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Review – Dearly, Beloved December 7, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Paranormal Romance.
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Title: Dearly, Beloved

Author: Lia Habel

Publisher: Del Rey

Publication Date: September 25, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0345523341

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Can the living coexist with the living dead?

That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.

Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.

Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.

As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.

Review:

There’s a new Lazarus virus. It’s sourced to Patient Zero. His capture sparks an anti-life movement by the zombies called The Change. Meanwhile there’s a group of young bloods out to prove their mettle by killing zombies at will. As Nora’s father desperately tries to find the cure for this new strain of the disease, Bram and Nora get caught in the web of strife that sweeps New Victoria.

Of The Changed, I really liked Laura. She was brave despite being beaten down several times by those stronger then her. She was kind and generous. I also loved her flowers. I thought that was a really nice touch. I wish there had been illustrations of her with her flowers on her body. Between herself and Dog, I think they stole the show.

Nora and Bram don’t really grow as characters. That doesn’t mean they aren’t any more enjoyable to read about, but their romance became rather monotonous. There wasn’t any real spice to it. I expected something more to it. It does progress towards the end of the book. I was just disappointed that there wasn’t any real conflict like there might be in a more realistic situation.

We find Michael Allister involved with The Murder. I enjoyed reading about Allister because he struck me as particularly well-developed for an antagonist. While there weren’t many surprises when it came to Michael it still gave me great pleasure to read about him anyway. The clashes he had with Nora were extremely entertaining.

There’s enough resolution in this book to satisfy. There’s also an opening for the next in the series. I’m looking forward to the next book with bated breath!

4 Stars_Star Rating System

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Review – Dearly, Departed September 28, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Paranormal Romance.
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Title: Dearly, Departed

Author: Lia Habel

Publisher: Del Rey

Published Date: August 14, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0345523327

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble 

From Goodreads:

Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

Review:

I was really skeptical about a zombie love story. I didn’t believe it could work, but so many bloggers loved this book I had to give it a try. I’m glad I did. It’s a really good book!

Nora is a petite, doll-like girl. Yet she’s full of fire and she can take care of herself. She meets Bram after he rescues her from the Greys, the bad, evil zombies. Bram is actually not a shabby zombie, he’s well-preserved. That helped win me over.

What really got me convinced is that after her initial fright was over, Nora started seeing Bram and the other zombies as people. Especially Bram in particular. She began to see past the fact that they were the undead and started to see the person underneath. Bram was pretty special. He was a gentleman, he cared about what she thought and felt. I even got a little crush going on for him.

The plot supports the romance as well. It’s not particularly genius but it’s still exciting and enjoyable. There’s enough of an opening in the end for another book and I look forward to reading it.

Even if you have zombie prejudices like I did, this book might surprise you. It puts them in a new light and it’s a good one. Give it a try!

Review – Sisters Red September 5, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3 stars, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult.
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Title: Sisters Red

Author: Jackson Pearce

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: April 5, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0316068673

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

Summary:

Scarlett March lives for two things: fighting the werewolves that killed her grandmother and protecting her sister Rose. Rose owes her life to her sister Scarlett. She’d sacrifice everything for her, but what happens when Rose starts to fall for the woodsman that they’ve known all their lives? Will Rose lose her sister?

Review:

Scarlett and Rose are all alone in the world. Scarlett’s one true objective in this life is to hunt werewolves. The very same werewolves that took their beloved grandmother away from them. The two of them hunt the Fenris with them help of Silas, a woodsman. As the story moves along the hunt for Fenris becomes more complicated, leading them from a small town to Atlanta.

I had a hard time swallowing Scarlett. While I understand she was very passionate about hunting the werewolves, she came off more like a female Rambo. She’s obsessed with the hunt. She’s like an addict. It was a little hard to read. I felt like she needed a twelve step program. Scarlett got more then a little self-righteous at times as well.

