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Review: Afterlife by Naomi Clark

Title: Afterlife
Author: Naomi Clark
Series: Afterlife # 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: E-book
Source:  Author
Pub. Year: 2009
Purchase: Amz/ B&N
I receive a copy of this novel free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
Yasmin Stoker is a ghost tour guide who spends her days showing tourists around Shoregrave’s haunted hotspots. She also happens to be a wraith who spends her nights hunting Revenants, newly-risen flesh-eating vampires. On one of her regular hunts, she witnesses a mysterious ghostly girl pulling the body of a teenage boy underground. Who and what is this girl, and why is she attacking men around the city? Yasmin investigates, but it quickly becomes clear that somebody wants to keep her from finding the killer and they’ll do anything-including ambushing her with ghouls and cacodaemons-to stop her. With only a persistent private eye and a taciturn vampire (one of the Immaculate, no less) to help her, Yasmin must deal with fanatical necromancers, crazed ghosts, and a sexy history teacher in her quest to solve the mystery. And along the way she uncovers some heartbreaking truths about her own existence.

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What I like about it: Props for creativity.

(I’m feeling a bit under the weather so let’s start with a bang).

Yasmin was a strong protagonist who has a very high moral ground. She prides herself on never hurting or killing humans so she looks down upon those paranormal beings who need humans to survive. She is a wraith; she needs to feed on souls in order to live and she only takes the soul of vampires. Yasmin is hard on her roommate, Emma, who is a succubus. Emma wants to feed on who humans who unfortunately end up dead or in a coma. That’s a huge “No-no” for Yasmin. Yasmin and Emma have a tense friendship but they are good friends. It is my first time reading about wraiths (other than the ones mentioned in Stargate: Atlantis which do feed on humans) so I can’t complain about the wraith mythology. Clark revealed some interesting tidbits about the true origin of wraiths so I’m looking forward to reading about it in the next book.

Secondary characters are interesting as well. Private Investigator Ethan Banning is investigating the murders of children in Shoregrave and Lost Anchorage. He may be freaked out by the Pale World and its paranormal inhabitants but he is enjoying the ride. Nicomedes the Lich Lord and overlord of Shoregrave was insane but intriguing. He is pinning after his lost love while slowly losing touch with reality. Plus, he stitched his eyes together. Creepy. Vampire Durante is a constant source of irritation to Yasmin because she needs him but doesn’t like what he is. It’s a interesting relationship but it should become even more so because Clark keeps hinting that they have a past together that Yasmin cannot remember.

Plot-wise, the story moved at a good pace. There are enough interactions between different paranormal creatures while the murder case is moving forward. The murder case and the Golden Ghost are fascinating because there is so much more going on than what is on the surface. There really isn’t a major plot hole in the story overall. It is solid.

One of the things that I liked about this novel was the origin story of the vampire. In Clark’s world, vampires are created when the soul of the deceased return to possess their own body. It looks like they still required another vampire to exchange blood with but the soul is returned back to its body. It solves the dilemma of wondering whether a vampire has a soul or not. The vampire with a soul and vampires are a great source of philosophical inquires and emotional turmoil for Yasmin.

A thing that left me off-balance was the location. I don’t know if the world of Afterlife takes place on our world (Earth) or if it is a secondary world. I think it takes place on our world because it is modern. It left me unbalanced since there are no recognizable cities or monuments. It is obvious that humans don’t know about the Pale World though. I wish there was something more to anchored the reader.

Overall, it was just a solid story with a murder case at the heart of the Pale World.

4 BB-Ready for capture

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64th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, First in a Series, Ghostly

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Review: The Rising Moon by Nilsa Rodriguez

Title: The Rising Moon
Author: Nilsa Rodriguez
Series: Rising Moon # 1
Genre: YA Paranormal
Format: E-book
Source: FMB Tours
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amz/ B&N/ Smashwords
I receive a copy of this novel free of charge from FMB Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
How many lives do you have to live to realize that love is stronger than time and death? Orphaned at the age of five, Angelia (Lia) Lafosse was left with questions about whom and what she truly was. One thing was clear. Lia was different. Some might even say cursed. With the help of her best friend, Ryan Woodruff, she begins to unlock the secrets of her families past and discover answers that prove more startling than she ever imagined. Not only was she a werewolf, but a reincarnation of the immortal werewolf, a werewolf with immense powers beyond any of her kind. A werewolf that if discovered by the Lobison’s to have returned, can jeopardize both Lia and those she love. As destiny finds her love does too and they couldn’t be more different. Torn between Lyle Ulric, the charming werewolf whose bloodline is as ancient and powerful as her own. And Adam Ambrose, the mysterious and alluring vampire who’s determined not to allow fate or anyone tear their love apart again. Lia has to make a choice… Destiny or Love…Run or Fight…Live or Die

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Random: If being immortal means never dying, then how does the reincarnation of an immortal work?

This could have been a fantastic book because it has a unique storyline and has a Native American community at the heart of the book. It just falls short of being a fantastic book because the main character gladly drank the kool-aid.

Let’s talk about Lia. For someone who is a loner, she sure is popular. More importantly, she doesn’t have a loner’s personality. Lia finds out new information that changes her life rapidly and she adapts to it quite rapidly which is not a trait that is usually found in people who feel the need to be alone. She doesn’t question why people are talking to her whereas a loner would question the motivation behind people talking to her. Especially if no one notice her previously. It could be prank but she just accepts the people coming into her life. Any information that she is given is accepted as a fact. Werewolves exists? She believes after one person tells her that it is true. Either she is gullible or she isn’t smart enough to question it. When it comes to the supernatural world, there is no disbelief on her part. That’s not to say that she isn’t a strong character. She has a devotion to her family that is admiring. It is fantastic that she doesn’t break down when she learns about the mythology surrounding her (but at the same time, it makes her seem inhuman because she is not freaking out even a little bit).

The supporting cast are of Native American blood. Ryan is the one who befriends Lea. Why? He thinks he has a crush on her. Anyways, he introduces her to the woman who spills everything about werewolves and vampires to Lia. He is pretty much the only one who plays a strong supporting character because none of the other tribe members are fleshed out. Kima, a shifter, comes to a close second in being fleshed out but not really.

Even the love interests are not completely fleshed out. Lyle is a werewolf, well, a Lobison. When he transforms, he loses all sense of humanity yet somehow still manages to save Lia. He just loves Lia immediately so there is no background as to why he loves her. He just does. He is a strong character that goes against his family wishes to show that he cares about Lia. Adam is a vampire and he is also in love with Lia because she is the reincarnated soul of his loved one. He only likes Lia because she reminds him of a dead woman and Lia loves him. He doesn’t care for Lia because of who she is; he cares about Lia because a dead woman. That’s not love. At least Lyle cared for Lia for Lia yet Adam is the one Lia ends up choosing. Ryan was in the midst of this love triangle for awhile but it was one-sided on his side.

One of the the biggest issues that I have with this novel is how everything is introduced to Lia. Better yet, how secrets are just immediately told. Lia doesn’t have to work to discover that she is a shifter, someone tells her right away. Lia doesn’t have to beg to find out more information about her biological mother. People are drawn to tell the truth to Lia so the novel makes everything come easy to Lia. There is no suspense in learning about the world-building because everything is told directly. It is just too convenient. To make matter worse, Lia accepts it as fact. She has no disbelief about anything that is told to her. She was also kidnapped and accepts it. She doesn’t even struggled to escape because it was a loved one who kidnapped her.

In the end, there are some strong points in the novel. It has a unique storyline that could have been explored more. A different version of a werewolf that is much deadly than the average werewolf. If the book had made Lia a little less accepting and more inquisitive about what people were telling her, then the book would have been good even with the screwed-up love triangle.

2BB-Look for in the Library

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63rd in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, YA Mythology Where are you reading?-Wyoming

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

Guest Post + Giveaway with Denise Verrico of Immortyl Revolution

Let’s give a warm welcome to Denise Verrico. She is the author of the Immortyl Revolution. She is here today to discuss the biology aspect of vampires and to give away a collection of short stories.

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Vampires as Biological Creatures
by Denise Verrico

When I set out some fifteen years ago to write a vampire novel, I did a lot of research into vampire lore and read some of the classic stories. I found that almost every culture has some form of vampire legend. At that time, there weren’t nearly as many novels about vampires. Now they have their own sub genres in urban fantasy, romance and horror.

I wanted my vampires to be different from other writers’, but still be recognizable as vampires. I don’t mind vampires as sympathetic leading men and women. My vamps are very human in many aspects. They have hopes, dreams and aspirations. They fall in love. However, I want them to be somewhat alien creatures.

Everyone knows about old vampire legends and the movie and pop culture clichés. Fantasy is the realm of make-believe, and there is much room for interpretation. The idea of “science fiction” vampires appealed to me. Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend is the classic example of these. Graphic novels like Ultra Violet and Aeon Flux have also explored this idea. My series plot, the race to capture the secrets of immortality, was inspired by articles I’ve read on biotechnology.

However, Immortyl Revolution is focused on the adventure, intrigue and relationships between characters. The premise behind the series is that vampires are human beings with a unique mutation. Immortyls are biologically altered men and women, so they behave a lot like mortals in many respects.

I hit upon the idea of a symbiotic organism passed through blood. This organism, like a virus would rip apart DNA and bond with it, but instead of destroying cells, it would allow them to replicate perfect copies of themselves forever, preventing aging and death. Human DNA is programmed to only produce so many copies and these grown less perfect as we age.

Immortyls have enhanced physical abilities, can’t go out in the sun, and can drink only human blood. Why do vampires usually choose to operate in the dark? There is really no reason I could find in folklore, other than it’s easier to sneak into peoples’ houses and drink their blood when they are sleeping. Some contemporary stories don’t follow this convention and in fact, this is something that started in the movies. Dracula went out in the daylight, but he was weaker. Vampires didn’t destruct in the sun until the silent film, Nosferatu, but I wanted my supermen to have their “kryptonite”, so I created a biological reason to keep them out of the sun, more in keeping with my set of rules. In a biological “world”, they wouldn’t burst into flame or dissolve into dust. This set me to thinking. Cancers are cells that grow unchecked to the point where they destroy neighboring structures in the body. I remembered seeing a program about flesh eating bacteria, (necrotizing strep). In a matter of hours this virulent bacteria can devour body parts. I thought this might be a way to describe the effect the sun has on a vampire’s body. Perhaps the ultra violet light could mutate the DNA and cause the cells to grow erratically.

Although some of my vampires are sympathetic, like Mia, Kurt and Cedric, my heroine and heroes, I still wanted them to be dangerous, because they obey a biological imperative. They still have a human psyche, but the mutation causes them to behave like a predatory animal and turns on their senses. This, of course, messes with their brains and many of them have difficulty dealing with their condition. I looked into psychological studies on violent behavior in human beings. Sociopaths lack empathy, which allows them to objectify others. Certainly some of my vampires fall into this category and don’t agonize over killing human beings. Most of them compartmentalize their emotions. Human beings under duress or expediency will treat others abysmally or even violently if the behavior is “permitted”. They begin to categorize people as “others” or less than human, therefore their violent behavior is acceptable to them under the circumstances. However, there are those individuals for whom this is unacceptable or who can’t successfully make this disconnect who will rebel against the idea that violence is okay. I try not to write characters that are just plain evil. Usually his or her agenda conflicts with the heroine and hero.

My vampires eat and drink like other people, but they take small, frequent meals because they metabolize energy faster. However, the symbiote depletes compounds in the blood, which must be replenished. My vampires couldn’t survive on animal blood, only human, but they can live on the donated variety and many do.

