Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 274
Series : Canongate Myth Series
Format : Mythology Re-Telling Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, to continue with the series

A re-telling of the Minotaur myth set in an internet chat room. A series of people wake up in single rooms with no contact to each other besides an internet chat room where their screen names have been picked for them. It seems there are moderators who will not let the captives reveal anything personal about themselves, like their real name and where they are from. One screen name is Ariadne and she has been having dreams of the minotaur which she tells to the others as they wait for Theseus to appear and rescue them.

They begin to explore their external surroundings when their doors open. It seems they are trapped in a physical labyrinth as well with no way into anothers area. Two of them think their areas meet so they start to seek ways to reach each other. Meanwhile some stay in their room and discuss the situation and try to figure out what is going on.

This was very trippy but really thought provoking. Definitely something that needs a re-read as I think I missed quite a lot the first time. It is much more of a philiosophical discussion than a straight novel set out like a play.

Other reviews : Nymeth Things Mean a Lot

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 193
Series : #3 Queen Betsy
Format : Urban Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, to continue with the series

Betsy is back as Queen of the Vampires. She has acquired a club called Scratch but as she won't let the vampire staff bring their "sheep" or feed off the customers (or kill them!) the club is failing and looks like it will go bust. At the moment it's her only source of income so she begins to put her energies into rebuilding the clientelle.

Her step mother, the Ant, is pregnant and when her father visits to make sure Betsy doesn't attend the baby shower he accidentally lets slip that the Ant had previsouly given a baby up at birth and Betsy has a half sister. The Book of the Dead has a prophecy about her as well, she is the daughter of the Devil and is due to bring about the end of the world. Betsy myst find her and make sure she doesn't...

Betsy is sick of hearing about prophecys in an "oh by the way" fashion so she decides to read the Book of the Dead for herself. The problem is that if you read it for too long, you go mad. She reads for too long as predicted and becomes evil Betsy. She attacks her friends and has sex with Sinclair and has a lot of relationships to mend. She also manages to gain a new vampire superpower so it's not all bad.

Another fun installment. These are a great light read, sex and the city meets vampires. I really like Betsy and her sense of humor. Jessica is a good character too and I am looking forward to spending more time getting to know her half sister Laura.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 166
Series : #5 Fables
Format : Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge 2009, to continue with the series

Back in Fabletown life is moving on after the war of March of the Wooden Soldiers. The town is being rebuilt and the race to become Major is one between current Major King Cole and Prince Charming. Whilst this is going on Snow has gone into labour and gives birth to babies plural. Not only does she have more than one baby, it seems that they have other abilities as well that involve them being tied down...

We spend some time finding out a little more about Cinderella as well as Bibgy's past helping out the American army against the Nazis. The interrogation of Baba Yaga and the wodden heads continues as the Fables try to find out more about the Adversary and who they actually are. Boy Blue disappears having found a way back to the Homelands to seek out the readl Red Riding Hood and there are some mysterious deaths where people seem to suffocate for no apparent reason.

This was an excellent addition to the series and I loved meeting Bigby's father (all I want to know now is who his mother is!). I am really looking forward to the next in the series and finding out what has happened to the Homelands. The side stories are weaving together very nicely.

Rating : 2.5/5
Number of Pages : 262
Series : #2 Aurora Teagarden Mystery
Format : Mystery Novel
Reason for Reading : Cozy Mystery Challenge

Aurora (Roe) is back after the events in Real Murders. One of the original club, JaneEngle, has died of old age and has left her house and savings to Roe. They were not particularly close, but it seems Jane has left Roe a mystery to solve. Lawyer Bubba Sewell gives her to understand there is something Jane has been keeping from people and on investigating her house Roe finds a human skull. The house has also been broken in to which suggests that she is not the only one who knows about it's exsistance.

Roe is torn, should she move in to Jane's house but is one of the neighbours a murderer. First things first she needs to identify the identity of the skull and there are a few possibilities and missing people. She meets her neighbours including her ex lover who has recently married and his wife is about to have a baby any time now which really rubs Roe's single face in it. To even the playing field she begins to date one of the local ministers, but no one is above suspision and she is careful not to mention the skull to anyone.

I enjoyed this as a random novel but not as a murder mystery. The ending was far too rushed and was much more about Roe and her realtionships with people than about the msytery. There was also a very unrealistic scene at the end involving giving birth, but I won't spoil it here. Overall a very average book which left me very disappointed as I expected better.

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 238
Format : Fiction
Reason for Reading : GLBT Challenge, because I really like Ali Smith

Hotel World tells the story of a young woman who starts working at a hotel chain and dies. She climbs into a dumb waiter, but it is old and snaps and she falls down the shaft being killed on impact. There was one witness, a boy who she worked with and got along well with. The girl had recently fallen in love for the first time and was shocked to find it was with another girl.

The tale is split into sections told by different people with connections to the hotel and the dead girl. The first narrator is the ghost of the girl herself. I loved the way she is portrayed as not really remembering who she was and being able to appear to her family. The second character is Else, a homeless lady who asks for change outside the hotel. She is offered a free night in the hotel by a receptionist (the third narrator). The fourth character is a guest at the hotel, a journalist who reviews the hotel. The next story is that of the dead girls sister and how it has affected her. The final story is the girl in the watch shop who had been the object of the dead girls love.

I loved this short novel. It read like a series of short stories that were interconnected. Somehow Ali is able to change her writing style so it really does feel like you are reading the thoughts of different people. I also warmed to all the characters, even the journalist and loved how little comments from one persons story had an affect on another characters.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Which do you prefer? (Quick answers–we’ll do more detail at some later date)

Reading something frivolous? Or something serious? - Usually it depends on my mood. I read more serious books and then break them up with something frivolous

Paperbacks? Or hardcovers? - Paperbacks. They are easier to carry around and to hold when reading lying down.

Fiction? Or Nonfiction? - Ficiton, I don't read much non-fiction to be honest.

Poetry? Or Prose? - Usually prose but I do read poetry from time to time.

Biographies? Or Autobiographies? - To be honest I don't read either.... I think I have read one autobiology and maybe one or two biographies in my life!

History? Or Historical Fiction? - Historical fiction usually although it is good to get the real facts sometims. I just prefer fiction to non-fiction is all.

Series? Or Stand-alones? - I love series books. You can really get into a set of characters and it's great following them on their adventures. Stand alones help my bank balance more though.

Classics? Or best-sellers? - Classics as I don't tend to read best sellers.

Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose? Hmm this is more difficult. A bit of both? I don't like too wordy, but I do like a good bit of prose.

Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness? - Usually plots but I do enjoy stream-of-consciousness like Virginia Wolfe and Ali Smith.

Long books? Or Short? - Again it depends on my mood and my attention span. The writing and subject of the book are much more important than the length. It's not the size that matters, it's what you do with it ;)

Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated? - I love graphic novels and manga as well as books with illustrations. It makes me feel like more effort has been taken somehow and I am being given something extra. I am always especilaly excited when the author has done the illustrations themselves like James A Owen.

Borrowed? Or Owned? - Owned. I like the feel of books and being surrounded by them. I am trying to curb my buying habbits as always and as usually failing miserably.

New? Or Used? - New ideally, but there is something about an old book that makes you wonder about its history. Who has read it before you and what they thought of it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 184
Series : #1 Crescent Moon
Format : Manga
Reason for Reading : Manga Challenge

Mahiru Shiraishi is a high school student who is able to bring good luck to others, but not herself. She keeps having a re-curring dream where a demon is wronged by a Princess he wishes to marry. After the dream she meets the Lunar Race who want her to help them find the Drops of the Moon.

The Lunar Race are a mixture of Demons, a werewolf, vampire, fox and bat. They claim Mahiru is their Princess and she must help bridge the gap between the Lunar Race and the humans. In particular the human-hating tengu Mitsuru. The artwork is some of the most stunning I have seen. The plot has only just got going, but it is definitely a great start to the series. Another good thing is the series is a short one with only 6 in the series.

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 231
Format : Teenage Fiction
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge

Kate Malone is a popular, straight A student who commits the cardinal sin of applying to only one college. The traditional way is to apply to a few safety collages, but all she wants is to go to MIT. She spends her time when not in school looking after her dad after her mother died and running. Running is what clears her head and she muses between Bad Kate and Good Kate (her conscience).

Their neighbours house burns down one day. The mother is unwell, her husband used to beat her up and one shot to the head has left her permanently damaged. Her daughter and son move in with the Mallones and Kate has to give her bedroom to her nemisis Teri Litch as well as her annoying little brother. After spending some time with them Kate begins to love little Mikey, but when tradgey hits in a string of three events Kate's world is completely turned upside down.

One thing I loved about this was that all the chapter headings were names after chemistry terminology. Being a biochemist I lapped this up! It is set in the same school as Speak with another troubled teen and just as gripping a plot. I didn't see all of the twists coming and two in particular were quite shocking. If you liekd Speak, then this is definitely for you.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 176
Series : #1 Emo Boy
Format : Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge 2009

Emo Boy is a superhero with Emo superpowers. These mostly include emo lyrics, super-human sensitivity and making girls heads explode. As the back says, he is the world's saddest saviour. He loses his first love in a horrible and icky accident, he dances akwardly at an emo concert and has a lyric off with the lead singer causing him to get thrown out of their fan club. He also fails to committ suicide which has drastic consequences for the other students. He also losses at dodge ball when the other students use him as target practise.

Very silly, it pokes fun at emo culture (a type of music that came of the USA from punk and hardcore music with emotional lyrics) and style without being too mean. It's more a lighthearted homage to the genre.

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 289
Series : #7 Daughters of the Moon
Format : Teenage Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, to continue with the series

Vanessa is getting closer to her 16th birthday but feels she is not able to really express herself. She is always the good one who makes the right choices, wears the right clothes and dates the right boys. When she meets Hector she lets her wild, darker side out to play.

Girls have been going missing from a club where men go to dance with girls for money so the five friends go undercover to investigate. That is where Vanessa meets Hector. She is jealous of the attention her best friend Catty is giving to the newest member of their group Tianna and wants to do something different so she dances with him and gives him her number. It seems that it is a demon taking the girls who have disappeared but they they can escape him by saying no and realising who he is before he takes them.

One night Catty appears from the future to warn Vanessa about something, but she is snatched away before she can deliver her message. From the time tunnel comes a flame which Vanessa touches and it marks her with a henna like pattern. Maggie (their gugardian) knows this demon well and says there is no way to defeat him as he is perfect, seems like she may be connected to him in some way.

Another fast paced installment in the series. I like Vanessa and I am glad she realises she doesn't have to be perfect to be liked by others. I can understand her feelings towards Tianna and I think there will continue to be tension between them as the series progresses.

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 410
Series : #2 Wildwood Dancing
Format : Teenage Fiction, Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, to continue with the series

Continuing the story from after the events of Wildwood Dancing. This time the story is led by Paula, the scholar of the family. She has travelled with her father on a business trip to Istanbul. They are following a lead on a mysterious artifact, a statue of Cybele who was an earth goddess. Her cult is reported to be being revivied in the city much to the chargrin of Islamist leaders. There is a secret auction being held by invitation only which is even more hidden than usual after Paula's fathers business partner was murdered just before their ship landed.

Being an Islamic city, Paula must be careful how she is seen in public and cover her hair with a scarf at all times. Her father lets her choose her own bodyguard and she picks Stoyan who worked for the business partner who was murdered. The two quickly become friends and Stoyan helps when Paula starts seeing things from the Other Kingdom. Her sister Tati who went to live their with her true love is appearing to Paula and she keeps finding clues about Cybele around the city. It looks like she has been chosen to go on an Other Kingdom Quest and that Stoyan is wrapped up in it too.

In their way seems to be Duarte, a pirate with a dubious reputation. He seems to take a liking to Paula although she is not sure if it is just to get information on Cybele or genuine. He becomes mixed up in their quest and the three end up on an adventure together as very unlikely travelling companions.

