Monthly Archives: August 2013

Claimed By Shadow

This is a review of “Claimed By Shadow” by Karen Chance. It is book 2 in the Cassandra Palmer Series. It follows on from “Touch the Dark“.

As this book is a part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel/s. Do not read if you intend to read this series in the future and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers. As this book is also part of a larger series (it ties in with the Dorina Basarab Series) it may be wise to use caution when reading these reviews on the Cassandra Palmer Series. I may unintentionally give out spoilers for part of that series, though Karen Chance is pretty good at keeping the two story arcs fairly separated.

Cassie is on the run again. She doesn’t want to be Pythia. She really doesn’t want all that responsibility, especially when she has no idea how to wield the Pythian power properly. The mages don’t want her to be Pythia either. They’ve never before had a Pythia that they haven’t trained themselves, and they’re not at all keen on finding out what it will be like. They want her out of office, permanently. The Vampire Senate only want her to be Pythia so that they can control her, so she will be their “Pet Pythia”. Cassie wants no part in any of it. But she sure as hell doesn’t want the power to go to the crazy and murderous Myra (who was supposed to be next in line for the Pythian title) either.

While Agnes (the previous Pythia) bestowed the Pythian powers onto Cassandra, the transfer won’t be fully completed until Cassie fulfils the Pythian rites. (Erm, and that means when she loses her virginity). And while Cassie is really busy running for her life and trying to locate the treacherous Myra and the fat a-hole Tony (with whom she’s got even more of a major beef with after information was revealed about her father in “Touch the Dark”), she has been feeling a little…attracted to the males around her lately. More than likely, it’s an influence from the Pythian power; the rites clamouring to be completed. Only trouble is, she’s also discovered that a certain Master Vampire beginning with M has placed a geis on her.

Yup. Mircea has whacked a giant metaphysical “Keep Off” sticker onto Cassie. It warns others away from her (sometimes very painfully), and makes her more attracted to Mircea. It’s like a love spell. If the geis is completed, Cassie would most probably be under Mircea’s control. Which would not be a good thing. She’s got to find out how to remove the geis. And she has to find Myra and Tony, who are more than likely both hiding out in Faerie. Additionally, Myra is a bitch. She’s been travelling into the past trying to disrupt it in order to get rid of Cassie. So Cassie’s got to time-travel too to make sure nothing happens to affect the current timeline. It’s safe to say that Cassie is one busy gal.

I enjoyed this one, I loved the tattoos, Mac, and the foray into Faerie. I was happy that Pritkin was back again. There were some sad parts 😦 but there was also a lot of humour. Additionally, this novel also provides some back story to the events leading up to “Midnight’s Daughter”. Again, I love the detail in Chance’s work, the richness of her characters and her world-building skills.

For more information on the timeline of the Cassandra Palmer Series and the Dorina Basarab Series (and associated short stories) please follow this link. (Found on Karen Chance’s official website).

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Touch The Dark

This is a review of “Touch The Dark” by Karen Chance. It is book 1 in the Cassandra Palmer Series.

Even though this is the first book in a series, it is also part of a larger series (it ties in with the Dorina Basarab Series). Keep this in mind as you read my reviews for the Cassandra Palmer Series, as I may unintentionally give out spoilers for part of that series.

Cassandra Palmer is a clairvoyant. She’s young. And she’s on the run. From vampires. Mobster vampires. Her parents were killed when she was very young and she was raised by the vamp (Tony) who ordered their hit (she didn’t find this out until she was a teen) as he thought having a Seer on hand might be nifty. She got her revenge by selling him out to the human feds. Which would have been awesome, except he didn’t get caught. So hence, she’s on the run.

All her life Cassie has Seen things; events before they happen, psychic imprints left in places where traumas occurred, that kind of thing. Her visions are never particularly nice. But hey, you can’t control what you See. Oh and she can talk to ghosts. Which is pretty sweet, if you’ve got a helpful ghostly friend. Which Cassie does (kinda). His name is Billy Joe, he’s a card-game cheatin’ cowboy who cheated one too many times. He and Cassie have an understanding. She feeds him energy and he feeds her info.

Cassie’s been doing good lately, she’s got a job, and she’s steered clear of Tony for a few years now. But when she comes across a threatening message left on her computer, she knows she’s got to get moving again. And then everything gets even messier. Cassie finds herself in demand from vamps other than Tony’s boys, including high-ranking Master Vampires from the North American Vampire Senate, and mages of the Dark and Silver Circles. Cassie’s got no idea where to hide, so it seems she’ll have to make some friends and find out why the hell she’s become so popular all of a sudden in the supernatural community.

