Don't forget that the VampChix VampBash is going on right now. There are a LOT of awesome things up for grabs, but it ends today.
ONE WORD ANSWER: While Sookie is doing some late-night gardening with Bubba, a limo arrives at her house. A man who claims to be a lawyer by the name of Mr. Cataliades gets out and tells her that her cousin Hadley is dead, but that's not all he's there to tell her. His visit entails more revelations then she expected.
I really liked the simplicity of this story. It's a straightforward tale that gives Sookie some answers about her estranged cousin, but also has a few very cool twists in the end. Well-worth reading.
LUCKY: When Greg Aubert pays Sookie a visit, hoping she'll help him figure out who's been sneaking past his spell to get into his insurance office at night, Amelia and Sookie investigate. What that entails is a telepath (Sookie) and a witch (Amelia) following one clue after another, until Sookie can find whoever's responsible. Who would've thought that someone could hog all the luck in one town?
This was a great story that captured not only Sookie's world, but what makes a short story really work. I loved it!
GIFT WRAP: Sookie's all alone on Christmas Eve, but when she goes for a walk in the woods and finds an injured Were, she insists on taking him home to make sure whoever attacked him doesn't return to finish him off. But the mysterious stranger brings a little festive magic to her night.
This delicious tale was excellent. I wasn't expecting the sneaky twist at the end, but loved it.
A Touch of Dead is a collection that every Sookie Stackhouse fan should own and will love. I know I did!
A Touch of Dead: A Sookie Stackhouse Collection, October 2009, ISBN 0575094435, Gollancz Paperback
Here's my interview with Lily:
Something strange is going on at the Dark Academy, and the new girl is about to find herself in the middle of it. It's quite an intriguing concept, and I have to admit that I was curious about this story as soon as I read this blurb. Of course, after I read the Prologue I was itching to find out more.
Cassie Bell has had a rough life, so being accepted at an elite Academy in Paris on a scholarship sounds like a fantastic opportunity. But from the very first day, she notices that a lot of the students aren't just snobs, but also have a very mean streak. Especially the bunch who call themselves the Few. Luckily, she meets the Latin Isabella, her roommate and instant friend. Of course, there's also the mysterious Jake, who seems to want to get to the bottom of things as much as she does. As well as the enigmatic but very alluring Ranjit.
Before she realises it, Cassie becomes the center of attention for this select group, and it's not necessarily a good thing. There are a lot of secrets in the Darke Academy, and finding out what they are can be deadly.
I loved it! The tension builds up so thick and the mystery so deep that I devoured the entire book in about a day. I just had to know where this was going. There are some very spooky scenes that'll keep you guessing and push you forward, further into the dark. I didn't want to put it down. I'm hooked.
The characters were great, especially Cassie and Ranjit. I can't wait to find out where the outcome of this book is going to take these two kindred spirits.
Dark Academy: Secret Lives is a wonderful and very creepy book that starts out just like any other story about a new kid in school, but becomes so much more. It throws you into a mysterious school with a very dark secret. I think it's a winner.
I'm looking forward to the next one, Dark Academy: Blood Ties.
When I read the blurb for this book I couldn't decide if it was a futuristic, an urban fantasy, a Sci-Fi, or just a straight out fantasy. I just knew that I wanted to read it. After I started it, I found out that it's pretty much a mix of all of the above. Just like Lila is a mesh between human and machine.
After the Quantum Bomb, the world changed forever. Even the name changed, Earth is now known as Otopia. But more importantly, the fabric between the dimensions was torn, opening up the way to five other realities. Humans can live alongside creatures from other realms. Demons, elves, elementals, and all types of faery live amongst us in a world now deep in magic and technology.
Lila Black is a woman, but she's also a machine with an AI. After a mission that almost killed her a few years back, her body was fused with carbon and metal alloy to become an efficient machine with enough weapons to have something handy for any situation.
When she takes the job of guarding an elf who happens to be the lead singer of a very popular band, the story seems very grounded in a recognisable world. But when someone attempts to kill and in fact take Zal from this realm and into Alfheim, she has no choice but to put her trust in the elf responsible for her 'upgraded' physical condition. The one who almost destroyed her.
Wrapped in a futuristic package is a fantastical tale with places and concepts that will stretch the boundaries of your imagination. I enjoyed the seemingly simplicity of Lila, and how the further you get into the story, the more complicated and real she becomes. Things are certainly not what they seem with any of the elves she is forced to depend on, or work with along the way to saving Zal.
Keeping It Real is an action-packed book that'll keep you guessing at every turn. Just when you're sure you understand the elves and their peculiar ways, something else is thrown into the mix to totally confuse you. Double-crossing, possession, lust, and the very interesting concept of Games, are just a few things to expect in this fascinating new world/s.
Everything that I loved about the series - the horror, gore, Anita's relationship struggles, her personal inner struggle, her complicated friendships, the tough as nails attitude, the way her job dominates her life because it's so much more, and just the strong Anita that kept me turning the pages, eventually faded into an almost unrecognisable shadow of herself. One that depended on the ardeur and not much else.
But this is about the second book in the series, and I love this one! It has everything that made this series so addictive to start with. I couldn't put it down until I got to the end.
The Laughing Corpse is a clever, dark and very gritty book. Anita takes us into some very grotesque situations as she struggles to keep a human balance in her life by raising the dead for a living, trying to avoid a vampire who wants her, and agreeing to wear an awful pink bridesmaid dress to be in her friend's wedding. It's not an easy thing to do, but Anita somehow pulls it off in a very entertaining way.
This is the Anita Blake that became a constant in my life years ago, so I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to re-read this book. If you're into urban fantasy and haven't given this series a go, I recommend that you do. Especially the earlier books, because they are truly awesome!
This is the fourth book in the Harper Connelly series by Charlaine Harris, and I was totally blown away by it. Seriously.
When Harper and Tolliver go to a cemetery near Dallas for their latest case to help a woman from a very rich family find out how her grandfather died, Harper uncovers a few hidden secrets that someone desperately wants to keep buried. Badly enough to shoot at Harper. But the bullet misses her and instead hits Tolliver, and he ends up in the hospital.
And if that's not bad enough, Tolliver's father is out of jail and has decided that now is the best time to reconnect with his children. Even if he doesn't seem to think too highly of Harper. Not to mention that people keep getting shot around Harper as she slowly uncovers small pieces of the Joyce mystery, with a little help from her psychic friend, Manfred. I was really glad to see that he keeps popping up in the series. He's a very interesting character.
The familial entanglement of the wealthy Joyce family are darkly mirrored and even connected to Harper's. It seems that the longer she spends in Dallas, the more complicated things get. And the less tolerant people seem to be of her newfound relationship with Tolliver. Except for their mutual little sisters who seem excited at the prospect of a wedding.
I absolutely loved this book and adore the series. I'm a huge Sookie Stackhouse fan and didn't think I would get this caught up in Harper's world, but I have. Every book gets better and deeper into the core of Harper's gift and circumstances. The heartbreak of her sister's disappearance has hounded her for years, and in this book it resurfaces in an unexpected way. As sad as it is, I'm glad that Harper is finally able to find some closure in this department.
Grave Secret is an amazing addition to this wonderful series and only deepened my involvement in Harper and Tolliver's life. While also revealing some very shocking and bizarre secrets about their family's harsh past.
I also love how Charlaine Harris can introduce the reader to seemingly simple heroines that are really extraordinary and very resourceful. She did it first with Sookie, and she's done it again with Harper. This series is another winner! I can't wait to read more.
Grave Secret, November 2009, ISBN 0575085541, Gollancz Paperback
This omnibus contains books four-to-six in L.J. Smith's Night World series, and introduces a bunch of new characters.
Dark Angel: After missing her ride home, Gillian is forced to walk home in the cold. But when she hears crying and wanders off the road to investigate, her life changes forever. She dies but is sent back by her guardian angel. Not only will Angel give Gillian her life back but he'll also help her become popular at school and win the heart of the guy she likes.
Except, Angel has plans of his own, and along the way makes her realise a few truths about what she really is. This story shows the evolution of Gillian - littered with confusion, revelations, and the path to her soulmate.
The Chosen: Rashel's family was killed by a vampire when she was a child, and now she hunts them. She's good at what she does, but when she meets a vampire who claims to be her soulmate, she must deal with the consequences.
This was another well-told story that explores the ultimate opposites-attract concept and how hating one breed because of grief and loss isn't always a good idea. Or the way to revenge and happiness.
Soulmate: Hannah has a good life but her dreams are filled with confusing events. When she goes to get help via hypnosis, she finds out that these dreams are actually fragments of her past lives. Lives in which she meets and loses the love of her life over and over again. All because of one person, who's only ambition is to keep Hannah away from her true love, Thierry.
This is a fascinating concept with very emotional ties that takes the soulmate path to another level and opens up some history about the Night World.
I found the next lot of YA stories in this world to be as interesting and entertaining as the first three.Night World, Volume 2, September 2009, ISBN 9780340996638, Hachette Children's Books
This omnibus contains the first three books in L.J. Smith's Night World. It's also a great introduction to this secret world of vampires, witches, werewolves, shapeshifters, and the humans who fall in love with them.
Secret Vampire: Poppy and James have been best friends since kindergarten, so when she finds out that she's sick and is going to die, James makes an offer she can't refuse. He's a vampire and can save her life by making her part of the Night World.
This story was sad and heart-breaking, but still filled with hope and adventure. Becoming a vampire should've been an easy thing to pull off but because it's forbidden in the Night World, and they had to make sure she 'dies' in the living world, a few complications arise.
Daughters of Darkness: Three sisters - Rowan, Kestrel and Jade - have left their home to live amongst the humans with their aunt, who's been doing that for years. However, when they get there and find their aunt staked, it becomes obvious that blending in won't be so easy. And with their brother on their trail, only more problems will arise... for him as well.
This story was exciting and expands on the Night World. It also goes to show that love strikes when you least expect it, and not even the tough Ash is exempt from it finding him. Still, with danger in the shadows, I enjoyed finding out who was responsible for their aunt's death and how a mere human was forced to deal with it.
Enchantress: Thea and Blaise are cousins who are more like sisters. They also happen to be witches and continually get into trouble at school. When they're expelled from another school and go to stay with their grandmother, they find themselves wanting the same guy. Spells and rituals get them into a heap of trouble once again, when Thea summons the spirit of a witch that swore revenge on humans.
I enjoyed the sibling rivalry in this one and the secrets that are unveiled, and like the other two books, events kept unfolding until the very end. The power of the soulmate is very prominent in this story too and I suspect it sets things up for the next lot of books.
I found these YA stories to be interesting and entertaining. The Night World is full of creatures that seem to unwillingly find themselves breaking the rules whenever it comes to dealing with humans. I guess the forbidden is always too tempting, and that human soulmates are just too hard to resist..
It's definitely worth paying a visit to the first volume of the Night World series.
Night World, Volume 1, September 2009, ISBN 9780340996621, Hachette Children's Books