Tag Archives: paranormal romance

Death’s Excellent Vacation edt. by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner

Seeing as I’ve been on Chelsea’s Excellent Vacation since July, reading about Death’s Excellent Vacation was no stretch. 

(As a side note, sorry for being AFK so long. I’ve moved back to the US and have been scrambling around seeing anxious friends and relatives).

Like many of the books I’ve read in recent months, DEV is an anthology of fantastical short stories by some pretty talented names. I had several favorite stories, including:

  • Two Blondes by Charlaine Harris- Sookie and Pam are at it again. Strippers, elves, murderers, and vampires, OH MY! (If I were them I would stop listening to Eric…)
  • The Boys Go Fishing by Sarah Smith- An elderly super hero is forced out of retirement when a bunch of mutant kids are dumped on his doorstep. I liked this one because I pictured Morgan Freeman as the main character–you’ll see what I mean.
  • The Innsmouth Nook by A. Lee Martinez- A goofy tale of two guys opening a bed and breakfast in a town straight from the Black Lagoon.
  • Safe and Sound by Jeff Abbott- Let’s put it this way: Nancy Grace covering the Natalie Holloway case meets supernatural disappearances.
  • Seeing is Believing by L.A. Banks- Old swamp voodoo brings a young couple together, but there’s more than meets the eye.
  • Thin Walls by Christopher Golden- SUCCUBUS, OMG! Just wait til you read the mouth/vagina description… *shudder*
  • The Heart is Always Right by Lilith Saintcrow- A story about gargoyles in the modern world that was so captivating, I’m hoping for a series to be spawned.

There were a handful of others, while cute and entertaining, were just not as gripping as those listed above. They were either too corny or just emitted the paranormal romance vibe too strongly.

I highly recommend this anthology and it’s going down as a new favorite. Read it to stave off post-Halloween withdrawals.

4 horny demon dogs of 5

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Tiger’s Destiny by Colleen Houck

Buh buh bummmmmmm! It’s finally here! The final book! The one we’ve all been waiting for. The one that answers the questions: Will Kelsey be rescued before the unthinkable happens? Where are Mr. Kadam and Nalima? What will Durga’s next gift be? Will the dynamic trio be able to defeat Lokesh once and for all? And most intriguingly… 

Will it be Ren or Kishan in the end?

Phew…

I can hardly decide which flavor of chips I feel like eating. It’s amazing that Kelsey can ever sleep or eat!

In the (sadly) last installment of the Tiger’s Curse series, Tiger’s Destiny, Houck must wrap up the epic tale she created and I have rarely seen such a seamless execution. (If you’ve read the book Holes by Louis Sachar, you’ll know what I mean.) Everything comes full circle and all the loose threads are neatly tucked into place. I caught myself going Ohhhhhhhhhh….. a few times. Good job, Colleen, good job.

As well all know, each book has followed one of the four elements that the tiger’s amulet controlled. The first was earth, second was air, third was water, and that leaves only fire for Tiger’s Destiny. 

And I LOVED the depiction of the fire world. It had phoenixes, fire trees, demons, zombies, jewel people, and dragon horses. Pretty badass. Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine a landscape very elaborately, but Houck describes everything so clearly that is seems as if a movie is playing in your head.

Plus, since this is the closing book, she takes it to new emotional heights–there are actually some pretty gut-wrenching moments. (I may have actually shed a tear or two…) It’s now or never and Houck chose now.

I don’t want to give much of the story away, because the whole book is basically spoiler alert madness. I can’t mention much without ruining any surprises. What I will say, however, is that when it comes down to the final choice, Kelsey’s destiny falls exactly into place.

And you know what they say…. Everything happens for a reason.

5 cracks of the rope of 5


Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

Coyote shapeshifter mechanic Mercy Thompson is at it again in Patricia Brigg’s second installment Blood Bound. I’ve only read the first two of the series, but so far I’d say it would be the love child between Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series and Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series. Except without the easy Southern charm of the former and the sex appeal of the latter. 

This time tattooed, tom-boy Mercy is there to help her vampire friend Stefan out of a bit of trouble. Unfortunately, they both get a little more than they bargained for when the rogue vampire they’re pursuing turns out to be demonically possessed. Enter the creep factor. Especially during the trailer attack scene. Blegh. I can deal with monsters and mayhem, but a psychopath really creeps me out. I like being a little scared by books, especially when my hulking Boy is sleeping next to me. But other than that scene, it wasn’t a particularly disturbing tale.

I like this series kind of the same way I enjoy peanut butter and fluff sandwiches…. Occasionally I’ll get a craving for it, but it’s not something I can sustain myself on for long. I usually enjoy paranormal fiction, as long it’s not too heavily dosed with romance. I like love stories but I HATE romance novels. Blood Bound isn’t love-heavy, but it kind of has the archtypal confusing love triangle garbage that I, for one, am quite tired of. Can’t a love story between two people ever be enough? (Having been involved in a love triangle at one point, I can verify that it’s neither as arousing or as exciting as one might imagine… More so confusing and inconvenient, really).

I do like Mercy’s rugged I’m-kind-of-a-badass-but-I’m-still-a-girl nature, however. I’m all about the heroines. I think I just may have come across this series too late in the game, after teenage years filled with Laurell K. Hamilton, Kelley Armstrong, and Anne Rice… it’s hard to compete.

Bottom line: beach read at it’s finest.

3 tattooed mechanics of 5


Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

“Oh, the ball that’s thrown, the ball that dared,

Does it not fill your hands differently when it

returns:

made weightier; merely by coming home.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke

So, this weekend I the pleasure of finally being able to finish the much anticipated third and final installment of the Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy, Forever by Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve been really stoked about this series for a couple of years now, ever since my roommate checked Shiver out of the library and left it laying around for my word-hungry eyes to find. She never could get through it, but I couldn’t put it down. It was the same with Forever.

