Tag Archives: vampires

Review: The Raven

the ravenThe Raven by Sylvain Reynard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: paperback copy courtesy of publisher

My first impression was formed upon the attractive cover and premise of the novel. At the time of writing this review, I realize that I’m actually looking for something similar to the All Souls Trilogy since I just loved that trilogy. There are quite a few similarities: American heroine, old European city, ancient handsome European vampire, artworks (instead of books), etc. The Raven didn’t quite engage my heart on the same way but it was still an enjoyable & easy read that I devoured in a couple of days.

The beginning of the novel was a bit rocky for me. At first, I was unbalanced by the not-so-perfect heroine but then I thought, this could be really good and admire the author for writing a heroine who isn’t off-the-bat gorgeous. But then there was an incident which changed this condition and then another twist. I really didn’t know how to handle these! In the end, I understood this to be a lesson which Raven required and only made her stronger.

Another bit which annoyed me in the beginning is the way the Prince (William) is established as a great lover (chapter 3!). Ugh, this was way too soon and turned me off a little that I needed a day in between before I continued reading. Other than this, I found the Prince to be quite intriguing especially his background (before being turned) –which hasn’t been quite explored though I believe this could be a promise for the rest of the series.

Overall, this novel leans heavily on the romance with a tad too much focus on the main characters’ insecurities (Raven’s body and William’s nature) –which irritated me a little. The story is told from 2 perspectives though mostly from Raven’s. I do wish there was a little more of William’s, especially to have the Underworld of Florence’s developed more –the political intrigue, the power play which I’d reckon will ratchet up the suspense factor of the story.

The ending wasn’t quite believable for me; I guess it was sweet but I wasn’t convinced. Although the preview for book 2 actually made me laugh though I’m not quite sure whether I’m invested enough in this series to continue on. 3 stars for easily digested reading, beautiful atmospheric setting, and fascinating facts on artworks.

Thank you, Penguin Books Australia, for copy of paperback in exchange of honest review

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Review: Silver Shadows

silver shadowsSilver Shadows by Richelle Mead

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher

One of the best decisions I made was to wait reading The Fiery Heart until Silver Shadows is released. With the cliffhanger’s ending to The Fiery Heart, I was soo happy to have Silver Shadows on hand to dive in to. I thought I was kinda over the #Sydrian craze as I read The Fiery Heart though the ending and Silver Shadows convinced me otherwise.

Someone I know summarised Silver Shadows quite well with only emoticons because this is what the book is all about; the emotional rolling coasters Richelle Mead took us on…

I was shocked & horrified at the things Sydney had to face

I was sad & depressed along with Adrian

I was, at the same time, hopeful & hopeless with Sydney’s situation

I was frustrated & upset AT Adrian

I was excited by the action

I was absolutely thrilled… and totally swooned then… frustrated once again!

Honestly, this must be the best book of the series so far and I really cannot wait for the final instalment! I read Silver Shadows in one day (right after I finished The Fiery Heart in the morning) and I just couldn’t put it down. As I told a good friend, if you haven’t yet picked up Silver Shadows

doitnow

 

Thank you, Penguing Books Australia, for copy of eARC via NetGalley

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Review: King Cave

kingcavebookKing Cave by Scarlett Dawn
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of author via NetGalley

Please note this is a review of book 2 in the series and may include some spoilers of book 1

This is one of the most anticipated 2014 release for me and it’s the second time in a row that Scarlett Dawn has succeeded in making me chuckle out loud and then tear up. And I kid you not, my tears freely ran down my face and dripped onto my e-reader. King Cave was all that I expected and more. There were good bits, some really good bits, and some bits I didn’t like -hey, you can never get everything you want in life, right? The important factor is that Scarlett has taken me on a ride to who knew where, full of twists and unexpected turns, with the consequence that she’s really gotten under my skin –well, not her exactly but these stories of hers.

I loved it that King Cave picked up right where King Hall left off; right in the middle of a battle. A truly thrilling beginning which then slowed right down right before what we all expected to happen happened. Woah, it was absolutely electrifying; the sparks were flying off the page and this fire is not going to be put out, ever! Let’s just say that it wasn’t a smooth ride and we’re yet to see the resolution to this issue.

