Google+ Secret Book Lover: February 2013

Monday, 18 February 2013

Top 5 Sundays 2013

As part of a weekly blog meme created by Larissa at Larissa's Bookish Life I will be posting a top five list every Sunday! The theme changes every week and this week it's FAVOURITE ROMANCE NOVELS! I found out about this on a GREAT read and am so excited to be doing it. So, without further ado, here (in no particular order) are my top five romance novels:

Requiem for the Devil by Jeri Smith-Ready

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

First Grave to the Right by Darynda Jones

kiss of snow
Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh

Born of Fire
Born of Fire by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Because I don't really read romance books, I picked out a couple of my favourite paranormal romance books instead. ;)
What are your faves? Let's compare!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

House Rules by Chloe Neill - Review


In a city full of vampires, trouble never sleeps.
At the tender age of 27, Merit became a sword-wielding vampire. Since then, she’s become the protector of her House, watched Chicago nearly burn to the ground, and seen her Master fall and rise. Now she’ll see her mettle—and her metal—tested like never before.
It started with two . . . Two rogues vanishing without a trace. Someone is targeting Chicago’s vampires, and anyone could be next. With their house in peril, Merit and her Master, the centuries old Ethan Sullivan, must race to stop the disappearances. But as they untangle a web of secret alliances and ancient evils, they realize their foe is more familiar, and more powerful, than they could have ever imagined.

One of the my most anticipated books of this (and last) year, House Rules was certainly worth the wait. If you follow this blog, you'll know that I'm a sucker for romance. This book goes above and beyond the requirements for me and I was happily surprised by how Ethan and Merit (particularly Ethan) worked together...and how Ethan didn't bolt when things got dicey. They have definitely reach a new level of maturity when it comes to each other.

Merit faces the worst problems by far in this book, but as per usual, she meets them head on with the determination (and snark!) that really endears her to me. There's a serial killer on the loose, the GP is causing tons of chaos, Chicago is taking another step towards anti-vampirism, McKetrick is gaining power, and the House is turning Rogue...Merit really has got her work cut out for her!

We see a lot more of Jeff than we're used to in this book and we find out some interesting information about him....(oh yeah, it's shifter time!). On top of that, he brings the geeky and cute to the party.

I appreciated how Merit and Mallory are slowly but surely repairing their relationship. It's nice to see them talking again, but I think there could have been a bit more emphasis on it. I guess it, like all things, takes time.

What I like the most about Chloe's books is that no matter how complicated the plot gets, no matter how many threads she weaves into her story, she always manages to make a perfectly balanced and entertaining read. I wasn't overwhelmed and I didn't get confused. It's the type of book that keeps you reading late into the night (or early into the morning) and there were a couple of plot twists that I wasn't expecting at all!

All in all, this is a great addition to a great series and I am glad to give House Rules:

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Mid-term Book Love

Whoa! I just finished House Rules by Chloe Neill....holy hell, was it something! I'll have the review up as soon as possible. Until then...Happy mid-term break!

P.S. Let me know what books you want me to R&R. I have loads of time, and no life to fill it!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost - Review

She’s a mortal with dark powers…
After a tragic accident scarred  her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a  person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of  solitude…until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out  with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire…
He’s the Prince of Night…
Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest  vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don’t call him Dracula. Vlad’s ability to control fire makes him one of the most  feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against  him – a beautiful mortal with powers to  match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them,  threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop  an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames...
Okay, let me just start by saying that I am a huge fan of the Night Huntress series. Team Cat all the way! That's why when Vlad, my favourite side character (I mean, who wouldn't love the Dracula) got his own book and his own "happy ending", I was thrilled. Sadly, it let me down.
The book starts off when Leila, a travelling circus performer, gets kidnapped by a group of vampires who want her to use her "gifts" to locate one of their enemies....Vlad Tepesh. Leila is a human taser. She touched a downed power line when she was a teenager and now anything she touches is literally left twitching on the floor. What the vampires are more interested in though, is her ability to know someone's past, present of future by touching them, or something that belongs to them.
Anyway, she finds Vlad using her mojo, but gets him to help her instead of giving away his future locations to the evil people so they can trap him. Long story short is that she has to go to his big swanky castle in Romania (of course, right?) and stay with him for "protection". They both fall in lust. The fight the bad guy. Somewhere in between Leila falls in love, but Vlad has this horrible, tragic past that "burned" all the love out of him years ago (the dead wife card) and he says he can't love Leila. Leila says:
“Get ready, Vlad,” I whispered into the empty room. “This is far from over.”
The End.
I think that the book lacked emotion. It was all fine and dandy action-wise, with lots of twists and turns to keep us inhaling the pages. There were also some super hot scenes that turned the entire female audience to goo. 
This was all great, and it was overall a great story, but the whole thing felt very clinical. I think the author was trying too hard to portray Vlad's lack of love for Leila, that she forgot what a funny, snarky, sarcastic character he was. This left the book with a lot of serious themes, barely any emotion, and adding all the action on top of that made it kind of...unbalanced. 
I'm not sure if it was just me, or if everyone else was too afraid to comment on it for fear that by admitting it, it would become true. Every author has "off books" though, and I just hope that the next one (yes. I'm not abandoning my Vlad over this!) will be as good as I know Jeaniene Frost can write!

Sadly, this book only gets three hats from me. Good overall, but lacking the"oomph" it needed.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Requiem for the Devil by Jeri Smith-Ready - Review

Set in modern-day Washington, D.C., Requiem for the Devil depicts the end of the Devil's ten-billion-year career. For the first time in his existence, Lucifer falls in love, and this event threatens to transform his identity and perhaps even his destiny. Gianna O'Keefe is the woman who drags him out of his ancient despair and points him toward possible salvation.

Yet Lucifer's path from evil is neither straight nor smooth. Pursuing love means betraying his fellow fallen angels, the loyal friends who once followed him to damnation. Divine and infernal forces seem to conspire against his and Gianna's union. Lucifer's empire crumbles around him as he dares to defy the natural order and question his fate.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who, (like me!) loves the misunderstood, anti-hero types. This is your book. Jeri Smith-Ready portrays Lucifer amazingly. She has written him so cleverly that he manages to do truly horrendous things, but still makes the reader go "Ah, the poor thing.".

The whole thing is written from the Devil's point of view, and it's a book about salvation more than anything. It's not a religious book though, in fact I would recommend you DO NOT read it if you are religious, unless you want to see Christianity entirely turned in it's head. It has about as many religious aspects as any book about fallen angels, e.t.c would.

I really liked this book overall. It had something I hadn't seen in awhile: class. It was more "crafted" than written and it was the first book I'd seen that dealt with the Devil on such a level. That made it very original. 

The novel follows Lucifer (known as Louis) from the moment he meets Gianna, in modern day Washington. Their relationship progressed beautifully and every breath was believable.

I did not, however, like the ending. I didn't like how Gianna acted towards the end, and thought that that part of her character was at odds with how wise and mature she seemed at the start of the novel. I absolutely HATED the ending, and went around depressed for about a week because of it*. The horrible twist at the end is pretty sudden though, so you can read up until the third-last chapter and still come away a happy person!

Overall, I'd give this book:

*Why???? How could we readers deserve such cruelty? Books have happy ending because life doesn't! Aghh!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion - Review

Warm Bodies


R is a young man with an existential crisis–he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.
After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Okay, so I heard about the movie coming out (it's releasing in the UK and Ireland this weekend), and I figured it'd be a good idea to read the book. I like to read the books before I see the films anyway, so I did that instead of studying for my mocks - probably not my smartest move. Here's what I thought:

Warm Bodies was refreshing.  It scared me at first because I saw that the movie was being made by Summit (the same company that produced Twi-Shite), but I trusted in the trailer because it looked funny and sweet.
It delivered.

It's written in the present tense, and that usually puts me off, but it just worked for this book. The zombie "R" has so many thoughts swirling around his head - a lot of them very deep, meaningful and witty - but doesn't have anyway to communicate them because his very limited vocabulary consists of "Unghh" and his record for speaking is six syllables in a row. He has to live in the present tense because the past for a zombie is just a depressing haze....until he meets Julie. Together Julie and R face the impossible task of not only surviving in a post-apocalyptic world, but healing it.

I really liked this book because it was told in the point of view of the zombie. The narrative in enthralling, descriptive and R has a very unique, almost spiritual outlook on everything. I also liked the fact that there's no classic romantic staples in this book. There's no declarations of love, hot-and-heaviness, sappy hand holding - none of it. It's really sweet and poignant and R just wants to protect Julie because she embodies everything worth fighting for. Even though he's a zombie, he's kinda sweet.

There's a deeper meaning that permeates through the whole book - a comparison between the zombies and the way people act now. Everyone now is so taken up by their iPhones, PlayStations, TV and computers that they don't actually connect with anybody anymore. (I bet you're on your laptop right now, reading this, so don't tell me it's not true. I'm on mine writing about books instead of having a life!) It was nice that someone came to this conclusion and drew the comparison, and it makes the novel all the scarier because it becomes symbolic, all of a sudden. It made me look around at the people around me and realize that we are sort of zombies right now. I like a book that makes me think.

There are a lot of things in this book that are never really explained. I can't tell of that's done on purpose (I have heard that there's a sequel in the works), if it's because the character themselves don't know what's going on and it's written on the present tense, or if it's just glossed over because the author got lazy. It doesn't really matter in the long run, but I do hope that some light is shed on the situation.

All in all, I thought it was a good book and a great break away from the stress of exams. I can't wait to see the movie and I hope that they do as good as promised. It definitely deserves: