Review – Feast of Fools (Morganville Vampires, Book 4) by Rachel Caine

Feast of Fools (Morganville Vampires, Book 4) by Rachel Caine
Amazon US / Amazon UK / BookDepository / LibraryThing / Goodreads

Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Pages: 256

SPOILERS for previous books!

Summary:  In the town of Morganville, vampires and humans live in relative peace but Claire Danvers has never been convinced – especially with the arrival of Mr Bishop, an ancient, old-school vampire who cares nothing about harmony. What he wants from the town’s living and its dead is unthinkably sinister.

Thoughts: I love the Morganville Vampire series, and while this book is no exception, it wasn’t quite as extraordinary as Midnight Alley. After the shocking revelation in MA of the newest baddy in town – a Mr. Bishop – Claire is unfortunately back in the dark as to what on earth is going on in Morganville. Although it did wonders to build tension – I couldn’t turn those pages fast enough – it also made a lot of the book feel like a placeholder. Although we do get a resolution to the mystery – well, as much a Caine can write a resolution to her Morganville series – I would still recommend having a copy of Lord of Misrule on hand.

Now that I think about it, this book is the Morganville equivalent of Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix. Claire, like Harry did, spends the majority of the book utterly confused, then bang – big event – and all becomes clear. Obviously, Caine hardly sat Claire down to explain the verse to her, the way Rowling did to Harry – but the similarity is still there.

On to the great things in this book. Myrinn is as awesome as ever – eccentric, violent, and utterly adorable. Shane and Claire have their relationship is put to the test by the pull of her parents, and the introduction of a new vamp who takes an unfortunate interest in Shane. We also got a teaser as to the strengths that Claire may or may not possess (I’m not being cagey, I honestly don’t know). Lots of great emotional drama – although not quite as much plot as Caine usually manages to get into a Morganville book. Although if compared to other authors, it sure is action-packed!

Bottom line?  Not the best book in the series, but enjoyable none-the-less.  If you haven’t yet, make sure you get your hands on the Morganville Vampires Series ASAP!

Review: Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne

Review: Moonlight by Rachel HawthorneMoonlight by Rachel Hawthorne
Series: Dark Guardian #1
Published by Harper Collins on 2009-03-03
Pages: 272
Genres: Middle Grade
Source: Gifted from someone with/without taste
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Rating:

Kayla is the nature lover, the all-American beauty who can't understand why she's so drawn to distant, brooding Lucas. Adopted as a young child, she has no way of knowing that she's inherited a terrifying - and thrilling - gene that will change her life forever.

Lucas is dangerous, gorgeous . . . and a werewolf. As leader of the Dark Guardians, shape-shifters who gather deep within the state park, he has sworn to protect his pack. But when Lucas finds his true soul mate, his love could put them all in harm's way. As Lucas and Kayla struggle with their feelings for each other, a greater danger lurks: Humans have discovered the Dark Guardians and are planning their destruction. Kayla must choose between the life she knows and the love she feels certain is her destiny.

Thoughts: There was just something… wrong with this book. There was nothing particularly bad about the writing, or even the plot – but there was just something about it that made it a rather uneventful read.  But what exactly?

When I finished it – which took a while despite being a ludicrously easy read – I finally worked out what it was: it was a Middle Grade novel with a Young Adult plot.

The writing was just slightly too simple, the cover-ups too obvious, and the emotions underdeveloped. While this is understandable when your narrator is 12 – it is harder when she is a teen. And when the plot involves werewolves and undying love, there is a certain amount of maturity that you expect from the writing and the characters.

Bottom line? Skip it – even if you are a die-hard YA Romance lover. I don’t plan on getting the next books – life is too short to read books you a apathetic about.

Review: Chosen by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Review: Chosen by P.C. and Kristin CastChosen by Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast
Series: House of Night #3
Published by ATOM, St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 352
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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Rating:
Also in this series: Marked, Betrayed, Tempted

SPOILERS for previous books!

Dark forces are at work at the House of Night and fledgling vampyre Zoey Redbird’s adventures at the school take a mysterious turn. Those who appear to be friends are turning out to be enemies. And oddly enough, sworn enemies are also turning into friends. So begins the gripping third installment of this “highly addictive series” (Romantic Times), in which Zoey’s mettle will be tested like never before. Her best friend, Stevie Rae, is undead and struggling to maintain a grip on her humanity. Zoey doesn’t have a clue how to help her, but she does know that anything she and Stevie Rae discover must be kept secret from everyone else at the House of Night, where trust has become a rare commodity.

Speaking of rare: Zoey finds herself in the very unexpected and rare position of having three boyfriends. Mix a little bloodlust into the equation and the situation has the potential to spell social disaster. Just when it seems things couldn’t get any tougher, vampyres start turning up dead. Really dead. It looks like the People of Faith, and Zoey’s horrid step-father in particular, are tired of living side-by-side with vampyres. But, as Zoey and her friends so often find out, how things appear rarely reflects the truth…

Thoughts: I have had such a roller-coaster ride with the HoN series. I was stunned (not in a good way) by Marked, blown away (in a good way) by Betrayed – and then I wanted to burn Chosen.

Seriously.

This was by far my least favourite book. It put the series on hold for me, and I likely would not have continued had it not been for the fact that I had already bought the rest of the series after reading Betrayed. I have to say, the books do return to the mediocre-yet-addicting quality of Betrayed… but you have to get past this thing first.

What made this book so bad was the unimaginable stupidity of Zoey. Along with this stupidity came the extraordinary stupidity of her friends – all of whom failed to realise that they were equally as dumb. In fact, the only one with any sense at all was Aphrodite… but of course no one listened to her because she is such a “poo-head.”

*sighs*

Bottom line? Read the a summary of the book on-line and then skip ahead to Untamed.

Review – Evernight by Claudia Gray

Evernight (Evernight Series, Book 1) by Claudia Gray
Amazon UK / Bookdepository / Librarything / Goodreads

Rating: 3/5 stars
Pages: 352 pages

Summary: 
Bianca wants to escape. She’s been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn’t fit in.

Then she meets Lucas. He’s not the “Evernight type” either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him. But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can’t be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she’s ever believed.

Thoughts: Let me start off by saying there was a point, just about half way through the book, when I was ready to write a five star review.  I was in love with Bianca – and more importantly, her parents.  They were a real family who enjoyed listening to Jazz and watching 1930s films.  They were perfect, and even Bianca, with all her teenage worry and angst, was lovable.  Watching her pine over the mysterious Lucas was just OMG-squeeful.

But a few pages leter, I wanted to rip the book to pieces.  Without giving away too many spoilers, let’s just say that there is a certain honesty one expects from a narrator.  And that Bianca had kept this particular secret for half a book… well, it just kinda made me angry.

After that, I just never really trusted any other characters.  I realised that I needed to be more forgiving – Gray had to write the story the way she did in order to succesfully develop the book.  But I still haven’t gotten over it… and that kinda hindered my appreciation of the rest of Evernight.  To be honest, by the time we got to the climax of the story I was so bitter I was rooting for the baddies!  I feel kinda bad about that now, and perhaps I should have taken a break from Bianca before finishing.

Bottom line? While I do think YA fans should pick up Evernight – brace yourself for a shock.  I already have a copy of the sequel Stargazer and have hope that I will love the entire book this time!

Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Series: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #1
Genres: Science Fiction
Source: Purchased myself
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Rating:

It’s an ordinary Thursday lunchtime for Arthur Dent until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly afterwards to make way for a new hyperspace bypass and his best friend has just announced that he’s an alien. At this moment, they’re hurtling through space with nothing but their towels and an innocuous-looking book inscribed with the big, friendly words: DON’T PANIC.

The weekend has only just begun…

Thoughts: I had been meaning to read this book for a couple of years, but never got around to getting a copy.  So when a friend finally just gave me a copy for Christmas, I knew I had no reason to wait.

