urban fantasy

Chloe Neill “Hard Bitten” | Chicagoland Vampires 4

1I get used to series. Then I read them, even if I don’t particularly like them. Same happened to me with Chloe Neill series Chicagoland Vampires. Lucky for me, though, “Hard Bitten” (Chicagoland Vampires 4; ISBN 04512333328; 350p. Goodreads) ended up with a very interesting note.

Tension is ever rising in House Cardogan. Protesters outside the windows demand day and night for these dangerous bloodsucking creatures to go back where they came from – hell. Some people go missing after especially brutal raves take place. New drug is rumored to be on the market, messing things up. And, seemingly, all of these strings lead to House Cardogan. Its master, Sullivan is under pressure from two different ramparts: the mayor of the city, and the vampire authorities from across the pond. Pressure itself wouldn’t be hard to handle, of course. It’s their orders that put him between an anvil and a hammer. One side wants him to take care of this, because Cardogan looks involved. Other side wants him to stop meddling in what the head of Cardogan is not supposed to meddle. So, clan reputation or his own skin?

Merit, on the other hand, seems to have found a way around all this mess. After all, the orders were to her liege, not her directly. And what her liege doesn’t know, her liege cannot be blamed for, right? Thus she picks up her contacts in dark deep places, and sets off after those who survived the raves. Sadly, the deeper she digs, the less she likes the secrets. Some of them are about to flip her whole world upside down. Like the one about her getting turned into a vampire…

The ending was a very interesting choice author made, and it got me real curious of how will this develop then. Still, I really won’t be recommending these to anyone who didn’t get this far to begin with. 3 out of 5 from me. Will read the next one though.

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Categories: 3-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jordan L. Hawk “Threshold” | Whyborne & Griffin 2

2I enjoyed the first book in Jordan L. Hawk series Whyborne & Griffin, so it was only a matter of time, and finding the time, until I got into the second one, “Threshold” (Whyborne & Griffin 2; ISBN 0988564971; 249p.; Goodreads). I must say, this was the most unexpected turn of events. And yet I didn’t like it so much. But I do enjoy the Lovecraftian vibe the author has.

Whyborne’s father was never overly fond of his younger son. Especially not after he decided to make his own life, and not follow the path he provided. That slightly shifted after the battle with monsters from another dimension, where Whyborne showed immense knowledge and great courage. Still, even with that little bit of mending, Whyborne is mighty suspicious when his father hires Griffin to investigate supernatural happenings in one of his coal mines.

Miners hear buzzing, vibrations behind the walls. Some claim there’s voices telling them of rich coal veins nearby. People disappear or die in strangest accidents. Some return, strange and different. A lot of these strings lead to excavation site in a cave system nearby, so that’s where the trio heads. There’s nothing real special there, nothing archaeologists haven’t already taken account of. Up until the floor breaks under Whyborne’s feet, and he is plunged into the darkness of the caves below. Here walls are all covered in drawings of strange creatures enslaving humans. And there’s something lurking just behind the band of light…

SPOILER: this is a personal preference, but I really do not like when mild fantasy meets mild sci-fi, and results are aliens vs cowboys. END OF SPOILER. I think the biggest peeve here was the romance line. I really hate the whole “but I thought this, so I did that, because I thought…“, for as a reader you know exactly how that’ll go. There’ll be spilling sand between the fingers, then making up, and apologies, and in romance novel cases: make-up sex. Other than that, the events were very unexpected, so while I can only give this book 3 out of 5, I will definitely read the next one.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Fantasy, Books: Horror, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, Sci-Fi Books, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Victoria Dalpe – Parasite Life

4Received “Parasite Life” by Victoria Dalpe (ISBN 1771483970; 260p.; Goodreads) from the publishers, or maybe the author, I can’t recall. It was intriguing, and I had nothing better to do, so why not a vampire book, right? Yes, right. I didn’t expect to get what I got, and I can’t figure out whether that’s bad or brilliant. So let me just tell you of the book.

Jane lives her life in a creepy old house, with her dying mother. She’s asocial, but not by choice. her nature, invisible to the eye, is pulling at the primal instincts in people, making their skin crawl. Even her own mother, with as little expression as she has left, seems to show no will to communicate with her daughter. So, with no friends, hated and shunned, Jane tries to survive until she can finally leave. Somewhere. Anywhere. Up until a new girl, a gorgeous gothy Sabrina shows up, and turns her whole world around. Starting with this new sensation of having a friend, and escalating to love. And passion, during which Jane unceremoniously got drunk with Sabrina, forced herself on her, after a very clear no, and gnawed at her neck to sate the beast inside. For Jane is a vampire, and her mother is dying due to this dark nature of hers.

Sabrina, either to her own kind heart, stupidity, or compulsion of a vampire, forgives Jane, and they set off on a quest to find Jane’s father, the very one who passed this gene upon her. Jane hopes he’d know of a cure, or at least some substitute she could use instead of constantly abusing Sabrina. Or, maybe he could teach her how to be better. And oh boy, does Hugh McGarrett has lessons for her. Not the least one is how easy it is to manipulate those who aren’t afraid of their kind. People like Sabrina.

Jane is a horrible little monster. First bells rang in my head when she called herself a “seducer” after she forced herself on this girl. Rapist is the word, Jane. Second, she thinks she’s giving something by, what? Caring for a stray cat, and dying mother, who is dying because of this “care” she’s providing? Or was it caring to drag a girl on a wild chase of some man who never wanted to have anything to do with her, because hey, that friend has a license, can take her mum’s car, and oh, Jane can feed on her all the way there, all the while smooching up, and playing with the “I love you, I need you” cards. And then the very, very final straw was when this girl, while laying down the body of the person who saved her, claimed she has saved herself. Yes, you locked yourself in, good job on saving your sorry ass. So, as you can see, I’m feeling extremely negative towards this book. But I will give it a 4 out of 5 anyway (3 might be more fitting, due to lack of substance in secondary characters, like Sabrina). Here’s why: I hope that author is not insane, but rather – brilliant. Jane is a very classic vampire. A disgusting creature, deluded into believing any demented reason they come up with on why their existence is good. I do believe that if Stoker’s Dracula would’ve been written from his perspective, we would’ve heard how kind and generous he is too. So with that hope, that’s the rate I’ll give this book. Don’t read it if you don’t like the image of the modern vampire tarnished.

Categories: 3-5, 4-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, F/F Literature, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill – “Twice Bitten” | Chicagoland Vampires 3

7060582I cannot recall majority of the events from the previous Chicagoland Vampires books. Just had to read “Twice Bitten” by Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires 3; ISBN 04512306447; 355p.; Goodreads), and then skim over it the second time. Now I just don’t think it had any impact on me understanding the plot. I can easily say, this is the lazy-day reading, when you don’t want to think too much. On a scale I’d put it below Sookie Stackhouse, which was also simple, but I loved it anyway.

When vampires came out into the public eye, shifters chose to stay in the dark due to their nature being so much more harder to detect. And, apparently, it’s not the first time they backed away, leaving vampires on their own. But now that air is heavy with another impending war, Merit’s house is trying their best to secure shifter alliance, and persuade shifters to fight along side them. With great hopes they won’t leave again. Not an easy task, what with benefits of this alliance would mostly fall into the vampire yard. Not to mention the turmoil behind the scenes. Not every shifter is happy with current rule, nor the need to obey laws or decisions they voted against.

In the meantime, Merit is entertaining the possibility of joining a secret vampire organization, meant to protect all supernaturals, not just the heads of the houses. They collect the best, members being required to be able to fight their battles, and so, Merit got on their radar. Joining them would mean standing front lines in emergencies, defending everyone without an exception. Which means, leaving her main duty: standing by her liege and defending his life with her own. And really, only his.

I’d say the book was good, but then the romance part happened and UGH. It’s one of those where you see where it’s going, you see what will happen, and then you know how things will be solved in the distant future, split among many, many books. I’ll give it 3 out of 5, can’t give it more, but won’t give it less either. We’ll see if I can manage another. I might just. (Let’s face it, I’ve read worse.)

Categories: 3-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Laini Taylor – Daughter of Smoke & Bone | 1

+2Daughter of Smoke & Bone” by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone 1; ISBN 0316134023; 422p.; Goodreads) was on my to-read list for forever now. And since I’ve read it, I can say I really regret not reading it sooner, before some other books of this genre. For I loved it, but I would’ve loved it even more.

If wishes cost pain proportional, how much could you endure for your heart’s desire? And if someone else could suffer for you, how much would you take, before you couldn’t sleep at night? Out there, somewhere deep in Prague, there’s an ordinary door, with an ordinary building behind them, if you open them yourself. But if you knock and they let you in… In the dark shop there’s almost a constant hum of tools polishing and drilling teeth. A djinn-like creature is putting them on strings into necklaces, for it is teeth that make the wishes come true. There’s certain rules to it, of course. Worn away teeth are little to no use. Baby teeth is not something a respectable place deals in. And the best wishes are right there, in your mouth. Anything you could possibly want in exchange of you extracting all your teeth by yourself, with nothing to dull the pain. What’s worth this price?

These beings are the only family Karou knows. They raised her, they taught her. And now that she’s all grown up, she runs little errands for them, in exchange for the smallest of the small wishes. Just enough to give someone an itch or permanently bad eyebrows. Karou, for the bigger part of her life, didn’t know what a wish costs, other than the general idea: one needs teeth to buy them with. In truth, her whole understanding of the world she lives in, and the world out there, was pretty vague and innocent up until that fateful night when all the doors marked with black scorched hand have burned the gates between the worlds. Between her and her family

The book was truly very interesting up until the part where all the remembering started happening. That’s when it got dull. And while I can still give it a solid 4 out of 5, I can say I would’ve put it on my favorites if not for Sarah J. Maas or Holly Black books.

Categories: 4-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Fantasy, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jeaniene Frost – Bound by Flames | Night Prince 3

BoundbyFlames-coverI love the way Jeaniene Frost weaves a web for the reader, one I can never get out of, for it seems, what, just another page, just another chapter. I couldn’t put “Bound by Flames” (Night Prince 3; ISBN 0062076086; 342p.; Goodreads), the third book in a series of four. To add to the pretty great plot, the character development keeps getting better. Yes, yes, especially Prince Dracula.

This is a far darker, and far greater book than the previous two. The pace is perfect, with one episode following the other one closely, with only this much room to sit and talk it out. Szilagyi continues to harass Vlad and his household, pushing wedges where he can’t pull allies. A turncoat thus soon appears in prince’s flock. And in disguise of napalm bombing of his home, they steal his wife away, where she successfully get’s tortured physically, and mentally. Szilagyi is confident that he found a way to break the prince once and for all, thus he speaks, and we find out why he’s such a disgusting rat’s ass. But little does this bastard know, that he’s dealing with people who do not believe in limitations, and who dearly trust in one another.

Vlad spares nothing in search for Leila, trusting she’ll do all it takes to survive until he does find her. This is officially a war between the two vampires, and maybe that’s just for the best. Vlad pulls favors, finds people, and lets us in on his past, all the while keeping a sharp, if a bit rude eye on Leila’s family, still caring for their safety. There is no doubt in his heart that he’ll find the bastard, and at last squish him. But of course, surprises await, bad and good for both sides. Curses, bindings, and unexpected family members from the old Dracul line of Basarabs.

So, yes. This was amazing. I loved it to bits. Which, sadly, means I’ll keep the final one unread for as long as I can. This one pulled me out out of a very dark place. 5 out of 5, well deserved.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Books: Horror, Historical Books, Nosferatu Books, urban fantasy, vampires, Vlad Dracula III | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Neil Gaiman – Coraline

17061I wanted to read “Coraline” by Neil Gaiman (ISBN 0061139378; 162p.; Goodreads) for an eternity now. But I kept postponing it, because Gaiman, sometimes, feels like Murakami: I can never be sure if I liked it or not, do I want more of what I’ve just read or not. But I worried for nothing. It was a fun book, and I enjoyed it.

Coraline and her family move into a house that has been separated into flats. It’s an old house, with plenty to explore inside, and outside. But as time goes by, and Coraline’s family doesn’t have enough time to play with her, Coraline is slowly but surely running out of ideas. It’s only that many times that she can visit the neighbors without bothering them, after all. And she already counted all the windows, found all the blue things, and, tasked by her mother, looked what’s behind every door. All except one. That one is locked. Her mother claims there’s a wall separating their flat from their neighbors there. But ever since the key was turned, and the door got left unlocked, strange things began to happen.

On the other side of the door there’s this same flat, but different. Out there, in the Other place, live Coraline’s Other mother and Other father, awaiting her dearly. The house looks fun, better stocked for a girl like Coraline, and her parents are always up to play with her. Yet there’s just something off about them, about their behavior, their black shiny buttons for eyes… Coraline, after one lovely night there, expresses her will to return to her actual family. And while Other parents let her go kindly, they claim they’ll be very, very sad without the girl around. And thus they must motivate her to return…

This was a fun story, a bit scary at times, but otherwise really entertaining. The ending left me wanting, as if it was missing a chapter, or at least 20 more pages, but it is as it is. 4 out of 5 from me, solid!

Categories: 4-5, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

K.J. Charles – Jackdaw

34861586I miss A Charm of Magpies so much. So, of course, I went ahead and took the “Jackdaw” by K.J. Charles (ISBN13 9780995799059; 222p.; Goodreads), for it is set in the same world, has familiar characters, and the family of four that we love turns up too. And I loved it, I very much did. But now I miss them even more, dammit!

Jonah is the infamous windwalker thief, who worked for the bad guys in the final book of Charm of Magpies. He was blackmailed to help them capture Stephen Day, or his source of power – the Ring of the Magpie Lord, and Lucien Vaudrey, tho it is unlikely anyone knew that one didn’t work without the other. It worked as a trap for Stephen, and that’s all that mattered. That’s how Jonah made sure Ben, his beloved, lives.

