Urban Fantasy Review: The Beast by J.R. Ward

TThe Beasthe Beast by J.R. Ward

Published by: Penguin USA

Format: Paperback ARC

Genre: Urban Fantasy of the Vampire Persuasion

Order from: Amazon

Reviewed by: Guest Reviewer, Ellen(!)

What to expect: Rhage and Mary, Mary and Rhage! Book…whatever of The Black Dagger Brotherhood offers a new installment of two of my most favorite characters (MARY AND RHAGE) + vampires from the Old Country who wear leather, tote guns, and speak in slang, and a look at what’s ahead for the Brotherhood…think GRAND SCOPE!

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Paranormal Romance review: Stygian by Santino Hassell

StygianStygian by Santino Hassell

Published by: Dreamspinner Press

Format: eARC

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Order now: Amazon

Reviewed by: fabulous guest reviewer, Anna

Get ready for: In Santino Hassell’s Stygian, rural Louisiana serves as the backdrop for four young musicians who are forced to confront conflict both with one another and with the [SPOILER SPOILER] vampires who’ve made them their prey. Read More

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Exclusive Prequel to Stygian by Santino Hassell: A Night in the Life

Stygian blog tour banner - short

There are two utterly amazing things you should be excited about today:

1. Stygian by Santino Hassell releases Monday, October 26th! Only 4 days until a true Southern Gothic Paranormal Romance is front and center and waiting to be read…by you! Woot, woot! “Wait,” you’re thinking. “Southern Gothic? Paranormal? Just what is Stygian about??” Well, here you have it:

Jeremy has been isolated and adrift since the death of his brother. Most people just see him as the skinny emo kid who wears eyeliner and plays drums. No one gets him. Nobody tries. He thought the indie rock band Stygian would become his anchor, but—lost in their own problems—they’re far from the family he sought.

Still, hoping to get close to Kennedy, the band’s enigmatic guitarist, he follows Stygian to northern Louisiana for a summer retreat. They had planned to spend six weeks focusing on new music, but things go awry as soon as they arrive at the long-deserted Caroway mansion. Tempers flare, sexual tension boils over into frustration, and Jeremy turns away from the band to find a friend in his eerily beautiful landlord Hunter Caroway.

Kennedy suspects there’s something off about the creepy mansion and its mysterious owners, but Jeremy thinks he’s finally found somewhere he fits. It isn’t until Kennedy forces the Caroways’ secrets into the light that Jeremy realizes belonging sometimes comes with a price.

Rockers behaving badly? Paranormal activity? Creepy neighbors? There’s definitely not enough books like this in my life. Sign me up!

2. Now Santino wants to whet your appetites for this delicious paranormal read and has given Binge on Books an exclusive prequel to Stygian. A Night in the Life will rock your world with a little behind the scenes action from the band so let’s have at it!

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Old School Review of Poppy Z Brite’s Lost Souls

LostLost Souls Souls by Poppy Z Brite

Published by: Dell

Format: Paperback

Genre: Paranormal Vampire Horror

Reviewed by: Judith and Santino

Score: We didn’t bother!

[Warning] Lots of spoilers for this one…and we get wordy…

We’ve all been there: you read a book a few years back and now, brimming over with nostalgia and love for all those half-forgotten scenes you want to whip that book out and reread it.

But maybe…you’re a little trepidatious?You remember something about dirty hot vampires who liked to rip out throats and play at being rock stars. You remember a pervading sense of horror as humans and half humans and creatures of the night vie for top billing as the creepiest character. You remember one particular scene so grotesque that it’s literally haunted you FOR YEARS and that’s when you think, “Man, what this reread really needs is a buddy. Stat.”

So I found myself one…and oh yeah, it’s author Santino Hassell.

Santino and I set out to read Poppy Z Brite’s Lost Souls over the course of a week. We each pulled out our battered and tattered paperbacks from our sad emo childhoods and set to work. The result? For two people who had adored this particular read as teens, we had two rather different takes as adults…

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Quickie Review: Canine by Jordan C Price

canine-400Canine by Jordan C Price

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy novella

Format: Kindle ARC

Score: 10/10

Plot: What’s the difference between a faithful companion and a feral animal? Wild Bill suspects the line separating the two is shaky at best. Supposedly, Michael has been tamed, and he swears he gave up hunting. But when he comes home covered in blood and reeking of adrenaline, Bill fears Michael has crossed paths with another bloodsucker, and the urge to exterminate the vamp was too powerful to resist.

Michael doesn’t need to hunt vampires to stir up trouble. His run-in with threatening neighbors has left him baffled, demoralized, and teetering on the brink of yet another episode of depression. It tears Bill up inside to see Michael suffer—unfortunately, the sorrow also trips his most primal vamp triggers. Before he knows it, his own inner beast rears up, ravenous, insatiable, and ready to tear into the next thing that crosses his path…making him wonder if it was wishful thinking to hope that either of them had been successfully domesticated.

Review: Phenomenal writing. Fantastic storytelling. Over way too quick. BUY IT OMG YOU NEED IT.

Would you guys be mad if I left it at that? Seriously, Jordan C Price is of that genre of writers I like to call, the Masters. Master storytellers like her can give us a 28 page novella, pack in a tight plot, beautiful wording, a bit of mystery, and a romantic interlude that packs a punch(!). Combined it leaves us satisfied yet craving more; each piece independently is just as good. How is it possible?! I’ve never come across a writer so capable of writing Urban Fantasy. She has a macabre way of thinking that will root around in your brain and linger. Fans of her Channeling Morpheus series will find this novella delicious and fulfilling. People who’ve never read Channeling Morpheus could enjoy it just as much though a lot of context would obviously be lost. This one is so worth a read…if only to get a glimpse of the Southern Gothic world you are loathe to leave after reading Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary and A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion.

What you’ll love: wondrous writing; dark, twisted vampire laden setting; romantic and steamy romance between a vampire and his human lover; Wild Bill acting as Michael’s Knight in Shining Armor; a chance to revisit the CM universe again.

What you may hate: only 28 pages (when all you want is more); filthy, smutty vampires leaving a bloody trail all over the USA; not much else?

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Paranormal Review: A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion by Jordan C Price

sweeto-600A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion (Channeling Morpheus Books 6-10) by Jordan C Price

Published by: JCP Books

Format: Kindle ARC

Genre: Paranormal of the Southern Gothic Vampire variety

Reviewed by: Judith

Score: 8/10

If you’re looking for a Twilight reboot, this ain’t it.

Warning to all: there be slutty vamps here!

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Book reveal: Canine (A Channeling Morpheus short) by Jordan Castillo Price

I haven’t been quiet about it but then why should I be? WHO COULD BE?! My love for all things Jordan C. Price is an overflowing bucket that can’t be stanched. She can write gritty urban fantasy about a world like ours where short-term memories can be implanted by memory smiths (the entire Mnevermind series got a 10/10 from ILYAF) and another where psychic cops dominate the police force, tracking criminals from beyond the grave (the Psycop series). She recently rereleased Books 1-5 of her Channeling Morpheus series as a box set entitled, Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary, and the other half of the series, A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion Books 6-10 will be out on 4/21/2015.

Never heard of Channeling Morpheus? Well, let me break it down for you: imagine the sexiest, smuttiest vampires ever. Give them to Jordan C. Price and watch her warp them into an extremely carnal vampire saga involving frolicking, killing, and van sex. Is there really anything left to say?

The best bit of all this? She’s releasing a Channeling Morpheus novella the same day. Take a peek at the cover, blurb, and excerpt after the jump…

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YA Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black


Coldest Girl in Cold TownThe Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 2013

Format: Library Hardback

Reviewed by: Judith

Genre: YA Vampire

Final Score: 8/10

Judith’s thought process when picking out a book: “oooh, great cover! Sold! Wait…now, what? It’s about what?” A lot of times that awesome cover grabs me and sucks me in and then I’m stuck with a dud. Luckily that didn’t happen here! Look at that cover! It’s freaking-fan-tastic! And score! I was only just mildly confused and pleasantly surprised by this unique brand of vampires…

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Guest Blogger Richelle reviews: Captivated by Deb Apodaca

Captivated, by Deb Apodaca

Publisher: Eminent Books 2011

Format: Kindle Edition

So, after I wrote my last review, my husband read it and said I wimped out when it came to scoring it honestly. I disagree (and of course I’m right as always), but I decided that I would really be tough on the next book I reviewed. When I started reading Captivated, it became obvious that I picked the right time to start being more critical. Sorry Ms. Apodaca, but it’s about to get ugly.

Plot: When best friends Mindy and Dean were thirteen, they found Dean’s parents murdered in their home. That night, Dean changed forever. Four years later, they are starting their senior year in high school. Dean still isolates himself from everyone, including Mindy. But, when a mysterious new student, Shane, starts attending their school, everything changes.