 The end of the series revisits and alternates between the perspectives of the four main characters: Sam Roth, Grace Brisbane, Isabel Culpepper, and Cole St. Clair. Now if you haven’t read the two previous books, Shiver and Linger, I’m going to go ahead and warn you that SPOILERS ARE TO FOLLOW:

In Forever, the young lovers Sam and Grace are still together– but the tables have turned. Grace has now been infected with the werewolf virus and Sam has been “cured.” In this cruel twist of fate, it is now Sam who must endure lonely winters waiting while the one he loves roams the frozen Boundary Woods. However, when Grace changes back for the season, the couple doesn’t get to enjoy peace for long. They learn that in light of several fatal wolf attacks, the politicians of Mercy Falls (including Isabel’s father) are plotting a mass extermination of the wolves. And by wolves I mean the werewolf pack that Sam used to be a part of, Grace is now a part of,  and that is lead by his now full-time-wolf father figure, Beck.

Talk about drama. Not to mention the fact that a local missing girl was found naked with her throat torn out on Sam’s property, and that Grace is still “missing” in the eyes of the authorities. Police and townsfolk are now watching the yellow-eyed nineteen year old with loathing suspicion.

Cole (a werewolf/missing rock star) and Isabel (Grace’s best friend) are further into developing their hate/love/hate relationship and in between caustic remarks must come together to not only help Grace and Sam stay together, but to help both of them stay alive.

To cut to the chase, I really, really liked this book. Obviously, if I’ve followed the story through to the third round. Stiefvater has enviable talent when it comes to poetic lines like: “My pulse was shallow and fast, a moth destroying itself on a light” making what could come across as slow moments in the plot enjoyable to read. Kind of lets the reader roll the flavor of the moment around on one’s tongue. I also LOVE the concept of temperature/seasonally based lycanthropy versus the traditional lunar lycanthropy.

My criticism of Forever would be that I wanted to see a little more solidity in what was holding Grace and Sam together. There weren’t many tender, “alone together” moments to remind you why their bond was so strong. I like that their love is sweet, but it seems to lack passion. Sam’s extreme sensitivity was a bit of a turn-off for me, but it may be appealing to the younger audience.When she changed back into her human skin, they didn’t even kiss for several days, which I didn’t understand at all. The love of your life (whom you’ve been waiting months for) comes back to you and even knowing you only have one short summer to be with them, you don’t smooch them right away? Come on!

I also wish that the Cole and Isabel thing had gone farther, because both of them are so damaged, putting them together could only result in (amorous/arduous) fireworks. I feel that Stiefvater left enough of their relationship unexplained that she could easily revisit them in another book. Which I hope she does.

All in all, this Forever was definitely worth the wait.

4 of 5 stars


Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse is at it again in Charlaine Harris’ eleventh installment in the TrueBlood series, Dead Reckoning. In her characteristic style, Harris once more intertwines life in the dirty south with life as the dirty dead. The brand new book picks up where Dead and Gone left off. Sookie is still dealing with the knowledge of her fae ancestry, and her new found faery relatives Claude and Dermot. She’s still struggling to figure out her relationship with her undead boyfriend–the ancient, sexy, (and a bit scary) Eric Northman and she has as many enemies now as ever before.

After Merlotte’s is bombed, moltov cocktail-style, Sookie’s rare moment of peace is over. Not only does she have to figure out “who dunnit” but now Eric and Pam are being threatened by Victor, the regent of Louisiana. Victor has denied Pam’s wish to save her lesbian lover from an untimely leukemia-fueled death by converting her to vampirism. Now the legality of making a “child” without their ruler’s persmission has come into question. And of course Ms. Stackhouse somehow ends up in the middle of it all. A vampire battle royale is sure to ensue.Dead Reckoning

Not to mention the fact that the crazy she-bitch Sandra Pelt is after her again.

Or that Sookie is finding out that her deceased grandmother may have kept some MAJOR secrets from the family all these years.

And Eric seems to have been hiding something from her lately…

Plus there’s that damn baby shower she promised she’d throw for Tara.

If she can survive that long, that is.

It was refreshing for me to read this book after what heavy fodder The Memory Keeper’s Daughter turned out to be. This was light-hearted, fun, and entertaining. It certainly isn’t a brain teaser by any means, but that’s ok. I enjoyed revisiting the old characters– it was like catching up with a long distance friend after not talking for a while. While some readers may be up in arms over some of the more obvious plot holes (like Eric and Sookie’s faery grandfather Niall, supposedly being in touch much longer than previously mentioned…) I took it all in stride. This book is a beach read, not the next great American novel, and one should enjoy it for what it is.

However, I will say that anyone interested in the Trueblood Series could easily stop reading after the 5th or 6th book and be just as happy. I feel like the more recent in the series have gotten a bit tedious with Sookie’s day to day life (running errands and working at Merlotte’s, etc…) Harris also has the irritating tendency of mentioning well known stores/brand names like Walmart and Hardee’s in her novels, which I find very distracting. Any amateur writing workshop will tell you to avoid this, as it dates your work.

All in all, I would encourage die-hard Trueblood fans to read Dead Reckoning, but it isn’t a must. It entertained me for a couple of days, but I wasn’t sad when it was over. As much as it kills me to say it–I actually find the show more engrossing than the last few novels, even if it does dramatically deviate from the plot line.

Bottom line: I wasn’t dead set on Dead Reckoning.

3 stars of 5