Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Sunshine Cover

There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it’s unwise to walk. But there hadn’t been any trouble out at the lake for years, and Sunshine just needed a spot where she could be alone with her thoughts. Vampires never entered her mind.

Until they found her…

My Review of Sunshine

SunshineSunshine by Robin McKinley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Somewhere in here lurks a decent story, but it’s so overwhelmed by the ramblings of Sunshine that it’s almost completely lost. In the first five pages, I know where Sunshine works, where she lives, her Monday movie nights and all about her landlady’s niece, but I still don’t know why she’s all on her own at the lake.

I liked the actual story, but it does start to drag. The vampires are satisfyingly nasty and mean, like in the film Lost Boys.

Sunshine is likeable enough, but by the halfway point I just really wanted her to stop talking. Cut out all the rambling and the repetition (how many times do we need to be told no one ever gets away from vampires?) and the book would be less than half the long 405 pages it actually is.

The author spends so much time explaining the world that it’s hard to believe this was ever intended to be standalone. So many concepts are explained in depth that are then not actually relevant to the story that I’m convinced this was the setup for a longer series, more like True Blood.

After all the long, long build-up, the big fight with the main villain is almost a non-event after all the talking. The villain himself is a moustache-twirling cartoon style villain, with some seriously dodgy dialogue. And he doesn’t do anything. Disappointing.

Could have been good, but needs some serious pruning to remove all the irrelevant rambling.

Sunshine
Robin McKinley
Urban Fantasy
November 30th 2004
Kindle
405

Full Moon Rising (Riley Jenson Guardian #1) by Keri Arthur

Full Moon Rising

Full Moon Rising Blurb

A rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf, Riley Jenson and her twin brother, Rhoan, work for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races, an organization created to police the supernatural races–and protect humans from their depredations.

While Rhoan is an exalted guardian, a.k.a. assassin, Riley is merely an office worker–until her brother goes missing on one of his missions. The timing couldn’t be worse. More werewolf than vampire, Riley is vulnerable to the moon heat, the weeklong period before the full moon, when her need to mate becomes all-consuming.

My Review of Full Moon Rising

Full Moon Rising (Riley Jenson Guardian, #1)Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this because I was having a lazy Sunday and I wanted a book I could read with half my brain turned off.

This has been sat on my shelf for months because I was expecting it to be a bit rubbish, the blurb makes it sound like a cheap Anita Blake knock off, focused 100% on sex. But actually, it was ok.

Main character Riley Jenson is interesting if verging a little too far towards a perfect wish fulfilment character for my liking. She’s described as a “drop dead gorgeous red head with long legs”. She works as a guardian assistant but is better at the guardian job than the actual guardians. Everyone she meets seems to think she’s amazing.

It’s saved by Riley’s internal dialogue, it avoids the super annoying thing where the super special character has no confidence and thinks they’re ugly and rubbish at everything. she’s confident and funny and quite happy to be good at things.

The Second half gets very repetitive though. Riley gets kidnapped, the full moon fever takes over, she finds out more info from the ‘bad guys’ and then she escapes. About 5 or 6 times. And the stuff about the full moon fever was daft and got very dull.

So it was fun for an afternoon, but I’m not bothered about reading the next one.

Full Moon Rising
Riley Jenson Guardian
Keri Arthur
Urban Fantasy
2007
Paperback

My Favourite Books with Tattooed Characters

books with tattooed characters

Tenuous link for my book list this month: I recently got a tattoo. So here is a list of my favourite books with tattooed characters in 🙂

It’s a lot shorter than I thought it would be, so if you have any suggestions please share them in the comments or on twitter.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

An obvious choice to kick off with, Lisbeth Salander is tattooed, independent, and doesn’t care what others think of her.

Under Locke by Mariana Zapata

A romance where the main character Iris works in a tattoo palour and the love interest is a tattooist. I’ve mentioned Mariana Zapta before on this blog, she’s one of my favourite slow burning romance writers out there.

This couple go from hating each other to being friends before finally falling in love and their journey is believable (for a romance novel) and sweet. I could have done without the motorbike gang stuff, but other than that this is a lovely story.

Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland

Loveday Cardew is a quiet, antisocial bookworm working in a small bookshop in York. She closes herself off from relationships and finds herself lost for words when she tries to talk to people.

But she wasn’t always this way, and through flashbacks and memories we find out what happened in Loveday’s past that has left her so guarded and reluctant to trust anyone.

I only picked this up because it’s about a bookworm with a nose ring and tattoos, and it’s set in York, a city that I love to visit. But this is a very thoughtful and beautifully written story, with flawed and interesting characters with a lot of depth to them.

One of my favourites of the year so far.

The Derby Girl (Getting Physical) by Tamara Morgan

Another romance, this time the main character Gretchen is a tattooed roller derby girl. I’m not blown away by the love interest, he’s a bit too corporate for my liking, but Gretchen is funny, feisty and flawed and I kinda want to be her.

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

Sci-fi where the main character has a full face tattoo. I’m not sure I’d say I enjoyed this book, there’s some pretty grim stuff in it, but it’s thought provoking and interesting. It’s also the only sci-fi I could think of to add to this list!

Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane

A series I think I’ve mentioned before, Downside Ghosts’ main character Chessie has full body tattoos that also help her work magic. It’s my favourite urban fantasy, and it has a bit of romance thrown in. The love interest Terrible is by far my favourite book boyfriend.

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge Blurb

A sharp and funny urban fantasy for “new adults” about a secret society of bartenders who fight monsters with alcohol-fueled magic.

College grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever—or whoever—is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore.

My Review of Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

Last Call at the Nightshade LoungeLast Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, bartenders are all that stand between us and monsters called Tremens that roam the night, hunting feeding on people.

Luckily the bartenders have a secret weapon – magic powers they can gain by mixing perfect cocktails using specially distilled alcohol.

This definitely reminds me a lot of Buffy the Vampire slayer – a young woman that doesn’t really know where she’s going in life fights monsters while building friendships. That’s a good thing for me, and there are enough unique elements in here to give it it’s own personality.

I loved the diverse mix of characters and they had unique and distinct personalities. They brought the book to life and their interactions with Bailey were often entertaining.

Bailey isn’t the nicest person in the world, she isn’t instantly everyone’s best friend and the people around her don’t think she’s amazing. I kinda love her for this. She’s not a special snowflake and has to prove herself and work at her friendships.

My big problem with this book though is that it doesn’t go in much for explaining things. It’s quite short and mostly action, which makes for a fun read, but a bit of depth would have helped it all feel more real.

Bailey is an overachiever who has left university and lost all direction. It doesn’t go into why Bailey has gone straight home to her parents and not tried to get herself a job. It seems out of character for her, so it could have done with a bit more explanation for her motives for it to make sense.

While working for Vincent, Bailey seems to build a close relationship with him. This happens mostly off page though and it means that events later in the book aren’t as moving as they perhaps could have been.

The Tremens aren’t really explained either, what they are or where they come from. They just appear and the bartenders kill them.

So, in the end, this is a lot of fun, but look at it too closely and it might all fall apart. There is enough good stuff to make up for it though, and it’s well written.

If there’s a sequel I’ll be all over it.

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge
Paul Krueger
Urban Fantasy
June 7th 2016
288

Aversion (The Mentalist Series, #1) by Kenechi Udogu

aversion cover

Book Blurb

For Gemma Green’s first time, things should have been straightforward. Find your subject, hold their gaze and push a thought into their head to save them from future disaster – Aversion complete. A pretty simple process given that the subject was to have no recollection of the experience.

But Russ Tanner doesn’t seem to want to forget. In fact the more she tries to avoid him, the more he pushes to get to know her. Gemma knows she has a problem but is she facing the side effects of a failed Aversion or has the school’s tennis champ really fallen for her?

My Review of Aversion

Aversion (The Mentalist Series, #1)Aversion by Kenechi Udogu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump the past couple of weeks. I’ve read two book club books, then a rather large fantasy that I didn’t really enjoy, and I’ve found it hard to get going with anything else. I got this ARC of Aversion sent to me recently, and it’s only 133 pages so I thought I’d give it a go as a quick read. I dipped in and out of this and another book at first, but then this caught my attention and I gave up on the other one! It’s just what I needed to get my reading focus back.

