Tag Archives: vampires

Book Review: Blade Bound

I have been reading this series since early 2012 (although book 1 was published in 2009). This is the very last book in the series. I read twelve full-length novels and a few novellas to get to this point.

First of all, I’d like to make it clear that no author (except for yours truly, obviously) has any right to end a series before I tell them they can. BUT fine. Whatever. GO AHEAD CHLOE NEILL. Deprive me of Chicago food and Ethan and more descriptions of Chicago food. (Eleanor is almost as hungry as Merit.) Also, Catcher & Mallory & Luke & Jeff & Lindsay & GRANDPA MERIT!

Ahem. I’m fine. *wipes away tear surreptitiously*

I am not going to lie, readers. I was worried about this book. Worried a lot. There has been an elephant hanging over the story-line (what? who doesn’t love a mixed metaphor?) for lo! at least two-thirds of the series. I don’t want to give away too much in case you’ve not read the series, but honestly, telling you about the elephant gives away exactly jack shit, because it’s just a random fucking prophecy. (A BABY prophecy. A vampire baby prophecy.)

I hate “having a baby to wrap up a series.” To me, it smacks overmuch of “now our lives are complete and wrapped up in a bow.” (Ahem, Cat & Bones-Jeaniene Frost.) So, having a baby elephant for most of the series was upsetting. You can’t just have secret prophecies and then wrap them up in the epilogue of the last book.

OR CAN YOU?

The Cover

 

The Blurb

Since the night of her brutal attack and unwilling transformation to vampire, Merit’s stood as Sentinel and protector of Chicago’s Cadogan House. She’s saved the Windy City from the forces of darkness time and again with her liege and lover, Ethan Sullivan, by her side.

When the House is infiltrated and Merit is attacked by a vampire seemingly under the sway of dark magic, Merit and Ethan realize the danger is closer than they could have ever imagined. As a malign sorcery spreads throughout the city, Merit must go to war against supernatural powers beyond her comprehension. It’s her last chance to save everything—and everyone—she loves.

The Review

I was prepared to be angry. Or disappointed. But I wasn’t! (I realize that’s not a shining endorsement since I went into it with such low exceptions, but I liked it, I swear!)

Because my PSM is not as brave as I am, she let me finish it first before diving in.  I texted her at various points to say things like “this isn’t a spoiler, but if it was snowing on me in August in Chicago, I wouldn’t be outside trying to catch snowflakes with my tongue,” and “when I get married, I’m going to have trousseau.” (Also at my wedding? WEDDING LLAMAS! AND A MINI-WEDDING-UNICORN!)

So far, I’m not getting any takers for my mini-unicorn-themed wedding. (CALL ME!)

Google “wedding llamas.” You will not regret this.

The book opens with Ethan and Merit’s wedding. What’s kinda funny is that this book, as I mentioned, is the 13th in the series. And Ethan and Merit have only known each other for a year. That is one hell of a year.

Things, of course, went south quickly. (Although I understand why a full-length novel about how their wedding and honeymoon were perfect except her stupid dad was stupid and GROW UP MR. MERIT AND ALSO MERIT’S DOUCHEY BROTHER, and then they had a peaceful few months where they ate many delicious foods and had lots of sex isn’t your typical book, I still would’ve read it.)

So then, magical badness. Of course. And way less Gabriel shifter presence than I would’ve liked.

Overall, though, I really did like the way this was wrapped up. Except for the damn epilogue, of course.

The Quotes

I imaged she’d tried to pick an outfit appropriate for the Busy Dragon Rider on the Go. Bummer she hadn’t added a pointed hat.

“Girl takes her role as DM a little too seriously,” Catcher murmured.

heh. Who doesn’t love a D&D reference?

“Is it better if we’re objectifying his body and his brain?” Margo asked.

Yes, Margo, it is. So sayeth the Amy.

The French may make irritating vampires, but they make very good bubbles.

I do love me some bubbles. And last, but not least…

“You were born Caroline, and  you made yourself Merit. I demand your love and your faithfulness.” He smiled slyly. “Your identity is yours to keep.”

The Verdict

I am sad that it’s over. I’m gonna miss Merit and Ethan, and rather than wrapping up the elephant, I wish they’d wrapped up Merit’s crap family and dropped them in the Chicago River.

