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Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Blurb:

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of "rehabilitation"- the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion-and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities-or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

My thoughts: 

So I finally jumped on the bandwagon and read Slave to Sensation. I have been very curious about this book, but always found the title quite unappealing. But I have read so much praise for it that I finally got it on my swap site and went for it.

Don’t let the title mislead you. Sascha is by no means a “slave to sensation”. She is an interesting character, since she has never known emotion and yet her ability is worth nothing without it. However, she is still her own person and does what she thinks is right. She is not ruled by her desire for sensation.

I was very impressed with the world building. The world of the Psy was well developed and explained and a good contrast to the world of the changelings. I always had a liking for unemotional characters and I loved the Psy and their ordered, tidy world. I also liked their counterparts, the changelings with their emotions flaring up and their structures where family or pack is everything.

Sascha and Lucas meet for business and how it went from there was nicely done. To me everything that happened made sense, the side characters were introduced well, not overwhelming the plot but enough to make me want to find out more about them, especially Dorian and Hawke.

With the ending and the solution to the problem that occupied Sascha for a long time – a solution, by the way, that made sense and was not something far fetched – Nalini Singh has opened a lot of possibilities for other stories between Psy and changelings. I can’t wait to read them.

 

Title Slave to Sensation
Author Nalini Singh
Publisher Berkley
ISBN 978-0425212868
Buy link Buy Slave to Sensation
Article

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

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Blurb:

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

 

My thoughts: 

Even though I am not into YA in general I read Shiver along with Carin because I have heard a lot of good things about it. I like the "lovers who can’t stay together due to circumstances" topic, so I was not disappointed with the general idea of the story.
Grace and Sam have been in love for what seems like forever, even though they didn’t know each other in person. Very romantic. I liked the uncomplicated plot without many twists and turns which made for a quick and pleasant read, I suppose this is quite typical of a YA story where there are not obstacles at every corner (and given the situation there could have been A LOT of them).

I already said in my update #1 of the readalong that I didn’t get the Fahrenheit degrees at all, which supposedly took some of the building tension away. In retrospect I am pretty sure knowing my way around Fahrenheit wouldn’t have made a big difference. OK, it got colder and change was coming closer – I got that without the exact temperature info, especially since the indicators of when Sam would change were more than unreliable anyway.
It seemed the wolves changed at random, yes, based on the seasons, but nobody knew exactly when they would change, when they would change back, when they would stay a wolf for good etc. I found this quite confusing. It wasn’t as if with the temperature reaching a certain point the change would invariably happen, so I am not sure what the temperature was supposed to tell us exactly.

The fact that Grace’s parents were totally oblivious to the fact that Sam was practically living in their house was strange to say the least. OK, they left Grace pretty much to her own devices but how can parents be so clueless and uninterested? This could have been one source of conflict that was not fully explored here. Grace deals with it in her head, but never confronts her parents.

I have heard from someone that a few people have complained about Grace having no backbone. I really have no idea where those people are coming from. I liked her. She was matter-of-fact, independent, reliable and quite practical when it came to helping Sam out in tricky situations or when she was with Jack and had to think of a way to get help for herself.

Another thing I had also read somewhere before was that Sam was constantly writing song lyrics reflecting his emotions. That sounded rather interesting, but somehow I didn’t particularly care for them. The choice of poetry that Sam read to Grace was equally unsatisfactory to me. I love poetry but Rainer Maria Rilke wouldn’t have been my first choice if I wanted to introduce someone to either poetry or German.

One side character I particularly liked was Isabel, Jack’s sister. Even though at first she is the condescending, rich and spoilt girl with her little dog in her purse, she later turns out to be helpful and sincere. Her snappy way and bitchy attitude could not hide the fact that she is a good person after all. From what I read she will be also a major character in "Linger", the sequel to "Shiver", and I am really looking forward to reading more about her.