Gemma is funny and sweet. Though she’s trying very hard to understand she can’t be a normal teenager it’s clear that she really wants to do the normal things the other girls at her school get to do.

Russ’ personality is a bit less clear. He’s understandably a bit confused about the strange things happening to him, but he’s very supportive of Gemma. We don’t see much of him beyond this, but I got the impression he’s confident, athletic, and generally quite nice.

The way the story was told was a bit like a stream of consciousness from Gemma. It read more like a diary entry than a story, and it left me feeling a bit disconnected from everything. It’s like Gemma got home and was telling someone about what had happened to her.

Gemma does an awful lot of thinking too. Someone says something, and she thinks about it so much that sometimes it was nearly a page before we get the response. It made events feel disjointed and just added to the disconnection I felt.

Because of the way the story is told at first I thought that I wasn’t going to enjoy it. But I found that I kept going back to it, and I got hooked on the story. The characters are sweet and the love interest is refreshingly kind and caring.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, I hope it explains a bit more about the other Averters and how their community works.

I received a free copy from the author in return for an honest review.

Aversion
The Mentalist
Kenechi Udogu
Young Adult Fantasy
kindle
133

Hello, Moto by Nnedi Okorafor

hello moto

There is witchcraft in science and a science to witchcraft. Both will conspire against you eventually.

My Review of Hello, Moto

In Hello, Moto, technology and magic merge into one very interesting short story.

Philo had been in Jos when the riots happened. I knew it was her and her wig. A technology I had created. Neurotransmitters, mobile phones, incantation, and hypnosis- even I knew my creation was genius. But all it sparked in the North was death and mayhem.

It left me with more questions than answers and it’s a massive cliffhanger ending, but I feel like that’s a good thing.

You definitely need to use your own imagination when you’re reading this.

Read for free at Tor.com

Hello, Moto
Nnedi Okorafor
Fantasy
Online Short Story

Minion (Vampire Huntress #1) by L.A. Banks

minion

Minion Blurb

All Damali Richards ever wanted to do was create music and bring it to the people. Now she is a spoken word artist and the top act for Warriors of Light Records. But come nightfall, she hunts vampires and demons—predators that people tend to dismiss as myth or fantasy.

When strange attacks erupt within the club drug-trafficking network and draw the attention of the police, Damali realizes these killings are a bit out of the ordinary, even for vampires. Soon she discovers that behind these brutal murders is the most powerful vampire Damali has ever met—a seductive beast who is coming for her next…

My Review of Minion

Minion (Vampire Huntress, #1)Minion by L.A. Banks
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

dnf at page 148.

I had high hopes for Minion, I really wanted to like it. But the story ripped straight from Buffy, the confusing writing, too many viewpoints, and a cast of bland characters meant I got bored and gave up halfway through.

Nothing about the world or the background of the characters was explained, we are dropped straight into the middle of the action with no reference points or understanding of what’s going on.

Halfway through the book and there was still have explanation of what they’re fighting or why they’re doing.

The confusing writing doesn’t help, some sentences just didn’t make sense no matter how many times I read them.

Maybe it gets better later on, or in the next book, because this is a popular series. But for me it’s not worth the effort to even finish this one.

Minion
L.A. Banks
Urban Fantasy

Street Magic (Black London #1) by Caitlin Kittredge

Street Magic black London #1 review

Street Magic Description

Pete Caldecott was just sixteen when she met Jack Winter, a gorgeous, larger-than-life  mage who thrilled her with his witchcraft. Then a spirit Jack summoned killed him before Pete’s eyes.

Now a detective , Pete is investigating the case of a young girl kidnapped from the streets of London. A tip has led police directly to the child but when Pete meets the informant, she’s shocked to learn he is none other than Jack.

Strung out on heroin, Jack is a shadow of his former self.  But he’s able to tell Pete exactly where Bridget’s kidnappers are hiding: in the supernatural shadow-world of the fey.

Even though she’s spent years disavowing the supernatural, Pete follows Jack into the invisible fey underworld, where she hopes to discover the truth about what happened to Bridget—and what happened to Jack on that dark day so long ago.

