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Kissed by a Vampire by Caridad Pineiro

7 Nov

 

As a two thousand year old vampire elder, Stacia is haunted by her mortal past.

Though Stacia finds pleasure and arousal in the taking of blood, she also knows that she can’t let herself love again. Betrayed by the only man she ever loved, she has carried the hurt of the betrayal for two thousand years and won’t open her heart to anyone.

That all changes when she meets the mortal DEA Agent Alex Garcia.

For years now, Alex has been plagued with nightmares of a demon. She comes to him in his dreams as she came to him years ago, while he was on the brink of death. While working on another case, he is stunned to come face to face with the demon from his dreams.

Alex spots Stacia in a local club, The Widget, while working on a case to find five missing women. He is shocked to see his demon in the flesh. For her part, Stacia can’t place Alex but cannot deny that the connection between them is incredibly strong.

As the connection and attraction grows between them, Alex and Stacia each deal with their own demons: Stacia believes that she is not worthy of love, that no one could love a vampire. For his part, Alex believes that vampires can’t possibly exist.

However, when Stacia reveals her vampire side to Alex, both of them must deal with their demons if either of them will have a chance at love.

I love everything that Caridad Pineiro writes, but I especially love her vampire Calling Series. It’s been a long time since the last book in the series, Fury Calls, was published in 2009. There have, of course, been vampire novels aplenty since then but few reach the caliber and beauty that Pineiro gives her vampires.

Kissed by a Vampire is absolutely flat out incredible. I have always loved Stacia ever since she showed up in the Calling Series and have always wanted her to find a true love to melt her cold heart. I wondered what it would be like to have her as a heroine when she’s been a supporting character throughout the series. I’m so thrilled that Stacia got her own book and it was well worth the wait to see her in the spotlight.

Stacia is a very unconventional heroine and meets her match in Alex Garcia. Both characters meshed really well for me and the romance between them moved naturally with no forced moments. Instead, the love affair between them is genuinely touching and wonderful to watch as it unfolds.

Not only is Kissed by a Vampire incredibly well written, it flows so smoothly that you’ll be done the book before you realize it. It’s filled with characters that live beyond the printed page as you’ll carry them with you long after you turn the last page.

The plot was thrilling, the romance hot and spicy, the action fantastic. Kissed by a Vampire has everything you could want and then some. I loved Kissed by a Vampire so much that I hope Stacia and Alex get another book to themselves so that we can see how their relationship develops over time.

Caridad Pineiro has written an incredible tale of betrayal, love and redemption. It hooked me from the first page and held me spellbound until the last page. In fact, I’d say that it’s her best book in the series so far and I loved every gorgeous moment.

If you read one romance this winter, read Kissed by a Vampire. It’ll heat up your night and warm your heart.

A Face in the Crowd by Stephen King and Stewart O’Nan

9 Oct

 

Dean Evers is lonely.

Having recently lost his wife, he has moved to a Florida condo and has been filling his time with meaningless tasks, cooking meals for himself, books and baseball. The baseball games on television help to fill his nights when he is missing his dead wife the most.

One night, while watching the Rays duke it out against the Mariners, the game takes on a whole new meaning for him when he sees someone who couldn’t possibly be at the game. Sitting in the third row, right above the umpire, is his old dentist Dr. Young.

Dean thinks this is impossible, absolutely impossible, but he can’t look away, even though Dr. Young must have passed away fifty years ago. However, there is no mistaking the coke bottle glasses, the pack of Lucky Strikes in the pocket of his shirt.

The next night, there is another game on. Dean tries to avoid watching by enjoying a Harlan Coben novel but his hand reaches for the remote anyway and turns the television to the game to see who else from his past might appear to him…

To say anything else would be to give away more of the plot and this is a novella that you have to experience rather than read. I thought I had the story pegged out plot wise, but King and O’Nan had me fooled. This is not your average day at the ballpark.

Whatever you think is going to happen doesn’t happen and the result will leave you breathless. I finished this novella in practically one sitting and it’s an amazing read. Not only is it incredibly well written, there are plot twists you won’t see coming a mile away.

King and O’Nan write seamlessly together, so it’s never clear who wrote what. That doesn’t matter, though. What matters is the story is good. It’s better than that; it’s flat out amazing and King and O’Nan have written a home run of a novella.