This is a book which could’ve been a read in a single sitting for me, despite its massive size (my e-reader informed me: 445 pages). Unfortunately, work interferes (yet, again!) though when I went home, I pretty much ignored the boys to finish reading it. It was so addictive and I just couldn’t put it down. The story transported me to a whole new world and I was completely tuned out to my own world. I love these characters and the way they interact with each other; I love the easy camaraderie between these 4 prodigies –the humour and the love they shared between them.

Ezra’s lips twitched, and then he leaned forward whispering air, “Not as sweet as the sixth car I wrecked. Remind me later to tell you about that.”
Jack chuckled, lifting his chin once in confirmation.
I smacked Ezra’s stomach, muttering harshly, “That’s dangerous.”
His chest puffed, and he rumbled, “I breathe danger.”
“Oh, good God, he did not just say that,” Pearl muttered.

This wasn’t, by any level, an easy sort of read. There were a lot of heartbreaks and issues to work through. The one that really touches me was one about risking your heart…

It’s trust, Ezra. Trust that the person you love won’t hurt you with unkindness and disrespect. Trust that the person won’t crush your heart with infidelity. Trust that, in the end, your partner will love you just as much as you love them, because there will be problems in life that threaten to tear you apart. It’s simply trust.

The one thing I couldn’t fully appreciate was the sex scenes. They were pretty smashing but some of them were a lot more graphical than what was in King Hall and therefore, quite unexpected. There were a few in short succession and combined with the sort of words used, I was, to start with, a little concern that this was going to be an ‘erotica’ sort of books rather than the NA Romance Fantasy it was supposed to be. I wasn’t offended but just slightly disappointed with this turn of words. Please note, though, that this is a personal preference. I believe there are many fans out there who totally loved this part of the book.

There are only 2 other minor complaints, one of which is the lack of airtime for Pearl and Jack –where did they go? Whilst I love reading all about Lily and Ezra, I feel like I’m missing quite a lot of what’s happening with Pearl and Jack and then, *time jump* they’re suddenly inseparable. The only other thing has got to do with names and clichés. The first pair, I could deal with, barely rolling my eyes but the second pair almost made me gag. I’m allocating this as a minor issue because I think there’s something being set up in the next book, maybe, to play out these clichés. If so, I may just have to take this comment back!

This ending of King Hall was nearly a deal breaker last time; ending a book that way was just too cruel! The ending of King Cave though was a heartbreaker. I’m in pain –the suffering is nearly unbearable. How long until King Tomb…??! I’m pretty sure I’d probably be crying my heart out throughout the next book… I’m just going to have to live with my heart in pieces for a few months.

Thank you, Scarlett Dawn & Harlequin Books Australia, for copy of eARC via NetGalley

If you’re interested in purchasing any book in this trilogy, you can visit Scarlett Dawn’s website, here, which will have purchase links for each book.

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Review: King Hall

king hallKing Hall by Scarlett Dawn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of Harlequin Australia via NetGalley

My first reaction after I finished the book was:

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Was. So. Very. Extremely. Frustratingly. UPSET.

Why?!??! I really needed that disclaimer that this book ends with the Mother of a Cliffhanger. Bah! How in the world am I supposed to survive waiting for the next book?! I don’t even know when that will be!

Before I began reading, I was actually in a bit of a rut and wasn’t in the mood to read (Sorry, what?!? I know, the weirdest feeling ever). However, the humorous beginning lured me right in and though I was worried that this world might be a little bit complicated at that time of the morning, I was totally sucked in by first the humour, Lily as MC, the idea of lifemates (I’m a sucker for that type of romance), and then broken hearted. Within a few chapters, King Hall has had me chuckling, snorting [eye-roll moments], and crying (well, quite teary at any rate). I was raving about it a couple of hours later at lunch to my colleague who probably thought I was a little bit nuts since we haven’t seen each other in a while but all I could talk about was this book I’m reading. Errm, I love you too  xx

King Hall is the name of a college for Mysticals (ie. non-humans / “Commoners”). There are 4 types of Mysticals: Shifters, Vampires, Elementals, and Mages. Whilst showing a united front to Commoners, Mysticals do not like to mix and each group has their own ruler. Lily is not supposed to be one. In fact, she’s not supposed to even exist. However, she and 3 other Mysticals are the next in line to ruling each groups. Whilst relationships between rulers are usually quite reserved and sometimes, strained, due to the segregation, a tragedy brought these 4 together and forged a beautiful friendship. Of course, due to their Mystical natures, they are all beautiful physically and ‘friendly’ –so there’s that very interesting aspect of their friendship.

