Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep

I accidentally bought the 3rd book in this series on Christmas Day when I got my kindle from the lovely Santa, not realising it wasn't the first one. I finally got round to buying the first two the other week and am so glad I did - another great series for me to read!

Synopsis from
My name is Gin, and I kill people.
They call me the Spider. I'm the most feared assassin in the South — when I'm not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.

Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my way — good or bad. I may look hot, but I'm still one of the bad guys. Which is why I'm in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I'm battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction...especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.

My review:
This book started off with our main character in a mental asylum. I did think it was rather strange and thought that maybe the whole assissin idea was in her head and was expecting the book to take a downward spiral, but it went way back up in my expectations once I realised she was there to do a job!

On her return Gin takes another job, a quick one with a large payout. Her mentor and contacts manager for a better name is her foster father who took her in as a teenager when she was living on the streets. The job: kill a man in an opera house before the interval. Nothing she hasn't done before and for $5 million, double her normal fee, something she can't turn down!

However, Gin doesn't manage to kill him as another assassin is there to kill her instead. She turns the tables on him, saves the target and jumps into the river. She realises she has been double crossed and is determined to find out by whom, but when she returns to the restaurant Fletcher, her mentor, owns, she realises they have all got themselves into more trouble than they realised. With Fletcher dead, she heads over to his son's apartment and finds him tied up, being beaten by the same group that killed Fletcher. Gin kills them all and they both manage to get away.

Not knowing who else to turn to when Finn's contacts don't find any concrete evidence of who is involved, Gin contacts the police detective who was talking to the original target in the opera house. He decides to work with Gin, even after finding out what she is. He has conflicting feelings - he likes Gin, but hates her at the same time. Will he ever decide what he wants?

The trio, Gin, Finn and Donovan, eventually work out who the air elemental in charge is and plan to bring her down. Gin has to use her stone magic to help her defeat with evil one, something she has never relied on before. Once the air elemental has been defeated, Gin decides to retire from the assassin business - it's too much hard work watching her back all the time, but can she really walk away from the only way of life she has ever really known? I guess I'll find out in book 2!

I loved this book! It was another full-of-action book, with a bit of quick sex thrown in for good measure - not romance though. I loved the idea of the trio having to constantly watch their backs trying to find out who wants them dead. As there are 5 books in the series so far, I presume that Gin doesn't retire - I don't think I would like reading about her running the Pork Pit to be honest - doesn't sound very exciting, but I can't wait to read the next one in this series. Although vampires do make a slight appearance in this book, the main characters use elemental magic, air, fire, water or stone, which is something I haven't read too mcuh about either. Nice to find a different kind of magic user once in a while. A great read!

Frost Moon by Anthony Francis

I received this book free from as I loved the idea of magical tattoos that move. I wasn't really sure what to expect but was completely amazed! This story was fantastic!

Synopsis from

In an alternate Atlanta where vampires and werewolves prowl the night, magic is real, and tattoo magic is the strongest magic of them all, a serial killer is targeting the magically tattooed on the full moon.

Dakota Frost, best magical tattooist in the Southeast, learns from the police she may be a target ... just when she receives a lucrative commission to ink a magic tattoo for a werewolf before the next full moon.

Caught between the rough and tumble world of the werewolves, the law and order rules of the vampires, and a sexy man-in-black whose motives are in doubt, Dakota must tread carefully to survive - because she doesn't know whether her werewolf client is the tattoo killer ... or the next victim.

My review:

Dakota Frost is a magical tattoo artist and uses magic to make her tattoos come to life. She is able to make them leave her body and attach themselves to someone else, or as we find out later in the book she can use them to help defend herself.

Dakota is asked by the police to help with an investigation (her dad is a cop so she knows people on the force). She is confused at first as to why she's being called in, but all is revealed - there is a serial killer on the loose who is cutting off people's magical tattoos.

Dakota is later approached by her shady friend Spleen to ink a tattoo on an associate of his, who just happens to be a werewolf. The tattoo design he gives her is not one she's familiar with, so before she can ink him up she has to get it checked out by her friend, a graphomancer, a witch who searches the designs for charms, wards, spells etc to make sure they are safe to use. As part of this tattoo check, Dakota has to visit a werehouse, a local place for all kinds of shifters. To ensure her safety in this not-so-nice werehouse, Dakota pays a visit to her ex-girlfriend, the local vampire queen. In theory no vamps or Edgeworlders should touch Dakota whilst she is wearing Lady Saffron's collar, but that doesn't quite go to plan.

Dakota ends up offending a vampire, who later on takes his revenge, so much so that Dakota ends up in hospital with severe injuries. Once recovered she is challenged by the Mysterious Mirabilus, a stage magician/illusionist who claims he can perform any trick that a real magic user can, despite having no real magical talent. His challenge: Dakota has to ink his assistant with a working watch tattoo. The prize: 1 million dollars! Easy enough!

On her visit to the werehouse, Dakota meets a 15 year old were-tiger who is permanently in half tiger form. Cinnamon, as Dakota names her, takes a liking to our heroine and soon becomes a regular feature at her shop and home. However, the serial killer manages to get ahold of Cinnamon, using her as a bargaining tool to get to Dakota. She goes to a closed nightclub to try to save her, only that doesn't work out either....Dakota finds herself in a very bad situation and the serial killer is revealed as the last person I expected.

This book was brilliant! The idea of the magical tattoos is not one I've come across before and made it so much more interesting - I love the idea of using them for defense as well as looking pretty! This book was full of action, which I love. I don't really go for soppy romance books! The description of the characters and settings were really detailed but not too lengthy (nothing like Stephen King's 5 page description of a street - ok I might be exaggerating there, but you get my gist!). I loved the twist in the end of the book when the serial killer is revealed as well - I was so not expecting it. I would highly recommend this book, if you enjoy reading urban fantasy books, or even if you don't and fancy something a bit different!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dead To The World - Charlaine Harris

My love for all things Sookie started many many years ago when Club Dead first came out way back in 2003 and was in the small sci-fi/fantasy section my local bookstore. I read the blurb, was intrigued and promptly bought the first 3 books in the series - Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas and Club Dead. I have been an avid collector of this series ever since - I just love it. It is a fantastic series, with vampires, werewolves, shifters, witches and many other supenatural characters. Sookie herself is not exactly normal - she is a telepath and tries hard not to let other people's thoughts affect her.

Since True Blood, the TV show based on this series of books, has been on I've been getting myself confused as the two don't completely correlate. There are similarities but the TV show doesn't strictly follow each book, which is good in my opinion as they need to be separate. However, I wanted to go back and unconfuse myself, especially as the new Sookie book is out next month too!

Synopsis from
When cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse sees a naked man on the side of the road, she doesn't just drive on by. Turns out the poor thing hasn't a clue who he is, but Sookie does. It's Eric the vampire--but now he's a kinder, gentler Eric. And a scared Eric, because whoever took his memory now wants his life.

My review:
Following on from the last book, in which Sookie saved Bill, her vampire boyfriend from the clutches of his maker Loretta (whom Sookie staked quite nicely) and Russell Edgington, a ruthless vampire, Sookie has now decided she wants nothing more to do with Bill or any other vampires. In fact her New Year's Resolution is to not get beaten up.

But soon enough Sookie gets herself involved with the vamps again when driving home one night, she drives past Eric Northman running down the road on the way back from Merlotte's in only a pair of jeans. He has no clue who he is, where he is and doesn't recognise Sookie at all. Sookie, being the kind soul she is, takes him home, tells him who they both are and calls Pam, his second in command. Turns out a nasty bunch of were-shifter witches, who drink vampire blood for its power, have cursed Eric, as the lead witch wants control of his businesses and Eric himself (Eric is definitely a hot vamp so I can see why she wants him!).

Sookie agrees to look after Eric whilst the rest of the vamps try to work out what to do, but only after Pam and Chow agree to pay Sookie $35,000 for the pleasure. This task soon becomes one Sookie rather enjoys most of the time, especially the naked time she gets to spend with Eric.

