Monthly Archives: August 2014

A Trip Through Time #2

a trip through time

The meme, A Trip Through Time, hosted by The Absent Historian is posted biweekly on a Friday. On the meme I will be taking a look at everything history related.

Today I am taking a look at the Channel 4 documentary that was on recently, Richard III: The New Evidence. As a massive geek when it comes to medieval history around the 14th-16th century, I was super excited to watch the documentary unveil more about Richard III; following the discovery of his bones last year. It is safe to say the documentary did not disappoint!

Here I have composed a little fact file for those of you who do not know much about Richard III. 

richard-iii-take-2Fact file: Richard III (October 1452 – August 1485)

  • * Younger brother to Edward VI and George, Duke of Clarence
  • * From House of Lancaster
  • * Reigned for 2 Years, 2 months and 2 days
  • * Last English king to die in battle
  • * Died at the Battle of Bosworth, 1485 (End of the War of the Roses)
  • * Usurped by Henry (Tudor)VII (father to Henry VIII)
  • * Supposedly killed his two nephews the princes in the tower to succeed to the throne after his brother, Edward VI
  • * Married Anne Neville (Warwick, the kingmaker’s daughter) and had one son, who died when he was young
  • * Depicted as a crooked, evil villain by Shakespeare

This picture is the one held in the National Portrait Gallery in London which I have visited and was painted by an unknown artists in the late 15th century, so the accuracy is debateable, but it is seen that Richard would have looked something like this at least, and not quite the hunch back that Shakespeare depicted.

However, having watched this documentary, and upon the bones being found in the Leicester car park, Richard III it is revealed did have a twisted spine, because he suffered from scoliosis which is a curvature of the spine.

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If you take a look at the spine curvature here, you can see it moved to one side, which would have meant Richard’s ribs were curved around, and following experiments on a guy with a similar deformity, it was revealed this would hinder his capability when it came to lung capacity and stamina.

The programme had a central focus on uncovering whether with such a deformity Richard would ever have been capable of riding into battle in full armour and participate in hand to hand combat. In addition to this, the scientists at University of Leicester were able to analyse his bones to discover the type of diet he would have had from his time before kingship and right up until death. It was utterly fascinating to see them dissect all the elements of Richard III; him riding to battle, his fitness and capabilities; using a man who was suffering with the same condition.

Honestly, I learnt a lot from the programme and I was amazed to hear that the medieval armour and horse saddle were actually much more beneficial to supporting Richard in his condition than any new saddle would be. His range of movement was incredibly able for a man with a curved spine, however it was his stamina where he would fail. It can probably be seen that once he was dragged from his horse, he would not last long which was why he was able to be beaten quite badly and suffered severe head injuries and bodily damage, which ultimately led to his death.

In terms of his diet, the man was enjoying 2-3 litres of wine, every day! It certainly appears these medieval royals were having a jolly time, and once he became king, his intake of food such as pig, fish, peasant and all those delicacies increased and his diet became much richer. It appears that becoming king would certainly reduce his level of fitness, so when it came to riding into the Battle of Bosworth he was not at his prime.

Overall, it was really fascinating take on Richard III and revealed things that I did not know and continues to make me question about events of the time and the man that is Richard III.

For those of you interested in historical documentaries, finding out a little bit more about Richard III, or curious about the whole scientific process, I definitely recommend checking out the documentary that was broadcast on Channel 4!

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Richard III’s double, Dominic Smee posing in his armour.

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Filed under A Trip Through Time

Series Review (1-4): Line of Duty

protecting-tessa-baileyHis Risk to TakeOfficer off LimitsAsking for Trouble
Protecting What’s His (#1), His Risk to Take (#2), Officer Off Limits (#3), Asking for Trouble (#4) by Tessa Bailey

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Adult

The Review
This is a contemporary series from one of my favourite publishers when it comes to contemporary books, Entangled. Line of Duty follows a series of different police officers as they come face to face with a woman who will challenge them and eventually one they will find romance with; inevitable right?