Rose wanted more then the hunt. She wanted to do things other outside of it and Silas encouraged it. I applauded her for it. For all that, Scarlett made them feel guilty for that. Like the only thing they should want to do is sleep, eat, and breathe the hunt. I understand it was part of the story but I found it very abrasive instead.

The Fenris weren’t very scary or menacing. They were like comic book monsters. The change they underwent made them seem like half-finished play-dough creations. Unfortunately, I was never fully horrified by them.

The highlight of the book was the romance of Silas and Rose. Silas is a sensitive and sexy guy. He isn’t attracted to your normal pretty girl. He sees beyond the trappings of society’s norms. Instead, he found Rose’s strength and mellow temper alluring. Watching their romance blossom was refreshing and sweet. It definitely wasn’t insta-love either. It grew from a friendship and I loved that about this book.

While I had problems with the Fenris and Scarlett, the action and pacing of the book was swift and engaging. It’s non-stop from beginning to end. The writing was absorbing and I was able to immerse myself in the book without a problem. The end of the book took me by surprise. I was a little confused and I felt Pearce took the easy way out, but it was still a satisfactory conclusion. Besides those quibbles, this was still an enjoying book.

Review – Infected: Shift August 28, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3 stars, Paranormal Romance.
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Title: Infected: Shift (#5)

Author: Andrea Speed

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Publication Date: May 14, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1613725061

Available at: Amazon –  Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Sequel to Infected: Freefall In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds. Between his mutating virus and his rocky relationship with his artist boyfriend, Dylan, Roan has enough problems to solve without taking on other people’s, but that’s the nature of his work. Someone has to look into the case of the murdered trans woman, and if the perp is the dirty cop Roan suspects it is, the police are not the right people for the job. But now Roan has a new obstacle to overcome: someone caught part of his transformation on video, and the media frenzy is making it hard to do his job. One case nets him a hockey team full of new friends. Another leads to an attempt on his life. And Roan’s hustler sidekick drags him on a quest for revenge. With his world and his body both in turmoil, Roan is finding it harder and harder to see the line between justice and vigilantism.

Review:

Although I didn’t read the other books in this series this book stood well on its own. The story was a little fragmented though. The plot seemed to be separated into two stories. The first half of the book has to do with the murder of the trans woman and the second half of the book involves a completely different case that was in no way related. There was a definite disconnect.

Through it all Roan is going through this self-flagellation process for being an infected that’s abnormal in the sense that he’s above normal. He continually tells himself he’s a freak. He believes he’s no good to his boyfriend and he proceeds to alternately destroy his personal life and mend it. He was incredibly self-destructive. He couldn’t see that every time he tried to do something right he ended up hurting himself even more. Roan also lamented over his dead husband more then half the time. I understand that grief over a loved one is never ending, but it seemed rather excessive.

The book did have some redeeming qualities. It’s very well-written. I was drawn into the grim action scenes and the world building was well done. There were a group of hockey players that had me entertained.  There was also a dominatrix with a minor role that I really liked. Holden the sidekick hustler was another character I liked as well. He knew who he was and he didn’t fool himself.

This book had a lot of potential, but it seemed like it just missed the mark. I’m kind of on the fence as to whether or not I should look for more books in this series.

*A free copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

Review – Death’s Inception August 21, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 5 stars, Paranormal Romance.
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Title: Death’s Inception

Author: Tamara Rose Blodgett

Publisher: CreateSpace

Publication Date: June 17, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1477424087

Available at: Amazon Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Kyle Ulysses Hart and his team of scientists mapped the human genome in the year 2010. As Brain Impulse Technology came online… so did the long arm of the United States government. A covert, military-driven regime was born with genetic manipulation the key to future widespread control.

When pharmaceutical laboratories, funded by the Graysheets, discover a way to unlock paranormal potential through compulsive inoculation, their exploitative dream is realized.

Clyde and Caleb’s lives are predestined to intertwine as they cross paths, his history becoming Caleb’s future.

A lone teenager named Jeffrey Parker, falls prey when he manifests the rare, Affinity for the Dead.The Graysheets abandon all pretense of stewardship, ripping him from his family for their nefarious purposes.