My Review of Street Magic

Street Magic (Black London, #1)Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The writing was a bit clunky and awkward. I found it was often difficult to follow what was going on, and why they are doing things.

There wasn’t much of an atmosphere to it, I didn’t get a feel for London itself, and Black London was brushed over. Pete and Jack dipped in and out of it but what it is and what it’s like wasn’t explained so it never came to life for me, I couldn’t picture it

The magic was hard to understand too, but it is a series so maybe it’s explained more in later books.

Main character Peter grated on me. I’m not convinced she is really an Inspector because she acts more like an impulsive child, shouting and whining and making daft threats to criminals. She never did any actual police work so it was hard to understand the professional side of her.

And some of the things she did were odd, like why didn’t she report the first tip off from Jack? Why keep it a secret?

I can’t remember that she what she looks like was described either. She was just a bit bland. Towards the end of the book she was getting a bit more badass, so again maybe she gets better later in the series!

I did like Jack, but I don’t understand why he holds such a grudge against Pete? He dragged her into something she didn’t understand then got upset when she ran scared. And he’d held on to it for 12 years then suddenly changed his mind?

I also liked attraction between Pete and Jack. It was building up towards the end of the book with some moments between them that sparked. I think it holds potential for future books.

Overall there just wasn’t enough magic and not enough of the police work I’d been hoping for. It didn’t hold my interest and I ended up speed reading the last third.

View all my reviews on GoodReads

Street Magic
Black London
Caitlin Kittredge
Urban Fantasy

Feversong by Karen Marie Moning (Fever #9)

Fever Series Playlist

Book Description

#1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Marie Moning returns with the epic conclusion to her pulse-pounding Fever series, where a world thrown into chaos grows more treacherous at every turn. As Mac, Barrons, Ryodan, and Jada struggle to restore control, enemies become allies, right and wrong cease to exist, and the lines between life and death, lust and love, disappear completely.

Black holes loom menacingly over Dublin, threatening to destroy the Earth. Yet the greatest danger is the one MacKayla Lane has unleashed from within: the Sinsar Dubh—a sentient book of unthinkable evil—has possessed her body and will stop at nothing in its insatiable quest for power.

The fate of Man and Fae rests on destroying the book and recovering the long-lost Song of Making, the sole magic that can repair the fragile fabric of the Earth. But to achieve these aims, sidhe-seers, the Nine, Seelie, and Unseelie must form unlikely alliances and make heart-wrenching choices. For Barrons and Jada, this means finding the Seelie Queen who alone can wield the mysterious song, negotiating with a lethal Unseelie prince hell-bent on ruling the Fae courts, and figuring out how to destroy the Sinsar Dubh while keeping Mac alive.

This time, there’s no gain without sacrifice, no pursuit without risk, no victory without irrevocable loss. In the battle for Mac’s soul, every decision exacts a tremendous price.

My Review of Feversong

Feversong (Fever, #9)Feversong by Karen Marie Moning
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So this won’t be a long review because I rushed through Feversong in just over a day. I think that says something about just how readable this series is, it’s never taken me longer than 2 days to read one.

With Feversong it felt like some of the magic from the first five books was back. The characters just seem more true to how they were originally, in some of the later books they felt a bit like they’d been changed just to fit the story.

But there was some nice character growth for Mac and for Jada / Dani. It was nice to see how Mac has evolved from the first book, and Dani has become my favourite character by far. She seems much more mature now and her point of view is interesting rather than irritating. And Mac and Barrons finally seem to have a mutually respectful relationship.

I liked the story and it ended well bringing the latest story arc to a close, no cliffhangers! I hope this isn’t the end of the series though, I would like to see more of Dani.

View all my reviews

Feversong
Fever
Karen Marie Moning
Urban Fantasy
January 17th 2017
512

Fever Series Playlist

Fever Series Playlist

It’s release time for Feversong, book 9 in the MacKayla Lane urban fantasy Fever Series, written by Karen Moning. I read the first 8 books in this series last November, and I’ve been waiting eagerly for this next instalment to be released!

I’ll be downloading it this evening to start reading 🙂

This is a Fever series playlist I put together on Spotify to listen to while I read. It’s inspired by music mentioned in the books,and songs that I feel capture the atmosphere Moning creates.

Enjoy!