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05 December 2013 @ 11:07 am
bitesburnsstrikes
bleedsslaysrises

Kate Daniels series
by Ilona Andrews


Synopsis: When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate's guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta's magic circles.
The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate's guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she's way out of her league—but she wouldn't have it any other way…




My Opinion: Addictive!
After my disappointment with Once Bitten, Twice Shy, I've finally found a new favourite Urban Fantasy series.

The Kate Daniels books are simply awesome! It has everything I've ever wanted from this kind of read: a kick-ass heroine, strong,dark and well-defined characters, great humor, a lot of action and a complex universe that shows the author spent time imagining and working hard on their series.

I must admit though that it took me half the first novel to really get into it. As written previously, the universe created is quite complex and I had difficulties to completely grasp it but once I was hooked, I couldn't let go and ended up reading ALL the novels and ALL the novellas... when I say it's addictive, I'm not joking!

What I love the most in those books, are the characters. None are neglected and some are even the main of novellas which is quite refreshing when in a lot of series, the secondary characters aren't developed.

I can only recommend this series to all those that are Urban Fantasy fans and are trying to find something to read between two novels of Mercy Thompson, Anita Blake and co.


To summarize: IT'S AWESOME, READ THEM!!!!
 
 
04 October 2013 @ 12:29 pm
once
Once Bitten, Twice Shy (Jaz Parks, Book 1)
by Jennifer Rardin


Synopsis: I'm Jaz Parks. My boss is Vayl, born in Romania in 1744. Died there too, at the hand of his vampire wife, Liliana. But that's ancient history. For the moment Vayl works for the C.I.A. doing what he does best--assassination. And I help. You could say I'm an Assistant Assassin. But then I'd have to kick your ass.

Our current assignment seemed easy. Get close to a Miami plastic surgeon named Assan, a charmer with ties to terrorism that run deeper than a buried body. Find out what he's meeting with that can help him and his comrades bring America to her knees. And then close his beady little eyes forever. Why is it that nothing's ever as easy as it seems?



My Opinion: I really wanted to love this :(

This book had been in my to-read list for a long time (actually since I first started reading Anita Blake and Mercy Thompson ^^") and I was quite excited to finally read it but was actually a bit disappointed.

First, I read the short story "Scouting Jasmine" that takes place prior to the first installment and really liked it. Written from Vayl's point of view, it was my first encounter with Jaz Parks. I loved how badass and smart she was described as. I was imagining her as not only a strong and cunning assassin but also as a sort of dark and brooding character, one that would seem emotionless and only interested in doing her job while struggling with a terrible past.
So of course, I was so thrilled when I opened the first page of Once Bitten, Twice Shy... but that didn't last unfortunately.

The heroine described in the novel was far from the one I was expecting. I didn't find her particularly strong and clever. Actually, she appeared a bit irritating in my eyes, she was much more of a whiner that I expected and almost childish at times.

When the novel starts Jaz and Vayl have been working together for a few months and they have a pretty good relationship which was pleasantly surprising to me since I was sure she was going to hate working for him. I'm so used to the two main characters "hating" each other at first and playing cat and mouse that I almost couldn't believe it at first.
The other nice surprise came from the depiction of Vayl. Again, I was expecting the usual tall, dark and brooding man but he wasn't at all. He didn't hesitate to show and tell Jaz that he cares about her and I loved that.

Once I got over the fact that the heroine was far from what I had imagined, I started to actually enjoy the read.
I found it a bit clumsy at times and not always clear but it was nice enough that I stayed awake quite late to finish it because I was so enthralled by the plot.

However, I am not sure I'm going to read the following installment as I am not a big fan of Jaz. She wasn't a terrible character but I didn't really feel anything for her and I am not really fan of the fact that the author gave her some supernatural "abilities". I'd really like to read about a normal human heroine that has to do with just her brains and muscles, that would be a very nice change.


To summarize: Unfortunately, Jaz Parks won't be added to my list of favourite heroines of urban fantasy :(
 
 
29 September 2013 @ 01:12 pm
radleys
The Radleys
by Matt Haig

Synopsis: Just about everyone knows a family like the Radleys. Many of us grew up next door to one. They are a modern family, averagely content, averagely dysfunctional, living in a staid and quiet suburban English town. Peter is an overworked doctor whose wife, Helen, has become increasingly remote and uncommunicative. Rowan, their teenage son, is being bullied at school, and their anemic daughter, Clara, has recently become a vegan. They are typical, that is, save for one devastating exception: Peter and Helen are vampires and have—for seventeen years—been abstaining by choice from a life of chasing blood in the hope that their children could live normal lives. [...]

The Radleys is a moving, thrilling, and radiant domestic novel that explores with daring the lengths a parent will go to protect a child, what it costs you to deny your identity, the undeniable appeal of sin, and the everlasting, iridescent bonds of family love. Read it and ask what we grow into when we grow up, and what we gain—and lose—when we deny our appetites.


My Opinion: Good!

The Radleys has been on my to-read list for some time and I'm glad I finally read it as I found it quite interesting.
Though the characters are vampires, this is not a novel about the bloodsucking monsters we are used to but about a family having to deal with quite common problems: bullying, lie, betrayal but also love.

I found the characters very nice, well-written and terribly human. I enjoyed following Rowan and Clara once the truth about their nature was revealed.

I don't have much to say about this novel except that I liked reading a vampire novel that is so far from the usual stories, one that focuses on family.
It is not the best book I've read but I found it nice and quite refreshing.


To summarize: If you want an original vampire story, try this one.

 
 
17 September 2013 @ 05:14 pm
hungercatchingmockingjay
The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay (The Hunger Games series)
by Suzanne Collins


Synopsis: Winning means fame and fortune. Losing means certain death. The Hunger Games have begun...
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, the shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before--and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.



My Opinion: Awesome!

It's official, I've joined the club of the Hunger Games fans.
To be honest, I tend to be wary about the successful YA series after Twilight but since those books (and the movie) are such hot topics, I've decided to bring the 3 installments in my suitcase for the holidays and I'm glad I did.

I watched the movie first and found it nice but nothing extraordinary, I thought it was a bit lacking and after reading the book, I now know why.
Let me tell you one thing: the movie is nice but nothing compared to the novel! For example, I didn't like Peeta in the movie, I thought he sounded off and seemed like a real manipulator. In the book, he was my favourite character... yes, you can imagine my surprise while turning the pages.

I was definitely and surprisingly pleased by this series. I wasn't expecting much and ended up reading the 3 books in a few days with great pleasure.

Suzanne Collins managed to create a rich universe and a thrilling and fascinating plot. I loved the characters, even Katniss though I often have difficulties with YA heroines. She isn't your typical teenager, she is not a hero not matter how much they try to turn her into one, she's just a young girl that wants nothing more than protect her family. She has flaws, she's far from perfect and that is exactly what I liked about her.
What I also loved was that the author didn't make concessions in her story. She didn't hesitate to hurt or kill a character to further the plot even if that meant bringing tears to her readers' eyes. I was even surprised by how dark it was sometimes for a YA series.

As for the love triangle... well, I have no complaints about it, I thought it was nicely written and not too focused on which is great for someone like me that has little interest in romance.

All in all, I loved that trilogy and I already know I'll read it again. I can't wait to see how they'll adapt the 2nd and 3rd installments!


To summarize: I can't emphasize enough how you should give this series a try if you like the genre.
 
 
01 August 2013 @ 10:10 am
mockingbirds
The Mockingbirds (The Mockingbirds, Book 1)
by Daisy Whitney

Synopsis: Some schools have honor codes. Others have handbooks. Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.
Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.
In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.



My Opinion: Rather disappointing!
After reading very good reviews about this book, it ended up in my "want-to-read" list some time ago and I was expecting a lot of it... this is the reason I'm disappointed.

The synopsis sounds very good: a young girl is date-raped and she gets help from other kids like her who want to make their school a better place by bringing some justice when adults do nothing.
Unfortunately, I couldn't feel anything for the heroine. In fact, after some time, she even became quite irritating to me. To be honest, I wasn't even sure I would finish the novel which is very rare for me.
I did finish it so it wasn't that bad or it would have ended up right back in my bookcase but I had high expectations and they weren't met.

The whole novel rests on the character of Alex and I didn't manage to feel for her and what happened to her which made me unable to truly appreciate the story. As for the Mockingbirds, I thought it was an interesting idea but in my opinion it wasn't well-developed so I lost interest in them too.

I've just discovered that the author wrote a second installment but I'm afraid I won't give this one a try.

To summarize: I was expecting more but overall it was an okay read.
 
 
 
20 July 2013 @ 11:28 am
dead
Dead Rules
by Randy Russell

Synopsis:
Till death
Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were in love. They were destined to be together forever.
Do
But Jana's destiny was fatally flawed. And now she's in Dead School, where Mars Dreamcote lurks in the back of the classroom, with his beguiling blue eyes, mysterious smile, and irresistibly warm touch.
Us
Michael and Jana were incomplete without each other. There was no room for Mars in Jana's life—or death—story. Jana was sure Michael would rush to her side soon.
Part
But things aren't going according to Jana's plan. So Jana decides to do whatever it takes to make her dreams come true—no matter what rules she has to break.


My Opinion: Absolutely fascinating!
This is one book I loved reading from the first to the last page!
I don't remember what made me buy this book since I'm so not a romance reader especially in the Young Adult genre but I am so happy I gave it a try!

Jana Webster loves Michael Haynes, they are perfect for each other, they can't live without another, they are the modern Romeo & Juliet that everone envies. Until Jana dies in a stupid accident and wakes up in a bus going to Dead School. This school for dead kids isn't that much different from normal school: there are different groups of students, classes, homework, a cafeteria and of course rules. But while on the Planet teenagers talk about their life, in Dead School they talk about their death.
Jana feels alone at school, the love of her life isn't with her and she's ready to do anything in her power to change that... even if it means killing.
But what are those strange notes on her notebooks? Something about a murder... .

I truly enjoyed this novel. The Dead School, its students, its rules were so fascinating. The author managed to create an interesting and rich universe that I couldn't get enough of.
The heroine was nice enough though her naivety and obsession with her boyfriend were a bit irritating sometimes. I actually liked Mars and Wyatt, two Sliders aka "bad boys she shouldn't talk to" who will help her in her quest to see and talk to Michael, a lot more.

Dead Rules is a gripping, interesting and exciting page-turner.


To summarize: In case you still have doubts, yes, I do recommend it!!!
 
 
20 July 2013 @ 10:58 am
hunt
The Hunt of the Unicorn
by C.C. Humphreys

Synopsis: Elayne thinks the old family story that one of her ancestors stepped through a tapestry into a world of mythical beasts makes a great fireside tale. But she lives in the real world. In New York City. And she's outgrown that kind of fantasy.
Until she finds herself in front of a unicorn tapestry at the Cloisters museum and sees her initials woven into the fabric. And hears a unicorn calling to her. And slips and falls—into that other world.
Suddenly the line between fantasy and reality isn't so clear. But the danger is real enough. Almost before she can think, Elayne is attacked by a ferocious beast, rescued by a unicorn, and taken prisoner by a tyrant king. Each of them seems to have an idea about her—that she's a hero, a villain, dinner!
But Elayne has a few ideas of her own. She wants to overthrow the king; she wants to tame the unicorn. She wants to go home! And she's willing to become both hero and villain to do it.



My Opinion: Interesting!
This is my first novel about a unicorn. After the usual vampires, werewolves, etc. this is actually quite refreshing especially since the author introduces other mystical creatures that we don't encounter often.

I really liked the beginning of the book. The mix between reality and the novel Elayne and her father are reading was interesting and kind of original.
As for the rest, I thought it was an exciting and fascinating quest. I was really interested in the world of mystical beasts though it wasn't developed enough in my opinion. I wanted to know more about the way people lived there and about the other creatures.

As for the heroine, I actually quite liked her. She's brave, smart though quite normal which made her more real in my eyes.

The Hunt of the Unicorn is a nice and interesting novel. I enjoyed reading about a unicorn especially one that isn't as pure as their usual image, it was fun. It isn't one of my favourite books but it's good enough that I don't regret buying it.


To summarize: An interesting read about a creature we don't find often in books.
 
 
12 July 2013 @ 04:49 pm
devil
The Devil Walks
by Anne Fine


Synopsis: "The devil walks... But the devil can make no headway if he has no help. We must invite him in..."
Raised in secrecy by a mother everyone thinks has gone mad, Daniel's only link to his past is the intricately built model of the family home -- High Gates. The dolls' house is perfect in every detail. As Daniel is reunited with the last remaining member of his family -- his 'uncle' Severin, who bears an uncanny resemblance to a sinister wooden doll he has found hidden in the house, he begins to suspect that this vicious, haunted puppet of a figure has a chilling influence, bringing cruelty and spite in its wake. Now Daniel's very life is at risk as his uncle is determined to get his hands on the figure. The menace builds throughout in this deliciously creepy Gothic tale.



My Opinion: I liked it!

The Devil Walks tells the story of Daniel, a young man raised by his single mother to believe he is gravely sick and should never get out by himself. Spending his days in his room, he entertains himself with books and a dolls' house never seeing anyone other than his mother until the day a doctor comes to see him after rumors spread around the little town. While his mother ends up in the hospital, Daniel ends up living with this kind, patient and loving man and his family. Smart and mature, the young boy quickly learns to live in society while getting stronger. Everything is going well for him until he discovers he has an uncle that wishes to meet him. Going to his mother's family home, Daniel will discover the truth about his family and the reason her mother lied to him during his whole childhood.

