vampires

My Super Late June Wrap Up

Better late than never right?….

Books Read

Shadowland (Cassandra Palmer, #4.2) Updating Pritkin (Cassandra Palmer, #5.5) The Force of Wind (Elemental Mysteries, #3) Milk and Honey Sputnik Sweetheart First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World, #1) Ride the Storm (Cassandra Palmer, #8) Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #7) Feral Sins (The Phoenix Pack, #1) Faro's Daughter My Life as a White Trash Zombie (White Trash Zombie, #1)

Highlights

Ride the Storm

Ride the Storm by Karen Chance ★★★★★

The 8th book in Chance’s Cassie Palmer series sees several long running story lines come to a head (at last!). I had been waiting with bated breath for some of these and was not disappointed with the outcome.

The series follows Cassie Palmer, a clairvoyant time-traveling disaster magnet (love her!!), on her adventures ( or misadventures…) as the supernatural community’s new leading clairvoyant, The Pythia. Cassie isn’t your usual urban fantasy leading lady, she’s much more of an “every-woman” than a “warrior-woman” thrust into strenuous situations she isn’t prepared for. And, heck, we’ve all been there!! Cassie handles it all though and comes back swinging.

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Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur ★★★★☆

I gave this 4 stars but 3.5 would be more accurate. A lot of the poems really resonated with me but I disliked the formatting and it occasionally seemed more like whining from a young woman’s diary than observations on life.

A lot of poetry seems to be written in this format now, all lower case and just a few sentences… it doesn’t seem like poetry to me but who the heck am I to judge!

Some parts I loved some I found frustrating but I guess the point of poetry is to make you feel something which it certainly did.

The Force of Wind

The Force of the Wind by Elizabeth Hunter ★★★★★

The 3rd book in Hunter’s Elemental Mysteries series is a slow burner for the most part and then explodes into a rousing inferno. Three anticipated story lines come to a head with varying outcomes.

The Elemental Mysteries follows Giovanni Vecchio and Beatrice De Novo as they unravel the secrets behind Beatrice’s missing father, Giovanni’s long lost library, his iniquitous son and how these things may be connected.

Oh and Gio is a vampire with fire elemental abilities.

First Drop of Crimson

First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost ★★★★★

Now I know everyone seems to LOVE Cat and Bones from Frost’s Nighthuntress series but I gotta say I preferred this spin-off novel way more. I don’t know what it is about those two but I just don’t like them all that much… Cat and Bones are not the main characters in this book but I would recommend following the authors suggested reading order. There are some definite spoilers for Nighthuntress if you’re reading it.

This one follows two friends of Cat and Bones as they battle a shape-shifting demon. Much more paranormal romance focused than the other series as well. A very fun read, I gobbled it up.

Sputnik Sweetheart

Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami ★★★★★

This one really surprised me. I had never read anything by Murakami and only listened to this because it was part of Scribd selects last month. I didn’t really know what to expect from the author or the story (I was flying totally blind) but it grabbed me and sucked me in like a whirlpool. The story follows a disquieting love triangle (not the annoying YA kind) between K, Sumire and Miu. The relationships the three characters have really highlight human emotion, the need for connection, friendship and desire.

Lover Avenged

Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward ★★★★★

Took me ages to get into this book and damn near got whiplash from all the POV’s. Freaking loved it in the end though. This is the 7th book in Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. The romance plot for this one centres on Rehvenge but the book follows most of the main characters. The story is very exciting and the lessers are finally starting to look like a serious threat and interesting enemy.

Faro's Daughter

Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer ★★★★★

Despite Heyer being considered the mother of Historical Romance by many, I had never heard of her. I had spotted the audio book on Scribd selects a few times but never gave it much of a glance until last month. I couldn’t sleep and this was free and short, I figured ‘what the hey?!’. I ended up loving the story. It reminded me a bit of Elizabeth Hoyt’s or Kresley Cole’s historical romances with a sassy strong willed heroine and a roguish hero engaging in an intriguing têteà-tête. 

My Life as a White Trash Zombie

My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland ★★★★★

First of all, how cool is that cover?! About as cool as this freaking book!! Such a fun story that may seem familiar if you’ve watched iZombie but only as far as both protagonists are blond females who happen to be zombies and work in the morgue. Another similarity is that the zombies seem to remain intelligent and fresh as long as they continue to eat brains. But White Trash Zombie was so much fun!! I listened to the audio book of this and the narrator was amazing, I highly recommend the audio.