Can Jeffrey remain who he was destined to be in an environment exclusively built for mass control?

Review:

This prequel to the Death series was enlightening and revealed a lot about Clyde and Jeffrey Parker. I’m a big fan of Tamara and her writing. This novella was no exception to how much I love her work.

When Jeffrey’s life falls apart as his paranormal powers start to awaken, his life falls apart. The Graysheets take control of his life and he’s changed forever. It was particularly tragic seeing how the Graysheets took over Jeffrey’s life.

I was really excited to get a glimpse of Jeffrey as a teenager. He’s exceptionally smart and precocious. He has to become incredibly tough because of all the trauma he’s gone through. He’s also extremely determined. Jeffrey showed a side of himself that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

Seeing Clyde when he was alive was surprising and delightful. Clyde was a great character to explore. On one hand you want his story to have a happy ending on the other hand you know it doesn’t end well. It was tough. I still thought his story was sweet.

I thought the transitions from one story to another were smooth. There was never a sense of being jarred out of your senses or of their being a stilted conversation lag. There’s also romance in the story, but I’ll leave you to read it to find out whose romance it is.

Although I wanted to read even more once the book was through, I didn’t get the sense of an incomplete story. I think all good books leave you with the sense of wanting to prolong the experience no matter what, just like this one did.

Review – Death's Inception August 21, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 5 stars, Paranormal Romance.
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Title: Death’s Inception

Author: Tamara Rose Blodgett

Publisher: CreateSpace

Publication Date: June 17, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1477424087

Available at: Amazon Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Kyle Ulysses Hart and his team of scientists mapped the human genome in the year 2010. As Brain Impulse Technology came online… so did the long arm of the United States government. A covert, military-driven regime was born with genetic manipulation the key to future widespread control.

When pharmaceutical laboratories, funded by the Graysheets, discover a way to unlock paranormal potential through compulsive inoculation, their exploitative dream is realized.

Clyde and Caleb’s lives are predestined to intertwine as they cross paths, his history becoming Caleb’s future.

A lone teenager named Jeffrey Parker, falls prey when he manifests the rare, Affinity for the Dead.The Graysheets abandon all pretense of stewardship, ripping him from his family for their nefarious purposes.

Can Jeffrey remain who he was destined to be in an environment exclusively built for mass control?

Review:

This prequel to the Death series was enlightening and revealed a lot about Clyde and Jeffrey Parker. I’m a big fan of Tamara and her writing. This novella was no exception to how much I love her work.

When Jeffrey’s life falls apart as his paranormal powers start to awaken, his life falls apart. The Graysheets take control of his life and he’s changed forever. It was particularly tragic seeing how the Graysheets took over Jeffrey’s life.

I was really excited to get a glimpse of Jeffrey as a teenager. He’s exceptionally smart and precocious. He has to become incredibly tough because of all the trauma he’s gone through. He’s also extremely determined. Jeffrey showed a side of himself that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

Seeing Clyde when he was alive was surprising and delightful. Clyde was a great character to explore. On one hand you want his story to have a happy ending on the other hand you know it doesn’t end well. It was tough. I still thought his story was sweet.

I thought the transitions from one story to another were smooth. There was never a sense of being jarred out of your senses or of their being a stilted conversation lag. There’s also romance in the story, but I’ll leave you to read it to find out whose romance it is.

Although I wanted to read even more once the book was through, I didn’t get the sense of an incomplete story. I think all good books leave you with the sense of wanting to prolong the experience no matter what, just like this one did.

Review – Blood Singers August 7, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult.
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Title: Blood Singers

Author: Tamara Rose Blodgett

Series: The Blood Series

Publication Date: March 8, 2012

Publisher: Tamara Rose Blodgett

ASIN: B007IVVKWG

Available at: Amazon Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Twenty-year old Julia Wade, a young woman tragically widowed, is in the middle of a bizarre bid between two mythical species who are vying for the unique properties she offers; her blood. The vampires need her to balance the food load of the human species and give them their coveted “Lightwalkers.” The Were wish to be moonless changers; a Rare One can make that a reality.

