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Review: Guardian of Fate by L.J Kentowski

Title: Guardian of Fate
Author: L.J Kentowski
Series: Guardian of Fate # 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: E-book
Source: Bewitching Book Tours
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amz/ B&N/ Smashwords
I receive this novel free of charge from BBT in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
Fear of death is all too common. Visions of it chill the bones and skip heartbeats. Seeing it coming and knowing only you can rescue the soul of the victim from the fiery bowels of hell…that’s downright life-altering.

Cassandra Cosgrove’s life was altered at the age of sixteen when she found out that it was her responsibility to save the lives, and ultimately the souls, of innocent victims targeted by Hell’s demons. As impossible as it seemed at first, she was able to live a fairly normal life, while secretly fulfilling her obligation as a Guardian of Fate.

But years later Fate has its own plan when her visions begin drastically changing at the same time two mysterious men appear in her life. Cassandra suddenly finds herself caught in a battle between good and evil, with her own soul on the line. When it seems everyone in her life has a secret they’ve been hiding from her, who can she trust to be the Guardian of her Fate?

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A Heaven and Hell battling each other novel that doesn’t use the word “fallen angels” to describe Hell’s demons. This novel is a good novel, it has a good story that just needed a half-decent male lead with a stronger female lead.

Let’s talk about Cassie. She is a Guardian who saves people from dying prematurely and I imagine she does a pretty good job except not when the novel takes place. She has about four visions yet she only manages to act one vision but her life is changing dramatically so I will cut her a break. She masquerades herself as being strong and half of the time, she is. The other half, she is failing but trying to hold her ground against an aggressive male lead. She is not a bad female lead; she just needs a little more of a backbone which she begins to obtain towards the end of the story. Looking forward to that.

Hunter is the main love interest for Cassie and I can’t stress enough how much I dislike him. He has no respect for personal boundaries; he is constantly invading Cassie’s mouth without her permission. He is this dominant sexual person who needs to have Cassie bend his way. Hunter corners Cassie and forces himself on her because he believes that she secretly wants him (and half off the time she does). The thing is that Cassie is saying “No” and he takes it as “Yes” which for me is problematic because it is feeding the myth that “No means yes” when it comes to sex. Kentowski makes Cassie appear to be a sexually repressed person that needs to be force to admit that she wants sex because she won’t willingly admit she wants sex. That’s why Hunter plays the role that he does and why he invades Cassie’s personal bubble. For me, this couple is not one I root for because I dislike how Hunter treats Cassie but if you like dominant males then this relationship shouldn’t be a problem. It probably makes the book more exciting, I don’t know.

Besides Hunter, the book was well-written and it had a good story. It is a war between heaven and hell with hell playing a more dominant role in moving the story forward. Heaven only intervenes when it suits them which means at the end of the book lol. This novel dropped the world-building on the reader right at the start. It start off explaining the world we are entering and settles down for the entry of Cassie. Don’t be alarmed by how fast everything is explained, everything is not given away. There are still a few surprises left.

The world of Cassie is interesting. She is Guardian who protects people, Seekers are demons who want to kill Guardians, two powerful angels that have a love-betrayal story, and a secret council of Elder Guardians. The war between Heaven and Hell is different in this book than it is in other books. It is not about angels, fallen angels that are actually good or bad, or even nephlism. It is much more about new types of individuals fighting a war. Seekers were created in response to address a decrease in the souls in Hell. It is a new form of warfare that is still marred with angel blood and issues. The novel doesn’t have a philosophy or theology aspect to it so religion doesn’t appear in the book.

In the end, it is a good book. The world building is stronger than the characters. Cassie and Hunter have no sense of defining what personal boundaries are. I’m somewhat looking forward to the second book because this novel implies that Cassie will be taking a trip to Hell and I love knowing how authors describe Hell. It just happens that the Hunter might be a deterrent. Who knows? I’ll wait and see.

4 BB-Ready for capture

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59th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, Self-Published, First in a Series

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Review: Night Rising by Chris Marie Green

Title: Night Rising
Author: Chris Marie Green
Series: Vampire Babylon # 1
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source:  PaperbackSwap
Pub. Year: 2007
Purchase: Amz/ B&N

Blurb from Amazon:

In this first book of an all-new trilogy, life proves stranger than the movies when a Hollywood underground coven of vampires comes to light-and gets targeted by the tough-as-nails daughter of a sexy screen siren.