I feel like this series has strengthened as it has gone along and Officer Off Limits and Asking for Trouble were both much stronger than their predecessors. I will not claim that this series is free of the typical clichés that usually accompany the contemporary romance scene, and neither are these books perfect. However they are enjoyable.

Each of the novels introduces a new officer to the tale, however in some there are connections to the previous novels and links between the police forces, so the characters are not all entirely new. However each one explores a different perspective and this serves to reinvigorate each novel with new energy and prevent it from falling into the trapping of the previous one.

Largely the female protagonists tend to be women with past troubles, who are seeing themselves as independent and without the need for a man in their life. Bailey unfortunately does seem to fall into the trappings of this typical cycle of strong female, eventually being ‘saved’ in some way by the male police officer in the end, but when read over a period of time and not directly next to each other, I think this makes the series easier to handle and more enjoyable.

My favourite book from the series is probably Officer Off Limits which deals with Story Brooks and Daniel Chase. I felt like Story stayed much more true to her strengths and independence than the other female protagonists and I really had my heart stolen by officer Daniel Chase. Although the other police officers certainly have many a redeeming quality; who after all, can resist a man in uniform? However I did feel like that for a romance novel this edition in particular had a little more of a serious note that wasn’t the typical backstory and it served to really address characterisation that sells a novel to me.

Overall, this series is fun, flirty and a quick read that has some great teasing moments. It easily fills the need for a little bit of fluff and romance in ones life whilst not being too unrealistic nor annoying. Bailey has a solid series here and I think most contemporary romance fans will find something enjoyable in the Line of Duty series!

Historical Survival Chances
Honestly, I do not think this series despite being lots of fun, will last long in the span of history. I believe much more epic romances that are on the level of Pride and Prejudice are the types of novels that should survive through history and will be the literary genius that we are remembered for.

Survival Chances: 25%

Expiration Date: 2027

 

Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars

Goodreads (#1), (#2), (#3), (#4) ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website

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Filed under 3.5 Books, Adult, Contemporary, Entangled Publishing, Romance, Tessa Bailey, Uncategorized

The Blue Blazes

TheBlueBlazes-144dpiThe Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig

Series: Mookie Pearl #1

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Adult

The Plot
The Blue Blazes draws together the criminal, gangster underworld and supernatural happenings to give a rather unique take on an urban-fantasy novel. There may be creatures of the dark that haunt your nightmares, but the key feature of the novel surrounds drugs. The ‘blue blazes’ that provide supernatural strength, endurance and enhanced senses is the drug everyone wants to have on their side in battle. However it isn’t that only drug that everyone is searching for, as the main character Mookie uncovers.

Mookie Pearl is a man involved in both the supernatural and gangster underworld, but his family life also crosses over between the two and the novel follows him, and his spats with his daughter that adds yet another dynamic to this urban-fantasy novel.

The Review

 

Chuck Wendig is an author that not everyone will appreciate, but I read the first two books in his Miriam Black series and enjoyed them, I was curious to test out another series by him. However, like with the Miriam Black series he does not shy away from the violence and brutality, harsh language and rather grumpy, sometimes dislikeable characters that characterised the Miriam Black series. Nevertheless, he has a fantastic imagination, and if you don’t mind those sorts of things, delving into The Blue Blazes is an exciting, unique journey that served to keep my interest!

The Blue Blazes is not to me the typical urban-fantasy novel, which I think sets it head and shoulders apart from its genre. Wendig takes on something a little more adventurous and more applicable to modern day and succeeds with flying colours to craft it into a believable, exciting and scary fantasy world. After all, we have drugs in our world, why can’t there be ones that bring about supernatural changes?

Mookie Pearl admittedly is not an easy man to like, he doesn’t make the best life choices and his conflict with his daughter and seeming ignorance of her life makes him seem like a poor father figure. Throughout the novel he doesn’t really seem to make real attempts to mend the broken relationship and whilst his daughter and her wild attempts on her father’s life when she opposes his gang seem to make such things difficult, he still seems to be a rather harsh character. However, he does undergo some character development in terms of sorting out his family relations that redeems him in my eyes. He’s also not the typical main character that usually stares in the books I read and I enjoyed exiting from my comfort zone. Especially since he has a strong sense of identity developed and he is a hard-man with a lot of gruff, ready-to-roll style.

