Category Archives: Vampires
Book: Daylighters (The Morganville Vampires Book #15) by Rachel Caine, NAL review copy via Netgalley, HC 368 pages, on sale now
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
While Morganville, Texas, is often a troubled town, Claire Danvers and her friends are looking forward to coming home. But the Morganville they return to isn’t the one they know; it’s become a different place—a deadly one…
Something drastic has happened in Morganville while Claire and her friends were away. The town looks cleaner and happier than they’ve ever seen it before, but when their incoming group is arrested and separated—vampires from humans—they realize that the changes definitely aren’t for the better.
It seems that an organization called the Daylight Foundation has offered the population of Morganville something they’ve never had: hope of a vampire-free future. And while it sounds like salvation—even for the vampires themselves—the truth is far more sinister and deadly.
Now, Claire, Shane and Eve need to find a way to break their friends out of Daylighter custody, before the vampires of Morganville meet their untimely end…
It’s finally time to say farewell to the Morganville Vampires series. After 15 books the series never wore out it’s welcome and I’m glad to see Rachel Caine’s vampire series go out on a high note. I’ve enjoyed all the adventures in Morganville and I’m glad the books are around if I ever want to return to Morganville. The final book is a satisfying conclusion – I don’t feel short changed at all. The finale felt true to the series, we get some closure and feel good about where we are leaving the gang.
Brief synopsis of the series: In the town of Morganville, Texas, humans and vampires co-exist, and once you’re in you can’t get out. We follow a core group of four, Morganville’s own Scooby gang, as they navigate the dangers of the town. Claire is one of the liaisons between the vampires and humans, and has allied herself with the mad genius vampire Myrnin, and the vampire high queen Amelie. Her boyfriend is Shane, and they live with another couple, Michael and Eve, in the Glass House, a house with some unique powers. And basically they are just trying to stay alive in this scary town they find themselves in. There are some interesting side characters that pop up throughout the series, plenty of action and surprises, and a little bit of romance.
In the last few books we’ve started to see a power struggle in Morganville, with the vampires beginning to lose control, and that all comes to a head in the finale. Would Morganville be better off without the vampires, or is there something even more dangerous coming to replace them?
The characters give this series heart, and I like that so many favorite characters show up in the final installment. I was even happy to see mean girl Monica Morrell! My favorite scenes, as always, are the ones with the bi-polar Myrnin and smart and sensible Claire. I’ve loved their friendship, and Myrnin’s zany ways.
In this final installment, there’s trouble for everyone, not just the vampires, and all the twists and turns kept me turning pages late in the night. I like that Caine always goes someplace unexpected, and it’s hard to surprise after 15 books. There is danger and new threats to the all the characters we know and love. Since it’s the finale, I was on edge waiting to see who would make it out alive/undead.
There’s not much more I can say about the plot without getting into spoilers. If you haven’t visited Morganville yet, you have 15 awesome books waiting for you. I think they are appropriate for any age, and whether you like vampires or not. These books are fun and fast-paced with characters to love and love-to-hate.
I’ll miss all the fun with the gang from Morganville, and I’m sure I’ll read through the books again sometime. I have my Common Grounds coffee mug and vampire bunny slippers as fun reminders for now. Plus, there’s the web series to look forward to, and Caine’s new book Prince of Shadows.
Did Halloween get you in the mood for some spooky reading? The Farm series is about the vampire apocalypse and is one you’ll want to read with the lights on. The Lair is book two in the series and provides more scares, non-stop action, and twists. There’s spoilers for book one The Farm below, so if you haven’t read that book may want to read my review of The Farm instead.
About The Lair:
In the battle against the vampiric Ticks, humanity was slowly but certainly headed for extinction. For months, twin sisters Lily and Mel had been “quarantined” with thousands of other young people being harvested for their blood—food for the Ticks. Finally escaping with a few friends, the twins are separated—and must continue the fight on their own . . .
After making it to a resistance base camp in Utah, Lily learned to survive at all costs. But when a Tick attack decimates the fighters, Lily and her pregnant friend, McKenna, decide to make the hard trek north to Canada—and safety.
Meanwhile, Mel is being taught how to survive by the very vampire that turned her. Living without her sister is hard, but dealing with the fact that her autism was cured by the vampire bite is an even bigger challenge.
But when a monstrous betrayal places Lily in mortal danger, Mel must set out to find her, save her, and begin to unravel the empire of destruction that the Ticks have built.