I’m not sure whether I liked the ending. First of all, the whole cure theory and the execution of administering it was more than dubious. Was it realistic how Isabel got the blood? Was it realistic how they got them all to the hospital and out again? That all sounded very half-baked and it was happening too fast.

The re-unification of Grace and Sam was, well, nice, but I was missing some sort of explanation as to what happened to him after he ran away. Grace assumed he was dead, and then, all of a sudden, he returns and that’s it? That was anticlimatic. I can only hope that "Linger" will pick up exactly at this point and will deliver what I have been missing. 

 

Title Shiver
Author Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher Scholastic
ISBN 978-0545123273
Buy link Buy Shiver

 

Want to read what others think about this book?

Read Carin’s review of Shiver. Her thoughts went along a totally different line.

Here is Leeswammes review of it.

And this is what Iris has to say about it.  

Chachic’s thoughts on it.  

Article

Soulless by Gail Carriger

imageBlurb:

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire — and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

My thoughts: 

This is the first book I read for my Steampunk challenge. Everybody talks about the Parasol Protectorate series, of which this is the first book with Changeless and Blameless to follow. Two more sequels, Heartless and Timeless, will be released in the next two years.

Since this is the first steampunk book I have ever read (except a m/m novella which I don’t count here) I have no idea how to rate it as far as the steampunk factor is concerned. It is set in an alternative Victorian London; werewolves, vampires, ghosts and other supernatural beings have come out years before and are now an official, if not 100% popular, part of society. The plot revolves around mysterious appearances and disappearances of supernatural beings and it is up to Alexia and Lord Maccon to detect what is going on (if only by accident and with the help of a few delectable dandies).

Alexia is a preternatural, the only one known in fact, who can neutralize supernatural powers merely through touch. I found this an interesting twist. In no paranormal story I have read so far did I come across anybody who could negate the supernatural at all, let alone this easily. Her interactions with her paramour-to-be were delightful. Both thoroughly dislike each other – or so they think – and that made for some very agreeable banter.

The other main characters are all fleshed out and, if not likeable, at least believable. The typical werewolf – vampire differences are in place. The vampires are refined to foppish, the werewolves down-to-earth to rough and boisterous. I absolutely loved Lord Akeldama and his drones. I hope I will see more of them in the future.

One thing I could have done without were the descriptions of the experiments in the club. I hate that sort of thing and I would have known that those scientists were rather crazy, fanatical and dangerous without reading all that. So I skipped some of it, even though I am sure I missed out on some great machinery ideas that way.

The idea to lock Alexia into the cell with the biggest werewolf gave a chance to throw in a lovely scene between her and Lord Maccon. Strange how people in love are inclined to kiss and pet even in the worst circumstances. But then, I suppose they were locked in and could only wait. So what better pastime than to make out?

I very much enjoyed reading Soulless and will definitely continue with that series. If you like the paranormal, romance (not too explicit), an element of humour and a lot of entertainment, get it!

On Gail Carriger’s website you will find a page about Alexia’s London, along with sketches of characters and outfits, deleted scenes and more. A nice addition to the reading experience.

Title Soulless
Author Gail Carriger
Publisher Orbit Books
ISBN 978-0316056632
Buy link Buy Soulless

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

WANT TO KNOW WHAT OTHERS THOUGHT OF THIS BOOK? HAVE A LOOK AT:

Heather at Books and Quilts 

Article

Extinction by Carol Lynne

Blurb:

Professor of Environmental Science/Wildlife studies at UNLV, Jack McBain has spent his adult life trying to track a legend overheard during his youth. Born and raised in the Canadian Province of Newfoundland, Jack remembers his grandparents telling stories of a race of people eradicated by European settlers in 1829. According to the legend, the Beothuk people didn’t die out as first thought, but were transformed into wolf shifters.

When Newfoundland wolves began to appear in great numbers, the European settlers began killing them under the guise of population control. In 1910, the last of the Newfoundland wolves was shot, making them one of the few extinct species of wolves in the world.