The story follows Angel Crawford after she wakes up in the ER after an apparent overdose with no idea what’s going on, a new job and delivery of mystery milkshakes. Her “life” takes some mad turns and then a serial killer shows up to keep things interesting. Brilliant story, I ordered the next book before I even finished this one.


So that’s it for June. I didn’t read too much last month (I’ve already read more this month) but it was a good month. I really enjoyed almost all of the books I read.

Now I’m off to do dishes, make dinner and listen to my audiobook. Laters!

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Ride the Storm – Karen Chance

Ride the StormTitle: Ride the Storm
 
Author: Karen Chance
 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
 
Series: Cassie Palmer #8
 
Goodreads Rating: 4.34/5
 
 
Synopsis: Ever since getting appointed the chief seer of the supernatural world, Cassie Palmer has been playing catch up. Catch up on the training she missed being raised by a psychotic vampire instead of at the pythian court. Catch up on the dangerous world of supernatural politics. Catch up on the powerful, and sometimes seductive, forces trying to mold her to their will. It’s been a trial by fire that has left her burned.

But now she realizes all that was just the warm up.

Ancient forces that once terrorized the world want to return, and Cassie is the only one who can stop them.

 
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What I thought about the book:
Wow!! I said finally so many times reading this book!!!
Amazing, it was everything I wanted and so much more and of course now I’m dying for the next one.

My only complaint is that the action scenes sometimes slow down the story and I ended up skimming them a bit after a while. Chance writes great action scenes but I’ve noticed with the last 2/3 books they’re getting more frequent and it kinda stalls the story. Cassie does often make important discoveries during them but there’s more than one way to do that.

***Some Spoilers Ahead***
Some great things about this book:
  • Cassie finally starts taking charge of situations
  • We get so many questions answered
  • Pritkin!!! So much amazing Pritkin stuff
  • We find out what Mircea is really about
  • A certain someone finally makes an appearance

There’s a lot of really interesting character development in this one, especially with Rosier and Roger. Fatherly love seems to be a bit of a theme here with three Dads influencing Cassie in major ways.

And Mircea! I always really liked Mircea (but loved Pritkin) but after this, I’m not sure how I feel. Especially after the last few sentences of the conclusion.

Book Depository Link

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My Rating:
 5 paws
Ride the Storm
I got this as an ARC from NetGalley.

Into the Darkness – K.F. Breene

19162511Title: Into the Darkness
 
Author: K.F. Breene
 
Genre: Paranormal
 
Series: Darkness #1
 
Goodreads Rating: 3.76/5
 
 
Synopsis: Sasha has grown up with one surety: she’s not normal.

She sees things in the darkness that no one else can see. Mysterious men cloaked in shadow, moving through the night. The problem is, pointing out invisible people is a fast track to a padded cell. Orphaned at age five, Sasha quickly learns an important survival tip: keep her mouth shut and stay out of the spotlight.

Until one night, everything changes. She and her boyfriend, Jared, find themselves stranded on the wrong side of town. Suddenly, the men she was convinced were hallucinations, are very real. And very dangerous.

As a new world opens up around her, she meets him. The Boss. An alpha leader who entrances her mind and tugs on her body. Primal and sexual, his people have a different set of rules. And they don’t always play nice.

As danger rises up around her, her differences may be the only thing that saves her life. She must embrace what she’s tried so hard to hide while resisting the person her body craves most. Sasha has finally found her shadow men, and they will change her life forever.

 
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What I thought about the book: I was scrolling through books on my kindle and opened this one by accident. I decided it was a sign from Seshat and read it. I read about 5/6 pages before I decided to check out the synopsis and then expected the book to be filled with sex but it surprised me. Ok, there was a lot of sexual situations but I really thought it was going to be worse (I’ve certainly read worse) and the story and characters were strong enough to make me want to keep reading. I like Breene’s take on vampires as well. They seem like a mix of traditional vamps and fae.
 
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My Rating: 
4 paws
Into the Darkness

Get the book on Book Depository

Anita Blake: The First Death by Laurell K. Hamilton

https://static3.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_large/10/108980/2321112-anita_blake_vampire_hunter__the_first_death__2__2007_.jpgTitle: Anita Blake: The First Death
 
Author: Laurel K. Hamilton, Jonathon Green, Brett Booth, Wellington Alves
 
Genre: Graphic Novel/ Urban Fantasy
 
Series: Anita Blake #0.5
 
Goodreads Rating: 4.07/5
 
 
Synopsis: Her fans have been asking for it – now, Laurell K. Hamilton delivers a look into Anita Blake’s past! Written by Laurell K. Hamilton herself, along with Jonathon Green, The First Death takes place almost a year before the events being chronicled in Guilty Pleasures. Witness the first meeting of Anita and Jean-Claude, Anita’s first time inside Guilty Pleasures, her first serial-killer case, and an early encounter with Edward. Prepare to be thrilled by this original story produced especially for comics! Collects Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The First Death #1-2 and Anita Blake: Guilty Pleasures Handbook.
 
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What I thought about the book: Set before the novels, we see when Anita meets Jean-Claude for the first time and how she gets the cross scar on her arm. She tells this story in one of the books as well (might have been Guilty Pleasures, not sure), so this fan-requested look into Anita’s past that we’re getting is one we’re familiar with. I got excited when I saw Edward on the cover, I think he’s one the most interesting and underused characters in the series. I thought this would be a story of Anita’s early days on a job with him but he’s barely in it!!
I got excited when I saw Edward on the cover, I think he’s one of the most interesting and underused characters in the series. I thought this would be a story of Anita’s early days as a hunter with him but he’s barely in it!!
Bit of a waste of time to be honest. The artwork is great though.
 
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My Rating: 
2 paws
anita blake vampire hunter sigmund world penguin day

The Life of a Necromancer’s Toy Penguin

Since it’s World Penguin Day today I decided to honour Anita Blake’s toy penguin, Sigmund. Poor guy has been through a lot (FYI I’m only part way through this series so if something has happened to this little guy, don’t tell me!!!).

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We first meet Sigmund in Guilty Pleasures, the first Anita Blake book by Laurell K. Hamilton. Anita cuddles up with him in bed after a rough day on the job (which is pretty much every day for Anita). 

“I locked the door, for what good it would do me, and went to bed. The Browning Hi-Power was in its second home, a modified holster strapped to the headboard of my bed. The crucifix was cool metal around my neck. I was as safe as I was going to be and almost too tired to care.

I took one more thing to bed with me, a stuffed toy penguin named Sigmund. I don’t sleep with him often, just every once in a while after someone tries to kill me. Everyone has their weaknesses. Some people smoke. I collect stuffed penguins. If you won’t tell, I won’t.”
Laurell K. Hamilton, Guilty Pleasures

Sigmund isn’t Anita’s only penguin but he is her favourite. He’s the one that keeps her safe at night. She’s even tempted to take him on a ‘sleepover’ to Jean Claudes. Unfortunately, he and his buddies tend to get a little bloody when the bad guys dare to break into Anita’s home (and make it all the way to her room….the jerks!).

anita blake vampire hunter sigmund

He has had made such an impression with fans, he’s got some awesome fanart now!

sigmund by DayanElohim on DeviantArt

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He doesn’t appear as much anymore sadly. I’m pretty sure he only existed to show that Anita was a complex individual with many facets. She’s a merciless vampire hunter but she’s soft and squishy too…. by now her character is very well established and we don’t see things like this so much.

You can get your very own Sigmund from Hamilton’s website store.

As far as the Anita Blake series goes, I’ve almost given up on it. I finished The Harlequin (book #15) this year and I just don’t know how I feel. You can read my review for the book here. The series becomes less about story and more about sex with a lot of men in later books. Book #26 is expected to be released this year, for the series to get that far something must happen right?…. Right?? I just don’t want to give up on the series! Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment.

Top 5 Vampire Characters

Man, this was one hard list to write!

While I was thinking about who to include I realised I have a variety of favourite vampire fiction from several genres. I enjoy horror, gothic classics, paranormal romance and urban fantasy and the vampires in each of these tend to be quite different. A PNR vampire has very different goals to a horror vampire! I also noticed I’ve read very few books with female lead vampires. Terrible stuff!