Emily McKay’s The Farm series is a gritty and intense look at the world after monster vampires (Ticks) take over. The human rebellion is struggling to survive the Ticks, but they are clearly outnumbered. In The Lair the stakes are higher, the sisters Lily and Mel are on different paths, and you can’t trust anyone.
It had been a while since I read the first book, The Farm, but I quickly got up to speed. This book has alternating pov with Lily, Mel, and Carter. There is so much going on in the book, and the characters are split in different locations, so the multi pov definitely helps put things in perspective.
Lily’s sister Mel was one of my favorite characters in The Farm, and she is like a different character in The Lair. In The Farm, autistic Mel spoke in nursery rhyme and her chapters were kind of out there. I wanted to see more from her in the sequel, and we definitely get more, but it’s a different “cured” Mel since her transformation. (I kind of miss old Mel!) Lily has always protected Mel and now they get a little role reversal.
As the leader of the human rebellion, Lily’s boyfriend Carter has a lot on his plate. Lily is smart and tough and wants to be in on the action, but when Lily’s in trouble, Carter can’t focus on anything but her. Carter respects Lily’s strength and skills but can’t help but want to protect her, and that’s something they need to work through.
McKay writes an exciting sequel that doesn’t have middle book syndrome. There’s plenty of action and horror that kept my attention late into the night. The story is balanced with some lighter moments and popular culture nods too, like comparing the head of the vampires to a member of One Direction. McKay puts some surprising twists into The Lair, and with things left unresolved, I hope there’s a date for the sequel soon.
If you liked The Farm, you won’t want to miss The Lair, a sequel that I think outshines the first book.
Go to the official Escape the Farm website for behind the scenes info.
Book: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, Hachette Audio, September 3, 2013
Book Info: YA Paranormal, Audiobook received for review from Hachette Audio. Running time: 12 hrs, 6 mins. Read by: Christine Lakin. Also available in hardcover, 432 pages from Little, Brown.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars
Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from best-selling and acclaimed author Holly Black.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is my first Holly Black book, and even though I don’t read a lot of vampire books anymore, I always hope to find one that makes me fall in love with them again. I liked Anne Rice books back in the day, and I read Holly Black is a fan of the Vampire Chronicles too. Black has written a rich vampire story you can sink your teeth into, so to speak. It’s dark and scary and puts you on edge; set in a world that fears yet glamorizes the Cold Ones.
The book starts off with a bang as the main character Tana wakes up after a party and finds almost all the partygoers dead. The two survivors are her ex-boyfriend Aiden, now infected by the vampire virus, and the chained, mysterious vampire Gavriel. The trio sets off to Coldtown, the safe place to go when you’re infected, even though you might not ever get out. Once you’re bitten, you can halt the virus if you don’t bite another human for 80 days, a challenge for these bloodthirsty “newborns”!
Tana has a personal family history with vampires, and teaming up with Gavriel and Aiden is a huge risk. I connected with Tana and found her to be an awesome heroine. She fights her own battles, taking on a vampire or two, and is a devoted friend. And I did ship her with Gavriel- loved their chemistry.
Gavriel is a live wire, and reminded me a little of The Morganville Vampires Myrnin. He’s of course beautiful and sexy, though a dangerous and vicious creature. We get to know his back-story through flashbacks, and why he is the way he is. There are some romantic moments in their way, but this isn’t that sort of vampire book.
I liked the colorful characters in this book, the humans and the vampires, though Tana and Gavriel were by far my favorites. Sometimes I got a little lost in the details of the story- there’s a lot going on to keep track of. I did like the language Black uses and though I listened to the audiobook, I wouldn’t have minded reading her words in print as well. I appreciate that she sets out to tell a darker vampire story with more gore and less romance. Some of my favorite details were the beginning of chapter quotes about death.
I listened to the audiobook, read by Christine Lakin. I had heard a sample of her narration before the book came out and knew I wanted to experience the audiobook. I believe this is Lakin’s first audiobook, and she really sells the story and takes you to Coldtown. I liked the tone of her voice for the book, and she sounds age and character appropriate. Pacing, voices, emotion all come together perfectly for Lakin as though she was an audiobook veteran. Another thing that’s cool about this audiobook is the use of scary music to set the mood- it made me jump at times! I highly recommend the audiobook for an even more chilling book experience.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is good and scary to kick off fall reading. Though I prefer realistic fiction to paranormal, this was a nice change of pace. I’m even more interested in diving into Black’s back catalog with the Curse Workers series.
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.
I’m thrilled to share a little about The Farm, Emily McKay’s post-apocalyptic vampire novel, on my stop on the Escape is Only the Beginning blog tour. It’s been ages since I’ve read about the dark and scary type of vampires but I figured I better brush up on my end of the world prep and this is as good a place to start as any! I have a review, exclusive Q&A, and a zombie apocalypse survival kit giveaway opportunity to help you in these dark times as well!
About The Farm:
Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…
And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.
Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…
Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race…
I was a little apprehensive to pick up The Farm. The vampire apocalypse is a little out of my comfort zone, but sometimes it’s fun to be scared and try something new. The Farm is also about the bond between sisters and features multiple POV, so that’s a plus in my book. The book starts off with a bang and the tension doesn’t let up throughout. McKay sets up the story well and slowly feeds information about the post-apocalyptic world and it’s inhabitants. There are lots of secrets and surprises in store.
Lily and her autistic younger sister Mel are twins and take turns with the narration, along with Lily’s crush from “before”, Carter. Lily’s POV is the dominant one, and is interspersed with short chapters from Mel and Carter. Mel likes to speak in nursery rhyme, and music, rhythm and tempo are very important to her making sense of the world. Her chapters are a trip and I liked getting inside her mind. Lily is very protective of Mel, especially since they are the only family they have left. The book is very strong on characterization and that made me feel more of a connection to them.
Lily wants to escape the farm with Mel before their 18th birthday. When you turn 18, you are supposed to be set free, but Lily suspects they really will be Tick food instead. Lily has an escape plan all worked out, but with Carter’s arrival the plans evolve into something bigger.
On the journey there’s romance, reveals, shocks and gore. There are some very clever twists in the book too that make me relieved there is a sequel. The pacing is great and I was entertained throughout. I liked the pop culture references in the dialogue poking fun of Twilight vampires and Vampire Diaries as well. I was pleasantly surprised with The Farm, and the strong characterization and fresh take on vampires won me over.
Go to the official Escape the Farm website for behind the scenes info & to earn points to win cool prizes.
Exclusive Q&A with Emily McKay!
Is Carter based on anyone in your life, or are his characteristics designed exclusively for the purposes of the book?
Emily McKay: Carter is based on my vision of the many good men I’ve known in my life. I truly believe that they all have the ability to do amazing, protective, wonderful things to save the world, only they don’t have the opportunity (because mutated humans that drink blood haven’t attacked civilization as we know it). Carter has that opportunity and he totally steps up and saves Lily and the world as she knows it (with a little help from her, of course).
Check out the next stop on the tour Dec. 10 for more exclusive content @ Young Adult Book Reviews.
Congrats to Sunny who won a copy of The Farm and a zombie apocalypse survival kit!
Format/pages/source: Hardcover, 404 pages, received from the publisher
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
We’ve come to lucky #13 with Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series. I feel like with each new book I’m bracing myself for the inevitable heartache and game changers that face Claire and her friends. And this installment is no different – the whole book has an ominous feeling to it. The scene in Morganville is even more unsettled than usual and felt more than ever like no one was safe. And now with only two more books to go Caine is going all out with the shocks.
In Bitter Blood, the vampires are now more bold and fearless than ever, and not willing to cut the humans any breaks. Eve and Michael’s relationship is causing all kinds of trouble for the residents of the Glass House. And Morganville is getting in on the election year fun by holding mayoral elections of their own. And besides all that a TV ghost hunting crew is in town looking for material – uh, they will probably get more than they bargained for.
The book is written in multiple POV again, with Claire’s POV covering the lion’s share of the book. And this is the first time that everyone’s favorite mad genius, Myrnin, gets to narrate. He shares tidbits of his past too so it’s quite a treat. Amelie, Oliver, Shane, and Michael also share their perspectives. Since this is such a long-running series it’s fun to have a narration change of pace and learn more about different characters.
It’s always a pleasure returning back to Morganville, like visiting old friends. The first half of the book had me tied up in knots waiting for something to happen. I liked catching up with all the characters but must admit the book wasn’t capturing my full attention at first. It was like the calm before the storm I guess. But then things got good and I couldn’t put it down. Caine was really playing games with my heart with these romantic entanglements too! She has me questioning my alliances at this point.
Claire has shown tremendous growth throughout the series, and I was proud of the way she took charge and handled some of the challenges in this book. She’d be my mayoral candidate for sure, though I don’t know why anyone would want that job.
As always, the book ends with a big twist- and I can’t imagine what the next book will look like but I have faith that Caine will work her magic with it. The penultimate installment, Fall of Night, will be out May 7th. I already miss this series.
Format/pages/source: Hardcover, 367 pages, received from the publisher
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Here we are back for another installment of the YA Morganville Vampires series. This latest is book 12 of a planned 15 book series that centers on Claire Danvers, a teen who attends college in Morganville, a Texas town where vampires and humans co-exist openly. Once you move to Morganville and find out their secret, good luck getting out. Rachel Caine sure knows how to feed my addiction to this series by releasing new books twice a year. Life is never dull in Morganville and each book introduces a new challenge for the gang. I miss the series already, even though there are still three books left to go. The latest book is still keeping me guessing on what the end game of the series will be as circumstances in Morganville become more and more dire.
In the 12th Morganville Vampires book Black Dawn, the action picks up right after Last Breath took off. In fact, many of the same problems exist from that book so this is more of a continuation of that story. The icky mysterious draug creatures are still creating havoc in Morganville and have the vampires running scared. The draug hide out wherever the water is and feed off of any available vampire or human they can find. They are fiendish creatures that can multiply in water – they made me recall the monsters of Gremlins or CHUD. They have a deadly leader too named Magnus but he doesn’t have a stripe like in Gremlins, in fact it’s almost impossible to tell him apart. Time is running out to destroy them before they take over completely. And with Founder Amelie infected, wannabe vampire leaders come out of the woodwork to try and take over. Claire, Shane, Michael and Eve have their work cut out for them once again.
The book again continues the recent trend of multiple POV, with Claire, Shane, Michael, Eve, and Oliver taking turns with the narration. And Shane in particular takes the reader on quite a journey with one of his chapters that had me holding my breath. I like following different characters around, and learning their secrets and thoughts about the craziness of Morganville. So I’m glad that the multiple POV has become a regular thing now.
This book is moody, dark and intense and has a bigger sense of hopelessness than other installments. With Morganville under attack basically it felt like anything could happen. The stress and tension of the crisis brings out some interesting reactions from the characters.
One thing that sets the vampires of Morganville apart is that they are so unpredictable, and for the most part very dangerous. And with Morganville in flux, the relationship between vampires and humans is extremely fragile. That relationship continues to intrigue me and I’m so curious to see where it’s all heading.
In Black Dawn important events occur that set the stage for the next book in the series. Emotions run high and glimpses inside the minds of different characters show how much they care about one another. This installment was a little uneven for me though, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. I think I was ready to move on from the draug story, or maybe they just creep me out. Regardless, this book ends on such an ominous tone that has me concerned for the fate of my favorite characters. I look forward to visiting Morganville again soon to see how Claire and the gang are managing to survive in the next book, Bitter Blood.
Here is the Black Dawn book trailer that is sure to worry Shane fans:
I’m thrilled to be part of the Blood Born blog tour, hosted by Once Upon a Twilight. Today I will share my review of Blood Born, Jamie Manning’s paranormal debut. You also can enter for your chance to win an eBook of Blood Born and some exclusive swag.
Blood Born Summary from Goodreads:
Waking up in a coffin hungry for blood is only the beginning for sixteen-year-old Ava Blue. When Chance Caldon, the hottie who dug her up, tells her that she’s half vampire, Ava’s world really turns upside down.
Half vamp? Ava can’t believe it… she doesn’t even know what that means! Not until Aldric, a thousand-year-old vampire, shows up and tells her it’s true–and that he’s the one who turned her. Then Ava truly begins to believe what she is. Now she has to deal with a sudden and powerful bloodlust, the desire to see Aldric dead, and her growing crush for Chance. Ava knows she’s a monster now, she can feel it; and her life is over.
But redemption isn’t lost. Aldric is giving her a chance to regain her humanity. The price? Kill a hundred vampires, or remain a bloodsucker forever.
So Ava sets out to get her life back. But killing vampires begins a battle that could destroy everything she is working toward. In the end, Ava’s decisions will forever change her life and the lives of those she loves.
I daresay vampires are back, though did they ever really go away? I for one am glad to see more vampire books popping up again, especially with the scary blood-thirsty kind of vampires found in Jamie Manning’s Blood Born. Blood Born is the first book in the Blood Prophecy Trilogy and is about a girl named Ava who wakes up in a coffin underground to find she’s been reborn a vampire. Good thing she has Chance, the boy who dug her out of the grave, to help her. But a new vampire is not the safest person to be around if you know what I mean. All Ava has to do to get out of her dire predicament is kill 100 vampires and she’ll be human again. Part Vampire Diaries and Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Blood Born is scary and fun.
There’s a lot of mystery and secrets surrounding Ava’s new vampire existence. She has no memory about her past life at all. Since this is the first book in a series, there are hints about Ava and the other vampire players to whet your appetite, but we are in the dark along with Ava for the most part. Ava seems like a normal high school student, but when the fangs come out—watch out. Ava has a great sense of humor though, and I was rooting for her to be strong and hold on to her humanity.
The romance is really well done, and Ava and Chance have a lot of potential. And it doesn’t seem like there’s a love triangle, so thank goodness for that. Chance is a great guy, but he has secrets of his own to keep things interesting. I am very curious to see where their relationship goes in the sequel.
Ava has her own Scooby gang of vampire hunters to help her in her quest. It is a different twist to have a vampire bond with vampire hunters but Ava can use all the help she can get. The fighting and action are exciting and Manning is fearless in putting his characters in danger. There is death and mayhem, and when it’s all over you will be craving the sequel like a newborn vampire craves blood.
Blood Born is witty, action packed, fun, surprising and romantic. And it’s not too scary to read only during during the day, though there is definitely some bloodshed. Recommended for YA paranormal romance fans, this is an enjoyable quick read sure to please those looking for a fresh vampire tale. Bring on the sequel.
Check out the Book Trailer:
GIVEAWAY has ended – Congrats to Amber who has won an ebook copy of BLOOD BORN & book swag!
Thanks again to Once Upon A Twilight for hosting the tour. Be sure to click here to see all the tour stop information and enter all the great giveaways. And, to be entered in the Grand Prize giveaway be sure to leave a comment at every stop.
Follow the next stop on the tour tomorrow at A Book Lover’s Review.
Audiobook Info: YA Fantasy, Library audiobook, Audio length: 14 hours 35 minutes, read by Jennifer Ehle.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars
I’m a big fan of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series but for some reason have been slow to pick up the prequel series The Infernal Devices. I tried reading Clockwork Angel when it was first released but didn’t really get into it at the time, and finally decided to try the audiobook. I think that was the right choice. Clockwork Angel made me feel at home with Clare’s writing style, the superb world building, familiar terminology and the paranormal world that makes up TMI. Like City of Bones, I felt the story was slow at first, though by the end I felt more invested in the characters and eager to continue on with the series. The audiobook did make the experience more enjoyable with Jennifer Ehle’s outstanding narration, though due to the length of the audiobook and slow pace it still took me over two weeks to get through it.
Clockwork Angel is set in Victorian London, 130 years prior to the world of The Mortal Instruments. Tessa Gray goes to London to find her brother and gets mixed up with the Downworlders (supernatural beings) and finds she has her own supernatural ability and can transform into other people at will. She’s taken in by the Shadowhunters (warriors who fight the Downworlders to protect the mundanes/humans) who offer to help her find her brother if she users her talent to help them.
The Victorian London setting makes a charming backdrop for the story, and Clare has done her research and provided a detailed look at the time frame. The manners, locations, horse drawn carriages, and wardrobes set the scene perfectly.
The story is told in third person narration mainly through Tessa’s perspective. Tessa is scared and dealing with a lot of change in her life. She’s still coming to terms with this new world and how she wants to use her talents. The other supernatural beings such as Magnus Bane and the other Shadowhunters such as Will and Jem bring more humor and energy to the story with their snark and banter. There is a villain who is after Tessa, and this is a mystery with many twists and turns throughout the book.
Jennifer Ehle narrates the audiobook and gives each character a distinct voice and accent. And there are a lot of characters so I was impressed that she could keep track of them all. It was like listening to a play, the way the characters came to life. Her Tessa voice sounds appropriately young, proper and cautious. Ehle’s other female voices are easy to distinguish from each other and the male voices also sound convincing. One minor quibble it is that the narration was a little too slow for my taste. If I were reading the actual book I would have gotten through it much faster. At some points I wished I were reading so I could skim through the slower parts, which is impossible in the audio format. Even still, I would not hesitate to pick up another Ehle narrated audiobook.