Following spotty leads, Jack begins to track what he believes are Beothuk/Newfoundland shifter wolves. His search leads him to the Lake Mead National Recreational Area outside of Las Vegas. There, on Spirit Mountain, he finally comes face to face with not only the shifter he’s been looking for, but the man of his dreams he didn’t know he needed.

My thoughts: 

I only know Carol Lynne’s writing from the two Cattle Valley books that I read recently and thought I’d try something different by her. And, wow, different this was. I don’t know whether it was for the better or worse, though.

But first let me say something about Resplendence Publishing’s so called “Heat Levels”. They have 5 heat levels that go from “heat behind closed doors” (Diamond) to “intense, hotter than hot” (Fire Opal). “Extinction” is rated that last level. However, it seems ALL same sex romance books are in that category, obviously because of the contents being offensive to some (my assumption, they don’t say that explicitly). So, if you buy a m/m romance at their shop your book will automatically be rated “Fire Opal”. I didn’t know exactly whether this means the heat is “hotter than hot” or whether it is simply in that category because of the potentially offensive contents (unless of course ALL m/m books are that heated anyway).

Let me get this straight, I don’t mind a heat level up to the roof, but if about 85% of the book are sex scenes I tend to get a bit bored. This is what happened here, I actually found myself skipping over sex scenes desperately trying to find the next scene with other content.

For all intents and purposes the plot was interesting and could certainly have been elaborated on. Unfortunately Carol Lynne decided to keep explanations to a minimum, just barely enough so you could understand what was going on, and filled the rest of the story with sex.

I really liked the first few pages, but then it quickly turned around to being monotonous.  I never even felt a real connection between Jack and Toby. The whole story. even though the idea is a good one, was –in my eyes- badly executed.

Title Extinction
Author Carol Lynne
Publisher Resplendence Publishing
ISBN 9781607350408
Buy link Buy Extinction
Article

Touch of a Wolf by Jez Morrow

Blurb:

On a rebound from his cheating lover, Matt Winter has sex in a Philadelphia alley with a man packing a gun and sniffing like a coke addict. When Matt’s stranger from the alley lets himself into Matt’s apartment through the window, Matt learns that the man has a badge to go with that gun. Detective John Channing of the Philly PD has been passing as a dirty cop.
Channing needs a safe place to get himself clean and sober so he can be a credible witness in court against a murderer. And he wants sex. The anonymous encounter was not enough for either of them. As Channing goes into withdrawal the hallucinations start, but it’s Matt who wakes up in bed with a wolf. Matt doesn’t believe in werewolves. But then, he doesn’t believe in love at first sight either…

My thoughts: 

I hate anonymous sex scenes. Whenever I come across one I get bored and skip it. Anonymous sex just does not do it for me. This is what I thought anyway. After reading the first few pages of Touch of a Wolf I have to re-consider my last statements though. I was impressed. That scene with two strangers in some dark alley in Philadelphia was more intimate and intense than a lot of “conventional” ones and drew me right into the story.

And then I just couldn’t stop reading. I totally loved Touch of a Wolf. Matt and John (even though he is mostly referred to as Channing) were great characters. The plot just flowed, turning slightly improbable towards the end in my eyes, but that didn’t matter in the least.

The wolf angle was done slightly differently than usual. Not only was it not an issue between the two men, the wolf existence was introduced somehow like in passing as if it was no big deal. There were problems being a wolf, especially being one that’s been around for a while, but nothing a smart computer savvy man couldn’t fix. Which brings me to the only question about this story. How did Matt turn from a researcher who hated tampering with files into such an accomplished forger? Looking at his considerate counterfeiting skills you would think he’s never done anything else. But I didn’t want to let this trifle spoil the overall enjoyment and accepted it in stride. Touch of a Wolf is a love-at-first-sight story, road movie and wolf-man wrapped up in one great package.