Whether you’ve never read the series or you’ve been waiting for this one as anxiously as I did, you really can’t go wrong if you enjoy urban fantasy, sexy Scandinavian vampires, and a group of friends that can crack wise at every opportunity.

Book Review: The Beast of London

A few weeks ago, I got an email from the author asking if I wanted an advanced copy to read and review. Along with the email, I got the cover and the blurb.

The blurb sounded interesting, but I am not going to lie to you, faithful readers. It was the cover that convinced me. I mean, look at this gorgeous thing!

The Cover

Right? RIGHT?

That is amazing. Also intriguing? The blurb. I love me some Bram Stoker, and I think we all know how I feel about vampires. A retelling of the Dracula story from Mina’s point of view? There was absolutely no way I was turning that down.

The Blurb

Mina Murray once lived an adventurous life, but after a tragedy in the forests of Transylvania, she left it all behind. Now she has settled into a quiet routine as a schoolteacher in London, engaged to the respectable solicitor Jonathan Harker, attempting to fit into the stuffy upper class London society to which he belongs.

Her dark past comes careening into her present when Jonathan is abducted by a group of vampires from a society ball. Determined to rescue him, she teams up with her former paramour Abraham Van Helsing and his colleague, Scotland Yard Inspector John Seward.

As they pursue Jonathan’s abductors from England to the Low Countries and beyond, Mina realizes that Jonathan’s abduction is tied to a larger threat against humanity…

The Review

I had a hard time getting into it in the beginning. The language seemed stilted and didn’t flow very well. It wasn’t until I was about 30% of the way through this (60K word) book that I felt like it came into its own.

The backbone of the story is interesting, but the characters didn’t seem very well-developed. It was hard to believe that Jonathan Harker was lovable enough to endure his mother and to mount a full-fledged rescue attempt in the face of almost impossible odds.

However, the world-building was very well done, and by the end, I was buying the forbidden chemistry between Mina and Abe (Van Helsing). There were some fun twists and turns regarding a mysterious stranger and some events that had me wanting to do a little historical research (which is, for me, the hallmark of a good book–I care enough to dig deeper).

The ending felt abrupt. I think the book could’ve easily continued on for another 10-20K words (and I would’ve liked more exposition and time spent with the main characters).

I’m hoping we see more of the intriguing Clara in the next book (which I will definitely be picking up) and learn more about Gabriel’s back story.

The Verdict

A good debut! I’m looking forward to the author’s voice really coming into its own as she moves forward with future works. I’ll definitely be waiting for the second one to come out and give this a solid 3.5 stars.

The Disclaimer

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Night in the Waking City (an Elemental World short story)

Elizabeth Hunter re-released her novella A Very Proper Monster yesterday. It  had previously been paired with a Grace Draven short (which you should read…), but now it’s out in the world alone and with a brand new cover.

Cover of A Very Proper Monster

I reviewed A Very Proper Monster when it came out before, but this edition has a new short story in it that gives us a new glimpse of Josie and Tom.

The short was genuinely fantastic. I enjoyed Tom and Josie the first time around, and this look at them, with bonus Tenzin and Ben, was just the best.

The Blurb

Tom and Josie travel to New York City to meet with allies and publishers, but a chance encounter sends Josie into a rage, leaving Tom to look for unexpected allies in the city that never sleeps. Can a young human and an ancient vampire find his ailing mate before Josie does something she’ll regret?

The Review

This story was both laugh out loud funny (honestly-I was laughing loudly enough sitting alone at the bar last night that people gave me side-eye) and sweetly (but not too sweetly) poignant. Not many authors have the chops to pull off heart-string tugging and funny bone whacking in the same short story.

Josie is a delight-she’s eccentric, passionate, and not quite like other vampires. Honestly, she’s what I want to be when I grow up and have enough money to be eccentric instead of merely odd.

I also want the ability to find offensive authors and have a “chat” with them about the abuses they’ve perpetrated on the English language.

(And I want to hang out with Tenzin and discuss romance novels.)

The Quotes (I couldn’t pick just one…this story is so quotable!)

 “He does write in a genre,” [Josie] said. “It’s a genre called ‘predictable sexist shite.’ Trust me, he’s hardly the first writer to publish in it.”

