Review: Succubus Dreams by Richelle Mead

Review: Succubus Dreams by Richelle MeadSuccubus Dreams by Richelle Mead
Series: Georgina Kincaid #3
Published by Bantam Books
Pages: 448
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased myself
Add to Goodreads
Rating:

Some days, a girl just can't catch a break ... especially when the girl in question is Georgina Kincaid, a shape-shifting succubus who gets her energy from seducing men. First there's her relationship with gorgeous bestselling writer Seth Mortensen, which is unsatisfying on a number of levels. It's not just that they can't have sex in case Georgina inadvertently kills him (generally a turn-off for most guys). Lately, even spending time together is a challenge. Seth's obsessed with finishing his latest novel, and Georgina's under demonic orders to mentor the new (and surprisingly inept) succubus on the block.

Then there are the dreams. Someone, or something, is preying on Georgina at night, draining her energy, and supplying eerie visions of her future. Georgina seeks answers from Dante, a dream interpreter with ties to the underworld, but his flirtatious charm only leaves her more confused-especially as the situation with Seth reaches crisis point. Now Georgina faces a double challenge-rein in her out-of-control love life, and go toe-to-toe with an enemy capable of wreaking serious havoc among mankind. Otherwise, Georgina, and the entire mortal world, may never sleep easy again.

Thoughts: SPOILER ALERT I tried writing this review without spoilers but I just really, really need to vent. So, if you haven’t read Succubus Dreams, stop now if you don’t want to be spoiled!

Succubus Dreams ruined any faith I’ve ever had in the Y chromosome. I mean, yes, Georgina isn’t perfect and I sure as hell wouldn’t date her… but Seth was supposed to be the love of her life. He and Georgina were supposed to have this epic romance… instead Seth just tossed it aside without really working at it. While, yes, he made some attempts to speak with Georgina, he never really pushed the issue. Hell, Georgie was willing to make compromises but Seth? No, Seth just stabbed her in the heart. That, my friends, is something no one should be capable of doing.

So fine, he wants to end it. Okay then. But do it without cheating on Georgie with one of her best friends! Dammit. I don’t care if you think that that is the only way to let her down, because it really really shouldn’t be something you should be able to sleep with. Honestly Seth, with boyfriends like you, who needs villainous imps? *stabs*

*breathes* So clearly I am not over this. Even though I knew, before reading the book, that Seth would end up dating whats-her-face, I really didn’t expect it to play out like this. Bastard.

END of spoilers!

Anyhow, despite the above, I did enjoy this book. Georgina starts to make some real growth. She tries to think her emotions through and she seems to be gaining greater understanding of the whole Heaven/Hell debacle. Mead also does a fantastic job foreshadowing upcoming plot lines. While I can’t see where she is going yet, I am really looking forward to seeing how she deals with what she’s already set up.

As usual, every appearance of Carter-the-angel was a joy. I love his character, and I love how Mead has gradually built his role in Georgie’s life. I also really enjoyed the book’s core plot – it gave the novel a Big Bad while also dealing with a bunch of personal issues for the characters.

My only complaint would have to be the R-rated scenes. Ok, yes, this is a book about a sex-demon but… ick. I know these scenes are key to understanding Georgina and her role in the whole good-versus-evil fight but they were just too unsavoury for me.

However, Succubus Dreams established one thing for certain: this series is not about sex. Hell, it’s not even about Georgie’s relationship with Seth. It is about so much more than that – it’s about Georgina and her guilt; it’s about the boundaries between heaven and hell; it’s about the nature and torture that is existence. And that? That’s what is making me stick it out despite the spoilery rant. My hope is that the next book will be even better.

Bottom line? A heart-wrenching installment to a brilliant series. Richelle Mead delivers.

Review: Silver-Tongued Devil by Jaye Wells

Review: Silver-Tongued Devil by Jaye WellsSilver-Tongued Devil by Jaye Wells
Series: Sabina Kane #4
Published by Orbit on January 5th 2012
Pages: 405
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Received for review from publishers
Add to Goodreads
Rating:
Also in this series: Red-Headed Stepchild, The Mage in Black, Green-Eyed Demon

Spoilers for the first 3 books! 

Life is looking up for Sabina Kane. Now that her scheming grandmother is dead, the threat of war has passed and the rulers of the dark races are about to sign a treaty to ensure ongoing peace. Her relationship with sexy mage Adam Lazarus is strong and all her friends are around her. Even her magic training is progressing further than she ever expected. The only two dark spots in her otherwise settled life are her guilt over her sister Maisie's fragile mental state and Sabina's own sinking sense that she's got unfinished business with Cain, the mysterious cult leader she let get away months earlier.

When a string of murders rock the New York dark races community and threatens to stall the peace negotiations, Sabina finds herself helping to find the killer. Her investigation leads her down troubling paths that have her questioning everything - and everyone - she knows. And the closer she gets to the murderer, the more Sabina realises this is one foe she may not able to kill.

Thoughts: Silver-Tongued Devil was brilliant. I expected great things from Jaye Wells, but truth is that Green-Eyed Demon left me wondering where she could go with the series. Everything had ended so happily that I couldn’t really work out why Wells needed two more books.

The reason? Because there is no such thing as a happy ending, not even in fiction! In real life, people don’t just go from being a ruthless assassin for 50 years to being a warm-hearted softie overnight. And in real life, love and friendship aren’t the only ingredients to lasting relationships. So while Sabina might want to ride into the sunset, that wasn’t going to happen any time soon. And to honest, I am so very grateful for that!

Let’s start with Sabina. She’s one of my favourite characters in fiction, she is a take-no-prisoners woman who has a panache for violence. It’s fabulous and depressing at the same time. But in the third book in the series, it felt like she was trying to be someone she wasn’t. Luckily, that attempt is dealt with head-on in Silver-Tongued Devil. Not only did she deal with her own demons, she dealt with the way people around her were treating her too. *cough* Adam. *cough*

And while all the inter-character relationships were fantastically done, it was the gargantuan plot twists that made this book stand out. Jaye Wells is not afraid to “go there”. She made some pretty big revaluations in this book and made her characters suffer through pretty horrific consequences because of them. What was especially gratifying was the way the plot built on existing scenes – Wells has been laying the groundwork for the events of Silver-Tongued Devil over the entire series. Now that? That’s a real writer.

While the first half of the book was good, the second half was fantastic. The pace and the plot just grew more and more intriguing with each page – I found myself thinking about the book whenever I’d put it down. This book made going about my day a very frustrating venture, as all I wanted to do was read!! The only reason it isn’t getting 5 stars? Well, it’s not quite as funny as its predecessors. Other than that, it was perfection.

Bottom line? Silver-Tongued Devil was everything I didn’t even know I wanted. It was a gripping installment to an already brilliant series. Go forth and read it!

Review: Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

Review: Cry Wolf by Patricia BriggsCry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha & Omega #1
Published by Orbit
Pages: 320
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased myself
Add to Goodreads
Rating:
Also in this series: Hunting Ground

Anna never knew werewolves existed until the night she survived a violent attack…and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she'd learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But Anna is that rarest kind of werewolf: an Omega. And one of the most powerful werewolves in the country will recognize her value as a pack member—and as his mate.

Thoughts: In case you haven’t heard, Patricia Briggs is a brilliant author. I tend to forget her whenever I list my favourite authors, but I really really shouldn’t. Every one of her books is a joy to read, and Cry Wolf is no exception. If you’ve never read her work… get to it!

So, Cry Wolf. First off, you should know that Anna and Charles’ story begins with another tale: Alpha and Omega. It’s a novella published in the On the Prowl anthology (I gave it a glowing review here), and it is well worth reading before you start Cry Wolf. That said, you can jump straight into the novel without reading the prequel – that’s actually what I started off doing before I remembered Alpha and Omega. But I found that reading about Anna’s back story and how she met Charles really did enhance Cry Wolf, so… it’s up to you.

There was a lot of sadness in Cry Wolf. Maybe I am a sucker for sad stories, but my heart leapt for so many of the characters in this book: Bran and Sam, in particular. Bran – the alpha of alphas – was one of my favourite characters in the Mercy Series. Getting to see things from his POV was a real thrill. And finding out his origin story? The most beautifully depressing thing I have ever read. And Sam… oh, Sam. I loved seeing him through the eyes of all new characters – he’s still as charismatic as ever, but boy is that boy ever filled with angst.There was a beautiful romantic tension between Anna and Charles – who are busy coming to terms with their new-but-intense relationship. It’s a rather unique relationship; their wolves are in love, but their human counterparts are struggling to accept the bond. Instant-bonds are one of my favourite tropes, but they can very quickly turn ridiculous. Cry Wolf manages to deal with the theme seriously – it’s brilliant.

Writing this review has made me want to reread Cry Wolf. Seriously, there is a reason everyone and their mother loves Patricia Briggs. Go forth and read!

Bottom line? Cry Wolf is a stunning novel. It has atmosphere, heartbreak, monsters, and a lovely romance. In short, it has everything I could possibly want from a novel.