Ben, due to his relation with the infamous windwalker thief, and their relationship, ended up in prison for a few months. Worse than the experience was his false belief, that Jonah used him, and then discarded of him. He walks out determined to settle the scores. Time for Jonah to taste the prison bread. As a practitioner he will have to be restrained, of course. As a windwalker, he’ll likely get hobbled. He’ll never walk, let alone fly… And the more Ben thinks of this, of that charming, smiling being, the time they spent together, the more he doubts his plan as fair. So he arranges to meet the man before hand. Next thing you know, they’re escaping justice together, over the rooftops, through the air!

This was a lovely book. Almost idyllic, tho nothing goes through butter. It reminded me how much I love Lucien and Stephen. For that alone I could give it all the points. But luckily, the story was good too, so it’s a 5 out of 5, for more fair and less biased reasons.

Categories: 5-5, Alternative History Books, Books of Occult, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jeaniene Frost – Twice Tempted [2]

x2You didn’t think I’ll quit Night Prince series by Jeanine Frost just because it was a silly-ish romance, did you? That never happened, and there where’s Dracula – never will. So let’s get into the “Twice Tempted” (Night Prince 2; ISBN 0062076108; 360p.; Goodreads), the second book on Leila the lightening woman, and Vlad Basarab Dracula, the fire-starting vampire.

As much as Leila loves Vlad and his people, the treatment he’s offering is rubbing her the wrong way. He disappears without a word on why, where, when. He acts a bit cold. Makes her adjust to his vampiric life, making little effort to adjust to hers. And the final straw – he offers her vampirism in a party he threw, before all his subjects, when both she, and her sister thought really, he’s going to propose. In a state of anger Leila rage-quits everything, sparing no words or actions. She packs up, breaks it off, and leaves. And if she thought her broken heart was bad enough, wait ’till she finds out Vlad’s ex is back on the radar.

Not too late after this whole nasty drama, an explosion meant to kill Leila nearly succeeds, in her stead killing innocents, her friends. Who’d want her dead, and who’d take such indirect, gruesome measures to kill her? Well, honestly the list isn’t all that short, and she can put Prince of the Darkness on it too. Lucky for her, Vlad’s right arm man is ready to help her, and defend her if need be, even from Vlad himself…

This one, to be honest, was pretty good. While the petty things author tried to make you believe are not very believable, the other stuff, like that small little plot twist, gets the job done. Apparently there’s more than just vampires, heck, there’s whole witchcraft and wizardry thing going on. I can give this book a well deserved 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, urban fantasy, vampires, Vlad Dracula III | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill – Friday Night Bites [2]

x1So here goes my last German edition of the Chicagoland Vampires book by Chloe Neill, which is merely the second book in the long series. “Friday Night Bites” (Chicagoland Vampires 2; ISBN 045122793X; 357p.; Goodreads) went a little slower, and the title was sadly the only amusing thing. The whole substance of the book was spread too unevenly for me. Too much was caked on relationships, Merit’s, and other people’s. And much too little on the fun, and interesting stuff, like how are raves – vampire thing, why does a human have to die to become a vampire, what happens if you don’t die fully, etc.

Your friendly neighbor vampire will always ask for your consent before biting. Maybe that’s the reason these vampires didn’t get too aggressive outlash when they came out of their coffins, seeing how they don’t have the luxury of True Blood. This same lack of luxury has made vampires put rules and laws on drinking from living donors. It is no wonder thus, that they were the first to react when the safety of their own being in this human world was threatened by rave parties sprouting all around. Big deal, rave party, right? Well, apparently the very title “rave” was taken from vampires, for it’s less a human party, and more of a one big trap party. Humans have fun, rage, dance, use substances. Vampires feed themselves silly on them, and any stories that leak outside the walls of the illegal parties are rendered bogus told by junkies who got too high. It’s only a matter of time before these parties leave more than trash behind… (yes, I do mean dried corpses)

The rest of the book was mostly about Merit’s work for her liege. He wants connections, her family has those, so here start the parties, designer dresses, and overdescribed snacks. To add more salt on those, Merit tries her best to keep a relationship going with the vampire from the other house, the same one her liege has basically forced her into to begin with. The same one he’s now so very much trying to disrupt.

 

The books are very easy to read, so I can’t complain. I believe I’ll just get myself a little audiobook collection of them, and listen to them while doing work around the home. I feel like they’re perfect for it, especially if you listen on higher speeds. For the time being I can give it 3 out of 5, but we’ll see how things go.

Categories: 3-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books of Supernaturals, Nosferatu Books, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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