One drawback was the editing, however. I noticed punctuation marks at the wrong place, sentences that should have been negative were positive etc. The book deserves better than that.

Even so. This was a great read. Jez Morrow has some more were stories out, I MUST go and check them out.  Highly recommended.

 

Title Touch of a Wolf
Author Jez Morrow
Publisher Torquere Books
ISBN 978-1-61040-457-1
Buy link Buy Touch of a Wolf
Article

Wolf at the Door by Christine Warren

Blurb: Sullivan Quinn didn’t travel 3,000 miles from his native Ireland and his wolf pack just to chase rabidly after the most delectable quarry he’s ever seen. Quinn is in America on a mission—to warn his Other brethren of a shadowy group willing to use murder and mayhem to bring them down. But one whiff of this Foxwoman’s delicious honeysuckle fragrance and he knows that she is more than a colleague or a conquest…she is his mate.

Anthropologist Cassidy Poe is a world-renowned authority on social interaction, but the overpowering desire she feels around Quinn defies every ounce of her expertise. Working by his side to uncover The Others’ enemies poses risks she never expected—to her own safety, to those she loves, and to her heart, as every encounter with Quinn proves more blissfully erotic than the last…
Now, with no one to trust but each other, Quinn and Cassidy face a foe that’s edging closer every day, threatening to destroy the life they’ve always known, and the passion they’ve just discovered…

My thoughts: Somehow I must have overlooked that this book is by the same author as “Fantasy Fix”. Had I known this I probably wouldn’t have gotten this book, since Fantasy fix really got on my nerves. However, I liked “Wolf at the door” quite a bit. According to amazon both books belong to the Other series and Fantasy Fix (now called One bite with a stranger) is book six, while Wolf at the door is book 1. Fantasy Fix was written much earlier and as far as I can remember had no references to the Others at all, but maybe the re-release is quite different from the first one.

Anyway. I liked the point of departure in the story. The Others are not only weres and vampires but practically everything you can think of. Faeries, brownies, selkies, animi, gargoyles, you name it, the Others got it. They are now threatened to be exposed to the humans and have to take action in order to prevent this, possibly by anticipating the opponents’ move and “unveil” themselves.

That plot was not a very complicated one, still didn’t get resolved completely by the end of the book. The Others did find out who was pulling the strings, but the direct enemy never got exposed and the way it looks they won’t be in the next book either. Doesn’t matter, I still enjoyed reading this story, mostly for the humour in it. Cassidy’s wisecracking towards the end was a bit over the top for me, but still nice to read.

As far as the romance goes, it took up a fair amount of the book and there wasn’t much doubting, angst or anything. The chemistry was immediate, Quinn (why he was always referred to as Quinn I didn’t get, his first name is Sullivan) had made up his mind about Cassidy from the start and she didn’t take long to come around to the fact that there is something more meaningful between them than just a fling.

A nice and entertaining story. I checked the following books for a sequel about Richard, the selkie, but it seems no such luck. Richard is the character I’d have like to read more about. Oh, well, I think there are more Others books to come.

Wolf at the Door is available at amazon

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Unleashing Angel by Mel Spenser

Blurb: Brian is a land surveyor sent on a job to a remote area of southeast Arizona for a month-long work assignment. There he meets Angel, a college student, home for the summer and helping his family with their campground style motel where Brian stays. Brian realizes that he’s jumped into relationships a little too quickly in the past, but finds it very hard to resist Angel, who’s just his type. Even though he knows he should take it slow, Brian can’t seem to stay away.
Angel has a secret though. He’s a werewolf. Not only that, the werewolf gene is triggered by having sex for the first time. Angel is ‘unleashed’ when he and Brian have sex. Can Brian come to terms with being in love with the most powerful werewolf rural Arizona has seen in decades? And will Angel be able to fit into Brian’s urban lifestyle? Or will a series of misunderstandings, hurt feelings and bruised egos keep them apart?