Review: Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

Review: Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine HarrisDead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #5
Published by Ace/Roc, Gollancz
Pages: 295
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased myself
Add to Goodreads
Rating:
Also in this series: Dead Until Dark

Sookie's got just a month, before the next full moon, to find out who wants her brother dead - and to stop the fiend! Sookie Stackhouse enjoys her life, mostly. She's a great cocktail waitress in a fun bar; she has a love life, albeit a bit complicated, and most people have come to terms with her telepathy. The problem is, Sookie wants a quiet life - but things just seem to happen to her and her friends. Now her brother Jason's eyes are starting to change: he's about to turn into a were-panther for the first time.

She can deal with that, but her normal sisterly concern turns to cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population. She afraid not just because Jason's at risk, but because his new were-brethren suspect Jason may be the shooter. Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who's behind the attacks - unless the killer decides to find her first.

Thoughts: I am an ex-True Blood fan. While I am grateful for the series as it got me to pick up the Sookie Stackhouse series, I don’t watch it any more. It is brash and crass and just a bit too crazy – qualities that are fantastic in the short term, but painful after 4 long years.

But the Sookie books are nothing like True Blood – a fact that always comes to me as a shocking realisation whenever I pick up a new Sookie book. Dead as a Doornail is just like its predecessors: sweet, comforting and very Southern. If these books were food, they’d be a series of Red Velvet cupcakes… providing serious southern comfort while looking like blood.

Yup. Sookie Stackhouse novels = literary equivalent of Red Velvet.

So, of course, Dead as a Doornail was a pleasure to read. I curled up with it and was happy reading about both Sookie’s car troubles and her weird paranormal problems. It was a sweet, escapist read – and I will certainly be reading more books in the series. But did it keep me on my toes? Nope. Did it have me dying to read the next page? Nope. Did I feel any of the emotional ups-and-downs of reading a good book? Not once.

Why is that? Well, Dead as a Doornail is a bog-standard mystery with vampires and werewolves thrown in. Problem was that this particular mystery had no bite to it. By the time of the big reveal, my sole reaction was “huh”. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Alongside the mystery was Sookie’s ludicrous love life. She has FIVE men chasing after her in Dead as a Doornail – three of whom she kisses in this short book. Oh, and as if those five weren’t enough, Love Interest #6 makes his debut at the end of the novel. Seriously? I mean, if I were taking these books seriously (thank God I’m not) I would be quite pissed off by this flip-flopping.

Bottom line? This is an enjoyable series, but Dead as a Doornail is far from brilliant. If you don’t take the plot too seriously, you’ll probably enjoy it.

Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn

Review: Beastly by Alex FlinnBeastly by Alex Flinn
Published by HarperTeen
Pages: 304
Genres: Fairytale Re-tellings, Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
Add to Goodreads
Rating:

I am a beast. A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog, but a horrible new creature who walks upright – a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever – ruined – unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and a perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly beastly.

Before you read: Apparently Alex is a she. Huh. So, note that this review was written before Jan set me straight!

Thoughts: Alex Flinn was never a teenager. He went straight from 12 to 20. It’s true. How do I know? Well, I read his book Beastly.

Despite what some people may believe, writing about teenagers is like dealing with teenagers… not easy. You have to write about their hormone-fueled decisions without making them seem completely irrational. It’s really hard, and your “research” cannot be limited to watching She’s All That 30 times. Which is what Alex Flinn did… I can’t think of any other explanation.

Beastly just fell flat. Its characters were illogical, one-dimensional creatures, even though they were based off of the brilliant characters from the Beauty and the Beast tale. In short, Flinn’s Beauty is an idiot and his Beast a real ass. I mean, would the Beauty we all love – who loves her family as much as they love her – risk her future for a drug-addict Daddy? I think not. And would Beast ever purposefully lie to Beauty? No, because he’s a straight-forward ass… not a backstabbing one! *shakes fist* And don’t even get me started on the Beast’s entourage. I mean, what self-respecting teacher would condone kidnapping a teenage girl for some spoiled hermit? Seriously? Seriously?

Ok, so while Flinn completely missed the mark with his characters, there were some things that I liked in this book. I liked the fact that the novel is told from the Beast’s point-of-view. It’s a perspective I honestly had never considered. I also liked how Flinn transferred the tale to modern Manhattan – Beast goes to plastic surgeons looking for a cosmetic cure, and he dresses as a Muslim woman in order to go out in public… isn’t that just ingenious? Shame it didn’t make the characters any more likable.

So… I am giving this book 2.5 stars despite everything I’ve just written. Why? Well, it’s still Beauty and the Beast. And anything Beauty and the Beast is inherently brilliant – even when it misses the mark.

Bottom line? Not worth reading unless you’re a die-hard Beauty and the Beast fan. And even then…

Page 4 of 11« First...23456...Last »