The ending of the book did make me interested to pick up Clockwork Prince, the next book in the series. Although so far I prefer The Mortal Instruments series, The Infernal Devices is a good companion series and has a lot of potential. The blog community seems to like Clockwork Prince even better than Clockwork Angel, so I’m ready to be blown away. I have the audiobook in hand, and am eager to see how the new narrators handle the material.
- Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (lifeofanldsotaku.wordpress.com)
- Cassandra Clare signs up for new LA fantasy series (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Book Review: The Clockwork Angel (theliteraryphoenix.wordpress.com)
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Format/pages: Audiobook 10 hrs. 46 mins. Read by Cynthia Holloway. Also available in Hardcover, 335 pages
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
More Reviews: Goodreads
I admit I was worried that this series had started to run out of steam after reading the tenth installment, Bite Club, but I’m happy to say that the latest Morganville book put my mind at ease. Last Breath offers lots of surprises, reveals, action and emotion that make it one of the most satisfying of the series so far. Literally no one is safe this time from Morganville’s latest threat where the twists just keep coming. I couldn’t have predicted any of the events that occurred this time around, and I love that Rachel Caine is taking so many exciting risks with her characters and providing such a juicy storyline this late in the series.
This time around in Morganville there’s a new threat that even has the vampires scared. Vampires are disappearing left and right and Amelie fears that the dreaded enemy that has hunted them for years has finally found them. It’s interesting to learn about this new threat and what makes it so powerful and lethal to everyone in Morganville. Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael are facing a huge challenge, and I was holding my breath to see how they would come out of it. Through multiple narrations of Claire, Michael, Eve, Shane and Amelie, we get more character reveals that give a new insight into our favorite Morganvillian’s. There is also plenty of Myrnin as well and he plays a key role in this book.
The characters go on quite a journey this time around. And the relationships they have built with each other and the other members of Morganville really make the events that occur that much more touching and meaningful. There is just the right amount of time spent with each character to move the story along and keep things interesting. The beginning of the book really threw me off track with how I expected the story to go, and the action just kept ramping up. There are plenty of emotional and romantic scenes though that balance out the drama and suspense. In fact, some of the biggest insights and vulnerabilities of the characters are revealed this time around.
This is the third installment I’ve read via audiobook, and I think this is now my favorite way to experience this series. The narrator, Cynthia Holloway, does an expert job with the characters. From Myrnin to Amelie, Claire to Shane, all of the character voices are distinct and believable. They match up very well to the character voices in my head, and the narration conveys the appropriate amount of emotion and intensity. I don’t think I can go back to the printed version of the series.
I eagerly await the next installment, Black Dawn. There will be fifteen books in the series in total, and after this game-changing book I can’t wait to see where Caine takes the story next. Black Dawn is due out in May 2012.
Book: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead, Razorbill, August 23, 2011
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Format/pages: Hardcover 432 pages
Format read/Source: Won a copy of the ARC, finished August 2 2011
Series: Book #1 in the Bloodlines series, a Vampire Academy spin-off
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Teaser chapter: Read the first chapter of Bloodlines here
The new Vampire Academy spin-off kicks off in a promising way with a blend of familiar and new characters and fresh mysteries to solve. Bloodlines has a similar feel and rush to it as Vampire Academy but with a new setting and a new protagonist to get to know. Favorite side characters from Vampire Academy get a chance in the spotlight this time around and we get a better glimpse into the world of the alchemists. The cast of characters blends very well, and the first book in the series sets the stage for another thrilling journey.
Disgraced alchemist Sydney Sage has a lot to prove on her next mission. She has fallen out of the alchemists’ good graces because of her role in hiding the fugitive dhampir Rose Hathaway. She is suspected of getting too friendly with the vampires, so now she has to ace this new job of protecting moroi Jill Mastrano, the half sister of Queen Vasilisa Dragomir, or she faces a dreaded re-education. She is sent to a boarding school in Palm Springs, CA to pose as Jill’s sister and help protect her from the rebels who want her dead so that the Queen will have to rescind her throne. The idea is that vampires would not come looking for Jill in such a sunny climate. Sydney has help on her mission in the form of guardian Eddie and everyone’s favorite Spirit-using moroi Adrian.
It’s hard not to compare the new main character Sydney to that of Vampire Academy heroine Rose. Sydney is more restrained and by the book. She’s intelligent and inquisitive but is still very uncomfortable with magic and being around vampires, which makes this an awkward situation. She is somewhat clueless in matters of the heart and still getting her feet wet in her leadership role. However, she does show potential for growth, and I’m curious to see how things progress with her character in future installments.
The secondary characters from Vampire Academy take on bigger roles in the spin-off. Adrian is back to help protect Jill and try to figure out how to move on with his life. His humor helps to lighten the mood of the story. Eddie is the lead guardian who feels he has something to prove, and Jill is trying to adjust to this new life on the run. I found myself somewhat losing interest with Jill’s issues and found her a bit lackluster. Sydney is a more compelling character overall, though she also has her quirks. It will be interesting to see how the characters evolve over time.
Besides protecting Jill, there are other mysteries occurring in Palm Springs that keep the team plenty busy. Some of the mysteries get resolved, and others will keep you waiting for the next book. The alchemist role is interesting, and we learn more about their tattoos and their purpose. Looking forward to finding out more about the alchemists in future books.
Overall this book is an intriguing beginning to a new series. It was easy to get involved with the story because so many of the characters are familiar, and there are even surprise guest appearances to help the transition along. There is plenty of action and mystery, and the characters show some promising chemistry. There is not much in the way of romance in this book, but judging from the Vampire Academy series it’s only a matter of time. The conclusion of Bloodlines definitely left me wanting more, and I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next installment The Golden Lily due out in May 2012.
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Graphic Novel
Format/pages: Paperback 144 pages
Format read/Source: Received at SDCC, read July 27 2011
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
After two years on the run, best friends Rose and Lissa are caught and returned to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a private high school for vampires and half-bloods. It’s filled with intrigue, danger – and even romance. Enter their dark, fascinating world through a new series of 144-page full-color graphic novels. The entire first Vampire Academy novel has been adapted for book one by Leigh Dragoon and overseen by Richelle Mead, while the beautiful art of acclaimed British illustrator Emma Vieceli brings the story to life.
Vampire Academy is the latest young adult series to get the graphic novel treatment, as we have seen recently with the Twilight series. As Vampire Academy is a favorite series of mine, I have a picture in my head of what the characters look like and I wondered how the graphic novel would compare. The writing in Vampire Academy is so descriptive and vivid it would seem to lend itself well to this format. This graphic novel is a fast paced and quick read, and surprisingly manages to include the entire story of the first book in its slim volume. Recommended for fans of the series and for those who want a quick visual look at what the series is all about.
I have not read too many graphic novels, but I found the artwork to be striking, and the emotions of the characters came through the pages. It is a treat to revisit a familiar story in this visual format and see scenes from the book come alive in the pages. The characters that most lined up with my expectations are Rose, Christian and Mason. Rose looks physically as I would expect and her tough and feisty yet vulnerable demeanor shines through. Dimitri looks a bit different than I would expect. He is more bulked up than I imagined, but at least he’s wearing his familiar brown duster and reading western novels. Even though the characters did not always line up with my expectations, I enjoyed looking at the scenes in this visual format. It gave me the opportunity to view the book again with fresh eyes.
The adaptation is impressive considering most of the major plot points are included from the original 332 page book. The book moves very swiftly through the story so every scene is important. Due to the book’s length and pacing some of the plot details are not fleshed out, so you may get more out of it if you have read the book first. The graphic novel does do a good job with getting the main points across and with the character traits.
The graphic novel is recommended for young adults due to language and sexual situations, as in the original book. The colorful graphic novel will make a great addition to your Vampire Academy library and give you a new way to look at the story. Graphic novel fans should enjoy reading this to get a taste of the Vampire Academy world before diving into the books.
This book will be released on August 23, the same day as Bloodlines.
The Giveaway has ended and the winner has been notified. Thanks to all who entered!
For more information:
Published by: NAL, May 3 2011
Genre: Young Adult
Format/pages: Hardcover 340 pages / Audio book 10 hrs. 25 mins.
Format read/Source: Audiobook via Audible.com
Date read: May 18 2011
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars
In this tenth installment of the Morganville Vampire series, Shane gets himself into a heap of trouble. He joins the new gym in town and gets involved in a human/vampire fight club. Shane is glamored into joining the fight club, but his vampire killing impulses make him an easy recruit. He alienates himself from his friends as he gets sucked into fighting these high stakes matches. The baddies behind these Immortal Battles need to be taken down in order to save the town and Shane’s life.
The Morganville vampire series always delivers a new fun adventure in a town where humans and vampires coexist. There is always a new villain to kill or problem to solve for Claire Danvers and her friends. We are near the end of the series, with only two more books planned. While I enjoyed the perfectly titled Bite Club, it was not my favorite of the series, and I did not like it as well as the last book, Ghost Town. The tone is a bit darker this time around and did not have the familiar blend of humor, fun and action as in previous books.
Shane’s journey to the dark side and separation from the group dragged down the first half of the book for me. Shane does get a chance to share his POV in this book, and it is obvious he is suffering a lot as he battles his internal demons. It’s interesting to get Shane’s POV, but in a way I think the book would have worked just as well without it.
On the bright side, Myrnin, the eccentric vampire, really shines in this book. He plays a bigger role and is protective of Claire as she tries to solve the latest crisis in Morganville. The characters really make this series, and I’m still enjoying following Claire and her friends Michael, Eve and Shane on their crazy adventures. Along with Myrnin, Amelie, Oliver, the dreaded Monica Morrell, and other familiar characters make an appearance in the book.
Bite Club delivers a different side of Shane along with some insight into other favorite characters. Fans of the series will want to read Bite Club to get the latest Morganville fix and dose of Myrnin. Even though this wasn’t my favorite of the series, there are still many hints and questions in this book that gave me pause to consider where the series may be headed. I’m in it until the end and anxious to read the next book, Last Breath, due out November 1 2011.
I listened to this book in audio format, and the narrator Cynthia Holloway does a great job as always nailing the voice of the characters. If you haven’t listened to this series in audio format, give it a try sometime.
For more information:
Published by: Ace, May 3rd 2011
Format/pages: Hardcover 336 pages
Format read/Source: Audiobook
Date read: May 6 2011
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars
Synopsis from Amazon:
With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover Eric Northman and his “child” Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot-which is much more complicated than she knows…
Dead Reckoning is the 11th book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. In this installment, Sookie finds herself facing her enemies as she puzzles over her love life. On the cover Sookie is pictured alone, which is appropriate for Sookie’s story this time around. She spends a lot of time on her own reflecting on her life. She is at a turning point and life’s challenges are bringing her down.
In general, I still enjoy this series, but not nearly as much as the first few books. There seemed to be a shift in my interest in the books when the True Blood HBO series began. At this point in the series, it feels like it is time for the series to wind down. And it seems per Ms. Harris that in fact the series will come to an end after two more books.
Reading this series is comforting like visiting an old friend. It is nice to revisit Bon Temps and all of the quirky characters. Pretty much all of the characters make an appearance in this book. On the one hand it’s great to have cameos from so many favorites, on the other hand the story felt a bit disjointed as it jumped around quite a bit.
One of the storylines that interested me the most is about the faeries. We learn more about the faeries and the relationship to Sookie’s grandmother. I am really curious to see what will happen with Sookie, Claude and Dermot in the last two books.
The story was good, but the pace was sluggish in parts, especially the first half. The mood of this book is dark and sad, without the more humorous parts I wanted to lighten up the story. Some of the scenes that I think were supposed to be funny (Bill/Sookie for example) did not come across that way to me. I would have liked to see more of Pam as well. Hope there is more action and humor in book 12.
I listened to the audiobook version this time around. The reader Johanna Parker does an incredible job bringing the characters of the book to life. She sounds just how I’d imagine Sookie to sound.
I’m curious to see how this series ends, and who Sookie will end up with. It feels like Sookie is getting tired of being in the middle of the supernatural politics and getting blood on her hands. Will she decide to spend her life with Eric, Bill, or Sam? Or someone we haven’t met yet?
Dead Reckoning should please the die-hard fans of the series. It is obvious that we are getting to the end of the series, and the pieces of the puzzle are coming into place. Look for book 12 to be released around May 2012.
Want to learn more about the series or buy the book?
- Review: Dead Reckoning (Southern Vampire Mysteries ) (creatinglittlemonsters.wordpress.com)
- Dead Reckoning: Back on familiar ground (preternaturalpost.wordpress.com)
- Charlaine Harris Announces the End of Sookie Stackhouse (blogher.com)