I really enjoyed this book. There is a rich array of characters, all very interesting and complex. Chance excels at creating a complex world with complex characters. Cassie is a fun heroine. She’s tough and yet she’s innocent. She’s gutsy and she’s thoughtful. I just love her. We see a very different side to Mircea in this series than we do in the Dorina Basarab Series, which is pretty nifty. I enjoyed having Louis Cesare in this novel and I enjoyed getting to know his back story. Billy Joe is a humorous side kick, and I loved being introduced to War Mage, Pritkin.

For more information on the timeline of the Dorina Basarab Series and the Cassandra Palmer Series (and associated short stories) please follow this link. (Found on Karen Chance’s official website).

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Fury’s Kiss

This is a review of “Fury’s Kiss” by Karen Chance. It is book 3 in the Dorina Basarab Series. It follows on from “Death’s Mistress”.

As this book is a part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel/s. Do not read if you intend to read this series in the future and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers. As this book is also part of a larger series (it ties in with the Cassandra Palmer Series) it may be wise to avoid reading these reviews on the Dorina Basarab Series. I may unintentionally give out spoilers for part of that series.

Dory is still helping out Mircea, and the North American Vampire Senate, on their task-force for cleaning up the illegal smuggling of magical objects and weapons from Faerie into our world. But their latest operation has gone wrong. Not only does Dory have no memory of the last operation, but her partner and a great number of Master Vampires have been killed. Dory is the only one alive. Every vamp on the Senate wants to know why. Especially Kit Marlowe.

To find out what happened and what went wrong, they must enter Dory’s memories. Dory is not too keen on this idea, Mircea deleted a little too much of her past the last time he was in her head. But she (and the others) really needs to know what happened. She’s just not sure she wants to know what happened. Usually, when she can’t remember the fine details of an event, it’s kind of a blessing. It doesn’t look like it this time.

On top of all this, she’s not too sure how she feels about her relationship with Louis-Cesare. Can they last? Should a vampire and a dhampir ever get together? And while we’re on the topic of relationships, there’s the one she has with Mircea. And ain’t that all kinds of complicated?

I really really liked this one. I liked getting to know more about Dory’s dhampir nature and specifically her vampiric half. I loved the insights into her past with Mircea. I enjoyed the interactions with Kit (especially one scene in particular). Ray was as humorous as ever, and Claire and the Fey always make it interesting. It was a little confusing to read at times, but it does all come together really well in the end.

**Sneaky Spoiler**
Psst. Look out for a teeny appearance from everyone’s favourite Pythia!

For more information on the timeline of the Dorina Basarab Series and the Cassandra Palmer Series (and associated short stories) please follow this link. (Found on Karen Chance’s official website).

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In Vino Veritas

This is a review of the short story “In Vino Veritas” by Karen Chance. It is a Dorina Basarab short, and slots in after “Death’s Mistress“, just before “Fury’s Kiss”. It can be downloaded here or found in the anthology “Chicks Kick Butt”.

As this short story is a part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel/s. Do not read if you intend to read this series in the future and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers.

Dory finds herself with another Ray-esque problem. She’s got to convince Lord Cheung that Ray is under her protection, and Lord Cheung is none too impressed with his ex-employee squealing his guts out to the Senate.

This was a fun little Dory snippet. It’s not necessary to understand anything in the main series, but it was a cool addition. I enjoyed it, and how awesome is it that Karen Chance has provided it for fans for free on her website?

For more information on the timeline of the Dorina Basarab Series and the Cassandra Palmer Series (and associated short stories) please follow this link. (Found on Karen Chance’s official website).

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Buying Trouble

This is a review of “Buying Trouble” by Karen Chance. It is a novella that takes place in the same book-verse as the Dorina Basarab Series and the Cassandra Palmer Series. It is a companion to “Midnight’s Daughter“, book 1 in the Dorina Basarab Series. It can be found in the anthology “On The Prowl”, but is also available for purchase on its own as an ebook.

As this novella is a part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the novels in the series. This applies most to the novel “Midnight’s Daughter“, first novel in the Dorina Basarab Series. Do not read if you intend to read this series in the future and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers.

Claire Lachesis is a projective null. This means that she can by will, nullify any magic within a certain radius. Nulls are in demand from the magical community, not only for their unique ability, but also because their power can be drained and transferred into an object, thereby creating a kind of weapon, which unfortunately, kills the null.

Claire’s had some family problems, there’s a tricky inheritance issue and her cousin Sebastian wants her out of the picture, preferably permanently (a-hole!). She’s been able to hide from him so far, bringing in money by working at a dodgy auction house that specialises in magic items. But the auction house won’t be a safe place for long, and Claire has to save her hide by running off with a strange (if cute) Fey.

If you’ve ever wanted to know more about Claire’s whereabouts and adventures while reading “Midnight’s Daughter” then this is just what you’ve been looking for. It was a great little novella, which gave the reader a really big insight into Claire. I also liked reading about how she and Heidar met. It’s humorous and touching and just as action-packed as the Dorina Basarab and Cassandra Palmer Series.

For more information on the timeline of the Dorina Basarab Series and the Cassandra Palmer Series (and associated short stories) please follow this link. (Found on Karen Chance’s official website).

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Death’s Mistress

This is a review of “Death’s Mistress” by Karen Chance. It is book 2 in the Dorina Basarab Series. It follows on from “Midnight’s Daughter“.

As this book is a part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel/s. Do not read if you intend to read this series in the future and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers. As this book is also part of a larger series (it ties in with the Cassandra Palmer Series) it may be wise to avoid reading these reviews on the Dorina Basarab Series. I may unintentionally give out spoilers for part of that series.

Dory has decided to work with her father Mircea on his task force for the North American Vampire Senate. The task force has been designed to crack down on smugglers, attempting to bring illegal items from the Fey world into ours. Dory has been finding the job easy. It almost seems a little too easy. Unfortunately her job is about to get a whole lot harder.

While bringing in a vamp wanted for smuggling (and the way she does this is just gross and and all kinds of hilarious in itself), Dory realises that her perp is a witness in a very important matter. Suddenly she’s got the most sought after vamp in the magical world in her custody, and holding on to him is more difficult than she could have ever imagined.

A Fey rune has gone missing and it seems that her perp Ray has got info on its whereabouts. It’s not just any rune either, it’s Naudiz, a protection rune: legend says that whoever wears it can’t be killed. It’s the property of the Fey, the Blarestri Royal Family to be exact. And Dory’s best friend, Claire, the Blarestri Royal Princess really needs it back to protect her infant son (and heir to the Fey throne) Aiden.

But lots of other people want the rune too: a Mage, Æsubrand, a Fey Prince who loathes Dory and Claire and would like to see Aidan dead and gone, and a bunch of extremely powerful vampires: senators, consuls and one Louis-Cesare. Yup Dory’s … lover? He needs the rune in order to regain custody of his eccentric vampire mistress Christine. Oh yeah, it’s all kinds of messed up. And then people start dying, adding more pressure on Dory to find the rune, before someone horrible finds it, or before she ends up dead.

Can Dory get the rune back to it’s rightful owner? And what the hell is she going to do about Louis-Cesare?

I loved this novel. As I said in my last review, I love that Karen Chance’s characters feel so real, and much of the time have historical importance too. I love that her stories are so involved and you have to pay attention. I find it exciting that there are layers within her stories, there is so much to unravel and discover. I can’t wait to re-read the Cassandra Palmer Series and read “Fury’s Kiss” (Dorina Basarab #3) for the first time.

For more information on the timeline of the Dorina Basarab Series and the Cassandra Palmer Series (and associated short stories) please follow this link. (Found on Karen Chance’s official website).

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Midnight’s Daughter

This is a review of the novel “Midnight’s Daughter” by Karen Chance. It is book 1 in the Dorina Basarab Series.

As this series ties in with the Cassandra Palmer Series it may be wise to avoid reading these reviews on the Dorina Basarab Series if you are wanting to read that series completely spoiler free. I may unintentionally give out spoilers for part of that series.

Dorina (she prefers to be called Dory) is a dhampir. That is, she is half-human, half-vampire. Dhampirs are wildly unpredictable creatures, and few are ever born, let alone allowed to survive, and especially not as long as Dorina has. She’s a few centuries old, and she’s lived that long by being smart. She’s very strong, she’s a skilled fighter, and most of all, she’s a survivor. Dhampirs suffer from uncontrollable violent rages. Once Dory reaches a certain threshold, everything goes black, and she usually awakes surrounded by chaos, muck and signs of severe violence (and usually a body or ten). She stays alive and fairly sane by unleashing her rages on those supernatural beings (usually Vampires and Demons) who deserve killing.

Dory has a few problems at the moment. For one, her housemate and best friend Claire has gone missing without a trace. This is a pretty big deal, not only does Dory want her friend back, but Claire is a magical null, one side effect of this being that she calms Dory’s rages. Nulls are in demand from the magical community, not only as their presence nullifies any magic in a certain radius, but also because their power can be drained and transferred into an object, thereby creating a kind of weapon, but killing the null. So problem #1 for Dory is tracking down and rescuing Claire. She’s been looking for weeks already, and nothing except for some stupid (and slightly chilling) rumours.

