Truth or Dare Monday -- Happy Valentine's Day!



Sing your praises of your favorite Paranormal Romance. Or at least compose a short poem...use any poetic interpretation, hell perform an interpretive dance, via vlog, just make it entertaining.




there once was a vamp named Bones
even with all the women, he was alone
but when a Cat came a prowlin'
Bones started a howlin'
together, their sins they atone

I have never been accused of being a good poet or limerick writer! Since it has been the most recent paranormal romance I've read lately, this limerick is for Cat Crawfield and Bones in Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series.

Sinn

Truth or Dare Friday



So today's dare is... find a song that reminds you of a book. Could be the latest book you've read, or your all time fav. Tell us about the book and show us the video in a blog post. Has to be a paranormal book BTW.






Tears Don't Fall by Bullet for my Valentine is the perfect song to describe Halfway to the Grave. Cat's tenuous relationship with Bones due her issues with vampires and being a half-vampire makes this song perfect. Even though it is obvious what her feelings are concerning Bones, she is completely unwilling to accept/believe them. Since this song is from the guy's POV, this song -- and images of Matt Tuck -- where running through my head the while I read this book.

Read full review.


Sinn

Book Review -- Malice

Title: Malice
Author: Chris Wooding
Genre: YA/urban fantasy/steampunk/horror/graphic novel
Pages: Paperback, 379
Published: 2009
Opening Line: "'I have to show you something.'"

'Tall Jake, take me away . . .'

"Everyone's heard the rumors. Call on Tall Jake and he'll take you to Malice, a world that exists inside a horrifying comic book. A place most kids never leave.

"Seth and Kady think it's all a silly myth. But then their friend disappears, and suddenly the rumors don't seem so silly after all . . ."



Thoughts: This book was a birthday present from a friend of mine. He loved The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray. I couldn't ge tinto that book, so I was a little hesitant about this one.

Malice follows Kady, a cute American girl living in England, and Seth. After their friend Luke disappears, they go on a scary and dangerous journey to find the truth behind the rumors of Malice -- the world and the comic book.

This book is really dark. From the cover art and the decription, it really didn't surprise me. However, I wasn't ready for some of the children in the book to die so casually. Granted, the characters in the book take it rather hard; however, Wodding writes it as though it is a normal occurance . . . Well, I suppose, in Malice it is.

I found it interesting that once inside Malice, the world takes on a steampunk type style. The automations are run on something other than steam; however, the concept of the creatures all being automations and made of cogs was very steampunk. It gave the world depth. Something about it also made it feel darker.

I love using the combination of graphic novel and regular novel! It defintiely gave it a unique reading experience. It also allowed the reader to share an experience with the characters in the book. Reading through the graphic novel/comic sections made me feel as though I was one of the unfortunate children to pick up a copy of the comic, Malice.

This was a good book! I really enjoyed it. Currently, I am trying to track down a copy of Havoc, but I'm having no luck!



Rating: 5/5
Currently: Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Pages: 3824
Horror/Urban Fantasy Challenge: 10/24
Current Progress:
11/50 books


Sinn

Dear John, I Love Jane: Women Write about Leaving Men for Women

Title: Dear John, I Love Jane: Women Write about Leaving Men for Women
Editor: Candace Welsh and Laura André
Genre: Autobiographical Anthology
Format: Kindle
Published: 2010
Opening Line: 'This gripping collection of first-person narratives will undoubtedly expand and deepen your understanding of women’s sexuality, whether you are gay, straight, or somewhere in between.' (Location 39)

Arousing, inspiring, and bold, this Seal Press anthology reveals a new awareness of female sexuality.

Kicking things off, Dr. Lisa Diamond's foreword states, "These women have bravely explored every edge of the supposed boundary dividing the queer from the straight, before from after, truth from falsehood, self from façade, and girl from woman....In the end, each of these women makes her own peace with identity, desire, kinship, community, partnership, and self, sometimes with a lover by her side, sometimes alone."

27 essays follow, by smart, hilarious, and heroically honest writers, who, like Cynthia Nixon, Portia de Rossi, and Wanda Sykes, left heterosexual lives behind to pursue relationships with women.

Activist and author Jennifer Baumgardner closes the book with this grace note: "...the dominant power in this book is love. You read the word over and over on these pages. These stories are not just about finding that perfect person to love, but finding yourself and loving her. It’s being connected to something between women; feeling that you are on the side of all of the women who ever wanted something more and who wanted to be bigger or different than the narrow silhouette of traditional womanhood. It’s chafing against the idea that women could only love or be loved in a certain way and proving that assumption dead wrong."