The Blue Blazes has a lot to offer in terms of fantasy and criminal underground dynamics that makes it unusual. It’s exciting, tense and it has tonnes of potential for the future series. I am definitely intrigued to know more about the origins of the drugs, what will happen with them all and especially the gang dynamics after things collapse a little at the end of The Blue Blazes. One thing this novel was not, was predictable and I will definitely be looking out to get my hands on the second instalment of the Mookie Pearl series. This might not be your usual type of book, but definitely take a leap of faith and try The Blue Blazes, as I think any fantasy fan can appreciate Wendig’s innovative slant on the criminal underground!

Historical Survival Chances

I have been contemplating for a short time now, how I rate books, and whilst I might give this book a solid 4.5 stars, will it last into the future? Will people in 20-30 maybe even 100 years time be reading Chuck Wendig like we read Mary Shelley or Dickens?

Wendig is innovative and creative enough that I think in the genre of urban-fantasy, he might stand a strong chance of being read well into the future. So I will be applying a survival chance percentage and an expiration date to the novel when I think people might no longer hold interest in these types of things.

Survival Chance: 65%    

Expiration Date: 2064

Favourite Quotes

“The Blazes are like that: the blue stuff doesn’t merely tear aside the facade to reveal the monsters, but when on it, the whole of the Underworld pulses with a different kind of energy.”

“The saying goes that there is more below the streets of New York City than there is above them. An exaggeration by those who say it, perhaps, but they don’t known just how accurate that statement truly is. Hell’s heart, as it turns out, has many chambers.”

 

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Goodreads ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website

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Filed under 2013 Publication, 4.5 Books, Adult, Adventure, Angry-Robot, Chuck Wendig, E-book, Fantasy, Uncategorized

Dilemma of Contemporary Romance

Contemporary Romance

Admittedly I have been known to binge on contemporary romance, the literature kind and the movies. However, I at least try to find the well-written kind. Despite this, when I was discussing my secret love of contemporary romance with one of my closest friends, she told me she despised it, and found it boring and unrealistic.

This was my first pause for thought; unrealistic. It had me wondering, what do we call a realistic romance? Do we want to read/watch a ‘realistic’ romance? Or do we want to be wooed and blown away?

rememberme

Recently I just watched Love and Other Drugs which stars Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film has a 6.7 / 10 rating on IMDB and was nominated for 2 Golden Globe awards. So it appears the film is being taken seriously in the movie industry?

Yet, it still appears to have such a mixed response. Some hail it as being a champion of the romance-comedy genre with the take on Anne Hathaway an individual suffering from Parkinson’s being well portrayed and provocative, whilst others claim its another mindless romance, filled with crude language, sex scenes and being a typical plot line of a sick girl falling for a bad-boy. Why is it we get such mixed reviews?

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Personally, I think there comes pros and cons from every contemporary romance film, which again, is based on personal preference. However, is the media designed to project moral messages and ideals to us even if overlaid with fun, flirty and flighty behaviour? Or is it supposed to be some strict, moral message in a boring fashion? Honestly, I do not believe many people would listen to something they perceived as being dull and boring. At least Love and Other Drugs manages to show by the end of the film, a steady, loving relationship where you can stand by somebody and care for them can be more fulfilling than a casual fling. It represents many values that I think are important, and is that really a bad thing? Even if it includes sex and naked skin, is that not again something that human beings want to see?

Obviously there are times in reading a book, or watching a film where you think “if only that happened in real life” because I do not think many times you will get a guy chasing after you down the street to declare his love, or driving across the country, or chasing you to the airport as I recently witnessed on an old episode of Friends when Ross Geller raced to the airport after Rachel Green. I mean, it would be nice, but when it came down to it, I think if somebody did such a thing for me, I would laugh or be awkward and not know how to react. However, I think I like reading these declarations of love and thinking maybe somewhere, somebody does such things because it makes me feel happy, and that is why I read right, to have my emotions played on, to be entertained and made smile? I want my main love interests to wooo me, to draw me in.

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I want an Augustus Green (The Fault in Our Stars) to be there for me…

“I’ll fight it. I’ll fight it for you. Don’t you worry about me, Hazel Grace. I’m okay. I’ll find a way to hang around and annoy you for a long time.” I was crying. But even then he was strong. holding me tight so that I could see the sinewy muscles of his arms wrapped around me …”

I want a Levi (Fangirl) who will hang around my roommate’s room to see me, to walk me home in the dark, to tease me, to bring me out of my shell…

“I mean…” Levi leaned forward, hands still fisted in his pockets. “I mean, I spent four months trying to kiss you and the last six weeks trying to figure out how I managed to fuck everything up. All I want now is to make it right, to make you see how sorry I am and why you should give me another chance. And I just want to know—are you rooting for me? Are you hoping I pull this off?”

“I’m rooting for you,” she whispered. She wasn’t even sure he could hear her from the bed.

Levi’s smile broke free and devoured his whole face. It started to devour her face, too. Cath had to look away.”

I want myself a Finn the Robot (The Mad Scientist’s Daughter) who is smart and heartfelt.

“I can’t tell you what it means to be the only one of my kind,” he said. “I can’t… There is a lack in myself. But your thesis almost filled it in. It was… a start.”

Even a little bit of Vlad the Impaler (Night Prince Series) to melt a woman’s heart…

“No one feels like you do, so every brush of your skin is a cruel reminder of what I’ve lost. I can barely stand the sight of you because you’re more beautiful than I’ve allowed myself to remember, and when I cut that wire off Maximus and smelled you all over him, I wanted to kill him more than I’ve wanted to kill anyone in my life, yet I couldn’t because of my promise to you.”

These are just a few of the many fictional crushes, and there are probably many more, but these are a few of the more recent ones. Who are your fictional crushes? (because I severely hope I am not alone in my love of fictional characters *slinks away to hide in a corner* if I am). I’m going to leave you with one of the most iconic moments in film history and an all time favourite romance of mine, this film will always have a special place in my heart.

Titanic_2179723b 

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Filed under Contemporary, Rambles, Romance

Wallbanger

WallbangerWallbanger by Alice Clayton

Series: Cocktail #1

Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Chick-lit

The Plot
Wallbanger is a light, entertaining and humorous read, following the journey of Caroline who upon moving into a new apartment discovers her neighbour is quite the man! He in fact, is often found making nightly noises (I’m sure your imagination can fulfil the gap for now) with several different women that definitely hits the wall and is heard through the wall since Caroline and the mystery ‘Wallbanger’ share a bedroom wall she is also kept up nightly. The plot unravels from there following the journey of Caroline, her relationship troubles, her neighbour and the novel builds upon the premise of an unlikely relationship forming between her and the ‘Wallbanger’.
The Review
Wallbanger is one of those novels that is light, fluffy and pure entertainment! There is very little that is serious about this novel and it serves to be the perfect escape romance. However I do fear that the novel is very much based upon taste in terms of the humour which is obviously different amongst individuals. Personally I am not a massive chick-lit fan, but I engaged well with Wallbanger and although near the end I had a tendency to skim a little bit, overall I found myself immersed in the story.

Caroline had a solid character and personality that made her almost certainly a likeable character.  She likes to cook and bake, and she’s an interior designer who is proud of her job and this is evident by the hard work she puts in. However I did not really feel like she really brought this into her own home and I felt like we could have sensed more of her personality throughout the novel. There were moments where I felt she also had a tendency to fall into emotional dramatic scenes that were rather unnecessary in my opinion and did frustrate me. In addition to that, I felt like the strength of her character drained a little by the end of the novel and she was not nearly as strong as at the start. This disappointed me a little because I felt like it would have made the last part of the novel much stronger.

