all together, basking in the glow of their new found love and respect. That “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health” marriage vow was never more apparent in any story than it was with Hazel and Augustus. And they were teenagers who were not married, nor thinking about it. There was just so much truth and honesty inside them both that it burst out to envelop the other. Not to mention, they were like two peas in a pod. It’s definitely hard to put into words the perfect imperfection these two characters were together.
And I just have to talk about Augustus all by his onesies. This young man was AH-mazing. He was full of lust for life, and despite his illness, lived life to the absolute fullest. Never once did I see negativity or pessimism cross this young man’s thoughts. He was romantic and nerdy and fun. He was also very compassionate and humble. This guy had it all, and I will never forget what a beautiful character he is, and how much he made my heart smile in this book.
This book was much more than a book about kids with cancer. It was about living life and taking risks and being in love and exploring the world and enjoying beauty and the inner strength people can muster when life hands them a basket full of lemons. Believe it or not, I did not ugly cry. My eyes teared up, and I put the book down numerous times to gather myself, but I did not sob myself to sleep. I held on tightly to the beauty of the character’s life-altering experiences, and it got me through the book. I am really happy that I’ve been digging my heels into YA contemporary books more than I ever have. There are some incredible gems out there and I look forward to reading all of John Green’s work.
“May I see you again?” he asked. There was an endearing nervousness in his voice.
I smiled. “Sure.”
“Tomorrow?” he asked.
“Patience, grasshopper,” I counseled. “You don’t want to seem overeager.
“Right, that’s why I said tomorrow,” he said. “I want to see you again tonight. But I’m willing to wait all night and much of tomorrow.” I rolled my eyes. “I’m serious,” he said.
“You don’t even know me,” I said. I grabbed the book from the center console. “How about I call you when I finish this?”
“But you don’t even have my phone number,” he said.
“I strongly suspect you wrote it in this book.”
He broke out into that goofy smile. “And you say we don’t know each other.”
Published by Penguin on 3/26/13
Genres: Historical, Horror
Source: Blog Tour Host
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An explosive and daring debut novel set during the Enlightenment that tells the tale of a promising young surgeon-in-training whose study of anatomy is deeply complicated by his uncontrollable sadistic tendencies.
Meet Tristan Hart, a brilliant young man of means. The year is 1751, and Mr Hart leaves his Berkshire home for London to lodge with his father's friend, the novelist and dramatist Henry Fielding, and study medicine at the great hospital of University College. It will be a momentous year for the cultured and intellectually ambitious Mr Hart, who, as well as being a student of Locke and Descartes and a promising young physician, is also, alas, a psychopath. His obsession is the nature of pain, and preventing it during medical procedures. His equally strong and far more unpredictable obsession is the nature of pain, and causing it. Desperate to understand his own deviant desires before they derail his career and drive him mad, Tristan sifts through his childhood memories, memories that are informed by dark superstitions about faeries and goblins and shape-shifting gypsies. Will the new tools of the age-reason and science and scepticism-be enough to save him?
Unexpectedly funny, profoundly imaginative, and with a strange love story at its heart, The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones is a novel about the Enlightenment, the relationship between the mind and body, sex, madness, the nature of pain, and the existence of God.
A man could go quite mad and not be all that bad.
Consider each superb, disturbing urge you’ve ever had
To curse aloud in church or choke each bloke who
Throws a smile your way…
–John Jasper, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Oh those wacky 1700s*. A heady time of Reason, Rational Thinking, Revolution (French, American, Industrial — take your pick!) Rousseau and the Rights of Man.
What? Come back here! Was it something I said?
Jack Wolf’s debut novel is set in the heady century of the lightning rod, the diving bell and the threshing machine, but feel as if it would be more at home at the beginning of the 19th, settling snugly alongside Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. His anti-hero, Tristan Hart, goes comfortably mad at the age of fourteen, realizes he’s a psychopath with what we’d now call paranoid schizophrenic tendencies, and sets about dissecting any mammal smaller than a toddler in order to better understand his own madness.
As his infrequent bouts of “being unwell” take the form of wishing to cause pain to others around him, Hart’s studies take a medical bent and he searches for whatever must surely lie in a person’s um, person, that can receive pain. Basically, he becomes a doctor who tries to prevent pain in his practice while privately wrestling with his growing urges to whop on every living thing within reach. He’s… well honestly he could’ve been any surgeon I’ve ever met. But let’s move past that.
I think you might already be able to sense the direction the text is headed, and you’d be right. Master Hart indeed continues to be unwell, and in fact gets less well-er. A large portion of his mis-adventures come about as he searches for and finds his childhood bosom buddy, Nathaniel, who used to bite the heads off birds. Because it’s that kind of a book. Nathaniel, in the guise of a kind of cruel older brother, once terrified young Hart with tales of a two-headed monster, Raw Head and Bloody Bones, a kind of child-eating goblin. Are you seeing where this is going yet? Because it goes there. And then some.
Now, I think it’s fair to caution you, the whole book is written in a fair approximation of 18th century prose, by which I mean, well…
Thus was I that Evening relieved of the Unpleasantness of meeting with mine Aunt Barnaby. Mrs H. left me alone to bathe after Midnight and I retired to Bed around the Stroake of one. I slept until the next Middaye.
More than five hundred pages in that vein. Basically you’re either going to be fine with this style or it’s going to Get On Your Tittes Very Quickley, which is what happened to me. Still, it’s not the worst thing I’ve seen a publisher do in the last six months, so I’m letting it slide.
In short, this book is a very clever little period horror piece.
It works on and with emerging 18th century fears of the rise Rational Thought and Reason, and how they could, hand-in-hand with anatomy, ha ha, give rise to an investigation of the body that managed to exclude the soul in all its corruptions. There’s also the tension between rural, bucolic England the move to urban areas engendered by the Industrial Revolution, the tension between the bogeymen of traditional, feral fairy tales and what men could and do do in their everyday lives. Tension between sanity and madness and perception and reality. Basically if it was talked about in the 18th century, this book is sure to have it.
An interesting addition to the horror genre.
*Yes, I know Edwin Drood is from 1870. But the temptation was simply too much to resist.
One lucky commenter will win One (1) copy of THE TALE OF RAW HEAD AND BLOODY BONES.
- Open to US/Canada only.
- You must be at least 18 years old to enter.
- Ends 5/21/13.
- Winner will have 72 hours to respond to email or a new winner will be chosen.
Series: Seven Realms #3
Published by Hyperion Books on 8/30/11
Genres: YA High Fantasy
Source: The Smashtastic Library
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In the third installment of the Seven Realms series, Han finds himself fighting for the life of his love interest, Raisa, who remains under disguise from him. He races back to Marianna Pines Camp and their healers, and nearly dies during the journey.
“Will you give the girl to me?” she said. “Will you let me try?”
He nodded, dizzy with relief. “Please, Willo. Please. Save her. It doesn’t matter…what happens to me.”
Of course, the camp knows exactly who Raisa is, and that moment that I was so desperately terrified to experience…happened. It was heartbreaking. Utterly and horribly painful to read. Han’s reaction…no words, people. *sniff*
Han and Raisa become connected in another, more formal fashion. The tension was high but they both remained professional throughout their interactions. It was so obvious that their intense feelings still boiled in their hearts, but duty called and they answered it with dignity and grace. Of course, Han is in a position he never would have expected someone of his background to be in, and he is doing what Han does best: manipulate and squirm his way towards his own personal goals. I love how damn smart and effective this young man! He gets shit done and is halfway down the mountain before you realize you’ve been duped. Love. Him!
Amon and Raisa’s relationship is also heartbreaking in this installment. Their connection remains fierce and loyal, but the last vestiges of any romance between them fly out the window. It’s hard for them to fully come to terms with, but as most of the characters in this world, they do it with grace. I love Amon. He is an incredibly loyal, protective and generous soul, and he is so very dedicated to the royal line and his role in protecting it.
Raisa remains as strong and eloquent as ever. This chic has an iron will and can slap the biggest dude around with her words. She’s admirable, generous and so very dedicated to her people. She is responsible and does not run away from her duties, even though numerous people would like nothing more than to see her dead and gone. Kudos to this chic and her steadfast, determined soul!
We learn who Crow is in this installment. I was flabbergasted. It was an awesome reveal. Maybe others will guess, but I never catch on to that kind of stuff while reading. I love how his character is being woven into the story, and how he and Han are scheming together. I am unsure if I still trust him, because he has a serious vendetta, but if Han is as smart as I think he is, hopefully he can use Crow to his full advantage. I’m rooting for you, Han! Oh! Cat is a prominent character in this installment, and this chic just rocks! She is wicked fun, full of spunk and can gut you before you realize your intestines are making nice with the pavement. My kinda chic!
This series keeps getting better and better! I mean, there has been NO lull in excitement. No second-book syndrome, no fillers. None of that shit, yo. Cinda Williams Chima is a master plotter and has really laid out the details for this series well. Not only that, but she has kept the characters and scenery as alive as the plot. And the world continues to expand! I mean, it’s glorious. Just glorious…
A moment later, Cat hurtled back into the room as if chased by demons. She stationed herself in front of Raisa, a knife in either hand, all of her genteel patina swept away. “Cuffs! Look sharp! It’s him, the whey-faced, gutter-swiving, prig-napping bastard! He’s here!”
Series: The Asylum Tales #2
Published by Harper Voyager on 05/07/13
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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In a world where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires swim free in a sea of humanity, sometimes you need an edge. Looking for a little love? Need some luck? Desperate for revenge? Gage can give you what you need. The most talented tattoo artist in town, he knows the right symbol and the right mix of ingredients and ink to achieve your heart's desire. One tattoo is all it takes. But remember, everything has its price. . . .
Gage learned that lesson long ago, in ways he'd rather not remember. But the cruel and powerful wizards in the dreaded Ivory Towers he escaped aren't about to let him forget. Though Gage has managed to stay out of sight, he can't outrun the past forever. The wizards know Gage is using forbidden magic, and they intend to punish him for his transgressions.
Too bad if innocent humans and monsters—entire cities—get in the way. They will quell a nascent magical uprising and Gage will be the sacrifice they need. First, though, they have to find him . . .
Dead Man’s Deal is the second book in Jocelynn Drake’s phenomenal urban fantasy series, The Asylum Tales, and picks up a couple of months after events that took place in Angel’s Ink. Though you get a lot of background information in Dead Man’s Deal, in order to get a better grasp on the world you really need to start at the beginning. So many things happened to Gage in Angel’s Ink that led him to where he is now.
Now that that is out of the way I just wanna say that holy frakkin shit Jocelynn has done it again as far as incredible world building goes. The thing I lurve most about her writing is that you never know where she’s gonna go with it. Poor Gage is always trying to do the best thing he can and help out those that he cares about but no matter how hard he tries he ends up digging a deeper hole for himself. He wants to help his girlfriend, Trixie, with her issue with the Summer Court elves so that she can go back to her people if she wants and/or needs to. He wants to get not only his friend Bronx out of his obligation to the dark elf, Reave, but also himself. While trying to help everyone else he still has to try to stay below the radar so that those within the Towers don’t start gunning for him again. Ha! Like that’s gonna happen especially when Reave comes across information that could damn them all and puts Gage in a terrible position. On top of all of that, Gage still has Lilith laughing and taunting him in his head. So what the hell is Gage gonna do? He’s gonna do what he does best; be devious and try to outsmart every last frakkin one of them.
I don’t want to go into details because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. Just know that someone from Gage’s past shows up in a VERY unexpected way, you meet new characters (some good, some bad, some totally kick ass), you see just how diabolical the Witches and Wizards are, you get a glimpse inside the Towers (which was seriously frakkin awesome), oh and all hell breaks loose. The ending of Dead Man’s Deal left a world of opportunity open and I really, really, really hope that the good people at Harper Voyager give us at least one more book in the series.
I seriously lurve the world that Jocelynn Drake has created and can’t wait for more. Dead Man’s Deal is another fantabulous book in the The Asylum Tales series. I highly recommend this series and suggest that you run (not walk) to your nearest-and-dearest book peddler and pick up Angel’s Ink, the first book in the series as well as the bad ass sequel. The Asylum Tales is a brilliantly written urban fantasy world and you will not be disappointed. I give Dead Man’s Deal 4.5 stars and wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up in my top urban fantasy picks of the year.
The Asylum Interviews: Bronx # 0.5
The Asylum Interviews: Trixie # 0.6
Of Monsters and Men (Blood by Moonlight anthology) # 1.5
Dead Man’s Deal