Dear John, I Love Jane is a timely, candid exploration of female sexuality and personal choice.
(From http://www.dearjohnilovejane.com)

Quotes:
'Living as a whole person, and learning to accept my own messy contradictions, is not only politically powerful, but much more sexually satisfying.' (Location 746)

'It is our desire to help people see us as their neighbors, their friends, and to see that our sexuality and identity are nothing to fear. We are spiritual, we are mothers and fathers, workers, shoppers, devoted family members, much more similar to heterosexuals than different. We’re not here to destroy families, seduce straight people, or scare anyone. We are here to live our lives and love the people we love. One of the unfortunate aspects of being gay in our culture is that while I had so many rights as a married straight woman, I do not have the same rights as a married gay woman. I still pay taxes and support my country in many ways. It is unfortunate that my rights are not equal because of my sexuality. We are here to be Americans, to claim the truth of “All people are created equal,” and to receive equal access to the constitutional pursuit of our happiness. It will be a beautiful day when that happiness—alongside our rights—will be recognized for all Americans.' (Location 3074)

'So there I was, in an “official” lesbian relationship. No man around. We could go to Gay Pride and everything. I expected it to feel different than my straight relationship—and it did—but not for the reasons I was expecting. It felt different to be in a relationship where my partner actually loved all of my shortcomings instead of mocking them, where I was encouraged to be who I was instead of being molded into a person that made my partner look better, where the sex was mind-blowingly fantastic. It felt different to be in a relationship with someone who actually wanted children and was willing to work hard at parenting. The relationship felt different, but it wasn’t because my partner was a woman. It was because my partner was Kia. It wasn’t her sex or gender that made things different. It was because I had chosen the right person, the person who loved me for me, and who wanted to be with me.' (Location 3353)

'If I look back on this journey, I see a collection of moments, occasional lights along the dark path of memory.' (Location 3544)

'While I see political energy all over these stories, the dominant power in this book is love. You read the word over and over on these pages. These stories are not just about finding that perfect person to love, but finding yourself and loving her. It’s being connected to something between women; feeling that you are on the side of all of the women who ever wanted something more and who wanted to be bigger or different than the narrow silhouette of traditional womanhood. It’s chafing against the idea that women could only love or be loved in a certain way and proving that assumption dead wrong.' (Location 3915)


Book Review -- Destined for an Early Grave

Title: Destined for an Early Grave
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Genre: Urban fantasy/paranormal romance
Pages: Paperback, 355
Published: 2009
Opening Line: "If he catches me, I'm dead."

"Since half-vampire cat Crawfield and her undead lover Bones met six years ago, they've fought against the rogue undead, battled a vengeful Master vampire, and pledged their devotion with a blood bond. Now it's time for a vacation. But their hopes for a perfect Paris holiday are dashed when Cat awakens one night in terror. She's having visions of a vampire named Gregor who's more powerful than Bones and has tie to her past that even Cat herself didn't know about.

"Gregor believes Cat is his and he won't stop until he has her. As the battle beings between the vamp who haunts her nightmares and the one who holds her heart, only Cat can break Gregor's hold over her. She'll need all the power she can summon in order to bring down the baddest bloodsucker she's ever faced . . . even if getting that power will result in an early grave."
~ Jacket copy


Thoughts (might contain SPOILERS!): After reading a lot of the reviews on Amazon, I was a little timid when I opened this book. From the descriptions, I was in for a sob, ice cream eating, alcohol induced crying fest. While the crying part is definitely true, I have to argue that Cat drinks less in this book than the previous three.

At the beginning of the book, I really, really hated it. The concept of an unknown past is kind of interesting, but this was too much! Suddenly finding out that she spent a month in Paris with this mysterious vampire when she was 16 was a killer for me. Honestly, it felt as though Frost was doing anything and everything she could to keep the series going. And this latest adventure, was just short of disastrous! For me, this hidden past was too hard for me to believe. However, getting over that, I really enjoyed the book.

Even though the vehicle seems too campy to me, I felt that Frost did pull it off. In addition, I felt that she was able to return to the relationship Cat and Bones had while making it stronger. I must admit, I would have walked out on Bones several times throughout the book!

I found Gregor to be an interesting, well thoughout character. His special abilities really set him apart from the other vampires. Even though he shares the ability to see the future with Mencheres, I found him to be very unique. As fas as Mencheres goes, the reader really got to see his true colours. Never once would I say that Mencheres is evil, but I enjoyed the fact that Frost addressed the issue of what it means to be a thousand year-old vampire with a bloodline to protect. Upon hearing this interesting truths, I understood Cat and Bones' response; however, it really showed how young Bones truly is.

In the previous book, I was a little uncertain about her adding Vlad to the series. He his this amazing mythical and historical character, and I was afraid that she would be unable to tackle that while giving a realistic and unique prospetive. Frost leaves him just vague enough that she doesn't step on any toes. This book, while still staying vague, showed an neat side to Vlad. I feel that, while still maintaining and nodding to his past, she has made Vlad her own.

I felt that some of the problems between Cat and Bones showed a lack of age and experience on both sides. What could have been worked out by cooling down and talking turned into something horrible. Many times, I wondered why Cat didn't just walk away. I was annoyed that Frost made it out to be Cat's fault. Some of the problems Bones lists are not flaws, just admirable character traits (wanting to stop loved ones from being hurt or killed). It frustrated me all the time Cat spent apologizing to Bones. After his behavior, I felt he had more to be contrite over.

Setting aside my feelings for this sudden past, I was able to fully enjoy the novel.