I've found this novel quite interesting. The writing style was impeccable to me as I really like those historical fictions. The "old" british english gave it quite a character.
While the first part was a bit slow, the second half of the book was truly exciting and fascinating, I couldn't stop turning the pages, wanting to know more about this family and their past.

There is a fantasy aspect to this book but it's definitely not the main point. I was actually quite surprised by it and even went to check the Goodreads page for the novel to make sure it was indeed a fantasy read. So those who are only interesting in that, may want to read something else or be prepared to be disappointed.
Though the supernatural aspect was actually interesting, it wasn't much developed.

It isn't the best fantasy historical fiction I've read but I enjoyed this novel nonetheless.


To summarize: An interesting but a bit boring read.
 
 
12 July 2013 @ 04:18 pm
red
Red-Headed Stepchild (Sabina Kane, Book 1)
by Jaye Wells


Synopsis: In a world where being of mixed-blood is a major liability, Sabina Kane has the only profession fit for an outcast: assassin. But, her latest mission threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races and Sabina must scramble to figure out which side she's on. She's never brought her work home with her---until now.
This time, it's personal.



My Opinion: NICE!

For some reasons, I've been attracted by this novel for quite some time before actually buying it. Is it the plot or the cover? I have no idea but I'm glad I gave it a try because it's a very interesting urban fantasy novel!

Sabina Kane doesn't live an easy life. Half-vampire and half-mage, she was raised by her grandmother, one of the three big chiefs of the vampire community, for whom her granddaughter is nothing more than a shame. Indeed, relationships between vampires and mages are forbidden and Sabina is the constant reminder of her mother's fault. Raised to become an assassin, she is cold-hearted, efficient and she follows diligently her grandmother's orders... until she discovers things that upset everything she was told about her family.

Sabina is an interesting character, she's strong for sure but also truly cold, she has no remorse killing people for a living. It is really nice to see her change through the pages of the novel, to see her open herself to other people.

To make it short, I'd say that Red-Headed Stepchild is a nice introduction to what could be a very good series.
The author managed to create an interesting universe in what can only be seen as an oversaturated genre, the mix between vampires, mages and their politics is fascinating.
I am definitely going to read the next installment!

To summarize: A very good novel for all urban-fantasy lovers.
 
 
09 June 2013 @ 02:48 pm
balefire
A Chalice of Wind, A Circle of Ashes, A Feather of Stone & A Necklace of Water (Balefire series, Books 1 to 4)
by Cate Tiernan


Synopsis: After seventeen-year-old Thais Allard loses her widowed father in a tragic car accident, she is forced to leave the only home she's ever known to live with a total stranger in New Orleans. New Orleans greets Thais with many secrets and mysteries, but none as unbelievable as the moment she comes face to face with the impossible — an identical twin, Clio.
Thais soon learns that she and the twin she never knew come from a family of witches, that she possesses astonishing powers, and that she, along with Clio, has a key role in Balefire, the coven she was born into.
Fiery Clio is less than thrilled to have to share the spotlight, but the twins must learn to combine their powers in order to complete a rite that will transform their lives and the coven forever.



My Opinion: A bit disappointing!

After loving Cate Tiernan's Immortal Beloved series (HERE), I had to read her other YA series especially with such a synopsis, the twin thing totally caught my attention.

First of all, this book contains the 4 installments of the series and I'm glad I bought it because I am not sure I would have continued reading it after the 1st novel :s. To be completely honest, I almost stopped reading after a few chapters. I found the twins to be insufferable in their own way: Clio is a spoiled, self-centered, arrogant pest ; Thais is weak, narrow-minded and spends her time wallowing in self-pity which is so irritating! I really couldn't with them but after enjoying her 2 other series I chose to believe in the author and kept on reading.

Fortunately, starting from the 2nd book, the twins became much more bearable though they still never reached the level of awesomeness of Nastasya in Immortal Beloved.
The rest of the characters were interesting as well. I read some reviews of people saying they didn't care about the others' stories but I was actually much more interested in them and what happened in the past than in Clio and Thais' chapters.

As for the whole plot, it was nice though nothing really exciting or fascinating. Moreover, the whole twin thing should have been more developed, it had a lot of potential, it's too bad the author didn't go deeper into it.

All in all, the series was okay, I liked it enough but it was definitely lacking compared to Cate Tiernan's other works. I was especially disappointed in the ending that I found completely botched. A lot of questions were left unanswered and I was expecting something more epic after building such tension (but that was also one of the I.B's flaws in my opinion).

To summarize: If you have never read any of Cate Tiernan's novels, don't start with this one ^^"