Category Archives: Paranormal
Book: Fall Of Night (The Morganville Vampires Book #14) by Rachel Caine, NAL Hardcover received for review, 338 pages, on sale May 7, 2013
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
When Claire Danvers gets accepted into the graduate program at MIT, she can’t pass up the opportunity. Enrolled in a special advanced study program with former Morganville native Professor Irene Anderson, Claire is able to work on her machine, designed to cancel the mental abilities of vampires. But when she begins testing her machine on live subjects, things quickly spiral out of control, and Claire begins to wonder if leaving Morganville will be the last mistake she’ll ever make…
I don’t usually include the publisher’s summary, but since this is the 14th book in the Morganville Vampires series I’m scared to attempt to summarize on my own!
We’ve reached the penultimate installment of the MV series and I still feel giddy when I get a new book in my hands. I don’t even read a lot of paranormal anymore, but I’m so attached to these characters I can’t stop reading. This is rare nowadays, and I commend Rachel Caine for keeping this series fresh.
This installment is a little different in that it takes place outside of Morganville as Claire ventures off to MIT. Claire wasn’t sure what to think of that, and neither was I. I was unsettled and felt like the new locale was a dangerous unknown entity. I missed the group dynamic but agree it had to happen. There are all these sketchy new characters around and Claire doesn’t have the backup she usually does. It’s a good chance for her to show what she’s made of though, and maybe even appreciate what she left behind in Morganville.
Claire and Shane have alternating POV in this installment. Their relationship was a little rocky in the last book so it’s interesting to see where their heads are. And of course, they each have lots of excitement going on around them and the alternating perspective provides some additional insight. Not to fret though, many of the series regulars appear in this book, along with some new blood. And, some of the old favorites appear in a whole new light, which is pretty exciting. It’s a little ominous that some of the characters from Morganville are not heard from in this book though, and they were missed.
I read this book during the 24-hour readathon. Series books are great for read-a-thons, especially action packed ones like these. It’s easy to settle in with favorite characters and let the pages fly. If you haven’t started this series yet, and you’re intimidated by the fact that there’s 14 books to catch up on, don’t be. These books are addictive and very fast reads. Each book usually ends on a big cliffhanger, so you’ll just want to binge on the whole series at once. And the last book of the series is out in the fall, so it’s a perfect time to give them a go.
Rachel Caine does a great job with character development and introducing new conflicts. As always, she surprises with another game changing ending to set up this falls series finale, Daylighters. I can’t imagine how Caine will resolve this newest wrinkle, but I have faith the series will go out with a bang.
Look for Fall of Night in stores on May 7, followed by Daylighters Nov. 5.
Welcome to my stop on the Blood Awakening blog tour, book two of the Blood Prophecy trilogy. The tour is winding down, but I have an exciting excerpt to share and also it’s your last chance to enter an awesome giveaway.
About Blood Awakening:
Ava’s life went from bad to worse the night Chance became a vampire.
He won’t have anything to do with her. Ava understands why—because he blames her—but it doesn’t mean she likes it.
And it doesn’t help that she’s starting to feel something for Erik, the boy who once wanted her dead. Especially when Chance decides that he does still love her, and wants her to be with him for eternity.
Now she has a choice: Humanity…or forever as a vampire with Chance.
But Ava wants nothing more than to be human again. At least, she thought that was all she wanted.
Thankfully her best friend Kayla has a plan to distract Ava from her boy troubles, and they go in search of Kayla’s missing dad. A great idea, but one that brings Sebastian back into Ava’s life. Along with another, more sinister former member of his coven.
Sebastian and Zyris face off against Ava and her friends, resulting in Ava making yet another choice that changes the course of everyone’s lives, and leaves her wondering if being human again is really worth losing everything.
Blood Awakening is on sale April 23 and is available for preorder now at Amazon & Barnes & Noble, and you can add it to your Goodreads shelf. For a special treat, Jamie Manning is sharing a sample from the book for you today.
BLOOD AWAKENING—Exclusive Sneak Peek!
Here’s a scene between Ava and Erik that was really fun to write—hope you enjoy!