Problem #2 for Dory comes in the form of her vampire father Mircea. Mircea has asked for her assistance in tracking down her uncle who has escaped from his prison. But Dory’s uncle is no common criminal. He’s Dracula. The Dracula. He is cruel, psychopathic and bent on revenge. Dory wants nothing to do with him. She has absolutely no love for her uncle, and wanted him dead the first time around. But Mircea needs her help in trapping him once more. He’s even provided her with a partner to work with, he’s very good looking. Too bad he’s also a vamp. Louis-Cesare is a master vampire, and a duelling champion to boot.

It’s no secret that Dory prefers to work alone and be in charge, or that she despises vampires, but her Uncle Drac terrifies her and this time, she’ll take any help offered (even if she’s reluctant).

I read this book years ago (before I began this blog) and I loved it then, and after reading it again, I love it still. One of the many things I love about Karen Chance’s work, is that a lot of her characters have basis in real world history. She is a storyteller of the nth degree, and I love reading the flashbacks and back-stories of her characters. I love Dory’s fiery nature, her stubbornness, and the way that she takes hit after hit and just keeps on getting back up. She’s strong, that’s for sure! I also love the other side of her, the playful side, the nurturing side. She’s so fierce, and I admire her a lot. I alsoenjoy reading about her relationship with her father Mircea and the rest of her family, it provides a sort of vulnerability to her character and softens some of her bullheadedness.

The Dorina Basarab Series is a sort of spin off series from Karen Chance’s other novels, the Cassandra Palmer Series. Mircea is a main character in that series, and it’s good to see another side to him in this series. I intend to read those novels again and review them for the blog after I finish the Dorina Basarab Series again (it will be my first time reading Dory novel #3). This may seem a little backwards to Karen Chance fans, as I believe the first three Cassandra Palmer novels were written before “Midnight’s Daughter”, but as I said, I am yet to read “Fury’s Kiss” (Dory #3) and really wanted to refresh my memory, and review the other two Dorina novels before I read it. Plus it will be in keeping with the way I originally read them. I picked up this novel before I had ever heard of Karen Chance or the Cassandra Palmer Series, so originally I read “Midnight’s Daughter” and “Death’s Mistress” before I read any of the Cassie novels. I was thrilled to find out about Cassie! I do hope that this last paragraph was not too confusing to read.

For more information on the timeline of the Dorina Basarab Series and the Cassandra Palmer Series (and associated short stories) please follow this link. (Found on Karen Chance’s official website).

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Fall of Night

This is a review of “Fall of Night” by Rachel Caine. It is book 14 in the Morganville Vampires Series. It follows on from “Bitter Blood“.

As this book is a part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel/s. Do not read if you intend to read this series in the future and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers.

Claire has decided to leave Morganville and head to MIT, her dream school. But it’s not all rosy with Claire. Shane and Claire aren’t 100% with each other right now. Shane’s got some trust issues he needs to work on after the “Michael incident”, and Claire needs some space and some Claire time. They still love each other, but there’s some work for each of them to do. So Claire is off to her new school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She’s been enrolled in a special advanced study programme with Professor Irene Anderson, former Morganville resident.

Professor Anderson is nothing at all like Claire imagined. She’s younger than Claire expected her to be for one, and she’s pretty awesome. Claire thinks she is going to have a great time working with her, especially when the Professor shows an enthusiastic (if a little wary) interest in Claire’s vamp-power-cancelling ray, or VLAD as she’s taken to calling it. The lab is amazing, very high tech, and Claire is definitely impressed.

But she really misses Shane. And Eve and Michael too. Her new housemate Liz is just not the same. She’s not even the same Liz from back at high school. She’s definitely changed, and Claire’s not certain it’s for the better. In fact, it looks like Liz comes with her own set of problems. *Sigh*. At least they’re not vampire-related. Doesn’t mean they won’t be dangerous though…

Is Claire cut out for a world that’s not Morganville?

I loved this one 🙂
Gee, it really is as though each MV novel gets better than the last, which is no mean feat. Actually, I think it’s not so much “better”, as I have really really enjoyed the last few, I guess I’m not really sure how exactly to articulate what I mean.