The ‘Wallbanger’ himself is quite the enigma and not as he first appears. He was incredibly suave, kind and caring and not at all what you first expect. I actually really liked his character and at moments he found himself floundering with Caroline who refused to give him a chance or hear him out entirely. However his persistence is certainly something that is a strong redeemable quality and maybe a very romance novel based quality!

I fear this novel could not be complete without the trusty pet, the cat, Clive. He certainly makes a strong addition to the humour and I found myself enamoured with him. I feel that novels without animals these days appear to be a little incomplete as they always tend to round character with their unexpected antics and Clive certainly is a pesky little devil, but a loveable one. In addition to this, Caroline was clearly a loveable owner and that showed throughout the novel and this affection is certainly the right way to portray pet owners, so Clayton is given both thumbs up here!

The plot, well it basically centres on the romance of the ‘Wallbanger’ and Caroline, but it does not just appear out of nowhere and that is the strong element of Wallbanger as chick-lit because it creates a friendship and emotional connection between the two that builds up over time. In addition to this, there are several plot strands to the romance that interweave and give it a little more substance.

Overall, Wallbanger is a solid addition to the chick-lit genre, and admittedly it won me over to a genre I don’t usually venture into. I can see that Wallbanger will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed it and I am certainly tempted by the future sequel to see where things go even for a novel that is not perfect. If you have a spare few hours, I recommend giving it a chance since you might just find you enjoy it after all!

Favourite Quotes

“No woman has ever done breakfast bread foreplay the way you do.
Ha! When you coming?
Can’t. Drive. Straight.
Can we have one conversation when you’re not twelve?
Sorry, I’ll be there in 30.
Perfect, that will give me time to frost my buns.
Pardon me?”

“The girl next door was meowing. What in the world was my neighbor packing to make that happen?
Clive, at this point, went utterly bonkers and launched himself at the wall. He was literally climbing it, trying to get where the noise was coming from, and adding his own meows to the chorus.”

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

Goodreads ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website

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Filed under 2012 Publication, 3 Books, Adult, Alice Clayton, Chick-Lit, Contemporary, E-book, Omnific Publishing, Romance

Waiting on Wednesday #2

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, where we highlight an up and coming release we are eagerly anticipating.

TheHellsbloodBride-144dpi

The Hellsblood Bride by Chuck Wendig

Series: Mookie Pearl #2

Genre: Urban-fantasy, Adult

The Plot

Yes, we’re going back deep underground for another twelve rounds with Mookie Pearl. Father, barkeep, former Mafioso, ruler of his subterranean crime-kingdom. The Organization is back, and they’ll do anything to get Mookie on board, but Mookie has gone legit, and it’s taking every ounce of effort for him to keep his new bar from crashing and burning. To top it all, his daughter is missing, and when Nora’s not in plain sight, that’s usually a sign of bad things to come! On one hand, the Organization. On the other, Nora. Why can’t Family ever be easy – ?

~ Goodreads~

Recently I read the first book in this series, The Blue Blazes (look out for my review shortly) and Chuck Wendig was definitely an author I have been following behind for quite a while, reading his Miriam Black series. He is honestly a really gritty, intense author that does not shy away from horror, violence and bad language and he makes his characters realistic, harsh and with many flaws, that at times does make them likeable. This series is honestly quite an imaginative and innovative one when it comes to the urban-fantasy genre and I am looking forward to the direction of the second novel and what Wendig will be doing with it.

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Storm

10401084Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

Series: Elementals #1

Genre: Young-Adult, Paranormal-Romance

The Plot
Storm is a novel that follows the path of one girl, Becca Chandler and her encounters with fellow pupils at school, which is the likes of past-boyfriends and secrets that the plot follows to uncover, it also includes the Merrick family and in particular Chris. In addition to this, there is a new boy present, an absent father, a demanding best friend and some paranormal elements that are not quite the traditional vampire/werewolf aspect and this make things a little more interesting. So as expected there is romance, potentially of the double-trouble kind (love triangle alert!) and some paranormal-magic to spice things up and drive the action along which there is plenty of!