My thoughts: I chose this story because I like weres (who doesn’t?) and the storyline sounded interesting. “Unleashing” someone promised quite a bit of action in my eyes. I’m not sure whether I expected too much, but my expectations were not quite met

If you don’t like SPOILERS, don’t continue reading!

I liked the storyline and the way the tension between Brian and Angel built up was nicely done. However, when it was finally released I just didn’t feel it. Sorry! The first love scene almost felt like “by appointment” to me, well, not really, but they sort of agreed to do it in a way that just didn’t do it for me. The others felt rushed and there was almost always some issue or other standing between them that needed resolving. Somehow the guys never explored or expressed their feelings for each other in a satisfactory way. As for “unleashing” Angel, apart from some allusions that Angel exuded power, that aspect was sadly neglected in my eyes. After all it is the title of the book so I expected that it would have been elaborated much more than it was.

A lot of time was spent misunderstanding each other without giving the other one a chance to explain – admittedly there wouldn’t be much of a problem otherwise, but the situation was just going back and forth. First Brian treated Angel that way, then it was the other way around. The werewolf issue mentioned in the blurb didn’t exist between Brian and Angel at all, I’m sorry to say. Brian has no clue about what or who Angel is until the very end and then comes to terms with it easily.

A couple of things didn’t make much sense to me:

  • Why would Carmen wait for Angel if he so obviously shows no interest in her? OK, it was an unspoken agreement between whoever that they both would marry one day, but that seemed pretty unlikely given Angel’s unwillingness. Shortly after it became clear to her that he’s never going to marry her – and he expressed that thought to Brian very early on, so I would assume he told others as well – she should have moved on instead of sitting there waiting for him to come around.
  • Why would Brian take Angel to his place without being certain Sam was gone? This had no impact on the story because he WAS gone, but what if he hadn’t moved out? And that WAS a possibility with him.
  • The idea of Carmen that she could “turn” Angel if only she could get Brian out of the way is just ridiculous.
  • I didn’t understand the motivation behind opening Brian’s letter. Besides the fact that doing so is rather dubious in itself it seemed out of character and put Hector in a pretty bad light, he had no reason to distrust Brian and therefore why would he insist on opening the letter?

I enjoyed the story to a certain extent but it won’t be anything I’ll read again.

Available at Torquere Books

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Upcoming Twilight novel

A lot of people will be pleased to hear that a Twilight novella will be coming out in June. “The short second life of Bree Tanner” will be released in hardcover for 13.99$ on June 5. However, her dedicated fans can read an online edition for free at http://www.breetanner.com/  between June 7 and July 5. They say you won’t be able to print it from there.

The story is about Bree Tanner, a vampire in Victoria’s newly raised vampire army against the Cullens. I can’t say I remember the character, but I’m sure hardcore Twilight fans will know all there is to know about her so far.

Here you can find Stephenie Meyer’s press release.

German readers can find some info at Spiegel online. The German version will be released on the same date as the original version, its title will be "Bis(s) zum ersten Sonnenstrahl – Das kurze zweite Leben der Bree Tanner".

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Stray by Cassandra Gold

Blurb: J’s life has been tough ever since his father disowned him for being gay, but when his abusive boyfriend kicks him out, things get even worse.
While searching for a shelter to spend the night in, J is accosted by a strange man who needs a place to hide. Despite his fear, J agrees to take the man with him to a safe place.
Will helping the stranger turn out to be yet another mistake, or will it lead him to happiness at last?

Review: J and Hunter meet when both are in a tricky situation. Hunter is being, well, hunted, and J is looking for a place to stay after being once more abused by his “boyfriend”. In fact, boyfriend is too good a word for that creep. J takes Hunter with him to a shelter and they sort of connect in an innocent way. When Hunter finds out about the dimension of the abuse J has to suffer he decides to take him with him.