Julia wants to belong to herself.

Can she free herself and begin a new life?

Review:

Julia Wade is an average high school student, in love with her high school sweetheart. They do what normal teenagers do. Eventually they get married in Las Vegas then he tragically gets killed and she gets kidnapped by vampires. In the end, different factions end up fighting over her because she’s a “Rare One”.

The book’s premise was unique. The writing was very engaging and while I understood Julia’s grief after the death of her husband I wished she had shown more spine. Still she found her footing and became someone I could like if not admire. Maybe she’ll grow more in future books.

The men in the books are numerous and varied. There’s William the vampire, Joseph the werewolf, then there’s Scott the Blood Singer. They’re each unique and have something to recommend to themselves. My favorite is William but it’s hard to say who the front-runner is.

There was an unexpected twist in the book that once you figured it out, it took a long time to culminate. Other then that this was a great read. There were other unexpected turns that took me by surprise.

I have one problem with the book that really bothered me. I think it was excessive to use Julia’s clenching bladder in the action scenes. I think one scene with a clenching bladder is more then enough. . .

Other then that this is a really good book.  I’m anxiously awaiting September for the release of the next book.

Review – Her Sweetest Downfall August 3, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3 stars, Paranormal Romance.
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Title: Her Sweetest Downfall

Series: The Forever Girl Journals

Author: Rebecca Hamilton

Publisher: Immortal Ink Publishing

Publication Date: July 19,  2012

ASIN: B008NAFU9A

Available at: Amazon

Summary:

Ophelia is on a quest to find out what led to the disappearance of her mother. But what does the fairy tales her mother told her as a child have to do with it? And do they have any truth to them? Could there really be vampiric Cruor and fairylike Ankou? Could her mother still be alive?  Ultimately Ophelia will have to decide how much she is willing to sacrifice not only for herself and the man she loves, but for the fate of mankind.

Review: (Some spoilers.)

I love the cover of this short 94 page novella. It’s gorgeous! So yes, I do judge a book by its cover and I did like this book. It was exciting and romantic.

It begins with Ophelia in the service of the Lady Karina as a maid. She’s sent on an errand and ends up in the hands of Ethan. He helps her understand that the mark her bears is the sign that she is a member of an elite race. This race is meant to save the world from a cruel faction who is hellbent on genocide.

Ophelia was very likable despite being so guarded. In fact, I liked her because she was so guarded. She was tough and, except for one glaring moment, she had all her wits about her. The one glaring moment came towards the end. She decided to lead Queen Callista away from Ethan and Lenore despite the fact that the Cruor have heightened senses? How could she forget that? I can only suppose it’s because she was a newborn.

Ethan wasn’t my favorite male lead. He was likable enough. I just couldn’t swoon over him. Mostly because he had this big secret over Ophelia that was never revealed. Maybe that’s a lead for another story or that was something from another book, but it irritated me.

The book had plenty of action. From the moment Ophelia was sent on her errand into the woods until the very last few pages, things were constantly in motion.

There was a strange point in the book where Robert was promised something big by Ethan. This promise led to Robert’s help in Ophelia’s introduction to the Maltorim’s asylum where Queen Callista resides. The promise was very mysterious and seemed to dangle in front of the reader like a carrot to a donkey but nothing ever came of it.

The magical races in this book are inventive and creative. Among them are the Ankou that shepherd Mort’s (dead souls) and are a little like fairies. Then there are the Cruor which are like vampires. There are also the  dual-breeds which the Maltorim’s are determined to annihilate.

On the whole this book was a good if not great read. I’ll definitely look for the other books in this series.

Review – Dark Seeker July 25, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3 stars, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult.
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Title: Dark Seeker

Author: Taryn Brown

Publisher: CreateSpace

Publish Date: October 4, 2011

ASIN: B005QEPZIM

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Janie Grey comes from a line of Seekers, a group that hunts the undead. One night she meets Kai, who she mistakes for a Daychild, a half-demon, half-vampire. Only he isn’t like a Daychild. Not only does he have human traits, soon he’s breaking down the walls around her heart.

Review:

The opening fight scenes almost completely turned me off of this book. They were so corny! The dialogue was completely laughable and hard to believe. I kept on plugging though and the book got better. Soon I became more invested in the characters as I got to know them. The bad lines happened less and less often. I was able to concentrate on the storyline a lot more even if the storyline wasn’t much better then the corny dialogue.

Basically Janie’s life is centered on her Seeker duties of killing the undead. The undead being all vampires and vampire/demon hybrids or Daychildren. Then she meets Kai who throws those definitions out the window and her life into confusion. The ensuing romance commences as they find out that a new breed of vampire is trying to be created by the Daychildren.

Janie was a somewhat likable character. She wasn’t that smart though. She took on a lair of Daychildren by herself and she was ill-equipped. I don’t consider that smart. Kai had to rescue her. It’s hard to get behind a girl who can’t really take care of herself.

Kai was pretty blind himself. Every other minute he’s rescuing her from one scrape or another then he’s saying “What am I thinking? You can take care of yourself.” That’s a contradiction. Obviously she can’t take care of herself if you have to swoop in on your motorcycle and save her every time you turn around.

Janie  could still kick ass though. She had some mean fighting skills and she could hold her own in an evenly matched fight. She showed an independence of spirit I admired even if it was reckless to the point of stupidity. I admired her independence not her recklessness. She also showed a willingness to let her guard down when the time called for it.

Kai was sexy as all get out. There was a love triangle with Matt, the wresting captain, but Matt didn’t stand a chance. I mean, c’mon! Kai had that dark mysterious past going on for him. He was also very sweet when he wanted to be. And there was no denying the fire between Janie and Kai.

A big obstacle came between Kai and Janie. I won’t say what it was for fear of spoiling the book, but I find it hard to believe that Janie would ever just forgive and forget so easily. I had a really hard time suspending belief.

On the whole, it was a light and fun read that I enjoyed. I’ll look forward to reading the next in the series and I already plan on reading the prequel!

Review – Duplicity July 1, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult.
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Title: Duplicity

Author: Nikki Jefford

Publisher: Nikki Jefford

Publication Date:  May 20, 2012

ASIN: B0084V0L7E

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

If Graylee Perez thought sharing a body with her twin sister was bad, dealing with a duplicate of herself is two times worse. Gray the second doesn’t seem to get that Lee’s boyfriend, Raj McKenna, is off limits. Then there’s the problem of Adrian Montez. He expects one of the Grays to be his.

Nearly a year later, the council is onto them for past misdeeds; Lee, along with the rest of the coven, has lost control of her powers; and Gray is being stalked by what looks like the Grim Reaper.

If they work together, they may stand a chance of setting things right and making it out alive.

Review:

I wasn’t in love with this second book as much as I was with the first book. The jokes fell flat and it felt like Lee was pouting a lot of the time. It also felt like Gray was sulking. I realize they were in a tough situation but instead of taking the hard knocks they seemed to act like spoiled teenagers part of the time. Not all of the time, just part of the time.

Some of those situations, such as the strange contact who shows up looking like the Grim Reaper, was rather unrealistic and corny. I also thought the instance where Raj kissed the second, duplicate Gray was inevitable yet cliched. The romance between Marney, Gray and Lee’s Mom, and Mr. Morehouse, Lee’s guardian was also rather predictable.

Adrian as a villain didn’t ring true. He didn’t come off as powerful or formidable. I know he was meant to show a soft spot, but I think his soft spot showed too much of a weakness. Instead he just floundered as an intimidating warlock.

Still, the book was well-written for all it’s flaws. I enjoyed it as light-hearted fun. I was able to withhold my judgment somewhat and immerse myself in its superficial pleasures. It was not without its rewards. I would recommend this series for anyone who’s not looking for something serious or who’s looking for something fun.