From the moment they meet, Shane takes an intense interest in Mindy and at the same time, Dean seems to be watching Mindy’s every move. Mindy’s friend, Markus, witnesses Dean doing something terrible and decides to investigate further. What Markus finds out is too scary to share with anyone.

Review: The first mistake I made with this book is that I judged it by its cover (I think there’s a saying about something like that). I’m addicted to teenage supernatural love stories, so I assumed (I think there’s a saying about that too…) that I would like this book. So, so, so, seriously wrong. I was never captivated by the story, until I was about 85% into it, and then I would say it was barely interesting.

Let me start with the fact that it was so incredibly predictable! Here are some examples, without giving too much away in case someone really wants to read this book, in spite of this review. First, just look at the cover, which is totally neat, but I’m pretty sure everyone can guess what might happen to Mindy. Next, the way they explain Shane’s looks; he was the palest person Mindy had ever seen, he had long silver hair, and his “rows” of teeth were bright white (how many rows of teeth did he have?!). Hmmm, what could he be?! It’s so obvious.

There were so many parts of the story that did not make sense. At the beginning, it’s explained that Dean and Mindy were hanging out close to his house when his parents were killed. Then, towards the end of the story, Dean is reflecting back on the day his parents were killed, and this time they were eating tacos at home and he went to the back yard to get more lemons for his mom. Huh?! I’m confused… (and do people need lemons for tacos?).

The worst part was the incorrect use of words. “One small deer wondered off closer to us, not caring that we were sitting there.” Again, huh? Did they wander closer to you? Or maybe they are really intelligent deer and they were wondering why you were there? And again, “Some strands wondered on her sun kissed face.”. I’m still confused. Bad editing or bad writing? Either way, bad book.

Based on the following criteria:

How much did

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I like the heroine: 2. Mindy/ Lina/ Red, whatever the hell her name is, was just annoying. She says she never lies to her best friends or her mom, but that’s pretty much all she does throughout the entire book. She basically drools at the sight of any boy, and I understand she’s a teenage girl with hormones, but geez! Get a grip chick! But what’s awesome about her is that she has super long red hair and she can decide whether or not to be compelled by Shane. You’re confused now right? Now you know how I felt. The. Whole. Time. I. Was. Reading. This!

How much did I like the love interest: 3. Well, there were kind of three. 1) Ayden was the boy that Mindy was kind of dating. His character wasn’t very developed, except just before and after he tried to rape her (which didn’t really seem like a big deal to Mindy, she was more excited to find out who saved her by talking to Ayden to see if he remembered seeing her hero’s face. Dumb). 2) Dean was mysterious, sounds very hot, and protects Mindy. He’s always staring at Mindy, and when he finally does talk to her, he’s even flirtatious. Then, after dating for maybe 3 love-filled days, he ends it with no explanation (seriously, I still don’t understand why). 3) Shane is a… Oops! Sorry I don’t want to ruin it. His purpose in the story is pointless until the end, then it’s still weird.

How believable is the plot: 5. Well, since we all know supernatural creatures are real, it’s totally believable. There is one neat idea concerning what Dean really is, but, once again, the story falls short and is (say it with me) confusing! There was a lot of lost potential with the storyline.

How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 1. The writing style was boring, almost like she was trying too hard to make the reader interested in the story. From the beginning, the story was told in Mindy’s voice, then in chapter 26, three chapters from the end, it switches to Dean’s voice. How random. But, the huge problem here was the editing, or should I say lack thereof. Aside from what I mentioned before, the author uses the word eased instead of teased, (am I being too picky now? Nah). On another occasion, the author writes, “On contact with the ground, he did what looked like a roll a professional would do…. He looked like an old man tripping and struggling to get up”. Ok, hmmm, did it look professional or like an old man? I think I understand what she’s trying to say here, but it’s really confusing.

How much did I want to keep reading: 1. I really didn’t want to, but I’ve always had this problem that no matter how horrible a book or movie is, I have to finish it! It must be so I can complain to everyone I know about how awful it was, since I know they all want my opinion (Obvi!).

Final Score: 2/10. Throughout this book it was apparent that the author was more concerned with setting up the story for a sequel than telling it in a complete and satisfying way. There were truly some interesting ideas throughout. Unfortunately, none of them ever lived up to their potential. The end of the story was the icing on the proverbial (bad) cake and summed up only one thing succinctly… How bad this book really was.

——

It’s Judith! I just have to point out that something about the Captivated cover seems very, very familiar here: a half-faced wide-eyed goth girl with far too much make up. Hhmm, now this reminds me of something…what could it be? What on earth could it be?! Oh that’s right!

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