Just like in “In a wolf’s eyes” J’s reaction to the revelation of Hunter’s true nature was surprisingly quick and natural. No fretting, no worries, just acceptance. Again, in such a short story (the word count is only 8160 words) there wouldn’t be room for denial and slow reluctant getting used to it.

This was a very quick and nice read. If you expect hot sex scenes, be warned, there aren’t any. The relationship between J and Hunter develops slowly over time (a period we hardly witness, since a lot of it is skipped) and only at the end of the story we learn that both feel the same for each other. Anything physical is only hinted at.

Available at Red Rose Publishing

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In a wolf’s eyes by Cassandra Gold

Blurb: Months ago, former model Reed Emerson was nearly killed in a car accident. While on a trip to celebrate his recovery, he gets lost in the woods and meets an unusual wolf. When the animal turns out to be more than just a wolf, Reed is astonished and a little afraid.
Werewolf Ethan Amhurst has been alone a long time. Finding Reed lost on his property seems to be a stroke of luck. He wants to show Reed that his scars don’t matter, but can there be any future for a werewolf and a scarred ex-model?

Review: After being so enthusiastic about “Fool for Love” I decided to try out another book by Cassandra Gold, this time a paranormal story with a werewolf. Add a scarred hero as the second protagonist and you have a story that I’m bound to like.

The story goes medias in res with Reed being lost and meeting Ethan, just he doesn’t know it. We only learn what happened to him further on when he confides in Ethan; just what I like, no long prologue and no backstory to go through.

Reed’s reaction to Ethan’s revelation that he is the wolf is pretty astonishing. If I met a man and he told me he was the wolf I slept side by side with last night I’d be more than a little surprised. But I suppose on 47 pages you can’t squeeze in too much misgivings about a werewolf. You either take it or leave it. The slight misunderstanding as to Ethan’s motive to let Reed go so easily is getting cleared up rather quickly with the help of the standard jerk-y ex boyfriend.

There is still a question or two that wasn’t answered. We hardly know anything about Ethan. There is mentioning of the Elders who are against human / were relationships as a rule, but that’s about it. Does he always live in his cabin in the forest?  As far as I know (my knowledge all derives from PNR, but I have to start somewhere) werewolves usually have some sort of pack continuously meddling in everybody’s affairs. Where is it?

But all that aside, I really liked the story. If you like weres, paranormal and a straight storyline with no ramifications, this is great for you.

Available at Cobblestone Press

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An unnatural worth by Mya

Synopsis: Lexis, a vampire, gets a little too conceited and confident and pisses his elders off. As a punishment his coven turns against him, blinds him and leaves him for dead. He gets captured by humans and, together with other supernatural beings, is being experimented upon in some institution. When some of his fellow inmates make it possible to escape he’d rather stay behind and just die. However, Bryce, a werewolf, has other plans and drags him along. Bryce wants to avenge Lexis – against Lexis’ will -, but as a result of this well-meaning action, his old coven captures Lexis to finish him off for good.

Review: OK, this was different. The whole story is being told in first person. I usually don’t like that I only get one person’s angle, but from an excerpt I knew already that the story was told from Lexis’ point of view. So no complaints here. What was strange for me was that Lexis also is blind, so we never receive any visual impressions, but only Lexis’ feelings and what he experiences by touch or from hearing.
Bryce is totally smitten with Lexis, a fact that Lexis doesn’t recognize. He is totally unaware of his own appeal. On the other hand he feels dependent on Bryce and is quite taken with him as well. The love scenes are hot (I wouldn’t expect anything else) and took some getting used to. The warning on the shop site that the story contained sex in shifted form made me wonder whether I’d like it at all (given my opinion about the Wolf Tales by Kate Douglas), but I went for it anyway. So once I got over the fact that Bryce turned at some point to a certain degree the scenes were quite good, but nothing I’d like to read repeatedly.

What I liked was Bryce’s dedication to support Lexis and his determination to avenge him and help him restore his eyesight. Even though Lexis doesn’t recognize this himself and even fights it, it is just what he needs. Those two certainly make an interesting couple. All in all, this was a good read and the unique perspective made it quite extraordinary.

Available at Loose ID

[rating: 3]

Article

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

I would never have thought that I’d read a book for young adults. I resisted Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series for quite some time, but since the 4th book came out and the discussion started to become lively again, I just had to give it a try. I was told you either hate or love the book(s) and I wanted to find out what it was for me.

Well, obviously times have changed since I was a young adult. Where young girls nowadays are reading Twilight (and go totally nuts about it) I was reading the O’Sullivan Twins by Enid Blyton, LOL. I don’t know whether I’d like my early teen daughter – if I had one – to read Twilight. Even though there is no sex in the book, for reasons other than the couple wouldn’t love to have sex, it is quite a sensual book.

The story is about a new student in Forks, WA, Bella Swan (what a name, can you get more obvious?), who falls in love with a fellow student, Edward. He and his siblings are outsiders in their high school, and Bella is intrigued by him. When Edwards rescues her with superhuman speed and power from an accident she suspects he’s more than meets the eye. You guessed it, he’s a vampire. They fall in love, face some adversary and come out on top – for now. Bella wants Edward to turn her into a vampire, but he refuses and they come to an impasse over this.

I don’t know what to think of Bella. She is a total klutz, Edwards continuously has to rescue her from one accident or other; how she survived her first 17 years is a mystery to me. She has no life whatsoever, apart from Edward. She has no hobbies. Since she is new in Forks, she only made a few friends right at the beginning, but neglects them very soon after she gets entangled with Edward and his vampire "family". Her father, who she lives with now, uses her as a housemaid, she cooks his dinner every night, tidies up, does the laundry…..Excuse me? He has been living alone for a number of years and now that Bella is here he doesn’t lift a finger any more?  I really hope that young girls don’t read this book and think that this is how a girl’s life should be.

I am a sucker for boring books without a lot of external interference and with a lot of internal monologue, so this book was written for me. I enjoyed reading it a lot and got the other three books in the series as well. I loved Edward, even though I could have done with a bit less Bella gushing over him. How often can you say that someone is gorgeous and perfect without being repetitive? I get it.

Oh, and about the glitter part that everybody is so up in arms about. Yeah, ok, Ms. Meyer’s vampire glitter when they go out in direct sun light. So what? Every author makes up their own little vampire world, and if for her, they glitter, what is it to me? Edward and the others have to be able to walk in daylight in order to make the story work. If she’s thrown in a little glitter without explaining why, who the hell cares? After all it is book targeted at GIRLS, and we all love glitter, LOL. I don’t want to read a scientific essay about the reasons for it.

The book is told in first person from Bella’s point of view, which I usually don’t care for. I’d rather see both sides. Stephenie Meyer had planned to write another book about the same story from Edward’s point of view, Midnight Sun, but some thief stole and posted the unfinished manuscript on the net. The book is on hold for now. Ms. Meyer has posted that manuscript now on her own site so interested readers can read the first 250 odd pages.

Want to read more reviews?
This book has also been reviewed at Literary Escapism.

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Circus of the Damned by Laurell K. Hamilton

Circus of the Damned is the 3rd book in the series. I have no idea why I’m still reading on, I must be under some sort of spell, I have no other explanation. Anita is starting to seriously get on my nerves. I want to slap her on at least every other page for being the tough girl that she is. What’s wrong with that woman?
Her constant denial of that she feels somewhat attracted to Jean-Claude is extremely annoying once more. She is a professional zombie raiser and necromancer, she continuously stresses her "affinity" towards the dead, yet going out with a "walking corpse" (i.e. vampire) is totally not her cup of tea. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t get that.
In the book two master vampires are fighting for supremacy in the city and she is (once more) getting caught in the middle of it all. The two masters in question are Jean-Claude, whom she knows to be a halfway decent fellow and a certain Mr. Oliver of whom she knows nothing whatsoever. She meets him once and finds he is a nice guy. Based on the one hour meeting – during which he shows remarkable power – she decides that she will betray Jean-Claude and give his identity and location to Mr. Oliver. Bad judgement because Mr. Oliver turns out to be not so nice after all, but then – when the shit hits the fan she does say to Jean-Claude that she is sorry. That must count for something, no? Only through her stout-hearted actions the evil ones are killed and Jean-Claude is rescued, so that makes it all good again. Why Jean-Claude doesn’t give that woman a wide berth after that incident is beyond me.

Apart from all those personality issues I find the idea of having Mr. Oliver dress up like a clown for the final showdown at the circus extremely trite. It just reminds me of Stephen King or maybe Batman. Why do the evil ones always dress up as clowns? Admittedly clowns are pretty frightening, but the idea is so old and hackneyed, it’s time to look for some other fancy dress.

And then Richard….What’s wrong with that guy being attracted to Anita? What on earth are they talking about while they are dating? My reckoning: the conversation centers around whether Anita prefers to carry her gun in a holster under her shoulder or at the small of her back and whether a Browning whatever is preferabe to a Firestar whatever. Then there is the important question to be answered whether to wear a cardigan or a shirt to hide the gun. God, the woman is so boring, it hurts.

BTW, if anybody is wondering about the book titles. They are all various pubs, bars and other locations in the area. Guilty Pleasures is Jean -Claude’s night club, The laughing corpse is a comedy club (owned by Jean-Claude) and the Circus of the Damned is a circus or rather supernatural freak show, managed by – you guessed it – Jean Claude. But hope is near, the Lunatic Café, the next book’s title, is not affiliated with Jean-Claude in any way.

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The laughing corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton

This book started the whole idea of this blog. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a hero/heroine in a book this much. We’ve had  the whole Anita Blake series for a long time at home. John read them  – he’s all into that vampire stuff -, but stopped reading them when they started to turn into some sort of sex novel around volume no. 9 or 10. When I found out there was the Paranormal Romance genre out there I started reading some books and really liked them. Eventually John told me about LKH and I started to read the Anita Blake series.
“The laughing corpse” is the second Anita Blake book that I have read (after “Guilty pleasures”) and I am not impressed with it.
Anita Blake is a self-righteous, supposedly cool, totally unlikeable person. Her attitude is aggravating to say the least. She doesn’t know when to shut her mouth, pisses the wrong people off at the wrong time and still comes out of every confrontation unharmed.

The descriptions of the murder scenes in the book are gross. To describe the scene once is necessary, but to describe the same stuff again and again is redundant. I’m getting the picture after the first time.

The books are called “vampire hunter novels”, yet so far Anita hasn’t hunted any vampires. Not that I think that vampires need to be hunted per se, but a bit of vampire interaction would be nice. In the first book the “vampire hunter” actually worked FOR the vampires and in the second one there were hardly any vampires.
Jean-Claude was only put in as a minor supporting actor. The whole book deals with zombies of all kinds – a topic that doesn’t do it for me at all.

*SPOILERS*
What annoyed me most was:
– that Anita found out that raising a dead animator has very bad consequences and that that zombie can’t be controlled by the one who raised it. Nevertheless she doesn’t hesitate to raise a whole graveyard, meaning loads and loads of zombies she doesn’t know anything about. What if there are former animators among them?
– that at first Anita wants to bring down Dominga Salvador with legal means and only in case those would fail she would let John Burke deal with her. That resolution didn’t last for long, because as soon as she realizes that Dominga got out on bail (something which is pretty much inside the legal system, even though she obviously reached that by bribery) she decided it’s time to have her killed by the numeours zombies she just raised. Nice double standard.

Guess this book wasn’t for me. At. All.