This was a fantastic tale neatly blending mythology and fairy tale elements to craft a very enjoyable fantasy tale. You don't need to have read the first, Wildwood Dancing, to enjoy this novel (although it might help explain Tati and Paula's other sisters). Anotehr hit from Marillier in pulling the reader in and immersing you in a different time, place and culture.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Follow-up to last week’s question from Booking Through Thursday:
Do you keep all your unread books together, like books in a waiting room? Or are they scattered throughout your shelves, mingling like party-goers waiting for the host to come along?

It's been ages since I have been home to do one of these questions and it's good to be back. I don't keep my TBR books together. I have a number of different shelves and I organise my books by genre at the moment and then by series (but not yet alphabetically, that is to anal even for me! Although I do for my dvds and computer games...). I have pulled out my challenge books for the most part for this year and have them stacked by month I hope to read them. It's pretty flexible though as I like to give myself room to change my mind. I have so many TBR books that they would need their own sets of shelves and it would be way too depressing to see all the books I own and have not yet read all stacked together.

The cat in the bathroom sink is Merlin. He usually prefers lying in the bath but this time he managed to get comfortable in the sink.

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages :
Series : #1 & 2 Iron Fairies
Format : Fairy Tale, Journal
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, recommenation from Mariel

Presented as a story and the journal of one of the miners who makes iron fairies, these are beautiful books with iron covers. Based on the orignal story and illustrations by Ashley Sutton. Set in the 1900s a group if children came across 3 rusted books in the garden that told the story of an old cottage in Western Australia. Underneath the cottage are hidden tunnels of grumpy old men who make iron fairies representing parts of the garden above them.

Sometimes though the ore isn't in the right concentration and a blue fairy is made. These are mischevious and naughty and they try to get the miners to make more of them. Throughout the books are clues that reveal a key for an online game which I haven't figured out yet. The third book is currently awaiting release and I will defintely be getting a copy when it comes out.

The Iron Fairies can be found here and you can get the iron fairies as well as the books themselves. These would make a great gift and feel one of a kind and special. Ideal for anyone who likes their books to look and feel special.

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 32
Format : Poem for Children
Reason for Reading : Dream King Challenge

A poem written by Neil Gaiman illustrated by Charles Vess. This was originally written for Tori Amos' daughter Tash and Neil eventually published it which I am very glad about. It follows a much loved baby who grows into a woman, travelling the world and its wonders. It is the wishes a parent may have for their daughter and the daughers wishes as well.

These are some of my favourite of Vess's illustrations and it was such a beautiful poem. If we do decide to have children and one is a daughter I can definitely see myself reading them this poem before bed. Such a beautiful gift.

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 399
Format : Fantasy Adventure Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge

The classic fantasy adventure novel that became a hit film. Buttercup lives on a farm and grows up to be one of the most beautiful women in the world. On the farm lives farm hand Westly. They fall in love and Westly leaves to make his fortune ready to marry Buttercup. While he is away though news comes back to the farm that his ship has ben captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts who is known for leaving none alive. Buttercup goes into mourning with a broken heart which only increases her beauty attracting Prince Humperdink. She agrees to marry him as long as he realises there will be no love between them.

As the marriage draws closer Buttercup is kidnapped by a clever dwarf, giant Fezzik and Master swordsman Inigo Montoya. Someone is following them who may be able to out match them all, the mysterious man in black, who seems determined to get to Buttercup. The plot slowly starts to unravel as we learn more about the dastardly Prince Humperdink, the loyal Fezzik and Inigo who is out for revenge for the death of his father. The identity of the Man in Black in also revealed.

This is a true classic adventure tale. There is something for everyone no matter the age or gender. The film is an excellent adaptation which I highly recommend. My only problem with this was that it was written as if it was adapted from a longer novel with a sequel. The story goes that William Goldman was read the original story by his father when he was ill who missed out all he non action parts making a much better novel. Reading it all I wanted to do was get a copy of the original novel and the follow up which really spoilt it for me. Turns out (thanks Mariel) that this was all a joke and it is an orignal story by Goldman. I am not sure which was more dissapointing...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 260
Series : #1 Queen Betsy
Format : Urban Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, to continue with the series

Betsy's full name is Elizbeth Taylor, but don't call her that or she may rip your throat out. Sh is going about her life having the worst day ever. She has been sacked from her job and when she gets home she gets run over right outside her house petting her ungrateful cat. The next thing she knows is she wakes up in the morgue in the worst outfit ever. Seems she has been made a vampire with a few quirks.

She wasn't turned by traditional vampire turning means, but was attached by creatures some time ago which seems to have caused her change. Turns out being a vampire makes her have a serious effect on men. She isn't fazed by by holy water or sunlight and can make reference to "god" with no dire consequences unlike the other vampires she meets. Two in particular stand out: the sexy Sinclair and the sterotype Nostro. They both want them on their side as they try to take each other out.

Sex and the City meets sassy vampires. Betsy has a craving for the latest hot shoes and wants to try out of the vamp politics. This was a lot of fun and a great start to the series. Betsy and her friends Jessica and Nick (who are great characters) have great wit and I can't wait to see more of Betsy and "Sink-Lair".

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 213
Series : #2 Queen Betsy
Format : Urban Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, to continue with the series

Betsy is back and is trying to refuse being made Queen of all the vampires. It seems her special vampire powers set her apart from the others and the prophecies say she is their Queen. Unfortunately she has been saddled with a King which she is not happy about at all. To make things more complicated it seems she can see and communicate with ghosts.

Betsy gets a job in a Macy's shoe store, her dream job, but her vampire life keeps interfering. Sinclair won't leave her alone, determined to be her consort in all aspects much to her bisgust (and silent enjoyment). Unfortunately there seems to be a slayer in town killing vampires. They don't seem to understand that not all vampires are blood thirsty monsters and some are good and don't inflict pain and suffering on humans.

Another great installment, I am definitely hooked on this series and will be continuing with it soon. I love the humor, the sexiness and the attitude.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 136
Format : Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge

Helen Potter and her pet rat who she rescued from the school lab are runaways. She has an interest in Beatrix Potter who was also named Helen and takes comfort in copying her drawings. She falls in with a friendly lad from Newcastle who lets her live in his squat with his friends. After her rat is killed by a cat she leaves and moves to the Lake District where Beatrix Potter is from.

She can't bear physical touch and during the course of the novel the reason is explained. She is a victim of abuse from a close family member. The book deals with how she deals with what has happened to her as well as the many Beatrix Potter parallels. The drawings are perfect to accompany the story and bring it to life in a way words alone could not.

It is at times a difficult novel to read, but it is definitely an important one that I highly recommend. The issue of abuse is not something to brush under the carpet no matter how painful it is and it needs discussing. I really loved this graphic novel and I really appreciated that the ending was not happy ever after and sugar coated, it was far more realistic and true to life.

Other reviews : Stuff as Dreams are Made on

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 208
Format : Fiction Anthology
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge

Twelve short stories are collected here by Scottish author Ali Smith. Rather than go through all of them I will just mention a few that really caught my imagination. Being Quick is a strange story were Death is seen at a Kings Cross train station. The narrator switches between the person who saw Death and their partner at home and you are unsure reading the tale if one will die or is dead. Very unsettling and complicate yet so very simple.

May is a tale of someone who falls in love with a tree. Again the tale is told from two narrators perspective giving both sides of the story. Believe Me is a tale of two lovers lying in bed together claiming they are sharing the same man. It is unclear if they are both teasing the other or speaking the truth. The Heart of the Story follows three drunk women who go to a church for midnight mass to wamr up. After being thrown out two leave to get a taxi and it is implied the youngest is homeless. The Start of Things tells the story of a breakup and how it began.

There are definite themes running through the tales which leads to a sense of cohensiveness. Many are to do with relationships and also nature (in particular trees). Ali also often switches narrative throughout the stories giving different perspectives which she is particularly adept at. She plays the pronoun game a lot not specifying whether her narrators are male or female which led me to check her sexuality. It was no surprise to find out she is a lesbian which means her tales are unspecific as to whether her characters were straight or in gay relationships which was interesting. I liked the ambiguity and it makes each tale read slightly differently depending on your assumptions so you get more than one story per reading!

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 166
Series : Re-Told Fairy Tales
Format : Teenage Fiction, Fairy Tale Anthology
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge

An anthology of re-told fairy tales collected by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. These tales are aimed at younger readers than the previous collections I have read, but were nonetheless enjoyable. There are 13 tales in all by a variety of different authors.

The Months of Manhattan - Delia Sherman
Liz Wallach is a good daughter who inherits bad-tempered step sister Beth Dodson. Liz gets lost doing a school project in the MET and stumbles across a magic painting entitled The Twelve Months of Manhattan. Since then all she has is good luck so Beth tries the same thing getting nothing but bad luck.

Cinder Elephant - Jane Yolen
A re-telling of Cinderella where Elly is a large girl that the Prince falls in love with. The moral at the end reads "If you love a waist, you waste a love".

Instructions - Neil Gaiman
Instructions for safely passing through a fairy tale.

Mrs Big: Jack and the Beanstalk Retold - Michael Cadnum
After Mrs Big steps on a milmaid, her husband buys a house in the clouds from a travelling peddlar. One day a thief comes to their house from a beanstalk grown from beans from a travelling peddlar. Mrs Big's husband ends up dying and she goes after the peddlar who started the whole thing.

Falada: The Goose Girls Horse - Nancy Farmer
A happier version of The Goose Girl where Falada manages to keep her head and return whole to Elfland.

A Wolf at the Door - Tannith Lee
After the Ice Age the animals have learnt to talk. One day Glasina finds a particularly verbose wolf and takes him home. He acts human and she realises to break the spell on him she will have to kiss him and then marry him. This will really mess up her travel plans...

Ali Baba and the Forty Allies - Janeen Web
Alberto Barbarino is a goth loner who is teased and called Ali Baba. One day he finds the treasure of 40 aliens in a disused mine.

Swans - Kelly Link
A mixture of Rumplestiltskin and The Wild Swans. Emma hasn't spoken since her mother who could spin gold died. Her father remarries a woman who can't stand noise and she turns everyone but Emma into swans.

The Kingdom of Melting Glances - Katherine Vazaken
Taken from 2 Portuguese legends. Rosa has a lily on her face who makes her magical. After her parents melt away she befriends a hummingbird, but her sisters injure it terribly. Rosa travels to the Palace of the Sun to nurse it back to health.

Hansel's Eyes - Garth Nix
A modern re-telling of Hansel and Grettal who are caught by a witch in a Playstation shop. She wants Hansels eyes for her own.

Becoming Chaise - Kathe Koja
The Ugly Duckling meets school nerd. The point is that she was never a duckling, always a swan.

The Seven Stage a Comeback - Gregory Maguire
The seven dwarves march out with the glass coffin and a bit of the poisoned apple to reclaim what is theirs.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses - Patricia A McKillip
A fairy standard re-telling of the original story about 12 Princesses who disappear every evening to dance the night away.

My favourites were Cinder Elephant, A Wolf at the Door, The Kingdom of Melting Glances, Becoming Chaise and The Seven Stage a Comeback. My main favourites were the tales of stories I wasn't too familiar with or that put a really new spin on an old story.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 476
Series : #8 Women of the Otherworld
Format : Urban Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, to continue with the series

Hope Adams is a rare kind of half demon called an Expisco. She has none of the demonic superpowers, but has a love of chaos and can sense it. This includes hearing peoples chaotic thoughts and being able to sense where violent acts have taken place. She is working on fine tuning her talents, but first she must pay back a debt to Cabal leader Benicio Cortz. Her and her sometime werewolf lover Karl Marsden had their lives saved by Benicio and they long for the debt to be paid so they can continue their lives.

Benicio turns out unexpectedly to talk to Hope whie Karl is in Europe. He has a plan for her to infiltrate a local supernatural gang who are taking more risks than they should. He wants her to go undercover and keep tabs on their plans and actions with a fake identity. She agrees as long as Lucas and Paige from the Council are in on the plan and can monitor her from a distance. After passing an initiation test she is welcomed into the group and soon starts getting sucked in to the chaos surrounding the group, particularly the handsome Jaz. Things become complicated when Karl hears about what is going on and returns to find Hope on the lap of Jaz. A string of important murders also starts and it is up to Hope, Karl, Paige and Lucas to find out who the killers are and capture them before more supernaturals die.

This was fast paced and intense with some sexy bits thrown in for good measure. An excellent addition to one of the best urban fantasy series around at the moment. I love Armstrongs characters, her protagonists change from book to book keeping the stories fresh and exciting. Hope is a fairly new character appaering in No Humans Involved and her back story is introduced in short story Chaotic which is included in the Dates from Hell Anthology. I am really looking forward to reading the next in the series, Living with the Dead.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 355
Format : Teenage Fiction, Vampire/Werewolf novel
Reason for Reading : Vampire Challenge

Nina was fanged in 1973 when she was 15. Since then she has trying to live as a reformed vampire dining off Guinea Pigs. There are a little group of them that meet every week in a local church with Priest Father Ramon to try to come to terms with what they are and offer each other support, guidance and therapy. Being a vampire is no easy thing. It is not a glamorous lifestyle like in the books, they are best by illness, have to wear dark glasses all the time and everyone wants to kill them. They are not the deadly predator with supernatural skills portrayed in fantasy and horror novels. Nina deals with this by writing her own fantasy vampire series with Zadia Bloodstone as the intrepid vampire heronine with all the usual superpowers.

Life changes when one of their own is murdered (a stake through the heart does the trick). They find a silver bullet as a clue and pursue their lead to the very unsavoury Barry McKinnon and his son Dermind. They are running an illegal werewolf baiting racket and Nina, Dave (another vampire) and Father Ramon manage to get caught in the middle whilst looking for the killer. Barry and Dermind will stop at nothing to keep their werewolf who is worht upwards of a hundred thousand dollars...

This book should have been amazing. It has some of the best ideas I have come across in a long time regarding vampire fiction. I loved that they were sick all the time and totally the opposite of the stories. Another great idea was that Nina contributed to the misconception by writing supernatural vampire fiction of her own. There is also Bridget, an elderly vampire who spends her time knitting. Unforatunately it fell a bit flat. It wasn't really explained why they were so sick all the time. What started as a fun murder mystery became a bit more of an action tale, but it just missed the mark somehow for me.

Other Reviews: Becky's Book Reviews

Thursday, July 02, 2009

June Summary

This month has been much better for reading. I have been getting a lot of time at the weekends to catch up although I think this will change this month. My only problem now is that I am quite behind on reviews. When I go away with work I don't have a chance to get any done, I am going to have to be disciplined and schedule some I think so they are not all posted at the same time and that way I can do them when I am at home. At the moment I am 11 reviews behind which is the most I have ever been.

Books Read = 19, Total = 100
Pages Read = 4,476, Total = 21,321

Manga Challenge : 3/6 plus 8 alternatives
Scott Westerfeld Mini Challenge : 0/3
Arthurian Challenge II : 1/6 (read 6-8 books)
What's in a Name Challenge II : 3/6
Challenge with Nymeth : 1/5
Challenge with Mariel : 0/5
The Dream King Challenge : 2/3 plus 1 film (Coraline)
999 Challenge : 59/81
Graphic Novel Challenge II : 2/12
Guardian Challenge : 42/50
Opon upon a Time Challenge : 5/5 COMPLETED
Vampire Challenge : 0/2
666 Reading Challenge : 4/3
6Cozy Murders Challenge : 3/6
GLBT Challenge : 0/6 Starts July
Sookie Stackhouse Challenge : 0/9 Starts July

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Please post the links to your manga challenge reviews using Mister Linky below. If you do not have a blog please feel free to email me and I can post it for you. Alternatively please add it to the comments section on this post.

Once again please feel free to read more than 6 if you have the time and money. I know I will be!