Rating: 4/5
Currently: Malice by Chris Wooding
Pages: 3445
Horror/Urban Fantasy Challenge: 9/24
Current Progress:
10/50 books


Sinn

Book Review -- At Grave's End

Title: At Grave's End
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Genre: Urban fantasy/paranormal romance
Pages: Paperback, 347
Published: 2009
Opening Line: "The man smiled and I let my gaze linger over his face."

"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."
~ Jacket copy


Thoughts (contains SPOILERS): It would be a lie to say that I am, at some level, a little biased about these books. Since the first in the series, I have been hooked. I feel that Frost has written some interesting characters and put them in a well thought out world. However, in this book, things are too 2 dimensional. The characters aren't as fleshed out and vivid as the previous books; the plot, while a good concept, wasn't executed; the connection with the audience wasn't as strong; etc.

The alliance with Bones and his grandsire would have allowed Frost to explore and delve more deeply into the vampire society. There were a few instances that she scratched at the surface, but I felt she did not utilize this chance. I also felt as though she introduced an excellent and interesting character in Mencheres, but that did not pan out. There was also missing chemistry between Bones and Cat. I hate to say it, but, in some ways, I missed the sex. In the first two books, Cat and Bones had this amazing connection both in and out of the bedroom. Their banter was one of the best parts of the previous books. This book, however, really lacked that. In some ways, Vlad's character seemed truer to Bones' character.

And then there's Tate. Really? When he finally accepts the existence of vampires, he is ruthless and almost more prejudiced than Cat's mother in his views/treatment of them. However, for some reason other than -- supposedly -- trying to win Cat over, he has Bones change him into a vampire. First off, this makes no sense. Not only does he loath vampires and view them as a base, non-human life form, he despises Bones. Why would he choose to become a vampire (aside from the painfully obvious reason of going after Cat, which he denies)? On top of that, why would he want Bones to be his sire? And, if this isn't enough, his actions towards Cat through the entire book is ridiculous! First of all, Cat's vampire marriage to Bones sets her out as untouchable. Having a romantic relationship outside of her marriage to Bones means that her life is now forfeit. Why would Tate risk her life in his selfish pursuit of winning her? On top of that, why would he betray his sire? Rattler is killed because he betrays Bones to Patra. Before his death, Bones makes it clear that betraying your sire is the worst sin a vampire could commit. That being the case, what is up with Tate?

Another strange character shift is seen in Ian. In the second book, he spends his time trying to force Cat into his menagerie of one-of-a-kind treasures. When Bones marries Cat to keep her from being forced into Ian's family, Ian is more than livid. If I remember correctly, they didn't necessarily leave with smoothed over feelings. However, when this book starts, Ian -- even after feeling slighted over the alliance with and gifted power from Mencheres -- he is easily willing to return to their friendship as though nothing had happened between them. Not only that, but his treatment of Cat feels very out of character from what Frost showed the audience in book two.

While I enjoyed this book, it really didn't live up to my expectations. It took me a lot longer to get through this book. It was engaging, there was a lot of action, and Frost had ZOMBIES in it. However, it just wasn't up to par.

Rating: 3.5/5
Currently: Destined For the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Pages: 3090
Horror/Urban Fantasy Challenge: 8/24
Current Progress:
9/50 books


Sinn

Book Review -- One Foot in the Grave

Title: One Foot in the Grave
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Genre: Urban fantasy/paranormal romance
Pages: Paperback, 357
Published: 2008
Opening Line: "I waited outside the large, four-story home in Manhasset that was owned by Mr. Liam Flannery."

"Half-vampire Cat Crawfield is now Special Agent Cat Crawfield, working for the government to rid the world of the rogue undead. She's still using everything Bones, her sexy and dangerous ex, taught her, but when Cat is targeted for assassination, the only man who can help is the vampire she left behind.

"Being around him awakens all her emotions, from the adrenaline kick of slaying vamps side by side to the reckless passion that consumed them. But a price on her head -- wanted: dead or half-alive -- means her survival depends on teaming up with Bones. And no matter how hard she tries to keep things professional between them, she'll find that desire lasts forever . . . and that Bones won't let her get away again."
~ Jacket copy


Thoughts: I don't have too much to say. I have really been enjoying this series. Unlike certain other books, this one actually has a plot!

My biggest problem was the length of time Frost skipped in the beginning of the book. To get where she was going, there needed to be time jumps. However, several one right after the other was a little overkill. Also, Cat's reaction at the wedding and to Annette seemed way over the top.

The sex in this book was ramped up to another level. The scenes were longer and very graphic. However, while there was repressed sexual angst and outrageous scenes, I felt that Frost still tried to stay true to the plot and storyline. I will say that the intense sex scene was not really needed. It didn't add anything to the story. But, as it says on the spine, it is a paranormal romance, so I expect some level of sex.

All in all, I enjoyed this book as much as the first. It tore through it in a matter of days. The other books are sitting next to my computer waiting to be devoured.

Rating: 5/5
Currently: At Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost
Pages: 2734
Horror/Urban Fantasy Challenge: 7/24
Current Progress:
8/50 books


Sinn

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    "If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish.