zondag 21 december 2014

Rachel Caine – Ghost Town

The ninth book in the Morganville Vampires series, published November 1, 2010.
Genre: young adult urban fantasy
Cover: good

Ghost Town photo n349407_zpscfa509fe.jpg

When Claire is ordered to repair the systems that protect Morganville, it’s not just cutting into her study time, it’s a life-threatening problem. If there’s one thing this vampire-infested town is serious about, it’s security.
But achieving the impossible only brings a whole new set of problems, and the upgrades have unexpected consequences: people inside the town are slowly beginning to forget who they are, even the vampires. Soon, the town’s little memory problem has turned into a full-on epidemic. Now Claire needs to figure out a way to pull the plug on her experiment – before she forgets how to save Morganville...


Claire is working with Myrnin on repairing the computer that keeps the town safe from outsiders, and insiders unable to leave. Preferably without adding a human brain this time, especially as Myrnin seems to want to use hers...
She has managed to repair the portal system, but so far things going through end up being dust. Then one evening when her friend Eve is at a rave with a new friend, things are getting really bad. Vampires crash the party and start killing and be killed, and Eve and Shane cannot leave Eve in danger, and rush in to save her. In self defense, Claire kills a vampire, and the punishment for that is high. Especially as it was al instigated by a local college boy, who killed his Protector. Thinking that humans now can take over control of the town from the Vampires.
She will have to work on the computer non-stop, without sleep, for as long as she can keep awake. If she fails, it will be her brain that will be used after all. After many long days and nights of working, with only very short food and bathroom breaks, Claire manages it. But the system has flaws, and Myrnin won’t acknowledge that as he is living in the past again and doesn’t recognize her. The town is becoming dangerous again, Olivier challenges Amelie and wins, so what will happen to them?
Claire and her friends have to find a way to shut the machine down ...


I am still not much a fan of YA, but this series is just so good. I never know what will happen next, and the characters are truly unique. Some scary, some good and some stupid. But I like all the main characters, and of course love to hate the evil ones, like Monica.
And surprise, this book does not have an evil cliffhanger like many others. Of course, I still want to read the rest of the series, and hope to pick up book 10 soon.

8 stars.



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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 20 december 2014

New additions to my addiction

Stapel boeken

My 20th and new additions post for 2014. Here is a list book the new books I added to my collection in the past 10 days. It is really small, I had hoped more books would have arrived from Bookdepo by now.

From Bookdepository:
Larissa Ione - Pleasure Unbound

Secondhand books:
Clive Cussler – White Death
Susan Isaacs – Lily White
Tamar Myers – The glass is always greener



© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 19 december 2014

Gail Carriger - Soulless

The first book in the Alexia Tarabotti series, published October 1, 2009.
Genre: steampunk
Cover: nice
Re-read for the second time.

Soulless

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?


Gail Carriger has created a wonderful world, set in Victorian times, but it is shared with vampires and werewolves, who are also welcome in Society. It is believed that the few humans who can be successfully turned into a werewolf or vampire, have an excess of soul. And all the humans who die shortly after the transformation, had just a normal soul, or just too little of it. Scientists have been trying to find out how exactly, and how to measure a persons soul. This is very important to both the vampires and werewolves, as they would like to expand their species. Very little females are transformable, so their role in both the vampire as the werewolf world is much more important than as a mere human woman.
And then there is that very rare soulless person. Alexia Tarabotti is one of those. When she was six years old, a nice man from BUR, the agency that registers and controls all the supernatural beings, told her she was preternatural, soulless, and what it signifies. It is not that she is undead or so, she just has to work on her personality, and sense of right and wrong. So she studied hard ever since, being interested in science, so unlike her mother, stepfather and two stepsisters. Her own father was soulless as well, and Italian, which gave her her dark complexion and big nose. But he died when she was very young, so he did not have the chance to teach her anything.

Being soulless means that she cancels out the supernatural powers that make a person vampire or werewolf. When she touches a vampire for instance, his fangs disappear, he cannot bite her, and his superstrenght diminishes as well. A werewolf would change back to being human. But only for the time she touches him.

Due to her looks, her mother found it not important for Alexia to have a formal coming out, so she has always been on the shelf. Not that she minds that very much, she has her fathers’ library, and her own pursuits. She prefers visiting the libraries instead of the balls she has to attend with her family. When the book starts, she is enjoying some tea she ordered from the butler. Normally a very rude thing to do, but there were no refreshments at all in the ballroom, and she does like her tea and foodstuffs.
Her solitude is interrupted though by a young vampire, who tries to bite her. When that doesn’t work he is confused, by keeps trying. Strangely enough, he seems not to know who or what she is. And Alexia knows that all the vampire hives have been informed about her existence. In the days of old, the preternatural hunted down the supernaturals, but that is a thing of the past. There are far too few preternatural beings left, as they don’t tend to get old.

When the vampire keeps attacking her, Alexia has no choice but to defend herself, for which she uses her beloved parasol, and a sharp wooden hairpin. She even accidentally kills him. And at that point some dandies discover her near a dead body, so she does the only reasonable thing left to her: she screams in horror and faints.
Then Lord Maccon, Alpha werewolf of London and surroundings, and head of BUR and his Beta, Professor Lyal enter the room, and Alexia has to tell what happened. Alexia and Lord Maccon have been rubbing each other the wrong way before, so Alexia is not very polite (which of course I like!). She wants to work for BUR as one of their agents, but as a young lady of the ton, that is just not done.
Where did this vampire came from? Malnourished, and without any manners or knowledge of the vampire world? All new vampires are registered, and there are even parties when someone is successfully transformed.

Alexia is also good friends with the rove vampire Lord Akeldama, a real dandy. This is not to the liking of Lord Maccon, who is developing feelings for Alexia. But treating her as an alpha female werewolf is not working, as she does not know the rules to being one. She definitely is an alpha female, but not a werewolf! Professor Lyal is very much amused by it all, and gives his alpha some tips. But can an alpha werewolf grovel?


I really like this book and series. The steampunk angle consists of little gadgets, which I loved. Like the ability to make tea inside a carriage. Or special glasses. Airships like balloons, but with more technology. It is certainly not taking over the story. And the horror, well, the part were the new vampires (and automatons) are “made” is not a happy place, but to name that horror is a matter of taste. I didn’t mind it, and I really hate anything scary.

I like Alexia. She is very outspoken, and knows what (and who) she wants. Her family is just a bunch of silly people, who are no match for her. Lord Maccon is also a great character. He has his hands full of her, but that is just what he likes.
One minor point was for me, how they kept harping that she is not pretty. Her skin is too tanned, her nose to big, her curves too round. No, she is not an English rose, but she has a great personality, and is very intelligent. This is much more important after all. But her family really cut down her self confidence by constantly mentioning it in one way or the other.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series again as well, as I enjoyed myself with this book. This is still a very original story.

9 stars.



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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian


woensdag 17 december 2014

Ellery Adams – Lethal Letters

The sixth book in the Books by the Bay Mystery series, published November 4, 2014.
Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: nice

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Restaurant owner and aspiring novelist Olivia Limoges is busy planning a delicious menu for Oyster Bay's biggest soiree of the spring. But she'll need to serve some justice as well after one resident gets eighty-sixed…
Everyone's got their hands full in Oyster Bay, North Carolina. Aside from two upcoming weddings, there's also the historical society's annual fund-raiser: the Secret Garden Party and Candlelit Ball. Adding to the excitement, Olivia witnesses the discovery of a time capsule in the foundation of a local church. The historical society president hopes to display its contents at their party, but when the items are finally revealed to the public, Olivia notices one of them has vanished.
After a frightening find beneath the pier—the body of Ruthie Holcomb—Olivia is certain there's a connection between the young woman's death and the missing piece from the time capsule. With the help of her fellow Bayside Book Writers, Olivia sets out to uncover some clues and ensure a killer has no reason to celebrate…


Another brilliant mystery by Ellery Adams. I loved every page of it. Olivia is getting married to the Chief, Rawlings, but she is still hesitant about setting a date. Is she doing the right thing? Will their lives match? Rawlings still spends a lot of nights in town in the house his former wife decorated when his job requires it, and Olivia stays in her own beach home with her beloved Poodle Captain Havilland. Her chef Michel is getting married as well, and he is driving everyone crazy as he wants everything to be perfect.
And when Olivia accompanies him to the church, the mystery starts when the renovation team discovers a time capsule hidden in the wall. Why is the pastor suddenly so afraid of its contents? Why does he run out to go get the President of the Historical Society? And why is one of the items missing when the box is displayed?

Does it have something to do with the death of a young woman on the beach? Who is the best and forbidden friend of said President’s daughter? The girl is devastated, and she blames her family. Is there truth in that?

And why is Olivia’s real father suddenly interested in starting some new businesses in town, buying real estate? Does he think she will welcome him in her life after all those years?

Lucky for the Bayside Writers, Harris is back in town, and he inspires them all to start writing again, and he is a big help in researching the case. Perhaps he has a future in the police department instead of a well paid job in the game company...


I did have a little hunch about the reason behind the murders I have to admit. But the real murderer, and another part of the plot eluded me. The murder weapon itself is very gruesome and Ellery, wow, well done! I have never come across something similar.
I really enjoy reading about Olivia and her personal life, her friends and family. She likes taking care of them. Little Bayside sure has its share of eccentric characters; I would love to visit sometime.

I also enjoy the new book that Olivia has started working on. The ending of the book was very romantic, and I loved that part as well. I look forward to the next book already, even though that will take some time as Ellery writes multiple series. But I love them all, so any new book will be treasured.

10 stars.



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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 15 december 2014

Recommendations from Peggy for December 2014.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Peggy from Belgium.

Peggy:

I have read 7 novels in the past month, and the 3 books I enjoyed the most are:

1. Anna Campbell - Her Christmas earl

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2. Anthology: Christmas brides – Suzanne Enoch, Alexandra Hawkins, Valerie Bowman
and Elizabeth Essex


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3. L.H. Cosway - Still life with strings

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1. Anna Campbell - Her Christmas earl

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No good deed goes unpunished...
To save her hen-witted sister from scandal, Philippa Sanders ventures into a rake's bedroom - and into his power. Now her reputation hangs by a thread and only a hurried marriage can rescue her. Is the Earl of Erskine the heartless libertine the world believes? Or will Philippa discover unexpected honor in a man notorious for his wild ways?
Blair Hume, the dissolute Earl of Erskine, has had his eye on the intriguing Miss Sanders since he arrived at this deadly dull house party. Now a reckless act delivers this beguiling woman into his hands as a delightful Christmas gift. Is fate offering him a fleeting Yuletide diversion? Or will this Christmas Eve encounter spark a passion that lasts a lifetime?


My favourite time of the year is here. Throughout the year I’m always on the lookout for Christmas stories. I must confess that I’m a romantic woman and I love nothing more than reading Christmas stories in the weeks before Christmas. And not only reading about it but I also listen to Christmas songs (and decorate the house for Christmas). As you can read, I’m really into the Christmas spirit at the moment.

So, when I discovered a Christmas story from one of my favourite writers, I naturally have to read it. And like always I really loved this story from Anna Campbell. Who wouldn’t want to be locked up in a closet with a handsome rake? I’m sure we all would love that. It’s certainly a different way of meeting someone and it changes a dull house party into an very interesting Christmas party. Philippa and Blair were both very lovely characters. I, especially liked the end of this story. It was the perfect end of a lovely story.

Another book I really enjoyed this month was the anthology ‘Christmas brides’. All four stories were wonderful reads. They’re four different stories about Christmas and finding love. I really love the combination of regency and Christmas. One of the traditions I love in these books, is the kissing under the mistletoe. Especially if it is a handsome man. (I wouldn’t mind kissing one under a mistletoe!)

Most Christmas stories are novellas. Those aren’t always easy to write but all the writers mentioned above did an excellent job of it.

This book has nothing to do with Christmas but it’s a wonderful read. I discovered this story ‘Still life with strings’ from L.H. Cosway in the anthology ‘Rockers after dark’. L.H. Cosway is a new writer for me. The writer has a special way of writing that is truly unique (at least that is what I think). Although her stories deal with ‘dark secrets and difficult subjects’, the writing is never dark. She managed to create a story about two people who aren’t perfect but they are perfect for each other. Her books take place in Ireland, that’s also different from most books. Like I said, I love this story very much and I’m very happy that I have discovered this writer.

This was my last review for 2014.

I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope that 2015 will be a fantastic year with lots of love, wonders and magic and filled with many wonderful books to read.

Love, Peggy

Aurian: Thanks for the recommendation Peggy! I am also a big fan of Christmas stories, but I can read them all year long. In fact, I just finished a Valentine’s Day anthology themed around hot chocolate. And as your book has a Suzanne Enoch story in it, I really need to have this one as well.
How about you ladies, do you like Christmas in your books this time of year?



© 2014 Reviews by Aurian


zaterdag 13 december 2014

Gail Carriger – Waistcoats & Weaponry

The third book in the Finishing School series, published November 4, 2014.
Genre: Young Adult steampunk
Cover: nice

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It’s one thing to waltz properly. It’s quite another to waltz properly with a bladed fan stitched into one’s corset.
Sophronia continues finishing school in style – with a range of deadly defences secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Her fashionable choice of weapons comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap and the charming Lord Felix Mersey hijack a suspiciously empty train to return their chum Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland.
But when Sophronia discovers they are being trailed by a dirigible of Picklemen and flywaymen, she unearths a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos. With her friends in mortal danger, Sophronia must sacrifice what she holds most dear – her freedom.


Another Young Adult series I can’t get enough of. This is a sort of prequel to the Parasol Protectorate series, and when I finished this book, it made me re-read that series immediately. Because what happens in this book, directly impacts that series.

It is very hard to summarize a bit of what happens in this book, without spoiling the story if you haven’t read it yet. Sophronia attends a finishing school, which is not unusual for young ladies of quality. But this school is situated in a gigantic dirigible, floating in the aether. She not only learns all those things a young lady needs to learn, she also learns how to be a spy, and an assassin. She especially loves her new bladed fan.
Her friend Lady Sidheag Maccon gets some bad news, and needs to return to Scotland and her werewolf pack immediately. Sophronia and her best friend Dimity are on their way to Sophronia’s home to celebrate the wedding of Sophronia’s older sister, accompanied by Dimity’s brother and Sophronia’s beau, Lord Felix Mersey, who is the son of a Duke. The Duke is a high ranked pickleman, which is somewhat a problem for Sophronia, as they are enemies of the school. But perhaps she can sway Felix to her way of thinking ...

While at the wedding, something strange happens, when all the automaton servants start behaving not according to their programming. What is causing it? And when Sidheag shows up, accompanied by the Dewan (the Alpha of all the werewolves in England) and Captain Niall, a lone werewolf and one of their professors, they have to help their friend. No way will they meekly go back to school.

And so they find themselves in the midst of a plot between vampires and their archenemy Monique, who has left the school, and the Picklemen...


I love this series, and I am in awe of Gail Carrigers’ imagination. Sophronia is such a great heroine, she thinks fast on her feet, and doesn’t care about a person’s standing in society, like her friend Soap, who is a sootie (sooties, young boys, take care of the steam engines in her school).
She has a good grasp of politics and she is all for preserving the balance between the vampires, werewolves, and ordinary humans. The picklemen want to get rid of all the supernaturals, and the vampires and werewolves are always competing.

I hope the next book will be written soon, but first there is a new series on the horizon.

10 stars.



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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 11 december 2014

Nalini Singh – Archangel’s Shadows

The seventh book in the Guild Hunter series, published October 28, 2014.
Genre: paranormal romance / urban fantasy
Cover: the poses are strange, especially the man on the motor cycle

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Return to New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh's sensual and painfully beautiful Guild Hunter world in her new novel of sacrifice, loyalty, and the choices of love that can shatter the heart.

In the wake of a brutal war, the archangel Raphael and his hunter consort, Elena, are dealing with the treacherously shifting tides of archangelic politics and the people of a battered but not broken city. The last thing their city needs is more death, especially a death that bears the eerie signature of an insane enemy archangel who cannot - should not - be walking the streets.
This hunt must be undertaken with stealth and without alerting their people. It must be handled by those who can become shadows themselves...
Ash is a gifted tracker and a woman cursed with the ability to sense the secrets of anyone she touches. But there's one man she knows all too well without a single instant of skin contact: Janvier, the dangerously sexy Cajun vampire who has fascinated and infuriated her for years. Now, as they track down a merciless killer, their cat-and-mouse game of flirtation and provocation has turned into a profound one of the heart. And this time, it is Ash's secret, dark and terrible, that threatens to destroy them both.


In the war against Lijuan and her people, Ashwini was badly hurt. She was working with Janvier and Naasir behind enemy lines when she was caught after planting bombs in a building in hands of the enemy. But now she is all healed up, and ready for some action. Janvier is not so ready to let her walk into danger again, and he is determined to be with her, every step of the way. He has sworn allegiance to the archangel Raphael, so he can act as a liaison between the Guild Hunters and the Tower.

Ash is sent to question a vet who reported the find of a mummified animal. And with the horror or Lijuan fresh in the minds of the population, this has to be investigated thoroughly. Janvier takes her on his bike, and she really enjoys that ride. So does Janvier, and he sure wants more from her than that, but she has always kept him at a distance. But now, perhaps, it is time to live for the moment. Because Ash knows it can never be more than that. And becoming a vampire herself, is totally out of the question. Due to her powers, of seeing inside a person’s head when she touches him or her, physical closeness is impossible for her. But she has never been able to read Janvier.

When next the mummified body of a woman is found in a dumpster behind a restaurant, the investigation becomes serious. This reeks of Lijuan’s power, did she leave some of her people behind? Ash and Janvier have to go into the underbelly of the vampire world, with the sex and blood clubs, the groupies and junkies who sell their blood for their next fix. Some vampires treat their donor’s with respect, but most of the vampires who frequent those clubs only see humans as cattle. To do with as they see fit. But when they find a likely suspect, he is alibied by the women he is keeping in his home, and who are completely in his thrall.

Then there is the new streetdrug Umber, that really affects vampires, awakening their bloodlust. It has to be stopped before the streets of New York color red with blood again.

In the mean time, Elena has to deal with a visit from her mother in law.
She is also interacting well with the Legion, making them feel at home and getting to know them individually. They are not used to act on their own instead of part of a hive mind, but she makes them more “human”. I loved how she finds out that they love to work with the earth, with plants, and need them around. She puts them to work in her green house.

And then there is Naasir. Elena wants to know what he is, and so do I. I am so very curious about him. He brought Elena a gift, and he only does that to people he likes. The whole Seven attended that evening to find out what he brought, as he has some outrageous ideas on proper gifts. He once brought a bucket of piranha’s...


A great new book in a great series. I loved Ashwini and Janvier together, and I do believe that Ashwini has legitimate reasons for not wanting a relationship. I did hurt for her and Janvier. The mystery part, the evil ones who are behind the drugs and the mummifications, that was very well done as well. I am glad justice was served.
I also liked the part where Raphael showed the vampires in town who really is the boss in town: not them!

I love reading about the other characters in this series, and find out more about their lives after they had their love stories. I can’t wait to read the next one, which I hope is about Naasir. Or Bluebell.

10 stars.



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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian