Monthly Archives: May 2012

Halfway to the Grave

I LOVE Cat and Bones!  Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost is the first book in the Night Huntress series. I will open up with saying that this book is not my favorite in the series. However, I really do love this series.  The dynamic between Cat and Bones keeps you turning pages. I will warn you that there is strong sexual content in this book and throughout the series. If that is not your cup of tea, then I wouldn’t pick this one up.

 

When you meet Catherine Crawfield (a.k.a. Cat), she is on the prowl hunting vampires. She was born and raised to really hate them. Funny thing is, she is one. Or should I say half vampire. Her mother had the misfortune of meeting a really nasty vampire one night and the result was Cat. All she thinks about is one day killing her undead, deadbeat father. Cat was raised to kill every vampire that she comes across. The consequence of being raised a vampire huntress is a real identity crisis. 

Enter Bones. One night when Cat is on the hunt, she has an unforgettable meeting with a 400 year old vampire.  She tries to kill him, she loses, and he captures her. Quite an introduction! They come to find out that they share a common goal.  Kill vampires!  Bones is a contract killer in the vampire world and realizes that Cat can be a deadly weapon on his hunts. He trains Cat to be an even more deadly killer. As you can imagine, as they work closely together, an attraction ripens.
You can feel the conflict within Cat on who she is and what she wants. She is human but has the instincts of a vampire. But all she knows is hatred for all things vampire. When she meets Bones, everything is blown apart. Ms. Frost does a really good job describing the conflict and the passion between Cat and Bones. Furthermore, I really like the way she treats them like a real couple. Lots of insecurities, arguments and full blown fights.  You can really feel Cat’s fear, anxiety and self-doubt when it comes to Bones. But it in the end, she will make an incredible sacrifice for him.

Ms. Frost also gives us some really good supporting characters. These characters are so good you wish that Ms. Frost would write a book focusing on him or her.  Wait, she does!! As you read more of Ms. Frost’s work, you will discover that she a created a fun and exciting world. Like I said before, this is not my favorite of the series, but it is a good first step.  Ms. Frost introduces fun and addicting characters.  As you read through the series, you will want more and more of Cat and Bones.

Raised By Wolves

I’m always trying to find a good werewolf series and the Raised by Wolves series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes really hit the spot. What’s even better is that Ms. Barnes is a fellow Oklahoman like myself and I always like to support Oklahoma authors. This series is considered Young Adult (YA) fiction. If you haven’t tried YA fiction, you really need to. Raised By Wolves is a great example of good story without all the adult sexual content. Sometimes I think all the sexual content in urban fantasy books can really bog down the story.

Raised By Wolves is about young teenage girl, Bryn, who is literally raised by a pack of werewolves. She found herself in the Pack due to the fact that her parents were brutually murdered by a “rabid” werewolf. Callum, the Pack Alpha, rescued her from being attacked herself and brought her to live within the pack. However, she never really fits in. Besides from being human, she is very strong, rebellious, and independent which I love in a character. She is always going head-to-head with Callum.

I really love the way Ms. Barnes sets up this series. Bryn is a wonderful character who is determined to understand her place in the Pack. Her relationship with Callum is complicated and and somewhat endearing. Her love for Callum is at odds with her distrust and her rebellion against the him and the Pack. You can feel the conflict mounting throughout the book.

Besides Callum, Bryn has a strong bond with Devon, another werewolf her own age. They are best friends who will do just about anything for each other. Everything pretty much goes haywire when Bryn discovers Chase. Secrets are unearthed and rise with an explosion that will change everyone’s life. Bonds will be broken and new ones will be made.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters are well developed and you like them. You feel the struggle of each character and you want to turn the page to find out how that struggle will be resolved. Thanks Ms. Barnes for a really good read.

Book Club Selection

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh is a beautiful book about broken hearts and minds.   I have to say that this book is not what I would have picked for myself. In fact, one of my fellow BBB club members selected it and I have to say I really enjoyed it.  Ms. Diffenbaugh takes you on an unforgettable journey of Victoria Jones, a broken young woman trying to find her place in the world.  Throughout the book you jump back and forth between Victoria as a child and then as an eighteen year old.

 

Victoria was born and raised in a foster system where she was rarely nurtured or even held. As a child, she was placed in a foster home in hopes of being adopted.  However, due to tragic events, she was returned to a group home, never to be adopted.  Those events had a devastating effect on Victoria’s life.  At eighteen years old, Victoria was emancipated from foster care and sent out into the world with little to no skills to connect with other people. 