There are so many things about this book that make it a classic.  Besides the humour – which there is plenty of – the social commentary is extraordinarily insightful.  As with the case with a lot of science fiction, the universe provides a new venue for us to examine ourselves.  Adams did the same thing as most sci-fi writers – he just did it with a hell of a lot more wit.

There are so many quotes in this book that deserve a mention – and half of them you probably know without reading the book.  So I thought I would share instead a quote from the letter Adams wrote to his US editor.  It does an excellent job at demonstrating the quality of his humour, his ability to see straight through things to the truth, and also sets up the very British-ness of the book:

There are some changes in the script that simply don’t make sense.  Arthur Dent is English, the setting is England, and has been in every single manifestation of HHGG ever. […] So why suddenly “Newark” instead of “Rickmansworth”? And “Bloomingdales” instead of “Marks and Spencer”?  The fact that Rickmansworth is not within the continent United States doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist!  American audiences do not need to feel disturbed by the notion that places do exist outside the US or that people might suddenly refer to them in works of fiction.  […]  If you feel that referring to “Marks and Spencer” might seriously freak out Americans because they haven’t heard of it […] we could either put warning stickers on the cover (“The text of this book contains references to places and institutions outside the continental United States and may cause offence to people who haven’t heard of them”) or you could, I suppose, put “Harrods”, which most people will have heard of.  Or we could even take the appalling risk of just recklessly mentioning things that people won’t have heard of and see if they survive the experience.  They probably will – when people are born they haven’t heard of anything or anywhere, but seem to get through the first few years of their lives without ill-effects.

Bottom Line? HHGG is absolutely hysterical.  And like the best humour, it has a very truthful ring to it.  Also, reading it will let you in on all sorts of jokes that you have been missing all these years!

DON’T PANIC about the boring cover! The new re-release is meant to be a DIY book cover.  It is really kinda awesome, as it has a bunch of HHGG stickers to decorate the book with – and whatever you have left over you can paste where you like.  Very very cool.  (Check out the video!)

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Don’t Panic DIY Covers from Crush Design on Vimeo.

Review: Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

Review: Dead Witch Walking by Kim HarrisonDead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
Series: The Hollows #1
Published by Harper Voyager
Pages: 432
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased myself
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Rating:
Also in this series: Evermore

The underground population of witches, vampires, werewolves—creatures of dreams and nightmares—has lived beside humans for centuries, hiding their powers. But after a genetically engineered virus wipes out a large part of humanity, many of the "Inderlanders" reveal themselves, changing everything.

Rachel Morgan, witch and bounty hunter with the Inderland Runner Services, is one of the best at apprehending supernatural lawbreakers throughout Cincinnati, but when it comes to following the rules, she falls desperately short. Determined to buck the system, she quits and takes off on the run with an I.S. contract on her head and is reluctantly forced to team up with Ivy, Inderland's best runner . . . and a living vampire. But this witch is way out of her league, and to clear her name, Rachel must evade shape-changing assassins, outwit a powerful businessman/crime lord, and survive a vicious underground fight-to-the-death . . . not to mention her own roommate.

Thoughts: Dead Witch Walking is ludicrously well written – excellent pace, characterization, universe building, etc. etc. Harrison is a gifted writer and created one hell of a character in Rachel Morgan. She had plot twist after plot twist – constantly revealing something new and exciting about this amazing universe.

So why haven’t I given this book a five star rating? Well, mostly because it took me so damn long to finish it. I honestly blame this book for my book blogging slump, as it took me almost 2 months to finish! That is never a good sign.

What it all boils down to are the characters. And these characters I just could not care less about. I have read some reviews that claimed Rachel was the most annoying narrator they had ever read. This is an exaggeration. Anyone who has read the Werecats series by Rachel Vincent knows that Faythe knocks all competition out of the water. However, it is unlikely that you will grow to care about Rachel in this book. I sure as hell didn’t despite my very best intentions. Had the book finished with her death, I likely would have shrugged and moved on.

Bottom line? Read it for the universe – the Hollows is an amazing place. Also, the series apparently gets a lot better by the third book. Oh, and get the UK cover! The US ones are just disturbing.

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