The Review

Storm is a book that is not quite fabulous, but not entirely awful. It manages to be engaging and exciting, whilst at times utterly predictable which made it a little exasperating when it fit exactly into what I was expecting. I was hoping in some regards that there would be a greater twist or something that would entirely surprise me, but it did not, and for me that was the downfall of this novel. Having said that, I still believe there to be a fair few redeeming qualities about the novel. The literary prose flows freely and I did not have any issues with the writing style, in fact it was a very easy, enjoyable read. The book has a fast paced plot that keeps you turning the pages and this makes up for the predictability. In addition to this, most of the characters I largely liked. However upon my deconstruction of the book I do feel, it deserves 3 stars rather than the initial 4 I gave it.

Becca Chandler the female protagonist of this novel; I almost certainly have a love/hate relationship with this character and honestly I still feel like I am sitting on the fence a little in regards to her. At moments she is this strong, brave and fierce individual who runs headlong into things to save others and the next she appears some tormented, bratty and annoying teenage girl who has “daddy issues” and appears to be a little bit of wild child. However the “wild child” image is not really one I felt other than the derogatory comments from the ‘jocks’ of the story and I thought the whole story line was rather useless in terms of plot and character development. It made me cringe away more than anything because it presented a group of ‘jocks’ as brutish, vulgar individuals and did nothing to discriminate from a very common stereotype. By the end of the story, I still feel like my issues with Becca and her overall progression seem a little unresolved.

Honestly the next part is my own fault for not really reading the blurb, but the love triangle was not something I was expecting. It was frustrating at best and again by the end of the novel it still felt largely open-ended and unresolved and when I see the next novel moving to focus on an a different individual from the series, it leaves me with little comfort. The two male individuals in question seemed to develop fairly quick infatuations with Becca and in particular, the New Kid, Hunter who has hundreds of females in the school to pick from finds Becca the most appealing. To me it all seemed a little far-fetched and I did not feel like there was enough about Becca to warrant this ‘fight’ over her. Personally I took a large dislike to Hunter from the start and something about his character I found downright creepy and he grated on me. I felt there was very little redeeming about him and his odd behaviour that was eventually resolved did not in the end serve to make me like him anymore.

This leaves us with the Merrick brothers, and in particular Chris who I liked much more. Despite his oh so expected conflicted personality and family issues that seem to encompass the YA genre like a suffocating cloak, he was a character I could like. Although the fact his brothers were the hottest creatures on the earth and Becca was not able to function when they were shirtless in the same room was a little bit tedious. The redeeming quality here was the family relationship and the dynamic between the brothers, I definitely felt the camaraderie and bond between brothers and that certainly made me root for them as a family throughout the novel.

Finally the plot concept itself in terms of the paranormal element was actually a fairly interesting one, and my only complaint was that little more was learnt of the origin and the ideas behind that. In fact, I think for an introductory novel to the series, Kemmerer should have made much more of the elementals idea and this left me disappointed. I feel like there is much still to learn about the powers of the brothers and those involved in the story, and I very much hope Kemmerer builds on this, or I can see myself being sorely disappointed.

Overall I devoured Storm and the book is far from being bad, however I fail to have been blown away. I definitely realise the standards I am setting for books are ever increasing, so I hope the next novel Spark will help resolve the issues that this book raised for me. Certainly I would recommend Storm as a quick, lazy day read that helps you escape from reality for a few hours and contains a few potential book boyfriends depending on your type, but I would not go to extreme efforts in making time for this series yet!

Favourite Quotes

“Touch was funny like that. How one movement could choke you and kill you, but another meant nothing more than a caress and an invitation.”

“Crap, Bex, do you think he’ll do something truly horrible like buy you flowers?”

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

Goodreads ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website

 

 

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Filed under 2012 Publication, 3 Books, Brigid Kemmerer, E-book, Kensington, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

Series Review (1-3): Morganville Vampires

Glass HouseThe Dead Girls' DanceMidnight Alley

Morganville Vampires Series by Rachel Caine

Glass House #1, The Dead Girls Dance #2, and The Midnight Alley #3

Genre: Young-Adult, Romance, Vampires

The Review

The Morganville Vampire series is one I picked up quite a while ago and read the first five books over a large period of time. Unfortunately since it was so long ago, I have seemingly forgot what happened and when I had a spur of the moment decision to return to the series I was largely lost, so I decided the best policy was to start from the beginning.

I have literally devoured these three books over a couple of days. They aren’t particularly long and they are fairly easy going on the prose, nothing too complex, but they draw you in and keep lots of action and fast-paced plots to engage with the audience. If you like flowery, emotional prose then these books certainly don’t offer any of that, but the simplicity is made up for in the engagement and continual plot twists and turns, and suspense that is continually built up.

Admittedly yes, there are a few ‘well duh’ moments where your expectations are met, but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment because there is always something a little unexpected and Caine doesn’t make the end result easily. Although she does like to leave things hanging, so I definitely recommend having all the books to just keep reading as once you finish one, you want to pick up the next.

The characters are honestly my favourite part. In ‘The Glass House’ we are introduced to Claire Danvers, our female protagonist who is a young, sweet sixteen year old and fairly innocent when she arrives in Morganville. However, she is intellectual, sassy and not afraid to fight by the end of things and in these three novels alone, she develops into a young woman who is not entirely fearless, but is stubborn, faithful and most of all she is a likeable character. Claire does rush into a few situations, she makes mistakes, but there are her own and she doesn’t allow herself to be bossed about my others, unless she can really help it. I mean nobody can really say no to a vampire thousands of years old, who might just kill you, right? Claire in my opinion, is a very strong, female protagonist who I hope to see develop more in the next few novels.

Now, the next three all offer something different. Eve, the spunky, goth girl who is loyal and feisty makes a dangerous enemy and she is easy to like and always helping Claire out when she really needs it. Michael the calm and collected one who acts as the responsible individual of the house has some interesting secrets, and issues which lead to exciting developments. He’s also a musician and the love of Eve’s life, so there is a little bit of romance to balance it out. Then finally there is the stereotypical man of the house/jock, Shane who rushes headlong into everything without thought, all in the aid of friendship and for the right moral reasons most of the time. He also happens to be the love interest for Claire. It’s kind of a little cliché and not always an easy path but I do love the pair of them together. I think they work really well.

Make no mistake however, there is no typical vampire series formula in this series so far  which is usually; girl + vampire boy = fall in love for the main plot theme. In fact, a lot of the plot focus is on the town and the four individuals who live in the Glass House and their survival. There is a strong theme of friendship, loyalty and life moral values that makes for some tough decisions, but also some entertaining insightful and joyful moments.

The villains in this novel range from typical high school/college girl who is the airbrushed glamour puss and daddy’s little girl who rules the town, to skulking boys in shadows with knives and mysterious motives and finally the wicked vampires with fangs who rule the town and expect the humans to fall in line. I love the concept of the vampire town and the idea of humans being potential property to the vampires, who sometimes act as protectors of the humans. However there are specific guidelines to this protection which are always changing and the vampires and human interactions run across very unsteady paths!

Overall, ‘The Glass House’, ‘The Dead Girls’ Dance’ and ‘Midnight Alley’ are an engaging start to the Morganville Vampire series that give you only a taste of things to come and certainly draw you in wanting many answers. There are numerous plot lines twisting through all the stories that continue throughout the series. This means the multiple lines that thread through the novels gives depths to series and enables the characters to be fleshed out and given personal identities that blossom and force you to become engaged with them. I most definitely recommend the Morganville Vampire series for vampire/supernatural lovers and even those who are quite a big fan I suggest giving the books a chance!

 

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars 

Goodreads (1), (2), (3) ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website

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Filed under Allison & Bushby, Paperback, Rachel Caine, Romance, Vampires, Young Adult

A Trip Through Time

a trip through time

A new meme I will be hosting, will be A Trip Through Time where I will be sharing interesting snippets of facts from the current History book I am reading, analysing a historical fiction book, looking a historical film/documentary or  occasionally talking about a trip to a museum/historical sight. A Trip Through Time will be a meme I post biweekly on a Friday.