Being in a new city, and being a blood-sucking monster (okay half, but still), I was nervous about being surrounded by so many people. Sure, back in Wellesley there were people—and at times those people were plenty—but a city like Boston was teeming with them. I was unsure how all the scents would affect my bloodlust, how well I would handle the constant craving that always seemed to lurk just beneath the surface. Unfortunately we hit the city kind of late, the evening sun sinking below the horizon and casting an eerie glow across the towering skyscrapers of downtown Boston, so the abundance of fresh veins was at its peak. I did my best to ignore the heady mixtures of blood and sweat and fear and confidence that bombarded my senses even through the walls of the car, focusing instead on Kayla and her dad and doing my best to reunite them. I managed to keep most of the aromas at bay, but did catch the scents of several really cute college-aged guys loitering on the sidewalk in front of a bar as we passed by. I quickly held my breath until we cleared them. Once we were safely in the hotel room and away from the throng of people, I was finally able to relax.
“I’m exhausted,” Kayla said, plopping face-first onto one of two beds—the one she and I would have to share. Erik claimed the other one, gently placing his suitcase on the bright orange bedding and unzipping it. I watched quietly from the chair in the corner as Kayla fell right to sleep and Erik hung clothes on the rack by the sink in the back of the room. I was so thankful that these two people were in my life, that they had been willing to die for me just a few weeks ago. The feeling was overwhelming. So much so, that I suddenly felt claustrophobic.
“I need some air,” I said, standing from the chair and opening the door. The cold northern wind instantly filled my nostrils and helped clear my head. I quietly closed the door behind me so as not to wake Kayla, and leaned over the dark green railing of the balcony. Even though the hotel wasn’t what you would consider five-star, it was rather nice: Very clean exterior and interior, and the view of downtown Boston was beautiful—especially at night. The skyscrapers broke through the darkness with their illuminated squares, housing businesspeople and cleaning crews and homes full of loving families and sophisticated urbanites. The tallest one—impressive even from this distance—cleared the others by a long shot. Kayla had told me the name, but having Swiss cheese for a memory bank, I’d lost it. Either way, I was taken aback by the scale of the city, impressed with the beauty and tranquility of it all. I must have gotten fixated on the calming peacefulness I was feeling, because Erik managed to sneak up on me for the second time, going a step further by placing his hand in the small of my back.
“Stop doing that!” I said, a bit too loudly as I spun around to face him. That wicked little grin was plastered on his face again, and all I could think about was knocking it off…or biting his bottom lip. Geez.
“You like it,” he threw back, flirting. He clearly knew how he got to me, and he exploited that every chance he could. It infuriated me that he seemed so unaffected by the events that had led us to this place in our lives, while I was a stumbling ball of nerves and emotion, always on the verge of breaking down. It also infuriated me that he was able to crawl beneath my skin like no one else—not even Chance. But at the same time, that was one of the things I liked most about him.
“What are you doing out here?”
“I wanted some air, too.”
“Well, go get some air down there,” I said, pointing to the farthest end of the landing. Erik peeked over his shoulder before looking back at me and laughing.
“Why do I make you so uncomfortable, Ava?”
“I don’t know.” The words came out before I knew it. I had fully intended on lying through my teeth and telling him he didn’t make me uncomfortable, not in the least. Now the truth was out there, hanging in the air between us like the thick fog rolling across the city.
“So I do make you nervous. Interesting.” He took a couple of steps toward me. I should have backed away, I knew it; but I couldn’t. Something unseen was holding my legs in place. I was positive it was fear. Or nerves. Or want. Ugh. I could only stare as his flawless face inched closer, the glow of the moon illuminating his features, making him appear more godlike than human. “I think I know why I bother you so much.”
I fought to not look away, to hold my ground with him. “Do you?” I asked, praying only I could hear the squeak in my voice.
“I do.” His eyes never left mine.
“Enlighten me.” I was being snarky, hoping that somehow my cold tone would push him away—at least far enough away that I couldn’t see the delicious-looking vein throbbing down the side of his neck.
“Because you like me,” he said, leaning in so close I could hear his heart beating through his chest. “Don’t you?” I so wanted to tell him yes, to get it out in the open so I wouldn’t have to fight so hard to hide it anymore. But I couldn’t give in to temptation. I had to remain strong for Chance—the one guy in the world I loved more than anything. The same guy who couldn’t care less if I was alive or dead.
“Don’t be so sure of yourself.” I took the plunge and put my hand on the exposed skin of his chest nestled in the V of his black T-shirt. (When did he lose the button-down? Not that I was complaining.) Heat thrummed through my hand, tinged with a pulse of energy. I fought the urge to wrap my other arm around his neck and draw him closer, instead pushing firmly on his chest. He backed away, smiling.
“Okay, okay. I get it.” He kept smiling as he spoke, somehow making him even more sinfully irresistible.
“No, you don’t.”
“You’re in love with Chance.” I could hear pain behind his words. I looked away from him, afraid of the truth in my eyes. Of course I was in love with Chance. I always would be.
“And you hate vampires.” I stared at the glow of the city, praying for a tornado or aliens to come sweep me away from this awkward-yet-wanted moment.
“I don’t hate you.” I looked at him again. The crystal-clear blue of his eyes bore into me. “No way I could.”
“But you don’t love me, either.” I wished he would turn and walk away, leave me to be embarrassed in private. “You barely know me.”
“I know I like being around you. I know I don’t want to be away from you.” Two tiny steps, and the space between us was filled with his overbearing magnetism. “And I know you feel the same.” He dropped his fingers onto my wrist, slowly dragging them up my arm, leaving a trail of heat in their wake. I opened my mouth to speak—to tell him to either a) back off, or b) keep going. “Don’t waste your breath,” he interjected. “I know you love him, not me.”
“Then you know why you have to stop this.” And he did. I didn’t look at him as I spoke; I couldn’t. My mind was too focused on the skin his fingers had just caressed, the fire his touch created. I wanted them back, desperately. “And besides, I thought you couldn’t stand me?” I again focused on the twinkling lights of the city, my heart beating so loudly it was nearly drowning out the beat of his. Erik moved slowly, turning his back to the railing and leaning against it. His muscular arm was inches from me, his skin prickling with goose bumps from the brisk night air—I hoped. He didn’t say anything at first, just stood there staring at the wall of the hotel behind us. I didn’t speak, either. I knew my words affected him, I could see it. He was silent because he wanted more from me. I was silent because I think I did, too. So the two of us just stood there, quiet and motionless, together but alone.
“Things change,” he finally said, the decibel of his voice piercing the silence; I actually jumped at the sound. I turned to look at him, but his eyes remained fixed on the wall. What did that mean? Did that mean that now he did like me? That me being half vampire didn’t matter anymore? Or did he mean that I should give in to the inevitable change happening right in front of me and just kiss him or something? My mind pulsed painfully with questions.
“I’m going to bed,” I said softly, pressing my fingers into my pounding temples. I looked at Erik again, but he didn’t look back—didn’t even acknowledge I was there—as I brushed past him and walked to the door of our room.
“One more thing,” he said after my back was to him. I stopped but didn’t turn around, fearful that if I did, I might just give in to the overpowering feeling in the pit of my stomach.
“What?” I heard rustling and felt him ease in behind me, his large hand once again resting on the exposed skin of my arm. He leaned down, putting his mouth next to my ear, his breath warm and inviting on my neck, the scent of his blood seizure-inducing.
“You didn’t say no to my question.” A tiny laugh escaped his throat as his hand left my arm, slid along my side (more sweet fire trails) and opened the door. I was frozen, totally unable to move or speak, as he sidestepped around me and went inside.
He was right, I didn’t say no.
And I had no idea why.
Thanks to author Jamie Manning for sharing that tantalizing scene! I hope that piqued your interest in the Blood Prophecy series.
Be sure to try your luck and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here for your chance to win all kinds of cool stuff like a $50 bookstore gift card, signed copies of the Blood Prophecy books, swag and more.
Book: What Really Happened in Peru (The Bane Chronicles #1) by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan, Simon & Schuster Audio, April 16, 2013
Audiobook Info: YA Fantasy novella, Received for review from Simon & Schuster Audio, Audio length: 1 hours 13 minutes, read by Jesse Williams
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars
The Bane Chronicles is a new novella Shadowhunter world spinoff series from Cassandra Clare and co-authors Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson. The first of 10 short stories about my favorite warlock Magnus Bane kicks off with What Really Happened in Peru.
Magnus Bane is such a scene-stealer in all the Shadowhunter books that it’s nice to see him in the spotlight for a change. These bite size standalone stories fill in some of the blanks in Bane’s extensive backstory and help tide us over until the next Shadowhunter book.
This installment teasingly tries to answer the question posed in the title with comedic, sorrowful and insightful anecdotes. It’s a good bonus addition to the Shadowhunters legend and a must for those who can’t get enough of Magnus.
Super fans of The Mortal Instruments series know that Magnus Bane was banished from Peru. I didn’t remember that tidbit, but after doing some digging I think it’s mentioned in City of Fallen Angels? In What Really Happened in Peru, Magnus visits Peru with his warlock cohorts Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss. Magnus gets involved in several antics there, but which was the final straw? (Seriously, which was it?)
This quick read answers some questions about the mysterious Magnus while also providing the silliness you might expect. There are exotic animals, bad dancing, drunken exploits and stolen kisses. With Magnus’ immortal status he has had his share of heartbreak though, some of which we learn about. The story jumps around in time and gets a little confusing at times, but I guess it’s to illustrate all the exploits Magnus gets involved in over the years.
Jesse Williams narrates What Really Happened in Peru. This is his first time narrating an audiobook- he is best known as Dr. Jackson Avery on Grey’s Anatomy, of which I’m a fan. Williams has good comedic timing for Magnus, something we don’t get to see a lot of on Grey’s. I think Williams understood the character of Magnus and had fun with it. There are a lot of different characters, accents, and time frames in this installment, so Williams gets to get creative with the narration. I preferred his male voices overall, but I liked that he’s animated and really got into the story. At just over an hour, I’m pretty sure this is the shortest audiobook I’ve ever listened to, but I do think Clare’s books lend themselves well to audio.
The next book in the series is The Runaway Queen, co-written by Maureen Johnson, due out May 21. It’s set during the French Revolution, when Magnus tries to rescue the royal family.
Check out an interview with Jesse Williams discussing the audiobook at MTV and listen to an audio sample below:
Book: The Collector by Victoria Scott, Entangled Teen, On Sale Now
Book Info: YA Paranormal, Review copy courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley, Paperback 352 pages
I was intrigued to check out The Collector by Victoria Scott – I feel like I’ve been hearing about this Dante Walker character for months. Even though paranormal isn’t my go-to genre these days, I like to shake things up now and then from my usual contemporary. Besides, The Collector was generating a lot of buzz so I had to give it a shot. For the most part, The Collector is a fun read & I like the male POV. It’s not a book that totally consumed me, but it’s enjoyable and I’m curious enough to want to continue on with the trilogy.
Dante Walker is a soul collector, who works for the Boss Man corrupting and tagging vulnerable beings. His confidence, swagger, and good looks make him irresistible and quite successful as a collector. So when Boss Man gives him the assignment to retrieve good girl Charlie’s soul as a ticket out of Hell, he knows he’s got it in the bag. But Charlie’s innocence and all-around goodness sparks some humanity and for the first time he’s struggling to stay on the dark path.
I found it refreshing that this book is in the bad boy Dante’s POV. He’s got a lot of personality and unashamed bravado. He comes off as a jerk so that the only way he can go is up. He’s quite a character, but I liked him in spite of his conceit. I was glad that the book was not dual POV- it’s a nice change of pace to have a male POV book.
Dante’s counterpoint Charlie is as sweet and good as they come, so she’s quite the challenge for Dante. I liked Charlie, and her awkwardness and innocence. She has a nice supportive group of friends too, even though she’s not in the popular crowd. Charlie isn’t as well rounded a character as Dante but there’s a lot to like about her. It made sense that Charlie would fall for Dante in a superficial way, but she also sees something good in him that he doesn’t see in himself. I liked seeing Dante’s character evolve through Charlie’s influence.
The good and evil story is appealing, and with Dante under a deadline to capture Charlie’s soul, there is lots of action. It’s light, fun, and witty, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. I wasn’t thinking about it all the time when I wasn’t reading it, but I did find it amusing and Dante’s voice especially is a standout. And there’s not too long to wait for the sequel – The Liberator is due out August 27th.
Book: Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare, Simon & Schuster Audio, March 19, 2013
Audiobook Info: YA Fantasy, Received for review from Simon & Schuster Audio, Audio length: 16 hours 24 minutes, read by Daniel Sharman.
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
Writing about the end of a trilogy is always hard but this one seems especially daunting. Every adjective I want to use to express my feelings about Clockwork Princess I worry will come across as a spoiler. I’m a fan of the Mortal Instruments series and I must admit it took me a little while to warm up to this prequel series. I wasn’t receptive to the new characters and setting at first. But in the end the Infernal Devices series won my heart, and with the satisfying conclusion I may even prefer it to the original.
In Clockwork Princess the tension with the relationships, love triangle, and battle with the villain Mortmain comes to a head. The love triangle was particularly gut wrenching in Clockwork Prince so I didn’t know how much more I could stand! The journey in this book is surprising, passionate, and fulfilling, and the epilogue gave me chills. There’s not much more I could ask for in a series conclusion. I think the ending was perfect and very much in keeping with the tone of the series.
I’ve “read” this series exclusively via audiobook. In an unusual move, a different narrator reads each book of the trilogy. Clockwork Prince is the only book with dual narration, and I liked it, but I think my favorite is Daniel Sharman’s Clockwork Princess reading.
It’s funny because I was listening to the audiobook and liking it, but thinking it was moving a little slow at the beginning. But then I’d look down and see I was already at disc 6, at the halfway point. I savored every moment but had an uneasy feeling throughout, anticipating the inevitable heartbreak. I do think this series is ideally suited to audio format, and each of the narrators does bring the flavor of Victorian London to life.
This is the first book of the trilogy without a female narrator. Daniel Sharman has the task of conveying the voice of Tessa, as well as the other standout female characters. Plus he has to speak Mandarin and Welsh and use an American accent. I think he does an outstanding job with his accents, and with Will, Jem and the other male characters especially. The female characters also sound believable, such as Cecily, Charlotte and Sophie. The best complement I could give Sharman is at the end I didn’t notice the narration at all because I was so engrossed in the story.
I’m really pleased with the conclusion of this trilogy and I’ll miss these characters, so it’s a bittersweet ending for me. I’m looking forward to the City of Bones movie, and The Dark Artifices series to come. Kudos to Cassandra Clare on this amazing series!
If you want to check out Clockwork Princess on audio, be sure to enter my giveaway. It’s ending this weekend!
Have you read Clockwork Princess? What did you think of the conclusion?
Check out an interview with Cassandra Clare & Daniel Sharman discussing the audiobook below:
Book: What the Spell by Brittany Geragotelis, Simon & Schuster Audio, Jan. 29, 2013
Book Info: YA Paranormal, Audiobook received for review from Simon & Schuster Audio. Running time: 9 hrs, 41 mins. Read by: Joy Osmanski. Also available in HC, 288 pages from Simon & Schuster.
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars
What the Spell is the first book in the Life’s a Witch series about a sixteen-year-old witch just coming into her powers. The series started out as a big success on Wattpad, and now Simon & Schuster is bringing it to the masses.
Teen witch Brooklyn has always been a social outcast but now that her magical powers are “unbound” she decides to give herself a total makeover. Maybe now the Elite will notice her and she’ll get the attention she’s always wanted. But if her magical secret gets out it could spell danger for her loved ones. What the Spell puts a Pretty Little Liars spin on the Salem Witch Trials and is a cautionary tale about the perils of popularity.
I had heard that this series is a modern-day look at the Salem Witch trials, and the dangers of getting caught using magic. Brooklyn’s parents for instance are very low-key with their magic for fear of exposure. But it wasn’t as much of a witch-hunt so to speak, though there are hints that there is trouble ahead. The life of a teen witch (twitch) is all cute love spells and tricks and Brooklyn takes full advantage of her talents to climb up the social ladder.
The idea of being true to yourself, and not compromising your beliefs for popularity, is a good one. At one time or another everyone wishes they could be popular, or even just to fit in, so Brooklyn’s story is relatable to a certain extent. But I couldn’t feel much sympathy for her due to her consistently bad choices and lack of character growth. Her boyfriend Asher is also a witch, and his family uses magic but doesn’t let it get out of hand. Maybe Brooklyn wouldn’t have been so out of control if she didn’t have to wait sixteen years to flex her magic muscles. One character highlight is Asher’s sensible, bookish little sister Abby, and hopefully she’ll have a bigger part later in the series.
I listened to the audiobook of What the Spell, read by Joy Osmanski. She’s a good fit for the book, and gets into Brooklyn’s head very well. It was easy to differentiate the different characters, from the snobby Elite members to parents and teachers. The voices are not overdone, but have enough character to keep things interesting. The audiobook was entertaining, and I might have skimmed through the book if I was reading it on its own.
I think this series will appeal to fans of series like Pretty Little Liars. It’s paranormal light and heavy on the social drama. The character’s are not very likable but the message deep down is a good one. The next book actually centers on a new character, so I’m kind of curious to see how it plays out. What the Spell is available now, and the sequel, Life’s a Witch, is out in July.