It’s fun to play around with myths and legends and come up with reasons behind them or find
alternatives to them. Creating the world of Immortyl Revolution was a lot of fun for me. I hope you’ll find it fun to read.

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Blurb from Amazon:
Can an Immortyl society survive in a modern world?

From the ashes of the first battle of the Immortyl Revolution, vampires Mia Disantini and Kurt Eisen set out to build a new Immortyl society. Trouble arrives in the person of Cedric MacKinnon, a runaway adept of the ancient arts, who brings tidings of upheaval at the chief elder’s court that threatens everything Mia and Kurt have accomplished. Mia finds it hard to resist when Cedric pledges his service and tempts her with the legendary skills he learned as an Immortyl courtesan. Facing opposition from both within and out, Mia begins to doubt Kurt is up to the task of leading their followers to his vision of an Immortyl Utopia. Torn between her loyalty to Kurt and Cedric’s insistence that she is the earthly manifestation of the Goddess Durga and destined to lead, Mia confronts the greatest challenge of her life.

Servant of the Goddess can be purchase at Amazon and Barnes & Nobles.

Denise Verrico can be found at her Facebook, Twitter, Website, and Blog

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Denise is going to give away a collection of short stores. It is called Annals of The Immortyls.

Blurb from Barnes and Nobles:
Forget the fairytale vampire romance…

Mia Disantini thought she found the man of her dreams, but is trapped in a nightmare from which she can’t wake up.

Kurt Eisen makes a monstrous bargain to survive a Nazi concentration camp and begins to understand what a monster truly is.

Cedric MacKinnon was once a celebrated vampire courtesan. Now he’s a deadly assassin, who has cheated death too many times.

GIVEAWAY TIME: Just leave a comment along with your e-mail. Everyone who leaves their e-mail will receive the book.

Review: No Remorse by Marylynn Bast

Title: No Remorse
Author: Marylynn Bast
Series: Heart of a Wolf # 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: E-book
Source: Tour
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amazon
I received this novel free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
Due to her unusual birth, Amber has abilities no other werewolf has ever possessed. On the run since childhood, the lone wolf avoids contact with other werewolves at all cost, continually moving, constantly looking over her shoulder and always alone.

Everything changes when Amber saves a werewolf from the mere brink of death, Blake, the only werewolf to ever protect her. Love blossoms, but not without tribulations when Amber realizes she must help her new pack rescue a member who is being held hostage by a rival pack.

Warring with emotions of going from lone wolf to the pack leader’s mate, Amber must decide if she is willing to risk Blake’s life to know true family and friendship despite the fact that the Council is hell bent on locating her and will stop at nothing until she is found. Will Amber’s special abilities be enough to keep everyone safe?

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Random: I think I have a thing for older gentleman (only in books, not in real life).

It took me awhile to get into the book because I wasn’t sure where the novel was heading. Especially the beginning. It paints an unflattering view of Amber in the first 15 pages but we sympathize with her once we learned her history. I don’t like the introduction but the novel gets better as it goes on.

This novel really likes surprises. It enjoys making the reader believe certain ideas only to have another character come in and say “You know what they said, yeah, it’s all a lie, sorry.” Those are some pretty big lies and secrets that are being kept (and I did not appreciate some of the lies being told. One of them really pissed me off). Anyways, it is interesting to uncover the lies but at the same time, I have to question the trust that is realistic there. It was the secrets that Amber didn’t know existed that lead her to go on the run and kept her on the run. How can Amber trust the people around if all they have done is lie to her? What is to prevent them from lying to her again? Even if it was for Amber’s own protection the saying “once a liar, always a liar” is very true.