Heimaey

This week I am kicking off with a little flashback to my time in Iceland, when I visited a little island off the south coast of Iceland, which is part of Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands). The only island actually inhabited is Heimaey. The island actually has a volcano which unfortunately erupted in 1973 and devastated the town by destroying many of the buildings and forcing the population to flee to mainland Iceland. Whilst I was there, I visited the little museum that has been built around one of the excavated houses that was covered in ash and lava rock, that told us all about the events of the eruption. We got a little headset and phone that you could walk around all the different areas and be informed of all the different events. photo 4

Luckily all the islanders were able to escape from the port in small fishing boats, but at this time, the closest harbour was Reykjavik which was a four hour boat journey up the coast in stormy weather. It sounded rather frightful for these people who had to abandon all their goods! In addition to this, all their cattle was brought down to the harbour to protect them, but because they did not have any food to feed them, they all had to be put down. A very unfortunate set of events!

The volcanic eruption at the time, was entirely unexpected and in the January of 1973 when it erupted, in the middle of the night, people were at first unaware that it was going off. A young boy of one family who lived up near the volcano was said to describe it as being like New Years Eve again, thinking it was fireworks going off.

In some respects, the volcanic eruption was good for the island because it enlarged the island with the flurry of lava rock and ash creating more land, and the excitement of the volcano has also helped to draw in a lot more tourists to the island to increase its revenue. However, it is clear that it has not entirely recovered from the events in 1973 because only 1/3 of the population of 5,400 returned to the island after, and currently the population is now around 4,200 on the island.

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Having said that, it is a beautiful little island, and it has definitely managed to rebuild itself with many of the individuals buying their own land and building their own houses which is seen in the mismatch of building styles and structures. It also is home to a large population of puffins who breed in the summer and live up in the cliffs, unfortunately I did not get to see any puffins because we did not want to venture round to clambering cliffs!

The history of the island going even earlier back, is riddled with invasions, such as when the Turkish Ottomans raided the island and took many locals as slaves who were taken to a slave market in Algeria. There was also a little fort down near the harbour which had a wooden church given to the people of the Island by Sweden. So there was definitely a mix of culture and heritage in such a small island that I found so utterly fascinating!

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I am not sure about you guys, but I do not think I could imagine living on an island with an active volcano, it seems a little too like living on the edge! Still, it was a lovely little island, and whilst the museum was fairly small, it was interesting. I do like visiting museums and hearing all the history of a place, how about you guys?

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Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, where we highlight an up and coming release we are eagerly anticipating.

bound by flames

Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost

Genre: Paranormal-Romance, Vampires, Adult

Series: Night Prince #3

Expected publication: January 2015

The Plot *mild spoilers for previous books

Play with fire, pay the price.
Leila’s years on the carnie circuit were certainly an education. What she didn’t learn: how to be a vampire, or how to be married to the most famous vampire of them all. Adjusting to both has Leila teetering on a knife edge between passion and peril, and now the real danger is about to begin…
Vlad must battle with a centuries-old enemy whose reach stretches across continents and whose strength equals his own. It isn’t like Vlad to feel fear, but he does…for Leila, because his enemy knows she is Vlad’s greatest weakness. As friend and foe alike align against him—and his overprotectiveness drives Leila away—Vlad’s love for his new bride could be the very thing that dooms them both…

~ Goodreads ~

I have been eagerly anticipating this book for absolutely ages, and I am still left waiting for such a long time. January.. why are you so far away?! Jeaniene Frost is my absolute guilty pleasure, and the Night Prince trilogy is slowly pushing the Night Huntress series off the top spot of favourite. If you have not read any of her books, I definitely recommend them because they have a little bit of everything, action, romance, quick wit/snark, and they are all around exciting and well-written in most part. I will almost certainly succumb in the next few months to re-reading the first two books again, so check them out, they can totally be read without reading the Night Huntress series; Once Burned & Twice Tempted

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