Malin’s #CBR5 Review #119: Death Masks by Jim Butcher

3.5 stars

This is the fifth book in The Dresden Files, the books about professional wizard Harry Dresden. This review may therefore contain some spoilers for books that came earlier in the series and also for this one, and you may want to skip it until you’ve read the books up to this point.

Harry has a number of difficulties facing him – his ex-girlfriend Susan (who Harry’s been moping over since she left him a few books ago) is back in town, getting ready to pack up her stuff to move to South America, and Harry is worried she may have found a new guy. A powerful Red Court vampire is also in town, challenging Harry to a duel, to settle once and for all the bad blood (pun intended) and warfare between the wizards and the Red Court once and for all. If Harry refuses to duel, the vampire will hunt down and kill anyone Harry cares for or has worked with, so he’s not really got much choice in the matter. Thirdly, a priest wants to hire Harry to look for the stolen Shroud of Turin, and it seems like there are demonic entities who’d like nothing better than to find the artifact first, so they can unleash a devastating plague on humanity. The rest on my blog.

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Malin’s #CBR5 Review #116: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

4.5 stars

Do you like/love Robin McKinley’s Sunshine? Then you should read this book.

Tana wakes up after a high school party to find that while she was passed out in the bathtub, the other party-goers in the house were brutally slaughtered by vampires. As she’s dealing with the shock and trying to find her things (you don’t want to escape a house of carnage in your bare feet if you don’t have to), she discovers that there are survivors – her douchy ex-boyfriend Aidan, and a dark haired boy she’s never seen before. Both are tied up in a back bedroom where the windows have been covered, most likely left as a snack for later. When trying to untie Aidan, he lunges for her, and Tana has to face the fact that Aidan is turning Cold.

In this world, there were always vampires, but they were few and kept themselves hidden. Until one day, a single individual decided to just feed a little off his victims instead of killing them, starting an epidemic that soon spread world wide. When bitten, but not killed, by a vampire, the victim turns Cold. They start to hunger for human blood, and once they drink it, they transform fully into vampires. If they manage to lock themselves away and avoid the temptation to drink the blood for 88 days, they’re cured of the infection, but barely anyone ever has the strength to manage it. As a result, to stop the spread of vampirism, there are walled off cities around America, where vampires and the ones who are turning Cold are confined. In the Coldtowns there are celebrity vampires, and live streams of their glamorous parties and all over America there are people who worship and dream of becoming just like them.

Full review on my blog.

Malin’s #CBR5 Review #114: Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire

This is the seventh book about October Daye and as such, not the best place to start the series. If you like a paranormal series focused more on mysteries and adventure than on romance (not that there isn’t romance too, once you get a few books in), then this is a good one. Go check out Rosemary and Rue if you haven’t already.

As the only changeling (half human, half fey) knight in existence, October “Toby” Daye concerns herself with a lot of quests and issues that others don’t bother with. Changelings are dying all over San Francisco from their addiction to goblin fruit. A fruit that’s only pleasant and harmless to full-blood faeries, the goblin fruit is extremely addictive to changelings and humans, and the addiction gets so strong that they die from eating nothing else. Toby wants it off the streets and goes to the Queen of the Mists to have the problem dealt with, only to discover that the Queen is the one peddling the fruit, as she sees nothing wrong with changelings and humans dying. She also banishes Toby for her insubordination, giving her three days to remove herself from the kingdom.

Having started out a loner, with no recourse but to dive into danger by herself, Toby now has a squire and a boyfriend and a growing band of allies who can help her in situations such as these. When they discover that the Queen’s claim to the throne isn’t in fact valid, and that the children to the last King are still alive, but in hiding, Toby and her friends realise that they’re going to have to stage a full scale rebellion. They just need to keep Toby alive long enough to succeed.

Full review on my blog.