What surprised me most, for such a short read were two things:

First, the depth of character. We spend the entire novella with Dean Evers and, at the end of its fifty pages, we know him. We know what makes up his character, internal and otherwise and I found myself aching for him and the choices he made throughout his life. Pulling off that kind of depth in such a short span of pages is an incredible feat and King hasn’t always been so successful in his eBook originals (I’m thinking of the enjoyable but lackluster Mile 81 here).

However, King and O’Nan succeed incredibly well with A Face in the Crowd. You are drawn into Dean’s world and it is an eerie, haunting work that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it.

Which brings me to the second thing that surprised me most: how genuinely frightening the novella was. As I’ve said, the plot twists keep you on the edge of your seat and, by the novels end, you have absolutely no idea what is coming. And what comes is nothing short than one of the best endings I have ever read in a novella, mostly because it came right out of left field.

King and O’Nan could have gone over the top horror or gross out horror, but instead, they went with honest to goodness psychological terror; because they have written such a great character in Dean Evers, and we are drawn so well into his world, we feel his fear. It is our own.

By the novels dénouement, nothing about baseball will ever be the same for Dean Evers. In fact, nothing will ever be the same for him again.

I was absolutely thrilled with every aspect of this book. It’s well told with a compelling protagonist and brilliantly drawn secondary characters, a plot you won’t see coming a mile away and an ending that will leave you breathless with shock. Stephen King and Stewart O’Nan hit it out of the Park with A Face in the Crowd.

So take me out to the ball game, buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks, I don’t care if I ever come back…

Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink

8 Jul

 

Dear Michelle,

I’m about to start your finish your Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy for the forth time.

By now, I’ve also read the new Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy and reading the original trilogy after the information of the three novellas has given the trilogy a different and incredible vibrant intensity for me.

When Circle of Fire came out in 2011 year, I bought all three ebooks. I wanted to read the first two books in the trilogy (Prophecy of the Sisters and Guardian of the Gate) first, before reading Circle of Fire.

Even though it was sitting there, inside my ebook reader, I waited to read Circle of Fire. I wanted the story fresh in my head. I’m so glad I did! The story, the world, the characters you created came alive in Circle of Fire and burned the page right up.

I really wasn’t sure how you were going to do it, end a trilogy that I have become (like so many others) so emotionally invested in. What would happen to Alice? Dear god, what would happen to Lia? How would so many plot threads resolve themselves? Would the victors be victorious?

You blew all my expectations out of the water. Circle of Fire was more than I could have hoped for in the ending of a trilogy. It was thrilling, captivating, riveting and amazing. I loved every word, even though I knew that the end would soon come.

I’ve tried to think of how to tell you how much I enjoyed your book; so I decided just to tell you. I looked at the signed Circle of Fire bookplate this evening and it reminded me just how wonderful your books are (that and the postcard, thanks so MUCH for that! I collect them!).

I have now ordered my hard cover copy of Circle of Fire (to put beside my hardcover copies of Prophecy of the Sisters and Guardian of the Gate) so that I can put my bookplate in it. I can’t wait for the order to come in so I can put Circle of Fire right next to your new novel, A Temptation of Angels, giving me a complete set of your books (eBook and Print). I can tell I’m a book geek when having the whole set excites me beyond words.

Thank you for giving me such a thrilling ride, such real characters, such an incredible adventure.

I loved every word of it.

Cheers,

Jamieson

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

8 Jul

 

I will admit that I had high hopes for The Iron Knight.

The Iron King, The Iron Daughter and The Iron Queen (as well as Winters Passage and Summers Crossing) all blew me out of the water. But I wondered how well Kagawa would do changing narrators. We knew Meghan so well, we had seen the characters (cool and beautiful Ash, delightful Puck, sly Grim) only through her eyes.

How would Ash’s story, told in his own words, measure up? Would it be as good as the previous books? The answer is no.

It was better. In fact, I would go so far to say that it was the best in the series.

Not only did Ash finally get to tell his own story, his words added depth to all that had come before it. No longer the elusive love interest, Ash became a true hero, a true Iron Knight.

I thought I knew what to expect when I delved into the Iron Knight. Julie Kagawa thankfully blew all those expectations out of the water. Not only did she deliver a compelling plot, amazing characters, a thrilling story; she also gave us a depth to a character that I already thought I knew.

Though there is little romance in The Iron Knight, don’t let that deter you. Ash is on a quest to become mortal so that he can be with the one woman he truly loves. He is willing to give up everything he is to become something he is not so that he can be with her. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

The Iron Knight, frankly, is the best YA fantasy novel I have read in years and that includes the previous books in the series. Somehow, Kagawa keeps getting better and keeps topping herself.

I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

But here’s the truth of it: any book in The Iron Fey Series totally kicks and awesomely rocks. I know, that sounds funny, but it’s true. It was so hard for me to pick the best book in this series. The Iron Queen, Summers Crossing and The Iron Knight were all published this year.

So any book in this series is an amazing read. But The Iron Knight ended up being my favourite this year. Because it was the end.

And it was oh so wonderful.

Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent

8 Jul

 

I have just recently finished reading this book for a second time and enjoyed it even more than the first read through. And the book only came out on August 23rd. I got my copy as a birthday present for myself (what with my birthday being on the 22nd of August, after all). So why have I read a book twice in less than six months?

The book is just THAT good, THAT amazing, THAT thrilling. I have always loved Vincent’s work (her Shifter series rocks and her Soul Screamers series is top notch) but she’s gone above and beyond with Blood Bound. In fact, she’s come up with a storyline so incredible that it could almost redefine paranormal romance.

Liv Warren is a Tracker. And not an ordinary Tracker, she tracks by blood. She is one of the Skilled, one of those with an ability that makes her more than human. Set in a time not unlike our own, this world comes with a whole new set of rules.

Bound to four friends when she was a young girl, Liv is surprised by a visit from her childhood friend Anne. Her husband Shen has been killed and Anne wants Liv to track the killer…and then kill him. Though Liv wants to refuse, the oath they swore as children was Bound by blood. Liv has no choice but to obey.

Anne brings along another Tracker, Cam Caballero. Compelled to work with him against her will, Liv all too well remembers the touch of Cam’s lips against hers, the touch of his hands along her body and the heart she broke six years ago. She left Cam to protect him. But who will protect her heart?

The two must work together to find Shen’s killer. But they are working against the clock and there are those out there that are working against them.

There are more than just other Trackers to worry about, however. There are Travellers, Binders, Jammers, and those that know the truth. It is a world where nothing is safe, where blood is sacred and the game is on a whole other kind of playing field.

In a world with crime syndicates, oaths and blood, is anyone truly safe?

Rachel Vincent has REALLY outdone herself with Blood Bound. Nothing is what you think it is and no one’s secrets are safe. The book is so awesome, I may have to read it again before Shadow Bound comes out next year.

If you want a thrill ride that will suck you in from page one and not let you go till the very last page, this is the book you want to read.

Dark Eden: Phantom File by Patrick Carman

6 Jul

 

I absolutely love Dark Eden.

While I’ve been a fan of Patrick Carman for years now, his genre busting, transmedia novel Dark Eden (available as an app for your iPhone, iPod or iPad, ebook or hardcover) is truly something amazing. It’s young adult as you’ve never seen it before with a dark psychological twist and a killer plot.

What I love about Dark Eden is that it pushed the boundaries of what a traditional story could be and succeeded on every level. With the second book, Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction, coming out on April 24th, I’m anxious to experience Dark Eden again in app format and book format.

To keep us sated while we wait, Patrick Carman has written Dark Eden: Phantom File. Though it’s a short read, Carman manages to pack quite a punch in so few pages. After the events of Dark Eden, Will Besting has found something important that could be a key to the cure.

In Dark Eden, Will Besting and six other teenagers were cured of their deepest fears by Rainsford, a mysterious man who may have cured them but also gave each patient something else in return. Will Besting knows that Rainsford is old, perhaps older than time itself. Should he get the chance, Will wants to make Rainsford pay for what he’s done to Alex, Avery, Ben, Connor, Kate, Marissa and himself, should he get the chance. Though they are cured, they are all left with some sort of impairment: pain, headaches, narcolepsy, deafness.

Will they get the chance to repay Rainsford for his unkindness? We’ll have to wait for Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction to find out. But what about Rainsford himself? What do we know about him? Not a lot…until Will finds the phantom file on his Recorder.

Having kept voice, video and written accounts of what happened at Fort Eden, Will is surprised to find a file on his recorder that was placed there by Ms. Goring and removed…but it left a piece behind. Will has been able to retrieve the phantom file and in it, we learn a piece of Rainsford’s past.

Though Will is still angry at being used and the lack of hearing that his cure left him with, he can’t help but feel a little sorry for Rainsford. Dark Eden: Phantom File is an incredible read that you can finish in one sitting. It will leave you anticipating Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction even more than before.