Stuntwoman Dawn Madison hasn’t been on the best of terms with her father since her movie star mother died. Still, he is her dad, and when he vanishes while investigating the bizarre sighting-caught on film-of a supposedly long-dead child star, she comes home to Tinseltown to join the search for him. Working with his odd colleagues, she discovers an erotic and bloody underground society made up of creatures she thought existed only on the screen.

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Random: The book is a rough diamond.

The series has potential but it falls a little flat. It has a loose plot and less than appealing characters. Add in villains that may not be true villains, it is not what I had expected.

Let’s talk character. Dawn is the main protagonist who really likes sex. The first half of the book is about Dawn wanting to have sex with anyone and not being able to satisfy her craving. I have never read a character like her but Dawn’s constant need for sex made her a hard character to like. In the second half of the book, the action picks up so the novel is not emphasizing her sex drive (but it is still there). Kiko is a little person who has psychic visions. He is a struggling actor and has a lot of faith in his boss, The Voice. Breisi is a Hispanic woman who is a technology and combat expert. She is reserved but she is an interesting character. The Voice/Jonah is their boss and a hypnotizer. He never physically appears in the book. (I’m guessing vampire or ghost). He has many secrets and not very forthcoming with them. Frank (Dawn’s father) is an absentee character but he helps drive the story forward. It’s a nice touch of Green making him an absentee character to reflect his absentee father status.

The plot could have been tighter or at least solve the original mystery that brought Dawn to Los Angeles. It starts with Dawn looking for her father but she never finds him so that is highly disappointing. Instead, she half-solves the case he working on when he disappeared. The novel also adds Eva as a residual character. Eva is Dawn’s dead mother and Eva as a memory continues to haunt Dawn. The dead of her mother stole Dawn’s father away from her and Dawn is continually compare to and usually fails to live to the world’s expectation as the daughter of one of the most beautiful and talented actress. That’s probably the best part of the novel. So much of what is going on can be trace to Eva. There is certain starlet that reminds of me of Eva and I hope she has a recurring role in the second book.

The villains, if you can call them that, are vampires. I don’t really consider them villains because they are not turning or killing people against their will. It is the human who consents to what the vampires are requesting. There is a hierarchy and while it is a cold hierarchy, there is some warmth and caregiving with the vampires. The vampires don’t seem like villains. At least not yet. There is still hope for them.

I know it sounds like I didn’t really like the book but it was an okay book. It is not at the top of the urban fantasy series but it is not the worst urban fantasy book that I have read. It is just okay.

3 BB-Pretty to look at

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55th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: First in a Series, Where Are You Reading?-California

Review: The Flower Bowl Spell by Olivia Boler

Title: The Flower Bowl Spell
Author: Olivia Boler
Series: Standalone
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: E-book
Source:  Bewitching Book Tours
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amz/ B&N/ Smashwords

I receive this novel free of charge from BBT in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
Journalist Memphis Zhang isn’t ashamed of her Wiccan upbringing—in fact, she’s proud to be one of a few Chinese American witches in San Francisco, and maybe the world. Unlike the well-meaning but basically powerless Wiccans in her disbanded coven, Memphis can see fairies, read auras, and cast spells that actually work—even though she concocts them with ingredients like Nutella and antiperspirant. Yet after a friend she tries to protect is brutally killed, Memphis, full of guilt, abandons magick to lead a “normal” life. The appearance, however, of her dead friend’s sexy rock star brother—as well as a fairy in a subway tunnel—suggest that magick is not done with her. Reluctantly, Memphis finds herself dragged back into the world of urban magick, trying to stop a power-hungry witch from using the dangerous Flower Bowl Spell and killing the people Memphis loves—and maybe even Memphis herself.

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Random: Suicidal ducks! Read past the first fifty pages.

I found it hard to get into the book for the first 50 or so pages. It felt like the book spent spending too much time in the exposition and providing an in-depth background (that continues throughout the novel) instead of getting the witchy elements rolling. The only good thing about this long start are the small little interludes by magical creatures that fly around and distract Memphis. They are mainly fairies and the occasional duck.

Memphis was a great protagonist; she was a strong woman who dealt with crazy situations. An old friend abandons two little girls, Cleo and Romola, at her doorsteps and Memphis really has no choice but to take them in. She is a maternal person because she does her best to protect them while she tries to figure out why their mother, Viveka, insisted that Memphis take them in. It is also good to see that her journalism skills aren’t entirely useless.

The supporting cast are the ones that I love. Xien as a fairy is pretty cool. I think the character that I like the most was the French waiter, Remy. He is just funny and enchanting. More importantly, Memphis and Remy’s interaction showed that Memphis is not entirely comfortable, no, um, she is not as invested in her relation with Cooper (16 years her senior) as she would like the readers to believe. It is a little snub on Remy’s part but she doesn’t correct him right there and then. When she does correct him, it is in a flirtatious way so that provides an insight into her mind.

Memphis is at her element when she is using her magick. She has been denying her wiccan self for a few years so she is rusty but she is good. Tucker, the granddad of Cleo and Romola, really helps Memphis gather her bearings and prepare against the magical attacks against her. He is the one who understands the fairies more than Memphis and leads her to obtaining help from fairies.  The magick part of Memphis makes her an interesting character because she has always known about magick and is accustomed to weird things happening.  The more she uses magick, the more Memphis begins to feel comfortable in her own skin again (at least that is the impression I got).

Remember the in-depth background at the introduction of the novel that I mentioned, the problem with is that half of it is used to explain Memphis’s witchy background which is good but the other half deals with her mundane job as a journalist and her relationship with (boring) Cooper. It is an attempt to show her as a happy woman except she is not. It doesn’t seem like she likes her job very much (she is only friends with one co-worker) and her relationship with Cooper is not really strong. He doesn’t understand or care her wiccan background which is a vital part of Memphis even as she denies it. The intro is divided between being interesting and being boring at the same time.

Overall, it was a good novel that takes a while to warm up. It delves into the world of wicca but it not too in depth. Memphis starts out as a character that is not entirely happy with her life but ends up finding her road back to being comfortable with herself. Not happy with life but comfortable which is a better place than we find her in at the start.

4 BB-Ready for capture

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51st in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, Self-Published, Witch and Witchcraft, Where Are You Reading?-California

Promo Post: Pack of Lies

Title: Pack of Lies
Author: Sara Dailey, Staci Weber
Series: The Red Ridge Pack
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pub: 2012
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes and Nobles

Blurb from Amazon:
Seventeen-year-old Allison Wright is convinced she’s losing her mind. Uncontrollable mood swings, hot flashes, and the urge to punch anyone who gets in her way are suddenly becoming everyday occurrences. Before her erratic behavior gets out of hand, Allison’s mother finally comes clean about her dark secret. Mom is a werewolf, and soon Allison and her brother Aiden will suffer the same fate. When Allison reaches her breaking point, the family leaves their life in Texas to move to Red Ridge, New Mexico where they rejoin the pack that Allison’s mother left behind almost 20 years ago.

Unfortunately, not everyone in Red Ridge is thrilled about Allison’s arrival, especially when she attracts the attention of the very handsome, very taken, soon-to-be alpha, Cade Walker. Little does Allison know, her mere presence is causing a rift in a once unified pack. Not only has Cade been forbidden from being with Allison by his father, the pack’s alpha, Cade’s girlfriend, Kendall Stuart, will stop at nothing to get Allison out of the picture. Well on her way to becoming the next alpha’s mate, Kendall expects to rule the pack by Cade’s side even if it means teaming up with a rogue werewolf with an agenda of his own. Determined to get rid of Allison permanently, when Kendall and the rogue join forces, all hell breaks loose and no one in the pack is safe, especially not Cade and his true mate.

 

 

 

Review: Dead Girl’s Dance by Rachel Caine

Title: Dead Girl’s Dance
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Morganville Vampires # 2
Genre:  Urban Fantasy, YA Paranormal
Source: Personal purchase
Format: Paperback
Pub. Year: 2007
Purchase: Amazon/ B&N/ TBD

Blurb from Amazon:
Claire has her share of challenges. Like being a genius in a school that favors beauty over brains; homicidal girls in her dorm, and finding out that her college town is overrun with the living dead. On the up side, she has a new boyfriend with a vampire-hunting dad. But when a local fraternity throws the Dead Girls’ Dance, hell is really going to break loose.

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What I will remember: The blurb is really misleading, it’s much more about the biker gang than the fraternity dance.

This novel continues right off where Glass Houses finishes. It gives it a weird vibe, at least to me, it just seems like the second novel is a continuation of the first novel instead of a standalone novel. It has a new plot but it still feels heavily tied to Glass Houses. It’s not a book a person can read without reading the first one because the biker gang is there, Michael’s condition is accepted and not explained, and so is the vampire-dominated town.

Morganville is a messed-up place to live in if you are human because the law is pretty much nonexistent even if police officers exist. The police can’t act against the vampires because the vampires control the paycheck. The humans don’t trust the police either. Spoiler alert: Claire is drugged and a victim of an attempted rape and she does nothing about it. Instead of reporting it, she has Sam (a vampire) threaten the man who attacked her. The law is just a dog without a bite, no way to enforce unless a vampire requests it. No one really gets punished for their crimes against humans. Only crimes against vampires will be judged.

It wan an enjoyable read but there is still something off with this novel. I think it is how much trouble Claire gets in within 48 hours and somehow manages to leave without a serious injury. She just keeps getting deeper and deeper into vampire politics; it is hurting her emotionally and physically but more importantly, I don’t think she is going to be able to leave Morganville when she is done with her two years in school. She may be too heavily invested in vampire politics.

I still like the vampires though. Amelia still has this cold and porcelain appearance that makes her interesting. Sam is the youngest vampire in the town who is attached to Amelia and they have a unique relationship. It sort of twisted but fascinating in that Sam cares deeply for Amelia but she keeps her distance as an experiment. That is wicked of her (awesome and sad at the same time).

3.5-Pretty to look at, maybe capture

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25th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: Second in a Series, Morganville Series

Review: Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

Title: Dead Witch Walking
Author: Kim Harrison
Series: The Hollows # 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Personal Purchase
Format: Mass Paperback
Pub. Year: 2008
Purchase: Amazon/B &N/ TBD

Blurb from Amazon:
The underground population of witches, vampires, werewolves—creatures of dreams and nightmares—has lived beside humans for centuries, hiding their powers. But after a genetically engineered virus wipes out a large part of humanity, many of the “Inderlanders” reveal themselves, changing everything.

Rachel Morgan, witch and bounty hunter with the Inderland Runner Services, is one of the best at apprehending supernatural lawbreakers throughout Cincinnati, but when it comes to following the rules, she falls desperately short. Determined to buck the system, she quits and takes off on the run with an I.S. contract on her head and is reluctantly forced to team up with Ivy, Inderland’s best runner . . . and a living vampire. But this witch is way out of her league, and to clear her name, Rachel must evade shape-changing assassins, outwit a powerful businessman/crime lord, and survive a vicious underground fight-to-the-death . . . not to mention her own roommate.

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What I love: Red hair, I love red hair.

I really love the world building of the Hollows and its origin story. Bioengineering gone wrong and killing a quarter of the human population. It allowed paranormal creatures aka Inderlands to reveal themselves and take their place in public. It sucks that people became afraid of science and medicine but I do understand where they are coming from.

What I like about the book is that the physical description of the characters, Rachel is mentioned as a redhead and there are repeated mentions of this. The characters have concrete looks that are reinforced by Harrison so the readers have a pretty good image of what the characters look like instead of our minds making up the physical attributes of the characters.  All the characters are really different from each other. Ivy is a vampire, Jinks is a feisty pixy, Nick is a human who knows about demonology and Rachel a witch. They all bring something different to the group. All the characters have professions that helped Rachel avoid the hit on her. She gets injured a few times but she survives nonetheless; Rachel is a real strong character. It takes gut to leave an organization that will probably try to kill you.

Certain parts of the story felt slow like the whole mink incident. Rachel disguises herself as a mink to gather evidence that  Trent, our antagonist,  is running biodrugs (which are illegal) but she gets trapped by him. It’s interesting but feels a bit dragged out. No, going after Trent three times feels sluggish and the last time, where she is successful, is sort of really simple and super easy.  Trent is probably a good antagonist because she only slowed him down. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next.

It was a pretty good first book in a series. All the characters contributed to the plot and were unique. The plot was pretty interesting and left plot bunnies for the second book in the series. Even if the mink incident was slow, it was still a pretty interesting section of the book.

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5 BB- Total Keeper

24th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: 1st in a Series, Witches and Witchcraft, Cupcake War, Where are you reading? -Ohio

Review + Giveaway: All’s Fair in Vanities War by Elizabeth Marx

Title: All’s Fair in Vanities War
Author: Elizabeth Marx
Series: The Seer’s Seven Deadly Fairy Tales 1
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Format: E-book
Source: Author
Pub. Year: 2011
Purchase: Amazon/ B &N /Smashwords
I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
Salem’s always had sinister secrets. No one comes to understand this better than a sixteen-year-old girl who dies on Halloween night and is reborn a Seer.

The Seer can’t imagine anything worse than being an invisible teenager with enormous black wings. Until she finds out she’s been sacrificed to watch over Locke’s new flame.

Locke Cavanaugh is a Druid and part of the Order, a clandestine organization entrusted with keeping its members cloaked in the Ordinary world. Physically scarred from the accident that took his girlfriend’s life, Locke is searching for the OtherWorldly magic that damaged him because only those without blemish can rule the Order. And once at the helm of the Order, he has every intention of finding those responsible for her death.

On the West Coast, Keleigh Flaherty witnesses her parents’ murder by beasts that should only exist in nightmares. She is whisked off to the safety of Salem, where she learns how potent and dangerous her concealed Vate talents are. Keleigh wants to be Ordinary, but when her mother reaches out from the OtherWorld, and implores her to find a forgotten relic she’ll have to use all her ExtraOrdinary powers to locate it.

As Locke and Keleigh join forces, they unravel the Order’s involvement in the witch hysteria and murmurs of a Celtic prophecy. While Locke’s affection for Keleigh blooms, The Seer is torn between her duty to protect Keleigh, and her desire to stop Locke from making the ultimate sacrifice in order to earn Keleigh’s love . . .

But if they don’t find the witches bottle before the ShiningOnes do, someone stalking Keleigh from the shadows will take her instead and plunge all worlds into chaos.

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Cover Love: Amazing inversion of dresses

I totally love this book even though I had to re-read certain scenes to understand what was going on. Especially in the beginning.  That being said, it was a really great read.

I usually do characters first because there is a necessity in knowing who drives the story forward but the most important thing about this novel (at least for me) was the mythology. Did I learn a lot about Celtic mythology and then some. One of the shocking factors for me was the use of the witch bottle. Witch bottles are created by people who want to drive away a witch that is afflicting them and it basically causes the witch pain until the spell is taken away but I had no idea that a witch bottle could be used as a love spell. What the hell, that is totally new to me. The witches bottle become a very important part of this novel. The Celtic mythology consisted of hellhounds, banshees, druids, seers, leprechaun, fairies, boggarts, Boudicca, and learning stories about the goddess Fir (resembles mother nature) and multiple other deities. Plus, we have three Wyrd Sisters ( Maiden, Mother, Crone). It was fascinating to read the stories and see the Gaelic names of mythological creatures. I love the inclusion of Cerunnos. Really funny situation about his horns being stolen.

Now let’s talk characters. At first, I was really annoyed with all the characters because they were all very concerned with physical appearances. The Seer who died and records events; when she dies, she is more concerned about throwing up on her dress than being dead. Although, she did admit she was vain enough to say that so she was okay. We have Keleigh who has this enchanted necklace that hides what I will is her true beauty. She promised her mother that she wouldn’t take it off ever and constantly shies away from her own beauty. There is Locke who is physically scarred by the accident that killed the Seer. He tries to get Keleigh to take off the necklace and she reminds him of his scars. There was so much emphasis in the first 20  pages about physical appearances that it irked me.

However, at the end of the day, it was interesting to see the characters move beyond this stage and watch them mature. The vanity of appearance play a real strong role in the final battle and is really insightful. What appears to be annoying characteristic is actually an in-depth look. The scars that Locke has are important for a reason.I really liked how the Seer eloquently put things in perspective as well as Madi (who is Keleigh’s best friend). Funniest character ever. The romance between Keleigh and Locke slowly developed. Keleigh was the one denying the attraction because she didn’t accept her ExtraOrdinary powers and just wanted to be Ordinary (without powers). All of a sudden she is drag into the world she has been vehemently trying to avoid. It forces her to see what she is, the daughter of a prophetess and someone who has power in her own right. The love triangle between Locke, Keleigh, and Lynx for me fell a little flat on Lynx’s side simply because Keleigh wasn’t really into him. She was constantly moving away from his touches even though they were in open relationship. It was much interesting to read the blossoming relationship between Locked and Keleigh.

