This is the second book in the Chicagoland Vampires series. The sixth book, Biting Cold, will release in August 2012. Right now the author has 10 books on contract for this series. I enjoyed this book. This series has just been so fun and entertaining. I listened to this on audiobook, which I highly recommend, it was a very well done.
Merit is trying to finally get settled as Sentinel of Cadogan House, she's moving into the house and getting into a routine with the other Guards of the house. That is until Ethan needs her services elsewhere. Ethan has heard rumors that someone has leaked a story about vampire raves to the press and Ethan wants Merit to stop it. Then they find the Selena has been released from custody in Europe and is most likely on her way to shake things up. In an effort to make contact with the movers and shakers in Chicago Ethan asks Merit to do the one thing she vowed never to do again, reenter the elite social scene that plagued her childhood.
Merit is your typical urban fantasy heroine in some ways but not others. She has unusual powers, she is in the middle of a love triangle of sorts, and she is surrounded by supernatural power figures. The thing that sets Merit apart from other UF heroines is that to unravel the mystery throughout this story she uses something else entirely...her brain and her research skills. It was refreshing to see an urban fantasy heroine that is valued for her intelligence and actually thinks through the consequences of her actions. Don't forget that Merit is also funny, snarky, and wonderful at sarcasm.
Merit has also discovered that she is different from other vamps and this leads towards some interesting plot elements towards the end of the story.
Ethan, who was kind of stick in the mud in the first book, becomes a much more well developed character in this novel. Ethan actually has a sense of humor at points and even shows some vulnerability throughout the story. He is mostly still a mystery but we are starting to get some hint of who he really is.
We don't see a ton of Morgan in this book, he is definitely in the story but when he is he comes across as jealous and angry most of the time. This story focuses much more on Ethan. Mallory is also absent for much of the story; she's gone off to be trained in magic stuff. I missed Mallory and Merit exchanging witty dialogue, but Ethan was there to spice things up a bit.
One thing that absolutely irritated me about this book is that Neill sticks to a lot of the same description words throughout. Almost every guy Merit meets is just "so pretty". Seriously there are more pretty guys in this book than any other book I have ever read. The other thing is raised eyebrows; there is a whole dialogue of raised/quirked/lifted eyebrows in this book. I have never before read a book where eyebrows are involved so much in body language.... Okay I just had to get that out, now I feel better.
Overall this is a very fun and entertaining read. Merit does a lot of learning in this book and is as entertaining and snarky as in the first book. Merit is dealing with a lot in this book she is under emotional stress and under pressure to solve the mystery behind the rave stories. Ethan is the other big character in this book; we finally get to meet him and learn more about him. There is a great mystery woven throughout the story and it was hard to put the book down. This is a very entertaining read and fans of vampire urban fantasy will find a lot here to love. I would also recommend if you like the Night Huntress series; this series reminds a lot of that one but this series has less romance and more mystery.
I am a huge fan of Correia’s Monster Hunter International (MHI) series. I have been wanting to read the Grimnoir Chronicles for some time and just finally got around to it. This book is more of a paranormal alternate history of sorts than a horror. It was really well done, but I still enjoy the MHI series a bit more.
I listened to this on audiobook and the narrator did a great job with having distinctive voices for all of the characters and portraying their emotion well. I did have a couple problems with the narration. The narrator talks really really slow; so I ended up listening to this at 1.5x on Audible. Also a couple voices for the characters (primarily Jake Sullivan’s voice) are really really low in tone; this made it very hard to understand what Jake was saying. I listen to these while driving and I really had to crank up the volume to hear these low toned voices over the background road noise...and then the other parts were way too loud. So I might recommend skipping this on audiobook unless you are going to listen to it in a quiet area.
Jake Sullivan is finally out of prison on a deal. He needs to help the government solve a certain number of crimes involving magic before he is let go on a shortened sentence. Jake himself is a magic user or active and can control gravity and density aka a “Heavy”. During one of his government jobs he finds out that one of the Actives he’s hunting down is an old flame of his and he just can’t believe she would kill people. He’s troubled by this and when the government renegs on their deal with him Jake is pretty pissed. That’s when he gets an offer to join a secret Organization called the Grimnoir who is in an eternal struggle with the Chairman. The Chairman is an evil entity set on destroying the world as we know it.
This book, like many books being release now, is a mish mash of a whole bunch of genres. There’s a ton of action and gun talk which is very typical of Correia’s book. There are also a lot of superhero elements to the story since all of the characters have very superhero-like abilities. There’s a bit of a gangster feel to the whole story as well. Additionally there are some paranormal aspects with the whole magic thing and the Chairman. There’s also a lot of adventure and some steampunk elements (dirigibles, experimental medicine, etc) and the story is very much of the alternate history variety.
There was a lot I really loved in this book. I loved the idea of magic abilities that are founded in principles that bend science (manipulating mass, gravity, density of objects). I really loved some of the characters as well. Faye is a lot of fun as a character; she is a teen that is a Traveler and can travel through space. She is so happy go lucky and funny and so darn strong; she is a hoot to read about. I also really enjoyed Delilah, she is a petite women who is a Brute and can pretty much muscle anything or anyone into submission. I also really enjoyed the mysterious and evil Chairman; he is a wonderfully complex villain.
There were also some things I didn’t like about the book. I never really enjoyed Jake as a character; he was just so serious and he reminded me a lot of Owen Pitt from MHI. He’s super big, super smart but always underestimated because of his size, and has a special connection to magical powers (all characteristics very similar to Owen). I just never really clicked with him and didn’t really enjoy his parts of the story. I also thought the story was a bit predictable. There were some twists and turns in here, but I kind of saw where everything was going from pretty early on.
Overall this was a very well done action packed alternate history/fantasy from Correai. I would definitely recommend, although I will admit I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as the MHI books. I did really enjoyed the magic system in this book and all of the action. There are some awesome character in here as well. I will definitely continue reading the sereis. Recommended to those who enjoy action packed alternate history with fantasy and magic.
This is the first book in the Clockwork Heart trilogy by Pagliassotti. I have had this book in my to read pile for a very long time and was excited to finally get around to reading it. It was a very enjoyable steampunk fantasy with a lot of mystery and some romance.
I listened to this on audiobook and it was well done. The narrator did an excellent job of conveying emotion and I enjoyed her voice. There were a few spots where it was hard to tell who was talking (the voices just weren’t different enough between characters) but aside from that I enjoyed listening to this.
Taya is an Icarus, she wears giant metal wings and flies messages around the great city of Ondinium. Her life changes when she spots a failing in the wire ferry lines and ends up rescuing a woman and child from the Exalted caste of citizens. In an effort to thank her the Exalted draws Taya into her life and Taya gains a celebrity-like status. Suddenly Taya finds herself not only embroiled in high level politics but also trying to solve a mystery involving murder and theft.
I really enjoyed this steampunk mystery. There are some wonderful steampunk elements in the story, the characters are engaging and interesting, and the world-building is well done. There is a complex caste system that was well described. I also really loved the city of Ondinium and how is has multiple layers and runs off of analytical engines.
The book is mostly a mystery. Taya is following a series of accidents and coincidences to try and figure out what is going on. There is a bit of a romance as well, but I didn't really feel like this book was a romance per-say (not sure why it is advertised as such).
Taya is an awesome character. She is curious and determined but never gets too serious. She doesn’t know when to stop and constantly runs herself into the ground trying to solve problems.
I also really enjoyed the character of Cristoff. He is an Exalted that left the caste to become a clockmaker among the lower caste. He is such a noble, honest, and geeky type that I just loved him.
This was an engaging read that I enjoyed. My only complaint would be that the story went a bit long, I think it would have worked better if it had ended earlier. There is some humor in here as well, which was fun.
I also have a very specific complaint as a chemist. At one point the character smells an ammonia-like smell and identifies it as methanol...totally not accurate. Methanol smells a lot like rubbing alcohol and absolutely nothing like ammonia. I know...I know a small quibble but it bugged me.
Overall this was a great book and I really enjoyed it. This book had some fantastic world-building, lots of fun steampunk elements, and very engaging characters. It is mostly a mystery with a bit of romance. I would recommend to fans of steampunk novels that involve a lot of political intrigue. I definitely plan on reading the last two books in this series.
This is the first book in the Stormwalker series. The fifth book in that series will be titled, Dreamwalker, and is expected to release in June 2015. This was an action packed paranormal romance with a story that was incredibly flawed.
I listened to this on audiobook and it was okay. It was nothing spectacular but the narrator did a decent job distinguishing between character voices.
Janet Begay is a Stormwalker whose mother is a Goddess from Beneath. Janet moves back to her hometown to face her mother once and for all and to investigate the disappearance of a young woman. Right after her arrival things start to get tricky. Janet is being attacked by Skinwalkers and her ex-boyfriend (the mysterious Mick) shows up to help. Janet hasn’t seen Mick in five years but is still drawn to him. Together they try and track down the missing woman, all the while dodging evil attacks from Janet’s mother.
I was intrigued by the idea of a character, Janet, who can harness the power of storms. The idea ended up being cooler than what was actually done in this book. I actually struggled to finish this book, it was just so ridiculous. Considering I was listening to this as an audiobook while I languished in traffic, that’s saying something...I hardly ever stop reading an audiobook.
There were a lot of problems with this story and a lot of things I didn't enjoy about the story. My main issue was the relationship between Mick and Janet, which left a lot to be desired. Pretty much if they have any problems they just have sex and then everything is good until they have problems again. So silly.
Sex is a huge part of this book, Janet is pretty much obsessed with sex. Which I don’t have a problem with...except the sex scenes were very poorly done. They are boring and not at all creative. I feel like if you are going to make a book that features sex, you should be able to write about it in a way that is engaging.
Even sillier is the part where Mick tells Janet that he's not sleeping with her again until she decides that she really wants Mick in her life...then...you guessed it...a couple chapters later they get pissed at each other and have sex. Huge eye roll here.
When Mick reveals his big secret Janet gets all whiny and immature about it all. I swear she acted like a two year old throwing a tantrum. I mean is she seriously that blind that she didn’t see something was going on with Mick? I understand she is pissed about the secret thing, however she is the one who lets this guy walk all over her without ever questioning his motives. In general Janet's character is extremely immature and makes a lot of bad decisions throughout the book. I hate dumb heroines.
There was some good action scenes in here and the fight scenes are decently done. However, there were also a lot of parts where things don't quite make sense or are over-explained. There is some awkward dialogue as well.
Overall this was a paranormal romance (PNR) that epitomizes a lot of things I hate about poorly done PNR. There is an abusive relationship (that is pushed as being a loving one), a stupid and dense heroine, lots of sex that is poorly done, and an underdeveloped world. The book does have a bit of an urban fantasy feel to it because there is a lot of action, but there is also a lot of relationship drama and sex that reminded me more of a PNR. I pretty much detested this book and won't be reading any more of this series.
I got this as a free audiobook from audible.com. I am a chemical engineer/chemist by trade and thought this sounded like an interesting read. The book is narrated by the author Candace Pert.
The very first thing I noticed is that the author is incredibly conceited, she spends a lot of time bragging about her accomplishments right away. This book is more of an autobiography than an actually book behind the science of emotion.
There are some interesting theories in this book, that I think many people would agree with. The main theory is that emotional state is caused by a variety of chemicals, particularly peptids. These molecules not only have an influence on your emotions but on your overall physical health as well, you can't really separate the two. I think this theory was groundbreaking at the time, but much more widely accepted now.
There is a also a lot of discussion about the male domination of science and how hard the author had to work to get recognized. I think maybe this might have been more true in the 70's than today. The author also comes to the realization by the end that maybe it was her aggressive attitude and combativeness that caused some of her issues with her male cohorts and I couldn't agree more.
Working as a female in a male dominated field I have found that the opinion of those around you (male or otherwise) is fed by your attitude towards them. I have never had a ton of issue with my male coworkers respecting me and treating me as an equal. I had some issues in college, but now that I am working with the people I want to work with and in a field I am comfortable in it just hasn't been an issue. If you have an attitude of competence, but aren't completely arrogant, I don't think you will have much of an issue.
Okay stepping off my soapbox now...
Overall this was an interesting read, but not exactly what I was hoping for or expecting. It is more an autobiography of Pert’s work and a treatise on the struggles of female scientists than an explanation behind the chemicals that guide our emotional and physical health. It was free so I can’t really complain, but I wouldn’t really recommend it either.
This was a very good addition to Steelheart, but DO NOT READ BEFORE STEELHEART! This book picks up where we left off at the end of Steelheart. Newcago is trying to rebuild and restructure after the events of Steelheart.
I listened to this on audiobook, which I got free from Audible.com. This is a very short listen (1hr) but I was impressed by how engaging this short story was.
We get to meet a new Epic named Mitosis. Of course an "epic" battle ensues. In addition we also get to see how Newcago is handling its new rule and structure.
At the end of the short story we get a little teaser about what Firefight will be about as well.
The narration for the audiobook was excellent and this little story packs a lot of punch and was highly entertaining. In fact I liked listening to this story better than I liked reading Steelheart, so I think I will listen to the next book in this series on audiobook.
Overall I really enjoyed this short story and I definitely recommend reading this if you read and enjoyed Steelheart and are planning to pick up Firefight.
This was an okay novella involving the characters from the first novel in the Half Moon Hallow series (Gigi and Iris). The whole story is told from Gigi's POV.
I got this novella for free from Audible.com last year, so I listened to it on audiobook. The audiobook is well done and uses the same narrator as the other Half Moon Hallow books.
Gigi is home from college for the holidays and dealing with normal things like boyfriend trouble and finding a summer job. Only thing is Gigi is considering taking a job with the vampire council, which her older sister Iris would not be pleased about. Oh and there seems to be a hot blond vampire stalking her for some reason too.
This is a very brief story with some funny parts. There's not a lot resolved here outside of Gigi's relationship with her boyfriend Ben. There is a lot of funny vampire/Christmas stuff in here though.
You are introduced to a sexy blond vampire who is stalking Gigi, well not really introduced but you kind of meet him. None of this is resolved in this short story, so I am wondering if Gigi’s romance will feature in a future Half Moon Hallow book.
I would tentatively recommend if you are a fan of the Half Moon Hallow series. I got this as a free audiobook from Audible.com last year so I can't really complain. If you haven't read other books in this series I would skip it.
This is the first book in the Half Moon Hallow series by Harper. Previous to this I had read the Jane Jameson series by Harper and enjoyed it. I also read Driving Mr. Dead which technically takes place after this book. This was a very typical Molly Harper book, a cute and humorous paranormal romance.
I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was well done. The narrator has a very snarky voice which fits the story well. Although it’s not the best narration I’ve listened to, it’s decent.
Iris Scanlon runs Half Moon Hallow’s only daytime concierge service for vampires, while also supporting her younger sister Gigi. Things aren’t great but Iris is able to make ends meet. Everything changes when she literally stumbles on Cal, who is poisoned on his kitchen floor. Iris ends up agreeing to hide Cal and getting involved in solving the mystery of who poisoned Cal’s blood supply.
As mentioned above this book is very typical Molly Harper. The story is nothing special, but it is a fun little diversion. I don't read a lot of Molly Harper paranormal romance books because they are all very similar, but when I am in the mood for a fun little paranormal romance they definitely fit the bill.
Iris is a great lead. She is practical and hardworking and is doing her best to raise her younger sister after their parents died. She is very careful to never get involved, or even see, the vampires she does work for. Harboring Cal goes against everything Iris would normally do. However Iris happens to be a bit of a do-gooder and just can’t turn away a sick vampire.
Cal has this whole “I am a mysterious agent for the Council” thing going on and is, of course, very handsome. He has a cutting sense of humor and really endears himself to Iris because of how caring he is about Gigi’s wellbeing.
There is a good mystery here and some sizzling chemistry between Cal and Iris. This book was exactly what I expected. If you read and enjoy Molly Harper books then you should enjoy this one as well.
Overall this was a fun little humorous paranormal romance. There’s not a lot special or outstanding here, but the book is a cute and funny read. If you are looking for a light-hearted paranormal romance this book will definitely fit the bill.
I have pretty much loved everything I have read by Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant. This book was no exception to that. This is such an incredibly creative idea and I really enjoyed it.
I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was really well done. The narrator does all of the voices really well and also does an excellent job conveying emotion. I really enjoyed listening to it a lot.
Basically the concept behind this book are that fairy tales are real and they are trying to take over our reality. These fairy tales driven by The Narrative create chaos and pain wherever they appear.
Enter Henry and crew, Henry (short for Henrietta)is a leader in an ATI field team. The ATI tries to get to these fairy tale incursions and stop them before than can hurt people. However lately things have been getting out of hand and there are way more incursions than normal. On top of all this Henry is an inactive Snow White, and things are pushing her in a way that just might drive her fairy tale to active status...this is something Henry really wants to avoid, she really doesn't want to end up in a glass coffin.
I loved this book, the premise is awesome and interesting. There are tons of creative fairy tale retellings woven throughout the story. It is fast paced and a very engaging read. Most of the chapters start with a new fairy tale incursion and we hear a bit from the person being affected, then we go back to hearing from Henry and her teammates.
Henry (and all of the side characters) all have a very interesting issue to deal with. The Narrative wants them to do something that will ruin their lives, but they have to resist. Some of the characters, like Henry, have been able to sidestep their fairy tale and live reasonably normal lives. Still everyday Henry struggles with the love of bluebirds, an urge to eat poison apples, and the fear that she will someday cave in to her fairy tale and end up comatose in a glass coffin somewhere.
The way the characters have to constantly struggle to avoid their Fairy Tales is fascinating. They try to make the best of the urges that drive them. For example the almost-wicked stepsister is excellent at sniffing out evil. Still it is a constant struggle for them to use their strength...but not get too close to their Fairy Tale.
The story ends well and has an incredibly well done plot. I just really enjoyed this book.
Overall another outstanding and very creative novel from Seanan McGuire. If you love urban fantasy and fairy tales I would recommend reading this. If you are a McGuire fan definitely pick this up. I loved it and really hope they are future books featuring Henry and her crew.
This is the first book in the Magnificent Devices series. Currently there are at least eight book planned for this series, with the eighth one releasing later in 2014. I really enjoyed this steampunk young adult read set in Victorian London.
I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was very very well done. I highly recommend this on audiobook.
Claire Trevelyan is the daughter of a Viscount and her mother is trying her best to get her married off to a fine gentleman. However Claire would rather go to University and spend time talking to Wits about steam engines. Disaster strikes when Claire’s father goes bankrupt and dies. Claire’s mother and brother are forced to flee the city to escape angry investors, while Claire is left to deal with tying things up in the city. Claire sees this as an opportunity to take control of her own life.
There are a ton of interesting steampunk elements in this novel that I really enjoyed. This is a story that isn’t all that original; a young woman prefers science/knowledge over marriage and decides to go her own way...but it is the type of story I never tire of reading.
Claire is a wonderful balance of a proper lady and a young woman who wants to make her own way. She is at times pretty and soft, but also extremely determined, smart and stubborn. She’s one of my favorite types of heroines to read about. I love how she makes a family for herself and finds a place to call home even in the worst of situations.
This book mainly follows Claire as she deals with the aftermath of her family disaster and loss of place in society and starts to find her own way in life. I loved the steampunk elements, found Claire’s story to be very engaging, and really enjoyed the story overall.
There is a somewhat complicated love interest here. A gentleman who was interested in Lady Claire ends up being the same man who is financing the research of Andrew Malvern, a young inventor who wants to hire Claire as his secretary. It makes for a bit of a love triangle of sorts, although I will say the story definitely isn’t driven by romance there is some romance subtly woven in.
The story ties up nicely, but there are definitely more elements of the story that still need to be resolved.
Overall I really enjoyed this story and thought it was a very fun read. It is not a story that is all that creative, but it is fun and well done. If you enjoy steampunk novels I definitely recommend this book. The story is bit of a Pride and Prejudice meets steampunk kind of read. I definitely plan on listening to more audio books in the Magnificent Devices series!
This is the first book in the Amber House trilogy. It ended up being kind of a creepy, gothic mystery with some paranormal elements. It was a decent story and I enjoyed watching the mystery unravel.
I listened to this on audiobook and I think I would have been better off reading it in paper format. While the narrator does a good job with character voices and emotion, I really thought that her voice didn’t fit the tone of the story very well. The narrator’s voice was too perky for such a dark story and it kind of distracted from the mood of the story. I wouldn’t really recommend listening to this on audiobook.
Sarah Parsons travels to the mysterious Amber House with her family after her grandmother passes away. Sarah has never been to Amber House and finds out she can see images from the past in the houses halls. In the course of this she ends up unraveling some dark secrets in Amber House’s past.
This was a well done gothic read about a girl unraveling the history of both her family and Amber House. Sarah can see images from the past and has to use these images to put together all of the pieces of the house's sordid history. The son their housekeeper, Jackson, also has some special abilities.
I enjoyed how the mystery was woven together, but just had some trouble with the imagery and the point of the whole story. There are a lot of heavy gothic overtones involving madness, death, secret passages, and dark deadly spiders. The story does take place in modern times but we spend a lot of time looking into the past with Sarah.
Sarah ends up involved in a bit of a love triangle (which I dislike). She spends a lot of time with Jackson but is dissuaded from spending time with him because he’s not a suitable match (very backwards thinking for a novel set in modern times). She is also wooed by the nearly perfect Richard who is a Senator’s son and fabulous at everything.
There is a lot of intrigue in the story, a lot of people lying and doing things to get ahead of other people. Pretty much a lot of what is typically thought of as high society maneuvering for power.
The story takes a strange twist at the end that had me rolling my eyes a bit. It was just so contrived. I actually read through it a couple times because I wanted to make sure that what I thought was happening was actually happening. I didn't really enjoy the ending that much.
Overall a decent story. The story was an interesting blend of gothic elements, time travel, ghosts, and paranormal elements. I honestly didn’t find the characters all that engaging. I also wasn’t ever really totally drawn into the story. Still it was a well enough written book that this would have been a 4 star rating if not for the horribly contrived ending. The ending is an awful cliffhanger and just sooooo forced. I won’t be reading any more books in this series. However if you are a big fan of ghost stories or gothic reads you might enjoy this.
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