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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.

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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.

Shakespeare Undead by Lori Handeland

15 Jul

 

There have been rumours surrounding Shakespeare for decades.

Most feel that he could not possibly have written all the works he penned. Some even go so far as to saying he stole works and put his name to them. Others say that William Shakespeare was more than one man.

Even more mysterious are Shakespeare’s Sonnets. The one hundred and fifty four poems, each composed of fourteen lines a piece, all written to a mysterious Dark Lady; a woman with dark hair and a husband. Who was the mysterious Dark Lady? How did Shakespeare write all that he wrote.

No one really knows the truth; until now.

Posing as a member of human society in the 1500’s, Shakespeare is hiding a secret that would be devastating should it get out: he is actually a vampire. A member of the undead, he is also capable of raising zombie armies.

William Shakespeare is a vampire necromancer.

Though he has not raised armies of the dead for some time (though he did raise undead armies for Caesar and for Cleopatra), a barrage of zombie attacks are threatening the safety of London and his carefully kept secrets.

All of his secrets are in danger of escaping him when he meets Katherine Dymond. Posing as a boy, Katherine stalks the streets of London as a Chasseur, a slayer or hunter of zombies. After accidentally killing William Shakespeare in the dark streets of London, Katherine flees, hoping not to be haunted by what she has done. Though she has killed zombies, she has never taken another human’s life.

But William Shakespeare isn’t human. Using her scent to track Katherine down, William pledges to love and protect Katherine with the rest of his life; considering he’s already dead, it’ll be a hard promise to keep.

Working together, the two lovers must find out who is raising the army of zombies, find out what they plan to do and protect the Queen of England. All in a days work for your typical necromancer vampire playwright and his lover…

I was a little sceptical of this book at first. I’m a huge fan of the literary mashups by Quirk Books. However, any other mashup I’ve read (with a couple of exceptions) has been lacklustre by comparison and is usually riding on the success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, published by Quirk Books in 2009.

Thankfully, that is not the case with Shakespeare Undead by Lori Handeland.

The novel is a sheer delight from start to finish. And it is far from being a mashup. Sure, it takes William Shakespeare and pairs his story with vampires and zombies, but the mashup stops there. Thankfully, Handeland tells her own tale with laugh out loud results.

What I loved about this book, aside from the madcap storyline, was the characters. You really feel for Katherine and for William Shakespeare. He’s suffering from writers block and his words are freed by Katherine’s love for him. The comedy is sheer hilarity and the romance just sizzles off of the page.

Handeland has also done her homework. The novel reads like a farce of one of Shakespeare’s own plays. Women dressing as men, witches, vampires, ghosts, doomed love, a crazy nursemaid and more. Handeland has borrowed freely from Shakespeare’s work and made his story elements her own.

This novel is for anyone who hated reading Shakespeare in high school, or for anyone who hasn’t even read Shakespeare. Far from being a literary mashup, Shakespeare Undead is something altogether more.

An absolute madcap delight, this is one novel you won’t want to miss.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

5 Jul

 

Bree Tanner is living on borrowed time.

 

As a fledgling vampire, she knows that her old life is lost to her. Unfortunately, her new life isn’t what she thought it would be. She was promised eternal life, for a price. Now she feels that she’s paid that price many times over.

 

Keeping to herself is the only way to survive. Newborn vampires are an unstable lot; there are constant battles for supremacy and domination. The only way to keep on living is to stay hidden, stay unnoticed and to stay quiet.

 

That all changes when Bree meets Diego.

 

Diego is a newly turned vampire, just like her. And like Bree, he knows that there has to be more to their new life than constant fighting and bickering and bloodshed. He also knows a few things that Bree doesn’t.

 

For instance: why were they created? And who is their creator, this mysterious woman they only know as her? Diego confirms Bree’s fears: that they have been created for a dark purpose.

 

Bree and Diego plan to leave their conclave together, but it is too late. They are pushed into battle, a battle that they can’t win, and neither of them will survive…

 

For those of you familiar with the incredible Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, you might remember Bree Tanner. She made an altogether brief appearance in Eclipse, the third novel in the series. Introduced and killed off in about a page and a half, Bree had a very short life.

 

But, as Stephenie Meyer explains in her wonderful introduction to this book, the voice of Bree wouldn’t let go. So, while editing Eclipse, she began to write what she thought of as a short story about Bree Tanner and what her life would have been like as a newborn vampire.

 

The result is The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner and it’s a stellar piece of writing. It’s refreshing to see the Twilight Saga from another point of view. It was a very satisfying experience to live the Twilight Saga through someone else’s eyes and I hope this means that Meyer will work on Midnight Sun and release that sooner rather than later.

 

There are a few things that make The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner unique from the other novels in The Twilight Saga. First and foremost, the novella gives us a different view from a world we already knew.

 

As well, it touches on a theme in The Twilight Saga that was never fully explored; that of being a newborn vampire. Though one of the characters does in fact become a newborn vampire (I won’t tell you which one in case there is one person left on the planet who hasn’t read Breaking Dawn) but they are unlike most newborns.

 

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is a little darker fare than we’re used to with The Twilight Saga. There is no each shattering love here; only a girl trying to survive until the next day.

 

The only things that left me wanting were the fact that The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner was so short. Stephenie Meyer could have easily added another hundred pages to this story to turn it from a novella into a novel. I think it would have benefited from a little more room to manoeuvre. Just as the story got pulse pounding exciting, it ended.

 

As well, it lacked something. I think that The Twilight Saga had something that Bree Tanner didn’t. There wasn’t the same spark, the same intensity to the writing that The Twilight Saga had. That might have a lot to do with Bella and Edward, or with Meyer finding her footing with another character in a smaller space to play. Either way, the novella left me wanting.

 

That’s not to say that The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is a bad book. Far from it in fact. It’s fast, frantic and fantastic.

 

And leaves you wanting more.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

4 Apr

 

 

Sarah Addison Allen’s books are magic.

They really are. The stories have magic in them, but the real magic is the joy that they fill you up with once you’ve finished the book.

Her first two novels were Garden Spells (enchanting) and The Sugar Queen (my favourite). Her new novel, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, is a Southern tale of barbeque, magic, family secrets and redemption.

Emily Benedict has come to Mullaby North Carolina hoping to answer the riddles of her past. Who was her mother? What was she hiding from? And why couldn’t Emily be the person her mother wanted her to be?

She arrives in Mullaby to meet the grandfather she never knew; and discovers that there is more to life than she thought possible. Her grandfather, Vance, is a giant. They call him the Giant of Mullaby. But he is not the oddest thing that lives inside their house.

The wallpaper in Emily’s room changes depending on her mood. And, late at night, Emily sees the Mullaby lights, quick moving shapes that move like quicksilver through the trees behind their house.

When Win, a local boy, starts showing an interest in her, Emily is flattered and flustered all at once. How were his family and her mother connected? And what secret is Win hiding? Why can’t he and his family go out at night?

Julia Winterson runs J’s Barbeque. She plans to stay for six months and pay off her deceased fathers debts. And then leave. Nothing had been good for her in Mullaby and there was no reason things should change now.

To pass the time before she gives herself her freedom, Julia bakes cakes. All kinds of cakes. Cakes mean welcome, they mean joy. But for Julia, who guards an earth shattering secret, cakes mean so much more than that.

Sawyer has always had a sweet sense. He has always been able to smell cakes, no matter where they were hidden. They drew him, called to him. He can see the sprinkles of sugar in the air, the twists of vanilla in the breeze. And Julia’s cakes call to him.

But will she forgive him for what he did, so that their love can grow?

Sarah Addison Allen really is magic. Her understanding of people, of the way they interact with each other, of the magic of life is incredible.

She writes such beautiful, incredible books and, because there is usually some element of food involved, I usually find myself quite hungry during the reading of one of her novels. But I don’t mind at all.

Her sense of observation is spot on, her dialogue rings true and her characters are people you can love and care about and dream about long after you’ve finished the book.

Though her books are always grounded in reality, there is always some element of magic to them, some element of the unknown, that takes what could be a saccharine storyline, but which becomes utter joy in Sarah Addison Allen’s hands.

Her books are joy; she creates joy. And that is the best magic of all.