Rachel Caine is really really great at changing things up and not getting stale, and I think that’s what I like about her stuff. We’ve seen that she’s not afraid to experiment with different character POVs, even if the series didn’t start out with having more than one character voice. In this novel, I was pleased that Caine wasn’t afraid to move Claire’s story away from Morganville. It really was great to read, and again I couldn’t stop reading, especially toward the end. This novel was suspenseful and surprising and fresh. I liked the different setting, the new characters and the way old characters dealt with their lives getting changed up. It was a really fun read. I love how Caine’s characters feel real, and I love that they learn from their lives, and that they’re not just one dimensional people.

True to Morganville style, this one ends on a cliffhanger. I am really looking forward to reading the next book (out later this year), but I am also sad, as it will be the final book and I don’t think I am ready to say goodbye to Morganville just yet!

Favourite lines/passages:

“Be careful. Not all dangers have a vampire’s fangs. Or a vampire’s predictability.”
Myrnin

“It’s been really quiet on the supernatural attack front.”
Claire Danvers

“You don’t look a day over a thousand.”
Myrnin

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Bitter Blood

This is a review of “Bitter Blood” by Rachel Caine. It is book 13 in the Morganville Vampires Series. It follows on from “Black Dawn“.

As this book is a part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel/s. Do not read if you intend to read this series in the future and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers.

The Draug have been defeated. But Morganville is not the same as it was before the Draug infestation. For one, nobody is too keen on drinking tap water anymore. But in all seriousness, now that the vampires have defeated their #1 enemies (and the only thing they lived in fear of) they’re feeling pretty invincible. They’re feeling high and mighty and are pretty willing to look down on the human population of Morganville. You’d think after all the human help in ridding the town of Draug that this wouldn’t be the case, but …nope.

Amelie is more remote than ever, and since she and Oliver have started getting close, well you could say his influence has been dark in nature. The only vampire who doesn’t seem to have gone power-crazy is Myrnin (he’s just his regular brand of crazy). Myrnin’s not too keen on this new vamp-tastic Morganville and he’s all for up and leaving. But Claire can’t bring herself to go with. She’s not pro-human (anti-vamp) or all for the vamps. She’s somewhere in the middle. But the middle is not looking like a very safe place to be at all.

Just ask poor Eve, the newly-wed Mrs Glass. There’s a situation that both sides frown upon, and it’s not quiet disapproval either. The Glass house residents have been receiving a steady supply death threats and they’re not getting any less creepy as the days go by. There’s a new Captain Obvious in town, and his/her identity is unknown. But this Captain Obvious sure is a force to be reckoned with. Can Morganville ever be functional again? Will there ever be balance and equality? Can Claire make Amelie see sense? And is Oliver acting solely of his own volition? Or is he in cahoots with someone else?

I super dooper enjoyed this Morganville installment. Again, we get different character perspectives (love it) and therefore we get to hear the story from many angles. This one was a little more violent, a bit dark and I felt the characters grew up a little and matured. Lots of mistakes made (by different characters) in this one, the learning curve was a steep one. I enjoyed the suspense that built around the identity of Captain Obvious, and I can’t say I enjoyed the situation that created tension between the original Glass house four, but I sure couldn’t stop reading! I could not look away. *Sigh* I will be sad once this series comes to a close.

Favourite lines/passages:

“Don’t worry. Someone will pay for your suffering. Heavily. With screaming.”
Myrnin

“Suck it, fangboy”
Shane Collins

“[A chit is] a disrespectful young woman. Something I was called more than once. Something every woman of quality is called, sooner or later, by a man who feels they do not know their place. As we do not, because our place is as lofty as we may aspire to climb. It is the language of men who fear women.”
Amelie

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Morganville Vampires Short Stories, Snippets and Extras #2

As the short stories here are part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the Morganville Vampires Series that you may not have read yet. I will say where each story fits chronologically in each review. If I have not said, it’s because I am unsure.

Do not read if you intend to read this series from the beginning in the future, and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers. There are more short stories that have been written and published by Rachel Caine, if I have not included them here, it is because I am yet to read them.

Check out this blog post for more Morganville short stories, snippets and extras.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

This is a review of the Morganville Vampires snippet “Wrong Place, Wrong Time”.

A snippet from Richard Morrell’s perspective. We see what happens to unwanted visitors of Morganville.

I am not too sure where this story fits chronologically, but it mentions that Richard is not mayor yet.

Read it online here.

Dark Rides

This is a review of the Morganvillle Vampires short story “Dark Rides”
Michael and Eve venture out of Morganville to complete a mission that’s just a tad on the creepy side.

Chronologically this story occurs after “Black Dawn“.

I really enjoyed this short story. I loved the setting and the character of Jeremy.

Read it online here.

Myrnin’s Tale

This is a review of the Morganvillsnippet
A Myrnin snippet that tells us a little of his origins.

Read it online here.

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