However, the one thing Victoria could connect with was flowers. When she was a child, Elizabeth, her last foster mother, taught her the language of flowers that was used in the Victorian period. Flowers gave Victoria the ability to connect and help people. She could use flowers to communicate her feelings and project those feelings on others. Flowers became her entire world.  After reading this book, I wanted to create my own flower bouquet that reflected my feelings for others.  Of course, I couldn’t.  But the itch was there.
There are so many reasons why I loved this book. The way Ms. Diffenbaugh uses the past and present; you are able to understand the depth of Victoria’s suffering. Most of the characters in this book have painful pasts. They seem to be drawn together based on the fact that they recognize that pain in each other. I love the level of acceptance that each character has for each other and the way that acceptance affects Victoria. The acceptance and forgiveness is overwhelming.
I thought the ending was so fitting for Victoria.  It wasn’t necessarily a happy ending but there is the hope of a happy ending.  If Ms. Diffenbaugh included a sticky sweet happily ever after, it would have left the readers with a horrible taste in their mouths.  Instead, she created an ending for Victoria that is very believable.  It gives you hope that healing can happen.

What am I reading?

I’m currently reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness for the second time. It is my book club selection for July AND I want to get ready for Shadow of Night which is released on July 10.

Bitten

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong was the reason I really started reading supernatural/paranormal fiction.  Sorry, folks, it wasn’t Twilight.  It is the first book in the Women of the Otherworld series.  Ms. Armstrong created a world where werewolves actually exist.  Elena Michaels is the only female werewolf in this secret world.  Her struggle for acceptance within the Pack and within herself runs throughout this remarkable novel.  Don’t worry; there is also lots of suspense, action and sexual tension that you won’t want to put it down.

Bitten opens with Elena living independently from the Pack.  One day she gets a mysterious call from the Pack Alpha, Jeremy, that she is needed at home.  Non-Pack werewolves have invaded Jeremy’s territory and he needs Elena to help hunt them down.   Elena is unable to resist the pull and goes home to find… Clayton Danvers waiting for her.  The sexual tension between the two is immediate due to the fact that they have quite a history and Elena is unable to forgive him.  Forgive for what?!  No spoilers here.  You will have to read to find out!

Elena is constantly struggling with who she is.  After growing up in the foster system, she dreamed of having a normal life with a loving family.  However, Clayton changed everything.  Now she is a werewolf and has to live according to Pack rules which are hierarchical, strict and severe.  She will have to adjust her idea of family and what she truly wants.  Throughout Bitten, you feel her anger, angst and indecision. 

I have to say that I love Clayton Danvers.  Bitten as a child, Clayton is more wolf than human.  He is loyal beyond reason to Jeremy and the Pack.  Like a wolf he mates for life.  And the mate he has chosen is Elena whether she wants to be or not.   The dynamic between Elena and Clayton is addicting.  You want them to have an happily ever after but they can’t quite get there. Elena wants boundaries and Clayton doesn’t understand boundaries or privacy when it comes to his mate.  The clashes and the compromises are fun to watch.

While Elena and Clayton are in constant conflict, Jeremy is the calming force in the Pack.  As Alpha, Jeremy Danvers in is total control and always protecting his Pack.    Jeremy was the one who found Clayton as a child and brought him into the Pack.  Jeremy was the one who helped Elena deal with the devastating transition from human to werewolf.  Elena wants him to be the father figure that she never had.  But as Alpha, Jeremy is unable to show Elena the emotion she so desires. 

Kelley Armstrong doesn’t like to end her books with a cliffhanger.  However, because of the strength of the characters she created you want to keep reading each new book to actually see if the happily ever after is realized.   There are thirteen novels in the Women in the Otherworld series along with numerous novellas.  I highly recommend that you clear your calendar because once you start the series you won’t want to stop.

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The Gods of Heavenly Punishment
Where Are the Dinos?
Lydia Bennet's Story: A Sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
Cold Blooded
Bristol House
My Notorious Life: A Novel
Moms Who Drink and Swear: True Tales of Loving My Kids While Losing My Mind
Long Live the King
To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Bad News for a Ghost
The Next Pendragon
Caroline Bingley
My Beloved World
Royal Mistress
My Dear Sophy
The Wild Girl
To Marry an English Lord: Or How Anglomania Really Got Started
Hades: Lord of the Dead
The Man Who Loved Jane Austen


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