The friendship between Lily, Ezra, Jack, and Pearl was amazing to behold. It was an unfortunate tragedy which truly brought them together but they stayed strong together, trusted each other and truly accepted each other as different as they are. This was one of the best bits of the book. Of course, the quirky, snappy, sarcastic comments were most entertaining. And any sparks between characters helps the total enjoyment of the story. There was always something happening and it keeps me swiping through to the end [Note: only available in ebooks so there is no turning to be done, only swiping ;)].

I’m a little confused with the world building though as I feel there are some things that weren’t explained properly (or if it was, I completely missed it). For example, each Mystical have different powers but what exactly are their nature? I don’t understand how vampires are walking around in daytime and have body heat though I love the significance of hair colour – just imagine what a colourful the world it is.

King Hall was un-put-down-able for me. I had to keep on reading just one more chapter till I suddenly reached the end. I hope book 2 will come soon with lots of answers to questions I had from this book though I wouldn’t mind (in fact, I would totally love it) if there is a prequel of some sort about Lily & Dominic. psst, Dawn, I may just forgive you for this cliffhanger ending, if I can have this prequel to tide me over whilst waiting for book 2 This book will be one of those I’d recommend waiting for the next book, unfortunately. Can’t you just tell how very upset I am…. 

Thank you, Harlequin Australia for providing copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

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Review: A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Blurb: (Taken from Goodreads)

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.
Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

My Blurb:

Diana Bishop is running away from magic. Or at least, she thinks she is. Magic though will not be letting her go anytime soon. Without knowing it, she called a most coveted book in magical history and now, she is being sucked in to the world of magic, whether she wants to or not.

Many creatures are drawn to Diana now and the first one to show himself was Matthew Clairmont, a vampire. He wants the book but he finds himself protecting Diana. Diana, on the other hand, is the modern female and insisted that she can take care of herself until one day, she realised that to survive she needed an ally… a protector…

Diana lives in a world full of creatures that are segregated to their own kind and regulated by a covenant that is being enforced by the Congregation. What would they think of a witch & vampire combo? What is more important to them, the book or to keep this segregation of creatures?

This is one of those books that grabbed me right from the beginning, completely absorbed me into its one and only world, and did not let go til the end. Hell, not even at the end cuz that’s how much I love it!

All right, I have to admit that for some people it might be kinda slow but I actually enjoyed this slow wordiness (did you notice that it’s a bit thicker than the average sized book?). I felt that I was savoring the book real slow too – like one of those slow motion part in the movie and I never wanted it to end. End it had to, of course, but I’m glad the next instalment is nearly here! I’m actually kinda glad I didn’t read this book last year, even though I got it last year, cuz it feels great to be able to jump into the next book almost straight away!

It was just soooo rich in its descriptions of everything. All your senses are practically invaded especially when it comes to smell! From the smell of things to food to wine to other beings, I found this to be really lovely and very atmospheric. I was able to just drown in this world which became my world for a few days 

The smell of the library always lifted my spirits – that peculiar combinations of old stone, dust, woodworm and paper made properly from rags. Sun streamed through the windows on the staircase landings, illuminating the dust motes flying through the air and shining bars of light on the ancient walls. There the sun highlighted the curling announcements for last term’s lecture series. New posters had yet to go up, but it would only be a matter of days before the floodgates opened and a wave of undergraduates arrived to disrupt the city’s tranquillity.

The romance was… slow but oh, so very…sweet! This might not appeal for some of you but I really really loved it. I love the suspense and the wait for the first **swoon** moment and the next and so on. It was seriously romantic!
My first swoon moment:

“You’re welcome.” He tucked my impossible piece of hair back behind my ear, fingers lingering on my cheek. “Come to dinner tomorrow,” he said softly. “My turn to cook. Can I pick you up here at half past seven?”
My heart leaped. Say no, I told myself sternly in spite of its sudden jump.
“I’d love to,” came out instead.
The vampire pressed his cold lips first to one cheek, then the other. “Ma vaillante fille,” he whispered into my ear. The dizzying, alluring smell of him filled my nose.

Right now, though, I’m totally conflicted! I mean:

The gorgeous blond blue-eyed Viking, Eric Northman – Hubba Hubba!

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The handsome dark French Knight, Matthew Clairmont – **Swoon**!

What say you?

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