I thought about including the vampires from The Dresden Files but no single member really stands out to me. They are more interesting as a whole (to me anyway). Carmilla and Eli also didn’t make the cut because I found the story they’re in more interesting than them as individuals.

So here’s my list of Top 5 Vampire Characters.

1. Kit Marlowe
Kit Marlowe

Kit Marlowe is one of the main characters in Karen Chance’s Cassie Palmer and Dorina Basarab series. He tends to be more active in the Dorina books. Based on the Elizabethan playwright, poet and apparent spy for queen Elizabeth, Chance’s Marlowe is one shady character. He runs the Vampire Senate’s spy network getting up to god only knows what! He is cunning, mysterious, charming, and often quite funny. Marlowe has his own short stories which are available for free on Chance’s website.

2. Mircea Basarab

MirceaI know I know I’m terrible choosing two characters from the same series (although technically it’s two series). Mircea is an integral character in both the Cassie and Dorina series and one of the most intriguing vampires out there. It’s very hard to know what’s going on behind those seductive eyes but you know he’s got a plan. Mircea, a former prince and current vampire senator, could sell salt to a slug! He is persuasive, suave, seductive, ambitious, and maybe…just maybe…. a little bit manipulative. But there is a lot more to Mircea than it seems. He doesn’t reveal everything up front (if at all). You have to peel back the layers of this Wallachian to get to the squishy centre. Mircea has a novel all to himself as well which really helps  you understand his motives.

3. Gallowglass de Clermont

Gallowglass first appears in the second book of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy. He is a big burly part Scot part Norse vampire. Full of honour and very protective of his family (*swoon*). He has a bit of a tough time during the trilogy but you can’t keep this guy down! I really really wish Harkness would write a book all about Gallowglass. I WANT MORE!!

4. Claudia

Claudia is one of the main characters in Interview with the Vampire from Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles. Turned as a child by Lestat (another awesome vampire) as a manipulation over Louise, she fully embraces life as a vampire. Fiendishly playing with victims and manipulating those around to her own selfish gains. She’s one of the most interesting characters I’ve read.

5. Merit

Merit is a newly minted vamp introduced in Some Girls Bite book 1 of  Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neil. (I’m only up to book 4 in this series so I’m not sure how I will feel about her come book 13 but as of now I am a fan.) She is the protagonist of the series, turned against her will to save her life. Merit is a rare combination of the warrior woman and every woman archetypes. She came from a relatively normal background to the often violent world of vampires. Despite this drastic change she manages to stay true to who she is while embracing her new life.

Honourable Mention

How could I write a list of vampire characters without mentioning the main man himself Dracula! I’ve read so many versions of this guy it’s hard to keep his character straight in my mind. But it’s great his legend is so powerful people just can’t get enough of him. That is a strong character!

Agree or disagree with any of my choices? Think I’m an absolute nutjob for including Claudia instead of Lestat? Come on like, she was a little brat, right?… Who would you put on your Top 5?

 

Embrace the Night – Karen Chance

1233478Title: Embrace the Night
 
Author: Karen Chance
 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
 
Series: Cassie Palmer #3
 
Goodreads Rating: 4.9/5
 
 
Synopsis:
Recently named the world’s chief clairvoyant, Cassandra Palmer still has a thorn in her side. As long as Cassie and a certain master vampire—the sizzling-hot Mircea—are magically bound to each other, her life will never be her own…

The spell that binds them can only be broken with an incantation found in the Codex Merlini, an ancient grimoire. The Codex’s location has been lost in the present day, so Cassie will have to seek it out in the only place it can still be found—the past.

But Cassie soon realizes the Codex has been lost for a reason. The book is rumored to contain some seriously dangerous spells, and retrieving it may help Cassie to deal with Mircea, but it could also endanger the world…

 
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What I thought about the book:
I am a total fangirl for this series. I don’t care what anyone says about it. You could walk up to me and tell me you think this series is a steaming piece of hairy poop and I would not care. I love it that much!
I’m rereading the series at the moment in anticipation of Ride the Storm’s release in August. And it was just as awesome the second time around! I’m picking up on little hints to future events much better this time.
What I love about this series is how fast paced it is. There is never a dull moment for Cassie. Non-stop action and adventure.
 
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My Rating:
5 paws