Tag Archives: fairies

Review: Shadowfever (The Fever series #5), by Karen Marie Moning

TLDR recap:

Rainbow Mac 1.0 is long gone, leaving a more hardened, determined, black-leather-wearing Mac 5.0 to unravel the final mysteries surrounding the Sinsar Dubh and the King of all the Fae.

***** There are no outright spoilers in this review!  If you have not read the first four books in this series and want absolutely no information or hints about what will happen in them, then do not read this review.  While there are no actual spoilers, there are some vague hints that are intended for readers who have already finished up through Dreamfever.  *****

    • Title: Shadowfever
    • Series: The Fever series – book #5
    • Author: Karen Marie Moning
    • Prominent Characters: Mac Lane, Jericho Barrons, V’lane
    • Recommended reader age: 17+
    • Sexual content level: Moderate, somewhat explicit

Thoughts:

This series really grabs you and takes you along for a mysterious, dark, and sexy ride!  In my review of Darkfever (the first book in the Fever series), I complained about all the self-indulgent “I’m so pretty” commentaries the reader is forced to endure from Mac as she learns her way around Dublin and starts investigating her sister’s murder.  Thankfully, we see the last of that in the third book (and it is much less prominent after Darkfever anyway) when Mac is forced to deal with some very traumatic circumstances of her own.  By book 5, Mac is a weapon forged of diligence, suffering, and self-discovery and she is more determined than ever to get to the bottom of the chaos her world has become.

For a series with such a violently and sexually volatile male lead, there is a whole lotta sexual tension and buildup.  How does Mac keep her hands off Barrons for so long?!  Barrons is the ultimate alpha male, seemingly invincible and terrifyingly reliable at keeping Mac alive.  After the shocking events at the end of book 4 (Dreamfever), I raced online to download Shadowfever and find out what would happen next.  This book does not disappoint!  It successfully resolves multiple plot questions and hanging threads, while continuing to drive the main storylines and relationships.

There is OH so much more I’d like to say about this book and the characters in it, but I’m trying really hard not to post spoilers, so we’ll leave those discussions for the comments below.  Consider yourself warned!  *grin*

Memorable quotes:

Conversations with the Sinsar Dubh…

TIME IS THE ONLY TRUE GOD, AND I AM FOREVER.  THEREFORE, I AM GOD.

Your logic is flawed.  Time is not forever.  It is always.  Past, Present, and Future.  There was a time in the past when you did not exist.  Therefore, you are not God.

Arguing with Barrons is either sadism or foreplay…

I didn’t say I didn’t like you.  ‘Like’ is such a puerile word.  Mediocre people like things.  The only question of any significant emotive content is: Can you live without it?

On parental wisdom…

Daddy told me once that we believe others are capable of the worst we ourselves are capable of.


If you like Shadowfever of The Fever series…

If you enjoyed Shadowfever and the Fever Series, you may also like the the Cassandra Palmer series (starting with Touch the Dark) by Karen Chance. Cassie shares the same “it’s a good day when no one is trying to kill me” philosophy, and also frequently finds herself in amusing-yet-dangerous situations where she has to use her wits and still-developing special skills to prevail.  Both are more urban fantasy than paranormal romance, and both focus on a central young strong female character who is instrumentally necessary in solving some big world-wide crisis.

If you enjoy the intensity of Barrons and are looking for more male leads with his authority and style of presence, check out the Black Dagger Brotherhood stories by J.R. Ward, starting with Wrath’s book, Dark Lover.  The brothers typically each get a book, meaning less time with each couple, but their storylines arc throughout the entire series, making it a really compelling ensemble piece.

If you like Barrons for his cheeky wit and prowess in bed, definitely read the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost, starting with Halfway to the Grave.  Bones is sexy, smart, loyal, powerful, and has a British accent – just about everything you could ask for in a hero.

Final thoughts:

If you have not read this series, START IT NOW!  Barrons makes even the Black Dagger Brotherhood males pale in comparison to his intensity and authority.  Bold claims, I know… but true!  It probably helps that Barrons and Mac get a whole 5 books devoted to their journey, and the journey is not (like so many other series in this genre) based around their relationship, but rather world-changing catastrophic events and consequences.

The Fever series is an addicting coming of age story in a world where nothing is as it seems and secrets are the new currency.  From books 3-5, I literally could not stop reading!  I was on a two-week Pacific Northwest vacation getaway and all I could think about was finding out the next shocker in Mac’s journey.  I was initially drawn to the series when Barrons beat out some other major male players in the paranormal romance/urban fantasy genres in an online “alpha” competition.  The rabid loyalty of Barrons’ fans piqued my interest (he’s more popular than Bones!), and I am SO glad I chose to read this series.  Here’s what I recommend: find some down time, a week or so, and read the Fever Series start to finish.  Don’t get discouraged in the first one (which is still excellent, just annoyingly narcissistic) – read all the way to the end of book three (Faefever), then just TRY to put it down!  *wink*

Rating:
5.0 fangs: BITE IT! 

Related links:

http://www.karenmoning.com/ (The Fever series website)

http://www.karenchance.com/ (The Cassie Palmer series website)

http://www.jrward.com/bdb (Black Dagger Brotherhood series website)

http://jeanienefrost.com/ (Night Huntress series website)

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Review: Darkfever (The Fever series #1), by Karen Marie Moning

TLDR recap:

After learning of her sister Alina’s mysterious murder, MacKayla Lane (better known as  just Mac) heads to Ireland determined to find out what happened and get her retribution.  At the tender age of 22, she doesn’t exactly have a plethora of survival skills but there just might be some fairly handly super-secret abilities that even she doesn’t know about.  On her quest to track down details of her sister’s sudden death, Mac teams up with an unlikely (and sometimes suspiciously nefarious) yet darkly appealing partner.  Chaos ensues as they begin the dangerous journey to finish Alina’s final task among the unsettling Unseelie fae.

    • Title: Darkfever
    • Series: The Fever series – book #1
    • Author: Karen Marie Moning
    • Prominent Characters: Mac Lane, Jericho Barrons
    • Recommended reader age: 15+
    • Sexual content level: Very light

Thoughts:

After reading several fast-and-furious style novels lately, the slower pace of this one was a pleasant change.  It’s a series starter, so I knew going in that it would be somewhat more leisurely getting to the point, but it turned out to be more of an adventurous journey than a romance or action-driven storyline.  Darkfever is the story of Mac Lane, who treks off to Ireland from her home in the states to solve her sister’s murder and get some retribution from the responsible parties.  To give some perspective on Mac, she is a 22-year-old Barbie doll of a bartender from a upper-middle-class American family who, according to her own narration, is beautiful and enviable, yet has no real life skills to speak of other than mixing drinks and schmoozing with patrons.  If you think you caught some snarkiness in that last comment, you did.  Mac comments WAY too frequently about how attractive she is… how soft and golden her skin, how long and lustrous her blond hair, how smooth and shapely her legs,  how stylish and cute her wardrobe & accessories… that she comes across as obsessively vain.  At first it didn’t bother me – I saw it as a vehicle for helping define her character in order to better develop and progress it later.  However, after about the 3rd reference to her youthly perfection, I wanted to punch her.  Maybe put some unsightly knots in that Barbie doll hair.  Replace her wardrobe with something gray and drab from a thrift store.  Seriously!  Ugh.

Anyway, back to the important stuff… Even with the slower pace, the story still progresses well and is entertaining to follow.  It doesn’t feel the need to rush through and pack in action scenes.   Instead, Ms. Moning gives the reader a plethora of clues and directional markers that allow us to form our own opinion of where Mac is headed and what might be in store for her.  Nothing is force-fed to us but important details are (generally) also not withheld for the sake of surprise and drama.  There is also a good amount of sarcasm and humor in the story, making me literally laugh out loud in a few parts.  The main supporting character, Jericho Barrons, is a successful mystery.  By that, I mean that the author does a respectable job of making him appealing and acceptable as an almost-lead character without giving away too much of his background… or really much of anything about him other than his vast financial wealth.  Usually by the end of a book, even the starter book in a series, the lead male character (or soon-to-be at least) will have been at least partially vetted and presented for reader approval.  Barrons is nearly as much of a mystery at the end of the story as he is when we first meet him.  Of course, some clues are inevitably dropped in the telling, but nothing that is too fast or too much… just enough to keep us speculating.

Darkfever, being a starter novel for the multi-book Fever series, is laid out well with good plot definition and pace, sporting an enjoyably motley cast of allies and baddies (ok, mostly baddies… of the fae variety).  It is entertaining and light enough for casual reading, with the promise of more intense and riveting developments in later installments.  I’m looking forward to getting started on number two in the series, Bloodfever.

Memorable quotes:

Hang on to your hats!  This book is infinitely quotable, so I pared it down to only eight.  *grin*

Tough crowd?

My philosophy is pretty simple – any day nobody’s trying to kill me is a good day in my book.

Oh, the bloom of immortal youth…

We were going to live forever.  Thirty was a million light-years away.  Forty wasn’t even in the same galaxy.  Death?  Ha.  Death happened to really old people.

Why books will always be better than the movies made from them…

I love books, by the way, way more than movies.  Movies tell you what to think.  A good book lets you choose a few thoughts for yourself.  Movies show you the pink house.  A good book tells you there’s a pink house and lets you paint some of the finishing touches, maybe choose the roof style, park your car out front.

In Gaellic, a rose is not just a rose…

“‘Dubh’ is ‘do’?”  I was incredulous.  It was no wonder I hadn’t been able to find the stupid word.  “Should I be calling all pubs ‘poos’?”

On the perils of philosophy…

I’m a bottom-line girl.  I barely managed Cs in my college philosophy courses.  When I tried to read Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, I developed an unshakable case of narcolepsy that attacked every two to three paragraphs, resulting in deep, coma-like fits of sleep.

Heroes are over-rated.

Peraonally, I’d never had any desire to save the world.  Decorate it? Yes.  Save it? No.

The sad reality of the “entitlement generation” (EG)…

The EG is made up of kids who believe they deserve the best of everything by mere virtue of having been born, and if parents don’t arm them with every possible advantage, they are condemning their own children to a life of ostracism and failure.  Raised by computer games, satellite TV, the Internet, and the latest greatest electronic device – while their parents are off slaving away to afford them all – most of the EG believe if there’s something wrong with them, it’s not their fault; their parents screwed them up, probably by being away too much.  It’s a vicious little catch-22 for the parents any way you look at it.

On the value of playing “hard to get”…

Distinguish yourself, my mom had told Alina and me, in an age where girls often make themselves too available to boys, by making him work a little for your attention.  He’ll think he’s won a prize when he gets it, and he’ll work that much harder to keep it.  Boys turn into men and men put a premium on what’s hardest to get.

If you like Darkfever of The Fever series…

If you enjoyed Darkfever, you may also like the the Cassandra Palmer series (starting with Touch the Dark) by Karen Chance. Cassie shares the same “it’s a good day when no one is trying to kill me” philosophy, and also frequently finds herself in amusing-yet-dangerous situations where she has to use her wits and still-developing special skills to prevail.  Both are more urban fantasy than paranormal romance, and both focus on a central young strong female character who is instrumentally necessary in solving some big world-wide crisis.

You may also enjoy A History of Witches, the first novel in the new All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness and the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Chronicles series (starting with Dead Until Dark) by Charlaine Harris.  Both of these are also first-person narratives from a female heroine’s perspective, and both are also somewhat slower paced stories.

Final thoughts:

This was a fun read.  It probably won’t ever be one of my go-to favorites for a rainy day or a nice cozy fireside read, but it was an entertaining and effective series starter.  The stage is set, the characters have been introduced, and all that remains is for the real action to begin.  Give this one and Bloodfever, the second book in the Fever series, a try and see what you think!

Rating:
4.25 fangs: BITE IT… 

Related links:

http://www.karenmoning.com/ (The Fever series website)

http://www.karenchance.com/ (The Cassie Palmer series website)

http://deborahharkness.com/ (A Discovery of Witches website)

http://www.charlaineharris.com/ (The Sookie Stackhouse series website)

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Review: Dead Witch Walking (Rachel Morgan/The Hollows series novel #1), by Kim Harrison

TLDR recap:

Rachel Morgan is a dead witch walking, seeing as how her old boss has put a price on her head to cover the losses he took when she ended her contract early.  Witches, warlocks, fairies, and demons all make a go at her as she tries to prove the guilt of Councilman Trent Kalamack, a well-respected businessman and suspected drug lord.  Luckily for Rachel, she has a few faithful sidekicks- a “living” vampire, a spirited pixy, and a nebulously artless human- to keep her out of trouble.

  • Title: Dead Witch Walking
  • Series: Rachel Morgan – book #1
  • Author: Kim Harrison
  • Prominent Characters: Rachel, Ivy, Jenks, Nick
  • Recommended reader age: 14+
  • Sexual content level: Virtually none to very low

Premise:

After half the world’s human population is killed by an accidental rogue bio-virus, magic users (called Inderlanders) make their secret existence known to human society and jump in to fill the void.  Speeding ahead 50 years, with human vs. Inderlander segregation still prevalent, we meet our plucky heroine and her pixy and vampire sidekicks.  Rachel has a price on her head and spends most of her time avoiding assassination attempts while trying to gather enough evidence on a suspected black-market drug lord to buy off her contract.

Thoughts:

This book had the unfortunate disadvantage of having to follow Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood book #8) in my reading list, which is only the second novel to date that I have given a full 5-Fang rating to.  Needless to say it was a hell of a book and a very hard act to follow, so even though I tried to remain unbiased, there’s a possibility this book got the same treatment as Nancy Kerrigan when Oksana Baiul skated a near perfect and crowd-pleasing routine before the U. S. Skater’s set in the ’94 Olympics.  For those of you who just went “huh?!” and scratched your head, basically it’s really hard to follow a gold-medal performance… or book… and be judged impartially.

That said, this book did start out strong, and I had visions of a new potential Cat & Bones (Night Huntress series) to obsess myself with.  The first chapter immediately immerses the reader in The Hollows, the magical (primarily non-human) side of the tracks, and Rachel shows she has a campy sense of humor.  However, the initial momentum didn’t last through even the first chapter, when the story starts to become bogged down in a few too many unfamiliar terms and references.  Now normally, I’d say that practice (of tossing the reader in head-first and using references and implications to describe the story’s culture) is an effective and enjoyable tool for an author to use, but in this book it just fell flat and left me somewhat confused (and with a meandering attention span).  It does get a little better, but not fast enough for me to really latch on to either the characters or the “universe”.

The “universe” concept for this book/series is an interesting (and fairly original) concept.  Something like half of the world’s human population was wiped out nearly overnight by a mutated bio-virus that managed to hide itself inside a bio-engineered tomato.  This leads to some of the more campy humor of the book, with humans (including Nick) having a serious aversion to tomatoes and using tomato-inspired references as swear words.

The characters:

The Vampire: Ivy is a “living vamp”, who can walk in daylight and choose not to consume human blood, while still retaining some of the speed and strength of the soulless “dead vamps” who must consume human blood to continue existing.  Ivy is a frustrating quandary.  I think the author’s intent was to make her mysterious and brooding with implied secrets about her abilities.  To me, however, she just comes across as moody and annoying.

The Human: Nick is a seemingly harmless human with a murky background, lax morals, a sweet disposition, and no as-yet-known special abilities.  He has an uncanny knack for making things happen and finding solutions quickly and efficiently, and it seems as though he is being set up as Rachel’s love interest, although nothing really seems to come of that.  While it is somewhat alluring to be teased with hints about Nick’s potential for some kind of hidden power, there is just not enough substance to him to make me care what happens next.  His chemistry with Rachel is hazy at best, making it difficult to root for them as a couple.

The Pixy:  Jenks is a witty, fierce, clever, & efficient little winged warrior, who doubles as Rachel’s spy and bodyguard.  This little fireball of a pixy is by far my favorite character in the book, which is a little disturbing considering he’s not the main character and the story is not told in his voice.  The book isn’t called “Dead Pixy Flitting”, although that might have actually been a more amusing story to tell.  His humor, competence, situational awareness, fighting prowess, and larger-than-Tink personality really make him shine.  Without Jenks, I probably wouldn’t have rated this book as high as I did (which isn’t saying much).

The Witch: Rachel Morgan is the main character and narrator for the story.  She’s a witch, but she almost exclusively uses charms to cast her magic, which seems a pretty cumbersome way of going about things since they have to be pre-enchanted then carried around and physically activated with a time delay.  While I think Rachel has some potential to grow into a strong and likable heroine, in this book she tends to hover somewhere between being a careless liability and a spunky rogue with a one-track brain.

Memorable quotes:

About Inderlanders & the Hollows…

The Hollows have become a bastion of Inderland life, comfortable and casual on the surface, with its potential problems carefully hidden.  Most humans are surprised at how normal the Hollows appear, which, when you stop to think about it, makes sense.  Our history is that of humanity’s.  We didn’t just drop out of the sky in ’66; we emigrated in through Ellis Island.  We fought in the Civil War, World War One, and World War Two – some of us in all three.  We suffered in the Depression, and we waited like everyone else to find out who shot JR.

On pint-sized sidekicks…

I’d found Jenks to be a pretentious snot with a bad attitude and a temper to match.  But he knew what side of the garden his nectar came from.  And apparently pixies were the best they’d let me take out since the frog incident.  I would have sworn fairies were too big to fit into a frog’s mouth.

See, chocolate IS medicinal!

It was nerves that made me stop at the sweet shop.  Everyone knows chocolate soothes the jitters; I think they did a study on it.  And for five glorious minutes, Jenks stopped talking while he ate the caramel I bought him.

If you like…

If you like Dead Witch Walking and other books in the Rachel Morgan series, you may like the Cassie Palmer series by Karen Chance.  It has a similar competent-yet-disaster-prone female lead and is told from the same first-person viewpoint.  They also both feature vampires, wizards, fairies, demons, and humans.  In my opinion, the Cassie Palmer series has more momentum & wit, and a clever, more complex plot.  I also enjoy the interactions between the main and secondary characters much more, and the pace of the story is much, much faster.   You may also like the Night Huntress (Cat & Bones) series by Jeaniene Frost, which is told with the same first-person-spunky-heroine style, but focuses almost exclusively on vampires and ghouls.

Final thoughts:

I really wanted to like this book a lot.  I need a new series to keep me occupied between the Night Huntress, Black Dagger Brotherhood, Anita Blake/Meredeth Gentry, Cassie Palmer, Guild Hunter, and Sookie Stackhouse novel releases.  That might sound like a lot of series to keep track of, but when they average 1-2 book releases a year per series (some even less) and I read 1-2 books a week, that leaves me with a lot of free reading time and there’s only so many times I can re-read these series before I have them committed to memory!  *grin*

I was hoping Dead Witch Walking would draw me in enough to want to read the second one, but I just wasn’t invested enough in it at the end of the story.  The ending sequence of events is so predictable it’s almost depressing to read it play out when you know what’s coming.  I know a lot of people like this series and this book.  Maybe it gets better as it goes along.  Maybe I’ll come back to it later.  Obviously everyone has different tastes, so if you disagree with many of my review ratings, then you will probably enjoy this book!

Rating:
3.75 fangs: BITE IT, but beware splinters…

Related links:

http://www.kimharrison.net/

http://www.karenchance.com/books.html

http://jeanienefrost.com/books/

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Vampires and Werewolves and Fairies, OH MY!

H-E-L-L-O Paranormal Romance Generation!

If you love all things supe and just can’t get your hands on enough lit to keep you occupied & addicted, you’re in the right place.  If you DON’T love Twilight and Sookie Stackhouse and The Black Dagger Brotherhood, and all that jazz… well, maybe you just haven’t found the right book or author… and I am happy to dish til you discover your own personal brand of paranormal-heroine.

I came late to the Twilight scene.  I was one of those people who was too “adult” to bother watching it in the theater, so sure I would just absolutely hate it.  Then a year later, there I was, addicted to the books and soaking up every snippet of text, video, and rumor I could snag.  Twilight-addiction led into Sookie-Stackhouse-addiction, which led into a whole new world of paranormal-romance-addiction.  That’s when I discovered I’d been missing out on an entire genre of literature!  Neglected!  Lonely!  Abandoned in my relentless pursuit of all things fantasy and sci-fi and gamer-girl-geek!  I also found that while it was awesome that I now had fuel for my overpowered and bloodthirsty new addiction, I also had NO idea where to start.  Apparently, unbeknownst to the me who’d studiously ignored the rise of vampire fiction in pop culture, paranormal romance had become such a hot item in the publishing world that there were more authors and series and storylines and blah blah blah than you can shake a stick at.  (Although, honestly, I’m not sure what kind of measure that is.  I can shake a stick at a lot of things if you line them up in front of me…)  I’m fairly picky about what styles of writing I read, and I have a hard time getting through books that don’t grip me from the start (oh, The Host, how I had higher hopes for you!).  So where to start?  Where to go from Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series?  From Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire series?

I was addicted and I needed my vamp-fix, and my two favorite authors were just not pumping the books out fast enough (Stephanie, seriously, Midnight Sun?  Ugh, such a tease!).  However, there’s only so much review scouring and forum spidering I can do before I lose all will to live… ok, less dramatic… before I forget what the hell I was looking for to begin with.  I started feeling like Alice, chasing after fairies here and weres there, and ended up following a long convoluted line of authors and series.  Which brings us back to this blog…

Here you will find my take on the paranormal romance series that I have read.  There will be reviews and recommendations, but most importantly, there will be a clear comparison of writing style, age-appropriate content, and all the other little things that come together to differentiate each author and series from the others.  If you like Sookie Stackhouse and want to know what to read next, I will happily lead you to your gateway drug… I mean next read-of-choice.  If you hated Sookie Stackhouse, I’ll help steer you to somewhere you can take out that southern angst on some other poor undead.  A friend of mine told me I should do an algorithm to link all these books, and being the geeky math & science girl I am, I thought EUREKA!  That’s exactly what we need!!   SO!

Stay tuned!  Wait, we don’t say that anymore… this is the internet age…
How about: ”Follow Me” and I’ll guide you on your tour of the best of paranormal romance!

Pssst: Click the Subscribe to RSS button at the bottom to see this blog in  your Google Reader, or click the Email link to receive updates by email!


Here are just a few of the series (I’m a big fan of series – the longer the better, no pun intended Anita Blake fans =P), in no particular preference order, I’ll be reviewing as time permits:
~ Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
~ The Southern Vampire Chronicles by Charlaine Harris
~ The Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost (move over Edward and Bella, Cat & Bones have arrived!)
~ The Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K Hamilton
~ The Cassandra Palmer series by Karen Chance
~ The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward
~ The Feral Warriors series by Pamela Palmer
~ The Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh

Some fun features to look forward to:
~ A “Bite it!” vs “Stake It!” rating
~ Sexy meter (Is it chaste S. Meyer or more erotic L.K. Hamilton?)
~ Best quotes/moments~ What I learned from this book (or “what not to do on a date with a vampire/were/fairy”)
~ Common themes & writing styles to help categorize the style of the writing

Thanks for checking out my blog!  Hope to see you again soon.  =)

DaVinci Kittie (DVK)


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