Malin’s #CBR5 Review #107: Blade Song by J.C. Daniels

2.5 stars

Kit Colbana is a mercenary, who will work as a thief, investigator or even hired killer, if the pay is good. She’s a half-breed (her mother’s family are some sort of Amazon-like species who can turn invisible at will, and summon their favourite weapon to them by just thinking hard), rejected by her relatives. She keeps having vivid dreams where the local vampire bigwig invades, and tries to sway her to work for him/most likely become his new chew toy, and she’s generally not doing super great. Then the dangerously mentally unstable Alpha of the local Cat shifters hires her to locate her missing nephew. Along for the ride until she finds the boy, is the Alpha’s sexy lieutenant, who will stay with her 24-7. If Kit succeeds, she’ll be paid handsomely. If she fails, she will die.

More on my blog.

Malin’s #CBR5 Review #105: Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

This is book 6 in a series. It’s therefore not the best place to start reading, and I can guarantee that the review will contain spoilers for at least some of the other books that have come before. If you haven’t read these books, run, don’t walk to a bookstore or a library, and get started.

When several of the Pack’s children threaten to turn Loup, and may have to be killed, mercenary bad-ass Kate Daniels and her mate Curran, the Beast Lord of the Pack realize that they need to get their hands on more panacea, a herbal concoction that ensures the survival of most of the young shapeshifters. It’s obvious to both of them that the invitation they have received from a couple of European packs is a big ol’ trap, but they’re offered so much of the precious panacea (which they have absolutely no way of making themselves), that they simply cannot afford to refuse. So Kate and Curran ally with someone they normally wouldn’t trust, gather up a band of their best fighters, and set off to Eastern Europe on an adventure.

Read the rest on my blog.

Malin’s #CBR5 Review #97: Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

Rating: 3. 5 stars

Harry Dresden is a wreck. He spends all of his energy trying to save his ex-girlfriend Susan from the vampiric curse that’s pretty sure to claim her, and as a result, he may lose his office, his apartment and what few friends he has left. Mab, the Winter Queen of Faerie wants him to figure out who killed the Summer Knight, and most importantly, prove that she isn’t the murderer. Harry tries to refuse her offer, but there are more complications thrown his way.

The White Council of wizards arrive in Chicago, and most of them want to gift wrap Harry and deliver them to the vampires, hoping this will make the vampires stop waging war. The only way Harry can keep them from basically stripping him of his wizard status and giving him up to become a vampire chew toy, is by accepting Mab’s offer. If he doesn’t figure out who killed the Summer Knight and stole his power, the Summer and the Winter Queens go to war against each other at Midsummer Eve, and that will have catastrophic results for the entire world. He should probably clean himself up a bit.

More on my blog.

Malin’s #CBR5 Reviews #93-94: Charley Davidson book 4 and 5 by Darynda Jones

Rating: Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet – 4 stars
Fifth Grave Past the Light – 4.5 stars

At the beginning of Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, a few months have passed since the end of book three, and Charley isn’t doing all that well. She’s not really left her apartment, which is now stuffed full of boxes full of random useless stuff she’s purchased from late night shopping channels. Her best friend/next door neighbour/overqualified personal assistant Cookie has cancelled all her credit cards, and insists on ganging up on her, along with her uncle Bob, and her sister Gemma. They claim that she’s suffering a mild case of PTSD (they’re right) and they insist that she leave the apartment, and start getting her life back in order. When a desperate young woman shows up on her doorstep claiming someone is trying to kill her, but everyone around her just thinks she’s insane, Charley decides that enough is enough, and promises to help. She’s decides that the best way out of her financial difficulties is serving Reyes with a hefty bill, since she technically performed the job he hired her to do. Now she just has to find him.

In Fifth Grave Past the Light, Cookie and Charley discover that they have a new neighbour, and it’s the drop dead gorgeous Reyes Farrow himself. Charley is hoping to prove to her uncle Bob that Reyes is not the arsonist who’s been burning down old buildings all over Albuquerque, but it does seem suspicious that all the same buildings are ones that Reyes at some point lived in, growing up. She’s made peace with her father, whose bar, previously mostly a cop hangout, is now a super popular lunching spot for women of all ages. Charley’s apartment is slowly filling up with young dead women, all of them blond and killed gruesomely, clearly by the same serial killer. Despite Charley’s Reaper powers, she’s unable to get any of them to communicate with her, they’re too traumatised, even after death. When it seems like Charley’s sister Gemma may be the serial killer’s next intended victim, it becomes crucial that she discover the killer’s identity as soon as possible.

Full review on my blog.