Malin’s #CBR5 Review #136: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Bored of the same old paranormal/urban fantasy with hunky were-creatures/vampires/fallen angels/demons/elves or whatever, where there’s a girl with a tramp stamp, leather trousers and a crossbow and/or sword on the cover. Where the heroine has to choose between the brooding vampire and the burly were-creature, and work diligently to save the world, or at least the people she loves from disaster?

Then you must read Written in Red, which isn’t even vaguely like any of that. Read my review (which is quite long, but I’ve tried not to spoil anything too major) and see if you don’t agree that this is a book you have to experience for yourself.

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Malin’s #CBR5 Review #132: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only consulting wizard, is asked by his White Court vampire friend, and sometime ally, Thomas Raith to help a movie producer who seems to be the target of a death curse. As Thomas has aided Harry in the past, and even saved his life, Harry can’t really refuse, but he demands payment both from the client and Thomas, in the form of information about why the vampire has been helping him, sometimes even at the risk of Thomas’ own life. But how will Harry react to the truths that Thomas is so reluctant to share?

It turns out that the movie Harry is supposed to act as supernatural security on, and pretend to be an production assistant on, is a porn flick, which everyone of his acquaintances seems to find hilarious. The job quickly turns a lot more dangerous than Harry had expected, with the vicious death curse striking twice a day, affecting anyone close to Genosa, the director. It quickly becomes apparent that Thomas and the rest of the Raith family are more closely connected to the imperilled movie production that Thomas let on, and because Harry’s life never seems to be complete unless multiple parties are trying to kill him, the powerful and vengeful Black Court vampire Mavra is determined to end him, one way or another. Full review on my blog.

Malin’s #CBR5 Review #128: Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey

Daisy Johanssen grew up in the town of Pemkowet in the Midwest. Her mother lives in a trailer and works as a seamstress, her father is an incubus accidentally summoned during an ill-advised Ouija board session when her mother was a teenager. Of course, you’d think being half-demon would make Daisy unusual in town, but there’s all manner of supernatural beings in Pemkowet, and tourists travel from all over the country to see fairies and trolls and naiads and the like. Hel, the Norse goddess of the underworld keeps the supernatural element in check, and Daisy is her agent in the mortal world, as well as acting as supernatural liaison with the local police department.

When a young, wealthy college kid drowns and everything suggests supernatural involvement, the tourist trade could be seriously affected. The local police are under a lot of pressure, and Hel isn’t all that happy with the situation either. Daisy has to work the case with Cody Fairfax, trying to hide the massive crush on him she’s nurtured since high school. She also has to keep a lid on her volatile temper, as giving into the temptations from her demonic dad could set in motion Armageddon.

Full review on my blog.

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.

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.

EvenStevens’s #CBR5 review #17 – The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

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Hey guys! I’ve had a crazy busy summer, I bought my first house! My reading has been sporadic and I just haven’t had any time to write my reviews. There’s a few coming so bear with me. Also, I started reading this particular book just before the move and unfortunately there was a long stretch of time before I picked it up to finish it, so my reading of the book and this review are probably a little lacking because of that. Basically what I’m saying is, don’t hold it against the book, it was actually pretty darn good.

The Eternity Cure is the second book of The Blood of Eden trilogy and picks up right after the events of the first book, The Immortal Rules (which was excellent). Allison, is now determined to find her maker, Kanin, and free him from the torture he is enduring at the hands of crazed vampire, Sarren. Along the way, old friends and foes pop up and unlikely alliances are made to get to Kanin and get everyone out alive.

I’m a fan of Kagawa’s writing, she creates distinct voices for her characters and though some of the tropes in her books are familiar, they never feel liked rehashed and recycled stories (I’m looking at you City of Bones and Wither). This book is fast paced and kept me engaged throughout.  It’s definitely a brain candy kind of book; it moves swiftly and is entertaining and easy to digest. The one thing that I didn’t love is that this felt like a second book in a trilogy; though there was a lot of action and lot of things going on, in the grand scheme of things, not much *really* happened. It felt a lot like a filler book, a satisfying filler book but filler nonetheless. This is a problem I see a lot with trilogies and I have a personal grudge against trilogies that are so just for the sake of being a trilogy. If your story only needs two books to be told, just write two! Anyways, I digress. It’s really a minor complaint and more of a personal pet peeve, I’m just an old curmudgeon.

If you’re a fan of vampire stories, The Immortal Rules is a great entry in the genre and, trilogy gripes aside, The Eternity Cure does not disappoint as a follow up.

alwaysanswerb’s #CBR5 Review 47: At Grave’s End by Jeaniene Frost

At Grave’s End is the 3rd book in the Night Huntress series, which is currently at 7 books and counting. Be aware that the following description (from Goodreads) kind of spoils the first two since it’s a series:

“It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield’s life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she’s successfully protected mortals from the rogue undead. But though Cat’s worn disguise after disguise to keep her true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover’s finally been blown, placing her in terrible danger.

As if that wasn’t enough, a woman from Bones’s past is determined to bury him once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, yet determined to help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat’s about to learn the true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she’s learned as a special agent won’t help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save herself—and Bones—from a fate worse than the grave.”

As the series progresses, Frost has found ways to keep making her heroes (Cat and Bones) more and more perfect and awesome, so there never really feels like there is any tension during any of the would-be fatal conflicts. This is basically because she writes vampires like omnipotent wizards and mages, rather than vampires. By that I mean, these vampires aren’t just stronger and faster with enhanced eyesight and hearing like we typically expect from vampires; they can also fly, and read minds, and be pyrokinetic, and… it goes on. Cat, for her part, is only half vampire, but she somehow has the speed and skill to take on “Master” vampires without breaking much of a sweat. And if she does sustain an injury, she only needs to drink vampire blood before it kills her, and in a matter of seconds she’ll be healed. That applies to any human, but because Cat is a half-breed, she can sustain an absurd amount of injuries before she has to worry about dying. For instance, in one battle in this book, she has her entire left arm chewed off by zombies, and not only does she not die from blood loss, but she doesn’t even notice it’s gone until Bones carries her inside and makes sure she gets blood. I understand that part of the point of a paranormal universe is that you get to make shit up, but the shit Frost is making up means that there aren’t any stakes in the conflict (SEE WHAT I DID THERE).

As for the romance, it was pretty boring in this installment. Very few “love” scenes (there was, like, one? maybe?) and this book saw the tortured inclusion of a would-be love triangle, except it can hardly be called that because it was really just one guy being really inappropriate and overbearing while Cat rebuffs him and insists, quite truthfully, that yes, she really is in love with her husband. Really, it’s not even suggested that the other guy has any chance at all, so it’s just embarrassing to read any parts regarding his unrequited love.

Overall, these books aren’t very good. I probably should have stopped after the 2nd book in the series, but I currently have up to 6 downloaded from the library so I’ll probably end up finishing those so I have some books to bitch about in my Cannonball reviews. So far, neither 2 nor 3 lived up to the intrigue and suspense of the first book in the series, and I doubt the rest will.