Amber is a strong character that is mostly true to herself. She is fiercely independent and doesn’t want to follow the pack. She doesn’t want to be submissive to a pack leader (or men). She is a runner who is tired of running so she wants to stay with Blake’s pack even as she claims dissatisfaction with staying in the pack. She is a strong woman with interesting abilities. She can evaporate and reappeared in new places which is odd for a werewolf. It’s a vampiric ability so guess what else she is. No, she is not half vampire but how she obtains the abilities of a vampire is interesting. I’m curious as to how vampires will come into play in the next book.

My favorite character has to be Gabrial, the grandfather of Amber. He has this really sweet and strong personality. He is funny, warm and inviting when he is talking with Amber about her origins. This might sound weird but he appears to be a sexy grandpa. He did the awkward cough when he mentioned sex, it was kind of cute. Lol, my mind is making him out to be really hot because there isn’t a lot of physical description. Just the repetition of his chocolate brown eyes. With his personality, he has to be charming and good-looking.

If I had to complained about something and I usually do, it has to do with the sex scenes. They were long and detailed (that’s not the problem); same position in a different room (a little problem) but my issue is the fellatio that Amber performs. This woman was a virgin before meeting Blake and on her second (human) sex experience, she is really good in giving fellatio. It just feels like there should be a little bit of awkwardness, considering it is her first time. Maybe Amber is really good at acting like she knows what to do.

I have to give this novel 4 black butterflies. I understand the lying but I’m not fond of how the trust issues are just dismissed. Don’t get me wrong, there is some struggling with forgiveness but most of the time, the idea that love is enough for trust to be there is forced through.

4 BB-Ready for capture

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32rd in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, First in a Series,

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: Vampire Knight Vol. 2 by Matsuri Hino

Title: Vampire Knight Vol. 2
Author: Matsuri Hino
Series: Vampire Knight # 2
Genre: Manga, Paranormal
Source: Personal purchase
Format: Paperback
Pub. Year: 2007
Purchase: Amazon/ B&N/ TBD

Blurb from Amazon:
Cross Academy is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. At sunset, when the students of the Day Class return to their dorm, they cross paths with the Night Class on their way to school. Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu are the Guardians of the school, there to protect the Day Class from the Academy’s dark secret: the Night Class is full of vampires.

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Thoughts to ponder on: Why is the act of feeding a vampire real blood consider forbidden?

In the second volume of Vampire Knight, things start to unraveled and the world Hino is building shows more complexities than before. We learn of a vampire hierachy that consists of five levels. Purebloods like Kaname at the the top, aristorcrats are second, third are common vampires, fourth are humans that have been turned into vampires and the most dreaded of all levels, Level E for end (extinction). Level E are that vampires that were once humans but have lost their sanity so they go on killing sprees. I think the hierachy is interesting because the vampires of the Night Class have a disdain for the human-turned-vampires being which makes me wonder where do vampires come from? And what is a true Pureblood? Since the manga implies that Purebloods are in short supply.

Of course, there is always tension between vampires and vampire hunters, especially when one comes into the school. Yagari Toga is a vampire hunter and the former master/teacher of Zero before Zero’s family was murdered. Remember, Zero is now a vampire, a reluctant one, but still a vampire. What Zero is causes a lot of tension for Yuki because Zero is rejecting the blood tablets that are supposed to keep his blood lust at bay. She ends up committing the “forbidden act” of giving Zero her blood. Now, Yuki is trying to protect Zero from going insane and at the same time, keep it a secret from Kaname.

Yeah, there wasn’t anything groundbreaking in the manga. The Vice President Ichijo had a birthday party and Zero and Yuki where invited. Only after they were attacked by a Level E vampire in the city. That was interesting because once again, Yuki was incapable of defending herself against a rogue vampire. She does not appear to be a fighter at all.

My favorite scene is actually the short little bonus story after the novel has ended. In this scene, Kain calls Kaname a “gang leader” and Aido replies with call Kaname a “supreme gang leader.” Kaneme overhears this and decides to place a water-filled bucket on top of Aido’s head (and I find it hilarious). Supreme gang leader, that’s right.

4 BB-Ready for capture

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20th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: Second in a Series, M/V/G Challenge

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