Carman has done something really neat with Dark Eden: Phantom File. It’s actually a story within a story, within a story. There are three narratives here: Will’s, Ms. Goring’s and one from Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, who later became Mary Shelley the author of Frankenstein, one of the most amazing classic horror novels of all time. This isn’t the first time that Carman has used literary references in Dark Eden (The Pearl by John Steinbeck is mentioned in Dark Eden and is a crucial clue to the mystery of the cure) but he uses it here to great effect.

Mary’s narrative picks up just after she has been challenged by Lord Byron and poet Percy Shelley to write the most frightening tale she can. She knows that every good story starts with an idea, trouble is, she doesn’t have one. While she is ruminating about her story, she meets Rainsford in Lord Byron’s kitchen. He offers to tell her a story of his own.

The tale he tells her will change Mary’s life forever and give Will Besting a clue of what is to come…

For such a short read, Patrick Carman packs in quite a lot: three different narratives, a twisting storyline and a dark plot that just makes me want to read Dark Eden all over again while I wait for Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction. If you want a great read, make sure to check out Dark Eden and Dark Eden: Phantom File.

Care for another cure?

Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction by Patrick Carman

6 Jul

 

With Dark Eden, Patrick Carman introduced us to The Seven: Will, Marissa, Kate, Alex, Connor, Ben and Avery. Seven teenagers that each had a life crippling fear. They were brought by Dr. Stevens to Fort Eden where a cure for each of them awaited at the hands of Rainsford. Seven cures that used their own fears against them so that they could be freed of their fears.

But the cure took something from each of them and gave them something in return-for each of the cures gave each of the Seven an ailment that plagued them, almost as much as their fears had. They thought they would have to live the rest of their lives with their new, debilitating problems: narcolepsy, loss of hearing, loss of balance, headaches. However, what if there was another cure, this time a cure to their ailment’s instead of their fears?

When Will Besting receives a letter from Dr. Stevens, he is wary at first. The letter says that Ms. Goring, the caretaker of Fort Eden, is dying and her last wish is to see the Seven together once more. Despite what Fort Eden did to him, he wants to go back, needs to go back. For Fort Eden may hold more secrets ready to be spoken.

Gathering together, six of the teenagers return to Fort Eden where Ms. Goring informs them that there is a cure to what now plagues their bodies. There is a catch, however: they must venture underneath Fort Eden, into an abandoned missle silo, where they will find seven vials filled with what Rainsford took from them.

Desperate for an end to their disorders, they venture underground where a cure might await. Not everything is as it seems, however. When Ms. Goring locks them inside, they must venture further underground and face new dangers. Now, it is not the cure that could kill them, it is their surroundings and Ms. Goring herself. For she is bent on revenge and wants Rainsford dead.

And she doesn’t care how many people she will have to sacrafice in order to reach her goal. Now, in a race against time, Will Besting must protect the others, or all of them may perish underground…

Patrick Carman always tells an incredible story, no matter which of his books you happen to be reading, but Dark Eden has been my favourite out of his body of work. I wondered whether Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction would meet my high expectations. I had read the eBook, the hardcover and experience the multi-media app that literally changed the game for what eBooks can do. Would Eve of Destruction be as good?

The answer is: It’s better.

With very little build up, Carman pulls readers into a story that reads like a literary roller coaster where the stakes are even higher than they were in the first book. Now, they are not only fighting to find a cure for what ails them, the Seven are fighting to stay alive.

Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction is a thrill ride of a novel and, surprisingly, is far darker than its predessor. Most of the novel was reminiscent of horror movies and classic horror literature. The novel also played off of my own fears, rather than the Sevens, which made it a far more intimate reading experience. I am claustrophobic and terrified of dark, enclosed spaces. Parts of this book had me gripping my iPad with white knuclked fright, hoping that those trapped below ground would find their way out.

In the end, the entirety of Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction was an incredible mind trip-something that could indeed be seen inside one of Rainsford’s helmets that would deliver a cure by playing off of your fears, as it did mine. Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction went beyond my expectations in every way and genuinely frightened me through out. The writing was solid and peppered with literary references, the characters were engaging and the mystery under Fort Eden enthralling. In short, there are no mis-steps in this novel, only an incredible story that will pull you in and haunt you well after the last page is turned.

I started Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction early in the morning and finished it that same afternoon. You will not be able to put down Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction until you reach the cataclysmic and shocking ending.

Care for another cure?