Marx did an excellent job in creating a world that is infused with mythology. We have Ordinary, regular people without powers, and ExtraOrdinary, people with powers. Leylines run all over Salem which act power sources for Extraordinary. Colloquy of Elders that keeps the existence of the ExtraOrdinaries a secret. ShiningOnes which apparently as not as nice as their name sounds. The OtherWorld which is a parallel world where mythology’s creature live. I know, it seems like a lot to take in (and it is) but I swear, it only adds to the experience of reading the book. All the “societies” are distinct from each other so it’s not hard to keep track of.

In the end, I’m giving it 4.5 butterflies. Fantastic use of mythology and great world-building skills. The characters are funny and grow in the course of the book. The love triangle didn’t work for me but it was somewhat nice. I’m looking forward to reading the second books because there are some unanswered questions that need to be resolve. Plus, I want to see Keleigh come into full acceptance of her powers and see what she can do.

4.5 BB-Ready for capture, Total keeper

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15th book in 150+ Reading Challenge:
Also qualifies for: Self-published, E-book, YA Mythology, First in a Series, Cupcake War, Where are you reading?-Salem, Massachussets

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Giveaway Time: International and ends on Feb. 25 at 11:59 PM

Elizabeth has kindly offered to give away an e-book copy of this book to a lucky commenter.

Mandatory Entry: Like The Seer on Facebook
Extra Entries: Be a follower of this blog through e-mail, Twitter or Goodreads. If you are not a follower, that’s okay because an extra point can be garner by answering a simple question, who is your favorite goddess?

After you like the Seer on Facebook, leave a comment here with your Facebook name (this is the mandatory entry) and if you follow me, tell me which way. And answer the question if you want to.

Thank you Elizabeth for providing a copy of her book and for the giveaway.

Good luck to everyone! And don’t forget to enter my Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway as well.

Review: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Title: Glass Houses
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Morganville Vampires # 1
Genre:  YA Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Source: Personal Purchase
Format: Paperback
Pub. Year: 2006
Purchase: Amazon/ B&N/ TBD

Blurb from Amazon
College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation, where the popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks in the school’s social scene: somewhere less than zero.

When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don’t show many signs of life. But they’ll have Claire’s back when the town’s deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.

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Thoughts to ponder on: Do I live in a vampire dominated university? Because every other month, there is a bloodmobile asking for blood and giving us free t-shirts.

Glass Houses wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I’m not sure what to think about it but let’s start with what I did like.  The characters are strong and a little extreme. Vampire politics are interesting as well.

Character-wise, I did generally like the characters. Claire is 16, almost 17, years old and going to college so she graduated early.  She is being bully by Monica who is really extreme with her bullying. Monica should be in jail for attempted murder, kidnapping, arson, murder and I can’t wait to see what other crimes she has on her sleeve. Claire, in order to stop the bulling, moves out of the college dorms and into the Glass House where she meets Eve, Shane, and Michael. All three grew up in town and know all about the vampires.  Eve who is gothic and bubbly. Shane who left town and came back, (he is a slacker). Michael who owns the house and has a secret that I find very interesting. In terms of vampires, we have Oliver and Amelie who both have great power in the town. Amelie is the founder and I like her in general. She is very cold but intriguing.

One of the things I did like was the whole concept of a vampire dominated town where the outside forces don’t acknowledge it but the residents do. It’s like a private island dedicated to vampires. At the same time, I just can’t believe that Eve would reveal all that information to Claire right off the bat. It’s not a secret if people are just babbling to everyone they meet. Not only did Eve place Claire in great peril for telling her so but she place herself in danger for revealing the secret.

Since Claire is really smart, her brain places her in danger in this new town. It’s not really her brain though, it’s much more of her making Monica look like an idiot and Monica having a vendetta against her. None of the events would have happened if Claire wasn’t trying to save herself from Monica. Vampire politics did not move the story forward in the beginning.

I do like Claire but at the same time, I find her to be an idiot. She stayed in town after being pushed down the stairs and possibly having a minor concussion. She got kidnapped and she still stayed in town. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that someone truly wants her death and the best decision is to leave town. I know I would and I don’t need an acceptance from MIT to tell me that. If someone was trying to kill me, school would be the last thing on my brain and I happen to love school. That being said, I do like the fact that Claire is science major but I wish Caine wouldn’t give Claire flack for that. There is nothing wrong with liking the sciences and (I personally feel that) it showcases a strong female character who is brain smart instead of being focused on looks.

I wasn’t completely wowed away by the plot. I found to be quite to be quite boring in certain parts. What I did like was the slow development of the romance between Shane and Claire. It wasn’t instant love, more like she had a crush on him. He developed a crush on her slowly as well. It was sweet and romantic.

I’m giving it 3.5 butterflies because Claire’s idiocy at staying knocks it down half a butterfly; add a not-so stellar plotline it suffers a lost of a half butterfly. And the last half butterfly for the vampires not being as present as the should have been in a vampire-dominated town. The vampires are present but I wanted more vampire politics. The little taste that was given wasn’t enough. At the same time, it was a good book so the rating will be a mix of both. I’ll give it 3.5 or 4 butterflies. I can’t decide.

3.5-Pretty to look at, maybe capture

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11th book in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: 1st in a Series, Morganville Series, Where are you reading?- Texas

Review: Deadtown by Nancy Holzner

Title: Deadtown
Author: Nancy Holzner
Series: Deadtown # 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Pub. Year: 2009
Purchase:
Amazon/ B & N

Blurb from Goodreads:
They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its borders-but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human

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Thoughts to ponder on: I can eat anything I want if I become a zombie but I have to avoid the sun. So tempting…..

I’m not entirely impressed with Deadtown. It was a good book but it didn’t wow me away. More than likely, I’ll end up picking the second book in the series since I own the third book. Scratch that out, it turns out that I have the third book in a different series. My bad. I will still pick up the second book, Hellforged.

Vicky Vaughn was a strong protagonist throughout the book. She kicks ass, isn’t afraid to break a few laws, and has pretty cool shifting abilities. She doesn’t appear to be as damage as some leading protagonist; she is more scarred from life but not irrevocably damage. She has a complex relationship with her past and her family. A Hellion, a demon called the Destroyer, murdered her father and in some way, she is connected to him. Her sister, Gwen, is playing the Suburban Housewife in order to deny that she is a shifter or that she has any relations to a shifter. Gwen has deep issues with what her bloodline can produce; she self-loathes which is really sad. No one should hate themselves for things out of their control and genetics is one of them. To be a shifter or to not be a shifter is something that drives a wedge between the sisters but for the sake of a family, Vicky and Gwen do try to overcome it.

The love interests, Alex Kane (werewolf lawyer) and Detective Daniel Costello, I suppose, were likable enough. Not sure who to root for but I didn’t really care for them. Both relationship felt tame and not passionate enough.

I loved the setting of Boston and the intricacies of the city. We have vampires, vampire junkies, zombies, shifters, werewolves, and regular humans all in one city. Paranormal Americans don’t have rights in the USA so they are actively fighting for the same rights that normal Americans have. I believe Holzner did a good job in showing the discrimination and the standards of living that Paranormal Americans have. If the series explores the political dimensions of this new world, I may just fall in love with it. Holzner did a fantastic job in letting the world create itself though passing information and dialogue.

OMG, I hated Tina the Zombie. What an annoying character that only served to irritate Vicky and the reader. She pull idiotic stunts that nearly killed Vicky and wasn’t that charming as a character. At least Holzner had an interesting explanation for the existence of zombies which I won’t spoil. Why zombies require large amount of food (since they cannot process it) is still a mystery to me. The sun-avoidance, I totally understand. Zombies are dead so prolong exposure to the sun makes their skin blotchy and rots their body faster. Not the best time to be around a rotting zombie.

Deadtown earns 3.5 black butterflies. Vicky Vaughn is a fantastic protagonist, the setting has great potential to discuss social issues, and there is an eclectic mix of paranormal creatures. The use of Welsh mythology is also interesting. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the “oomph” or that particular excitement that I’m looking for. Its good storytelling but there needs to be more passion. It was very close to 4 butterflies.

3.5-Pretty to look at, maybe capture

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7th book in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: 1st in a Series, Where are you reading? Boston, Massachusetts

Review: Cameron’s Law by Mia Darien

Cameron's LawTitle: Cameron’s Law
Author: Mia Darien
Series: Adelheid # 1
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy, Vampire
Source: Smashwords
Format: E-book
Pub. Year: Dec.26, 2011
Purchase: Smashwords, Amazon
I receive this book free of charge from Smashwords in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Smashwords:
Vampires are people, too. Cameron’s Law says so. Vampire and public face Sadie Stanton called Adelheid, CT home and it attracts a lot of attention. It attracts a lot more when vampires start attacking werewolves without provocation. Can Sadie keep the community from descending into chaos and war before it brings all of to harm? And can she do it when she herself gets thrust into the spotlight?

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What I will remember: Definitely not a Sookie Stackhouse book

I’m going to label this book as an oddity for now. It reads like a slice of life for Sadie Stanton running a preternatural agency with some paranormal elements thrown in for good measure. The book has vampires and werewolves (and shifters) but they are really reserved and conservative. This could be in part because Darien doesn’t show a more basic animalistic version of any of the characters except three times and they don’t feel right. So much of the action and suspense is happening off the pages and in locations where Sadie is not there that the book feels really tame.

This book is missing a heartbeat. It flows like one straight line with very few interruptions to that line. Sadie Stanton is the protagonist of this book; she is a strong female character because she can kick ass and defend herself….and I have no idea what she looks like except that she is 5’4. Her style of clothing, her hair color, her eyes, body build are completely not mention. Darien knows what her character looks like but I sure don’t. It bothers me that I don’t know but at the same time, it’s not like it stopped me from reading. Her actions scenes (plus the one romantic scene) are tame as well; they don’t spike my heart. I do have to applaud Darien for not having Sadie have sex with Vance in one book. There was something tragically broken about Sadie holding a torch for Cameron, an old flame.

Cameron was an interesting “concept.” I thought it was really tragic and nice that the he had a law named after him. He was the lover of Sadie who was killed during what I would called the civil rights movement for the preternatural. He’s an idea but also a person.

I personally like the secondary characters and minor characters better than the main characters. They had interesting “titles.” There was an  animator Summoner  who can summon demons, a lawyer that specializes in demon law, Dakota the bounty hunter, and a few others that I thought were interesting because of their abilities and uniqueness to the story. I especially like the medical examiner, Carl Wright with his lack of humor. I love how the medical examiner always tend to be a quirky character. Even  Gabriel, the pack master, was interesting and he wasn’t involved much in the book. Sad thing is that besides Dakota, they only showed up once and are forgotten…mostly.

The ending was unsatisfying in that its too neatly wrapped up. We conveniently find out why vampires are attacking werewolves and it has a scientific explanation which is great but the information is relayed through a third source; not through Sadie or the mad scientist himself. Sadie’s prison breakout is forgotten; Dakota conveniently calls the cops and rescues Madison and Sadie.  It’s too neat and easy. Endings for series are meant to be like a horror movie ending. The protagonists think the murderer is dead only to discover his body is missing and we have to see sequel to find out what happens next. Cameron’s Law doesn’t have that feeling. It can stand as a standalone which is a good thing but it is part of a brand new series and I feel there should have been plot bunnies drops in the book in order to build anticipation for the next book.

It’s an oddity for me, this book. I read it through one sitting and never thought “I have to stop reading” so it was entertaining. At the same time, there are things that are heavily lacking such as physical descriptions of the character, more bite to the supernatural creatures, and more intensity. I would prefer a messy ending but that it is just me. I like Cameron’s Law, I do but I’m not sure if it’s memorable enough for me to remember. With that being said, I’m giving this book a 3.5 because it is above a 3 but it doesn’t quite reach a 4. It would have garner a rating of 4 if there was more character description.

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3.5-Pretty to look at, maybe capture

1st book in the 150+Challenge
Other challenges it qualifies for: Self-Published, Why Buy The Cow, 1st in A series, E-book, Where are you reading? (Colorado)