New York City skyline at night with quote

Typical. She gives a man perfectly valid writing feedback, and he threatens her.

And the best for last (and not something I worry about over muchly…ha!)

“Just tell me. Are you going to kill me?”
“I don’t know. Are you going to keep abusing adverbs?”

The Verdict

If you haven’t already read A Very Proper Monster, you’re going to want to do that immediately – and especially now that you get this fantastic short story with it. Run, don’t walk, to Amazon and download your copy today.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Last Thursday morning, the architect dropped me off at the airport for my magical three-day trip to New Orleans. I had two purposes for visiting: the first – to hang out with and old (and I mean old…) friend that I’ve known for fifteen years (that might make me almost old).

The second was research related. Although I’m mid edit on my first book (and I got through another four chapters on my trip), my third book is primarily set in New Orleans and just outside Santa Fe.

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There are cities visited in my trilogy that I don’t feel bad not having experienced myself (or not having experienced with the book in mind), but I really wanted to get New Orleans right. The city, the culture, the atmosphere.

This is my house inspiration for a large part of the book.

This is my house inspiration for a large part of the book.

So when aforementioned friend said he was thinking about going to New Orleans, I invited myself along.

It was an amazing city and I had a wonderful time. I might even go back someday. But holy hell, was it humid. I went out for my Saturday morning run and couldn’t even make my three mile goal. I have never been so sweaty in my life.

Sweatiest of sweaty selfies

Sweatiest of sweaty selfies

The coffee was amazing, though, and we did hit up Bourbon Street every night and stay out too late drinking ridiculous drinks out of ridiculous glasses.

I was actually a lot more sober than I look. It's hard to do a responsible looking selfie with a glowing skull full of booze.

I was actually a lot more sober than I look. It’s hard to do a responsible looking selfie with a glowing skull full of booze.

I bought silly souvenirs.

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We had fancy dinner.

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We went on a ghost tour where I was the only one taking notes. (When I texted that tidbit to my PSM, she replied, “You didn’t choose the nerd life.”)

Word.

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I walked more than 7 miles each on Friday (cemeteries! Ghost tour!) and Saturday (disappointing run! disappointing cemetery! Louis Armstrong Park!).

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I saw a animal – a winged unimule. A unimulasus. or a pegamulicorn. I think pegamulicorn.

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I saw zombies, although my friend says it was just some hungover dudes.

I did not see any vampires. As far as I know. Maybe I did and they were just blending in and didn’t introduce themselves because I’m not good vamp-turning material. That is fucking tragic, is what that is.

I stayed up too late and woke up too early and managed to be both eerily productive and find some bikini lounging time

Checking "wear a bikini in public" off my life list! Go me!

Checking “wear a bikini in public” off my life list! Go me!

I got to spend a lot of quality time with my really old friend, eat some fantastical foods, and overall had a simply fantastic vacation.

Cafe au lait and beignets? Don't mind if I do.

Cafe au lait and beignets? Don’t mind if I do.

I am, however, delighted to be back with my family. I missed them all – especially the small one who seemed to have had a good time without me.

Waiting at the airport

Huge shout-out to my sister-wife who took such good care of my dudes while I was gone.

 

Now – who wants to go to Santa Fe with me? I can’t promise there’ll be hurricanes, but I can promise it’ll be fun!

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Happy Autumnal Equinox!

I AM SO EXCITED THAT IT’S AUTUMN!

I am wearing knee-high boots (I own only two pairs because I have Calves of PowerTM and can never find any, including these, that fit right). I am wearing a sweater. I drank a motherfucking pumpkin spice latte.

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It was 42 degrees this morning.

I love you, Autumn.

You know what else is contributing to my absolute giddiness?

giddy

In less than 24 hours I will be on an airplane.

“But Amy,” I can hear you say. “You hate to fly!”

True enough. BUT, the airplane, provided it doesn’t kill me in a fiery crash, will take me (eventually) to New Orleans.

This is absolutely what's going to happen...

This is absolutely what’s going to happen…

I have some pretty specific plans for NOLA. Most of them involve biting.

vampire6

So be ready for a whole new me when I return next week…

Hoping I'm a daywalker...

Hoping I’m a daywalker…

 

Happy Wednesday! (I’m four meetings away from blowing this popsicle stand!)