After waking in a shallow grave and clawing her way to freedom, Penelope Francis hunts for the rogue who stole her life and transformed her into a vampire. Despite being corrupted into a feared preternatural, she clings to her humanity and refuses to prey on innocents, instead slaking her thirst on other miscreant vampires. In exchange for a chance at revenge, she joins forces with the charismatic master of the Lowrance brood, a choice that may spell the salvation—or destruction—of humanity as she knows it.
OK. So just about everything you thought you knew about Vampires is wrong – just about anyway. As usual, we get new world building from one of my all time favourite authors because she is funny and comes up with weird and wonderful worlds and stories. And the best kickass heroines with real snark and humour.
For a start, vampires are lactose intolerant. Also, they prefer blood from happy animals, so they arrange for the animals to live a wonderful life, organic, grass fed, and frolicky. And to have a nice death too – a happy death where they feel no pain and are not hurt in any way. Also chicken blood is good as is kobe beef steaks, rare of course.
Only those who have gone ‘wrong’ drink from unwilling victims and they frequently get blood lust and thus drain their victims – who are usually not willing, and so these crazed vampires have blood orgies, which the good vampires break up and see that they are punished.
Vampires do indeed live in clans or families, and are usually rich having lived a long time, and everyone has a job and is a useful member of society. They take human wives as otherwise they couldn’t have children. And people become vampires willingly – on the whole – to live this long and rich life.
I look forward to learning how this series continues and what happens to our heroine – Penelope/Pepper – who was turned against her will and yet survived – and gets sick on chicken blood – gets on with her new life within the Lowrance clan.
Ravens Hollow Coven Book 2)
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
City Owl Press
jun 30th 2020
What are the stakes for falling in love?
That’s the question tarot card reader Gillian Howe ponders when she hosts a supernatural speed dating event. Making the perfect match is her passion, too bad she can’t find one for herself. A chance encounter with a wealthy vampire provides her an opportunity to attend an exclusive after-party and prove she isn’t opposed to love. But she finds herself plunged into a secret society of trancing, blood bonds and human escort rings. The night ends in a police raid and of all the vampire detectives in Raven’s Hollow, Garrett Mulroney shows up at the scene. Even if he is scorching, hot, he accused her of a crime she didn’t commit and nearly ruined her life.
Fate has thrown them together again…
Garrett has been down this brutal road before and it didn’t end well. His sire tried to force him into a life of debauchery, but he chose to uphold the law instead. The fact that the one woman he can’t seem to get out of his mind or out of his lust-filled dreams is at the center of his investigation doesn’t bode well. It’s a good thing she hates his guts, because it helps douse his growing desire for her and focus on the case. But when Gillian’s cousin is kidnapped into the Du Sang Brotherhood, she becomes the prime witness. Now they’re forced to put their differences aside and go undercover by pretending to be a couple. The more time Garrett spends with Gillian, the more he wants her in his life—and in his bed.
Knowing who to trust and who to love becomes a matter of survival, and possibly the only way to take down the Brotherhood.
As this was a series, I decided to set the scene with book 1 of the series.This was useful to understand the background if not the characters per se, as they were very minor in book 1.
I also hoped that the writing would have improved as so often happens, as the authors develops the series and setting. And it had.
But only marginally.
I didn’t feel though that this book could stand alone. It needed to be set within a series. And unlike the work of RJ Blain, these vampires were standard. Mostly blood drinkers of unwilling victims. But with our hero fighting against tis sterotype.
I found the witches rather unconvincing in the spellwork – too simplistic in the word usage – and thus too easy to be misapplied. And their potions were made too easily – lack of effort all round really. Which meant that the story line lacked drama. And I found the ending unsatisfactory.
And is it a vile or a vial? What holds a potion in US spelling? Author please let me know.
As you can’t allocate half points, I’m giving this a 4 when for me it was really 3.5.
House of Earth and Fire
Sarah J. Maas
fantasy, romance. sci-fi
Bloomsbury Publishing (3 Mar. 2020)
Pub Date 3 Mar 2020
Perfect for fans of Jessica Jones and True Blood, this is a blockbuster modern fantasy set in a divided world where one woman must uncover the truth to seek her revenge.
Half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan loves her life. Every night is a party and Bryce is going to savour all the pleasures Lunathion - also known as Crescent City - has to offer. But then a brutal murder shakes the very foundations of the city, and brings Bryce's world crashing down.
Two years later, Bryce still haunts the city's most notorious nightclubs - but seeking only oblivion now. Then the murderer attacks again. And when an infamous Fallen angel, Hunt Athalar, is assigned to watch her every footstep, Bryce knows she can't forget any longer.
As Bryce and Hunt fight to unravel the mystery, and their own dark pasts, the threads they tug ripple through the underbelly of the city, across warring continents, and down to the deepest levels of Hel, where things that have been sleeping for millennia are beginning to stir ...
With unforgettable characters and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom - and the power of love.
I was given an extract of this book through NetGalley – now I don’t usually bother with extracts, but this one looked intriguing. And it was. I’ve never read Sarah Maas before, and this is apparently her first venture into writing for an adult rather than YA audience. And for me it worked. I have read some comments where people who have read her YA books thought that this one had faults – yes of course we had Alpha aholes and a kick ass heroine. After all, this is the trope in which this book was written. Nice to see also that the angels weren’t all bright and light and good – plenty of grey and nasties. I thought it was good universe building – yes we had the MidGard planet and a continent called the Pangera (see Pangea – the real land mass on Earth) and other references to these universes/worlds built in other books in this genre – but still the mix of technology and magic in this one was different. And I so far haven’t come across a universe where there are angel slaves. Which I thought was a nice touch and permitted new storylines to emerge. For me, this was a good read – it could have stopped at many points and been a much shorter book and left stuff for the next – but instead Mass carried on with a new twist and more highs and lows. The twists and hidden secrets kept coming right until the end – hints of these secrets only realisable after the action – which is good writing and means good plotting took place. I liked the extract enough to buy the full book which means I wanted to find out more in the story… so a good read for me. I hope to read the next one in the series and that it is as long and complex in plotting as this one.
I was given an extract of this book through NetGalley – now I don’t usually bother with extracts, but this one looked intriguing. And it was.
I’ve never read Sarah Maas before, and this is apparently her first venture into writing for an adult rather than YA audience. And for me it worked. I have read some comments where people who have read her YA books thought that this one had faults – yes of course we had Alpha aholes and a kick ass heroine. After all, this is the trope in which this book was written. Nice to see also that the angels weren’t all bright and light and good – plenty of grey and nasties.
I thought it was good universe building – yes we had the MidGard planet and a continent called the Pangera (see Pangea – the real land mass on Earth) and other references to these universes/worlds built in other books in this genre – but still the mix of technology and magic in this one was different.
And I so far haven’t come across a universe where there are angel slaves. Which I thought was a nice touch and permitted new storylines to emerge.
For me, this was a good read – it could have stopped at many points and been a much shorter book and left stuff for the next – but instead Maas carried on with a new twist and more highs and lows. The twists and hidden secrets kept coming right until the end – hints of these secrets only realisable after the action – which is good writing and means good plotting took place.
I liked the extract enough to buy the full book which means I wanted to find out more in the story… so a good read for me. I hope to read the next one in the series and that it is as long and complex in plotting as this one.
Trampolining with Dragons
An Urban Fantasy Event:Dragons and Other Mythical Creatures Book #3
Ramy Vance & SW Clarke
Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Myths,
Keep Evolving Studios
(25 Mar. 2020)
What does a girl do when the it turns out the monster who killed her family ISN'T the worst thing out there?
Tara has finally cornered the vampire-bastard who killed her family, only to face a cold hard truth. This monster isn't the only thing that goes bump in the night. There is something far worse out there.
Choose the lesser monster.
There is a great evil - one of the original evils, actually - and it also has Tara's vampire in it's sinful sites. Normally Tara would tell this new evil to get in line ... the vampire is her's to kill. But even she cannot deny that if this new evil gets its way, things would get a lot worse for the world. As in apocalyptically so...
To destroy it, Tara must fight by the vampire's side.
But joining forces with her greatest enemy may prove to be too much to bear, especially when he revenge she craves so deeply is almost within her grasp.
Ch 1 starts ‘every act was a story, and every story should start with a bang.’
And chapter 1 literally started with a bang – explosions – after this statement.
And I really like books that know how they should start. You need to be lured into the story by hook or crook – sometimes subtly, sometimes not so subtly – but each story must find a way to reach into the reader’s brain and make them want to read on.
Think about when you go into a book shop.
Or to Amazon for a book.
The first thing you see is a book cover. Bright or loud or weird or colourful or fun. Attraction 1.
Attraction 2. Comes with the blurb. On the back. Underneath. Inside the front cover. Wherever it is. It must hook you into the next stage.
And then there is the author. Attraction 3.
Attraction 4. Comes with either the opening paras or the final paras depending on which type of reader you are. Or you may already be sold. But then you can be seriously disappointed as I so often am, when I go through at least the first 2 points and then, whether or not I recognised the author, I read the opening paragraphs and/or chapter. you have been sucked in – like so many films where they show you the best bits in the trailers and the rest is nah… blah …
This series is far from that. S Clarke sold the books to me in her style and content and humour as well as her heroine. Writing with Ramy she works well.
I have read the series so far and the next in line is on order. Oh and yes, there is a part when she does go on a trampoline with a Dragon!
(Angelbound Offspring #5)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication date: June 30th 2020
Meet Kaps: renegade, dragon shifter, and general pain in her parent’s backsides. Although born a royal, Kaps loves hunting down dragon artifacts. Too bad L’Griffe, the shifter mafia, wants the same stuff. Kaps gets in their way and ends up with a price on her head. A bounty hunter named Mack comes to collect. Although he’s human, Mack knows all about shifter ways. And what he lacks in shifting power, Mack more than makes up for with a lethal combination of looks, strength, and smarts. After luring the princess away with an epic kiss, Mack slaps some supernatural handcuffs on Kaps, tosses her in a van, and heads off to L’Griffe headquarters with his quarry. The fact that Kaps is really dragon royalty doesn’t bother Mack in the slightest. That kiss might be a problem, though…
Or she hunts down antiquities – and steals them! Which is her prime reason for the tour places I wonder?
We know something about Kaps from her sister’s book – see the list below of the books in order. She has a rock band – and seems not to turn up when expected to sing . But it seems – from this story – that she has something else going on too – something she has been doing since she was really young – treasure hunting. And being a dragon she hoards! All the old and magic and apparently lost items she finds, she hides away in a room only she knows the location of. And always has.
There’s just one small problem – the items she wants, she has to steal, and other people want to stop that from happening.
So this book concentrates on her stealing for her horde and the rock band gets little mention – which I did think was a shame, as her story was so bound up with it. But the rock band it seems is just a cover for her other activities.
Her sister Huntress, is really concerned for her though, as she is getting into deep water, with her parents who want to lock her up so she is protected and safe, and with the people she is stealing from. We learn more about huntress – the last Glass dragon, in the next book in the series.
I would have liked a longer story line and a little more complexity but then I am not really the main audience for this series – for its intended audience I think it works.
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers. The first three books in the series are now available as audiobooks on Audible and iTunes.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.