At the same time, Sookie's brother Jason disappears. Sookie believes that the witches have taken him, but she isn't sure why. They don't know she has Eric hidden in her old bedroom so why would they want him? Sookie begins searching frantically, but finds nothing!

Sookie also gets back in touch with Alcide Herveaux, the werewolf who helped her find Bill in Club Dead, to warn him about the witches. His wolf pack agrees to helps the vamps and both groups manage to get the local witches' coven to help them as well. All three groups fight back against the nasty witches, win the battle and Eric is restored back to his normal self. Bill makes a brief appearance, but as he's not my favourite character I was glad he wasn't in this book very much.

Jason, however, is still nowhere to be found until Sookie has a brief conversation with Sam, her shifter boss, about a panther's paw print being found on Jason's deck. Sam tells her of the pack of shifters in Hotshot who turn into panthers, not wolves like Sookie had presumed. And there she finds Jason...has he been bitten enough to turn into a were-panther? Wait and find out in the next book!

I loved this book. It's full of action and some naughty romance between Eric and Sookie, which he soon forgets all about after the curse is lifted (or does he?!). I love the idea of the werewolves and vamps teaming up against the witches as they usually hate each other, but when it's war against them all, they rally together to take down the enemy. If you haven't read this series yet, you must!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Vampire Moon by J R Rain

This is the second book in the Vampire for Hire series by J.R.Rain. The first one was ok - I gave it 3 stars, but this one was better!

Synopsis from

Mother, wife, private investigator...vampire. Six years ago federal agent Samantha Moon was the perfect wife and mother, your typical soccer mom with the minivan and suburban home. Then the unthinkable happens, an attack that changes her life forever. And forever is a very long time for a vampire.

Now in VAMPIRE MOON, sequel to MOON DANCE, private investigator Samantha Moon finds herself hunting down a powerful crime lord and protecting an innocent woman from her ruthless ex-husband — all while two very different men vie for her heart. And as the stakes grow higher and her cases turn personal, Samantha Moon will do whatever it takes to protect the innocent and bring two cold-blooded killers to justice — her own brand of justice.

My review:

Samantha Moon was turned into a vampire 6 years ago, all of which you find out about in the first book. The first book in the series includes lots of background character information and world building, both of which were not really necessary in this book, so there was room for more action!

Samantha's now ex-husband is still being a jerk and all the way through I was thinking why she just wouldn't kill him with her new vampire powers.

Samantha takes on 2 new jobs as a private investigator in this one - a woman whose husband is intent on killing her, after almost killing her twice before and killing her father and seriously crippling her mother. She has to live with Samantha in her hotel suite so Sam can protect her. The other job is a grieving husband who wants revenge on the man he is convinced killed his wife by blowing up the federal airplane she and several other witnesses were on as they were on their way to a trial to convict the local crime lord.

Sam visits the husband in jail and almost kills him - had the guards not pulled her off she would have done so. All of this is captured on film but the detectives don't know what to make of a seemingly normal woman being able to punch through bulletproof glass in a prison and beat this large man to a bloody pulp. Later on after a contract killer has been hired by this man to kill his wife and Sam and consequently caught by the police, Sam has finally had enough. She turns into her bat form flies into the death row cell, smashing her way through the wall and snaps his neck! No more worries for the little wife anymore!

Sam also changes into her bat form again to beat and capture the crime lord, Jerry Blum, so her client and members of the families of the other witnesses silenced in the plane crash, can kill him! They want revenge and Sam gives it to them. I love the bat form idea - it allows the "vampires-can-fly" idea to emerge whilst at the same time Sam can look completely normal - just a slight twist on norm.

She also has issues with Kingsley, the werewolf lawyer she is becoming attached to, as he was the defense attorney who initially got the killer husband out from jail on a technicality - she doesn't like the fact that he is able to release killers back into the world. I do hope these two get together eventually.

And Danny, Sam's ex does finally get his comeuppance in the end - YAY!!! I nearly jumped with joy at this bit. Sam finds out that he's the owner of an unlicenced strip club and threatens to tell the police if he doesn't give her back the house and kids! She so wants to be their mommy and I was so happy for her. Danny tries to threatens her with revealing who she is, stating he has a sample of her blood as proof of what she is, so what does Sam do? Gets her blood tested herself and it comes back with no irregularities. Soon shuts Danny up, that did!

The ending was a great cliffhanger - Sam finally arranges to meet Fang, her online confidant with whom she can talk about everything and anything. He gives her advice and just listens to her. It ends where they both get out of their cars at the arranged time and place. Sam gasps and that's it! I did yell as whilst I love a book to have a cliffhanger, I needed to know who Fang was! I think it's Kingsley myself, but I'll have to get the next book, which has just come out to find out! I guess that's why authors leave cliffhanger endings!

I enjoyed this book so much more than the first one and hope the rest of this series is as good as this book.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Touch the Dark by Karen Chance

I first read this book a few years ago as well as the second in the series, but never got round to reading any more of the series. I recently bought Embrace the Night (Book 3 in the series) and when I went to read it, realised I had no clue at all what had happened in the other 2 books, so had to go buy those as well.

Synopsis from

Cassie Palmer, a powerful clairvoyant who works part-time at an Atlanta club reading Tarot cards, is finding it difficult to escape her past. Orphaned at a young age and brought up by the undead, Cassie has the ability to communicate with the spirit realm, and her powers were abused time and time again by a ruthless master vampire named Tony. It's been three years since Cassie -- a self-described "ghost magnet" -- has been free of the centuries-old bloodsucker, but now he's back and eager to reclaim his human possession. Forced to turn to the Senate (a group of "really old vamps" who make laws for the supernatural community) for protection, Cassie is thrown into a complex conflict where control of the entire supernatural world is at stake. Rasputin (yes, the Mad Monk himself), a power-hungry vampire, is killing off the Senate members one by one. Aided by some impressive allies -- including Dracula's older brother, Mircea -- Cassie must use everything in her paranormal arsenal to fight the encroaching evil -- and somehow stay alive

My Review:

Cassie Palmer is a clairvoyant on the run from the vampire who brought her up from when she was just 4 years old. She ran away from him as a teenager when she found out that he had had her parents murdered so that he could harness and control both her and her powers. There had always been a rumour that one day she might be the Pythia, the cheif of all Seers, whose power is matched by no other.

After spending 3 years in hiding, Cassie finds herself back on the run and in the fight to save her life constantly. She finds out that her roommate of 6 months is actually a first-level master vampire and she is soon captured by the Senate vampires.

The Consul, leader of the Senate for North American Vampires, has been challenged by Rasputin, who himself has captured another Seer, who is also a candidate for the Pythia's power. Using her power to travel back through time, Rasputin aims to kill off the vampire he is meant to duel. No vampire made a few hundreds years ago means he has no vampire to beat now! Cassie, with the help of Tomas (her roommate) initially go back in time to one of the most horrid of all prisons in 16th Century France and help save a witch.

Later on, having realised what they are capable of doing, Cassie goes back this time with Mircea (her vampire foster father's master) and with the help of a fair few ghosts fight off Rasputin, his Seer and army.

Cassie is finally named the new Pythia, even though she desparately doesn't want the title, powers and responsibilities that go with it!

I liked this book, but do think that sometimes the author isn't totally aware of her audience. In the middle of a fight scene for example, she wrote almost an entire page about what wards are, how they are created and the different types of them. Hang on a minute, I want to know what's happening with all the vamps and ghosts fighting first, then tell me about wards! Also quite a few of the vampire characters are based on real characters from history - Louis-Cesear = The Man in the Iron Mask, Rasputin, Rafe = Rafael the Italian painter, Mircea's brother is Dracula, Jack the Ripper also makes an appearance. What happened to just having vamps without the so-called celebrity status?! Any old vamp will do, you don't need to make them sound more interesting by giving them a history we already know.

I did also think it was a bit creepy that Cassie was making out, almost had sex with and was developing feelings for Mircea, who had declared she was his since she was 11 years old! I know he's a vamp so time moves differently for him, but still isn't that just a bit too paedophile? If she had been 16 I wouldn't have minded as much, but 11 is just way too young! I know he never did anything about it, but the fact that he thought it was enough for me! I will try to forget about this bit though as I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading to rest of the series.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New blog and Invincible Review

I thought I'd start a little book review blog where I could fully review the books I have read. I love urban fantasy books where there's a kick ass heroine, lots of blood and gore and vampires really do drink blood straight from the source. None of this sparkle in the daylight crap!

My first review is Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon. This is the second book in the Chronicles of Nick series, a spin off from the Dark Hunter series, which is a fave of mine. It is a Young Adult book but still has enough action to keep me entertained. Plus coming from one of my favourite authors and series it can't go wrong!

Synopsis from

Just when he thought things couldn’t get any worse...

Nick Gautier’s day just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, he survived the zombie attacks, only to wake up and find himself enslaved to a world of shapeshifters and demons out to claim his soul.

His new principal thinks he’s even more of a hoodlum than the last one, his coach is trying to recruit him to things he can’t even mention and the girl he’s not seeing, but is, has secrets that terrify him.

But more than that, he’s being groomed by the darkest of powers and if he doesn’t learn how to raise the dead by the end of the week, he will become one of them...

My review:

Nick is just recovering from the zombie attacks on his schoolmates and his mom is furious with him for tranquilising her and making her lose her job at the dance club. He received his first ever kiss from Nekoda, but isn't really sure whether she likes him or not; he certainly likes her, but feels a bit uncomfortable about the whole situation. He's ok with his "uncle" Ambrose talking to him in his head, even if he doesn't always like the answers. He's started working for Kyrian Hunter, who also helps get his mom a job at Sanctuary, the local bar run by a pack of werebears.

A new football coach has appeared on the scene to take over a day after the old one was eaten alive by the school-football-team-turned-zombies in the first book. He takes an interest in putting Nick on the team, but fortunately for Nick he was shot in the arm and therefore can't play. However, his coach soon starts blackmailing him to steal some personal items from some of his school friends, including a diamond necklace from Nekoda, which Nick really doesn't want to do. He is helped along the way by Casey, one of the most popular girls in school, who now thinks Nick is cool because he's working for Kyrian, who is rather on the wealthy side! Typical shallow high school prom queen! LOL

Nick is also being trained by a Messenger of Death to learn and control his powers. Nick uses a book to find some answers to a multitude of questions, but the results he gets are usually very cryptic and takes him a while to sometimes work out. Death, however, does have a hidden agenda. He knows that Nick will eventually become the Malachai and wants to control Nick and his powers himself.

When Caleb, Nick's demon guardian, is attacked at school by a Fringe Hunter, Nick tries to use his powers to help, but Caleb throws him into a locker with his own powers. Nick is furious and when he is finally released, Caleb reveals how Nekoda is also a demon, but she is there to help protect Nick's mind not his body like Caleb is. Caleb tells Nick that if he uses his powers the other demons who are trying to find the Malachai will know who he is. But Caleb isn't all he seems to be anymore...

Nick finds out what the new coach is up to - he made a deal with a demon many many years ago - he has to kill people and send their souls to him, usually after winning the football championships. The coach is also trying to find the Malachai to break free of his commitment by killing 14 year old boys. To stop him Nick has to get the heart of the first 14 year old girl the coach killed and get her ghost to merge with her heart again. In the process, Nick damns the coach into the vortex where the girl's spirit had been for years, kills a load of demons and everything is all over...for now.

Simi makes a brief appearance - I totally love Simi and her penchant for eating everything and anything with barbecue sauce! I think she's my fave demon in the Dark Hunter series! She's just so hilarious.

This book was brilliant! Lots of action, some background parts revealed and I love how the love story is starting to develop between Nick and Nekoda. Although this book is a spin off of the Dark Hunter series and some of those characters appear in this book - Acheron, Simi, Kyrian, the Peltiers - the world is slightly different to the original Dark Hunter world, only because Ambrose (Nick in a later life after he became the Malachai) is trying to alter his teenage form's future. I can't wait to see how this slightly alternate world pans out over the series and how Sherrilyn Kenyon makes the two fit together. I love how Sherrilyn writes, so much so I read this book in one sitting!

Overall rating: