Saturday, December 29, 2007

#72 Cirque Du Freak #7: Hunters of the Dusk by Darren Shan

My Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

Several years have passed since the events of Cirque Du Freak #6: The Vampire Prince. Darren has settled into his role of Vampire Prince, but times are not easy. A war is raging between the vampires and their blood-cousins, the vampaneze. Prophecy has dictated that the Vampaneze Lord, once fully blooded, would lead the vampaneze into a war against the vampires and wipe them out, and the vampires have lived with this knowledge for six hundred years.

But now Mr. Tiny has informed them that was simply the most likely outcome. For it now appears that there are four chances for the vampires to avert the course of destiny and save their race, three of which will occur within the next twelve months. Three vampire hunters have been named as the only ones who can hunt the Lord of the Vampaneze and take responsibility for the future of the vampire clan. Darren Shan and Larten Crepsley are two of those three, the third of whom they are to meet on the road. So after spending the last six years inside Vampire Mountain, Darren and Mr. Crepsley hit the road again, accompanied by Little Person Harkat Mulds, to hunt down the Vampaneze Lord and save the vampires.

This was another fast-paced and quick read in the Saga of Darren Shan. I love how the author always includes a prologue at the start of each book to bring you back up to speed with past events. This is particularly useful if, like me, you've gone several months or even a year since reading the previous book. So after that quick little refresher, I was off and running with another great Darren Shan story. Book 8 seems to pick up right where this one left off so I'll be diving right into that one now too. :-)

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

#71 Glass Houses: The Morganville Vampires, Book 1 by Rachel Caine

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Meet Claire Danvers, an advanced student headed off to college at Texas Prarie University a year early. Unfortunately, she's made quick enemies of some of the more popular girls in the dorm, and after numerous attempts on her life, she comes to realize that Monica and her pals are no longer joking around so she begins to look for off-campus housing, despite the fact that freshmen are prohibited to do so. But hey, if that's what it takes to keep her alive....

Responding to an ad in the local paper, Claire meets up with Eve, Shane, and Michael, and after a bit of worrying about her age, they've invited her to live at the Glass house, owned by resident Michael Glass. But the rest of the town is still out looking for Claire. It seems she's pissed off the wrong people; the "wrong people" being of the undead variety: the Vampires that rule Morganville. But can her new roommates keep her safe?

This was a good first book in the young adult Morganville Vampires series. At times I thought it was a bit too teenish for me, but I get that feeling with a lot of teen books whenever they start "crushing" on a guy or stuff like that. LOL It ended on a cliffhanger, as many young adult books seem to be prone to do, so I'm definitely looking forward to starting the next in the series shortly, which I have waiting for me here anyway as part of Amberkatze's bookring. :-)

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

#70 Dead Over Heels: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery by Charlaine Harris

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

This fifth installment in the Aurora Teagarden Mystery series is just as cute and cozy as it's predecessors. The story takes place about two years after the events of the previous book, The Julius House. Roe and Martin have settled into married life quite comfortably, and things have been relatively quiet around the small Atlanta suburb of Lawrenceton, GA for the last few years. But that all changes when a body is dropped from a low-flying airplane, right onto Roe's lawn! But just wait a day or two because you know that won't be the only dead body showing up!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

#69 Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn

My Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

This was another great installment in the Kitty series. I really like Kitty's character: tough as nails on the outside, yet vulnerable and quite complex on the inside. In this book, Kitty has escaped from the world for awhile to a remote cabin in the mountains, supposedly to write her memoirs, but she really just needs time to think... to get away from it all, get her priorities straight, etc. Unfortunately, her time away isn't quite as comforting as she'd like. It seems someone in town is trying to curse her, and now to top it off, she's got a new werewolf to train too. Guess who? =-o

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

#68 Sugarplums and Scandal by Dana Cameron, Mary Daheim, Lori Avocato, Cait London, Suzanne Macpherson, Kerrelyn Sparks

My Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

"All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" by Lori Avocato
When nurse-turned-investigator Pauline Sokol decides to bring a bit of Christmas cheer to a helpless old man, she unwittingly discovers misdeeds of a Scrooge-like local dentist.

This was a cute little story. Not much of a mystery in and of itself, but apparently the Pauline Sokol Mystery series from which these characters are drawn is a fairly successful cozy mystery series. She reminds me a bit of Stephanie Plum. Characters were well drawn and the story imparted a nice sense of Christmas spirit despite it's brevity.

"The Lords of Misrule" by Dana Cameron
Modern detection techniques are called for on Christmas Eve in an elegant eighteenth-century English manor when murder and grand theft get thrown in amidst the Christmas cheer.

This was another cute little mystery. I didn't care for the 18th century setting as much as I do for contemporary settings, but the mystery itself was entertaining, the characters interesting, and it held my interest throughout.

"The Ghost of Christmas Passed" by Mary Daheim
All the wacky relatives are together for the holidays at Judith McMonigle Flynn's bed and breakfast—but a murderous, uninvited "ghost" may dampen the Christmas spirit.

I really couldn't get into this one and found myself paging ahead to see when it was gonna end! LOL I had a difficult time relating to the main characters or the situations they faced, possibly because they were quite a bit outside my age range, and the supposed "ghost" wasn't even really a ghost at all! :-( So overall, this was just a large group of family and friends, whose names I couldn't even keep track of, getting together on Christmas and getting a little surprise. Ehhh... *shrug*

"Partners in Crime" by Cait London
When a well-meaning do-gooder lets a mysterious man into her life, she must discover if he's protecting her—or stalking her.

This cute little mystery wasn't too bad, though it wasn't my favorite of the bunch either. It was like a cozy mystery and love story rolled up into one. At least it was interesting enough to hold my interest throughout. :-)

"Holly Go Lightly" by Suzanne Macpherson
A handsome hero's plucky late fiancée won't leave him be until he completes her unfinished mission on Earth.

When the ghost of his old girlfriend starts haunting him on Christmas Eve, Nick is led to discover a holiday secret that has been hidden from him for years. This was another good story: a little bit romance, a little bit mystery, but a good holiday story overall.

"A Very Vampy Christmas" by Kerrelyn Sparks
Coming home for the holidays takes on new meaning when a newly turned vampire discovers his own Christmas miracle.

This one was the best of the batch! It was also the longest at 86 pages so perhaps that had something to do with it. :-) This is the story of Don Orlando de Corazon, "the greatest lover in the vampire world" from the DVN soap opera As a Vampire Turns, and his discovering who he really is. Don Orlando was a minor character in the previous Love at Stake novels, and I recognized many of the other characters from the full-length novels as well, though its certainly not necessary to have read them before this; this story can easily stand alone.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

#67 The Julius House: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery by Charlaine Harris

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Aurora "Roe" Teagarden has received a most unusual but welcome wedding present from her fiancé, Martin Bartell. He has given her "the Julius House", a local house that's been shrouded in mystery for the last 6 years since it's previous occupants went missing. Roe has always been drawn to the house, as well as the circumstances surrounding the unexpected and sudden disappearance of its previous inhabitants. But when she starts sleuthing, can she handle the things she discovers?

It took me a little while to reacquaint myself with a few of the characters in this series. I didn't really recall Martin all that well, though I did remember her previous two boyfriends, Arthur the cop and Aubrey the minister. So either Martin came into the picture late in book 3, and I haven't yet read enough about him, or else he simply didn't make much of an impression on me. Nevertheless, that was the only character I didn't remember. And I quickly warmed to the familiarity of Roe and her family and friends from the small town of Lawrenceton, GA.

This book and the next, Dead Over Heels were fairly difficult to find so I purchased them from eBay for a fair price and plan to give them to NeedSun. I'd actually planned to do that after I bought them last year, but she insisted I read the series first since I had been acquiring the majority of the early books for her. And I'm certainly glad I did. These are cute little cozies, not as dark as the Shakespeare series, but Charlaine's terrific writing style comes through just as easily in these earlier books, making them a joy to read. :-)

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Monday, December 03, 2007

#66 Dead and Loving It by MaryJanice Davidson

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

"Santa Claws" (read 11/4–5)
Not a whole lot of substance to this one. I can see why the first three of these Wyndham werewolf stories were initallly published in e-book format. I suspect they're mostly fillers to fill in a bit of back story on the various werewolves of the Wyndham pack. That said, I did appreciate this story for what it was: how Alec met Giselle, and how they rocked the sheets all night. ;-)

"Monster Love" (read 11/15–16)
Again, not a whole lot of substance... just a way to introduce you to a few more minor characters to be introduced/talked about in the Wyndham Werewolf series. In this story, we've got Janet Lupo—whose name they kept shortening to Jane which is really stupid because Jane is not a nickname for Janet. I know lots of people by both names and none has ever shortened Janet to Jane! Anyway, Janet's a real bitch of a werewolf: harsh mouth, bad attitude, the works! And now she's finally met her match in local vampire, Richard "Dick" Will. Their initial "getting-to-know-you" revolves around sex... which is fine by me. Being dogs by nature, that's how werewolves judge their compatibility apparently. ;-)

"There's No Such Thing as a Werewolf" (read 11/25)
This one didn't appear to have as much sex as the previous two, at least not anything as explicit. Instead, it was a nice story about Drake, a former werewolf of the Wyndham pack, who's gone rogue and who's actually a practicing doctor among humans. Oh, and did I mention he's blind as well? Well, that is until he meets Crescent, a street girl who thinks she can fly. What is it about her that causes him to be able to not just sense her with his extrasharp senses, but actually see the light eminating from her? This is their story, and I quite enjoyed it. :-)

"A Fiend in Need" (read 12/2)
This story actually takes place in the Queen Betsy universe, and occurs between book 4, Undead and Unreturnable, and book 5, Undead and Unpopular. Here we meet Antonia, a werewolf who's a little unique in that she cannot Change. She can however see the future, and one of her visions has told her to travel to Minneapolis, MN to see the queen, and she'll get what she needs. Since the pack doesn't seem to miss her, an address pops into her head and off she goes! She doesn't realize until she gets there that the queen she's visiting is actually Queen Betsy, Queen of the Vampires. She falls into a fast friendship with the gang at Betsy's, particularly George the Fiend, née Garrett Shea, where it's pretty much love at first sight. So this is primarily Antonia and Garrett's story, and it reads very much like a typical Betsy story. It'll be interesting to see how things progress with Garrett and Antonia in the later Betsy books, since Antonia has decided to move into the mansion with Betsy and the gang.

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#65 Nightlife by Rob Thurman

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Cal and Niko have lived the last 4 years of their life on the run... ever since Cal discovered his father is a monster, an evil and hated Grendel. Grendels are a vicious and hated species from the otherworld, and apparently they have some grand scheme that involves Cal and they've been tracking him throughout his life. He escaped once, but they don't plan to let him go again... not when their entire existence depends on it!

I enjoyed this first novel from new author Rob Thurman. The storyline was interesting and there was enough action to keep me interested. One thing that threw me though was that the mythology was quite a bit different from what I've come to know about the various otherworld species. For instance, Cal's father is referred to as a Grendel or Auphe, which is actually an Elf. So this is the first time I've encountered evil, bloodthirsty elves with red demon eyes, and the character of Rob Fellowes, aka the puck Robin Goodfellow, didn't come across as very faery-like to me either. a typical faery creature either. So I kind of had to put aside my past learnings about these creatures so it didn't impact my perception of the characters in this book in the wrong way. I have Moonshine, the follow-up to Nightlife, waiting on Mt. TBR, so I'll be looking forward to seeing how this series progresses.

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