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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-11-15 20:03
October 2018 — A Wrap-Up

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on November 15, 2018.

 

 

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An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

 

This book surprised me and in a pleasant way. Having never read anything by Ms. Howard, I didn't really know what to expect. What I discovered was good UF with half decent world-building. It had shades of the movie Now You Can See Me  only the magic in the book wasn't an illusion.

 

We are introduced to the major players almost immediately. They each have their motivations and that was completely okay. The world-building should have been better because as far as I can see, this book is a standalone. Even if it is to be the first in a series, then it would need to be immersive enough for readers to continue with the sequel. I think it mostly does that.

 

 

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The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

 

Wow! I mean I tried reading The War of the Worlds and failed miserably. If you can make a novel about an alien conquest sound boring, then there isn't much hope that I'd ever like anything you'd write. While playing Book Bingo, I landed on a category that fit this book beautifully. So, I decided to give Mr. Wells another go.

 

I am so glad that I did! Suspense colors the atmosphere in the story and there is a stench of violence waiting to happen. Why don't scientists ever learn? I kept cringing every time the humans faced the monsters (Moreau could give Frankenstein a run for the money)! Some were near misses and some events just foreshadowed the darkness that was to come.

 

The edition I read also came with a summary of H. G. Wells' life history. He had been involved in the formation of League of Nations. Cool!

 

 

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Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

 

This book had issues similar to that I highlighted in the review of Kat Howard's book. Say, vampires do exist and they decide to come out. Won't there be a political upheaval to makes all other upheavals look silly? Nothing like that happened in this book.

 

Meritt caught my interest because she refused to be grateful for being turned into a bloodsucking parasite. She also clashed with the authorities regularly and I liked that she wasn't ready to give in to her attraction towards the head vampire just yet. Her troubled relationship with her gold-digger and nouveau riche parents cemented her authenticity as a person. As did her bonds with her bff and grandfather. What detracted from the believability factor was how she rebelled against her new life and yet gave up so easily on her old one. What of her dissertation? What about going back to school?

 

What did bug me was the identity of the person having humans killed by her minions. As far as twists go, this one was just all right.

 

Even so, I want to read the next one in the series before I decide if I will continue with the rest.

 

 

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The Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones

 

The humor in these books is always a winner. Consider the two quotes below:

 

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But what I liked, even more, was that the series took a break from the disaster it had become. In case, you haven't yet read the last book or my review of it it was horrible. The author dropped a doozy of a deus ex machina on us. Then she left the readers with a huge cliffhanger that took us back to the prehistoric age (not literally)!

Guess what though? The last part did wonders for the book! I could reconnect with Charley without the usual over-the-top complications. The world was still about to end, but that wasn't going to happen just then. Charley did spend the whole book lusting after her husband even if she didn't know who he was. But that is typical behavior for her.

 

I also fell in love with Cookie all over again after reading this book. The woman has a life of her own, a daughter, and a husband. Yet she put everything on hold to come be with an amnesiac Charley. Even though she can't act worth a damn and kept slipping up and calling Charley by her real name. Cookie rocks! 

 

 

Bring on the next book!

 

 

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A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Another book that I wish had read a long time ago. Now, I don't appreciate it the way it is meant to be lauded. Firstly, since it is by a female author writing epic fantasy. Yaaaaay! Then because the protagonist isn't white and male, but colored and male. Okay, this deserves a smaller yaaay. Even so, it is still a win.

 

What I wasn't a fan of was the writing style. It felt stilted and kept me from devouring the book in my usual way. Of course, the fact that I have read my fill of epic fantasy might have something to do with it. Although, this book wasn't much concerned with the affairs of the world. It focused on a character's solo journey to get rid of the darkness that he had called from another world.

 

So, I'll reserve the final verdict until I have read the next book in the series.

 

 

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Everwild by Neal Shusterman

 

I can never understand how a children's book can scare the pants off me when so many horror novels have failed to do that! Similarly, I survived watching Jessica Jones being mentally — and otherwise — raped by Killgrave repeatedly. And yet, I have to force myself to sit through one episode of A Series of Unfortunate Events!

 

The idea of kids being in control is a very scary one because they can be very cruel. At times, they won't even realize the extent of damage they are leaving on another kid's psyche. The good thing about kids managing their affairs is that they can take highly complicated concepts of morality and simplify them.

 

I had a great time reading this book for both those reasons. Can't wait to read the next one!

 

 

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Dark Crime by Christine Feehan

 

Have mostly given up on this series ever being anything but cheesy, if I ever thought so in the first place. This novella was a good surprise though. Instead of the swooning heroines, we were shown someone who could fight and hold her own. She was also the one who kept the vampires and their minions at bay while hubby went to ground.

 

Yeah, she was forced into the whole Carpathian mating for life ritual by her husband-to-be. And yes, she couldn't live without him as soon as he arrived at the scene. Little improvements, see?

 

 

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Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

 

The humor was on point, as usual. Look below for a crack or two:

 

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The relationship between Harry and his brother is slowly developing. By that, I mean they talked to each other about real stuff, like Thomas being thirsty all the time.

 

Susan was awesome!

 

The rest was pretty much as it always is:

 

Harry was trying to save a woman's life.

 

Harry couldn't hit women, even ones bent on killing him.

 

Harry defeated a threat that he couldn't possibly defeat.

 

Harry saves an adorable character who learns how to stand up for themselves and others.

 

Harry is hit with threats from all directions and lives to tell the tale.

 

 

So, this was my October in reading. How was yours?

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review 2018-11-13 10:27
Jetzt werde ich doch noch sentimental
Chicagoland Vampires: Wie ein Biss in dunkler Nacht - Marcel Aubron-Bülles,Chloe Neill

Ich habe ernstlich überlegt, mich zum Abschluss der „Chicagoland Vampires“-Reihe mit einem T-Shirt zu belohnen. Auf ihrer Website hat Chloe Neill einen Shop eingerichtet, in dem Merch aller Couleur angeboten wird. Leider ist nichts, aber auch gar nichts dabei, was mir gefällt. Nicht einmal Catchers Spruch-T-Shirts überzeugen mich. Schade. Ich hätte all die Jahre der Treue gern ausgezeichnet. Dann werde ich das Finale wohl still für mich feiern. Aber bis dahin ist es sowieso noch ein bisschen hin, denn erst einmal steht jetzt die Rezension zum vorletzten Band „Wie ein Biss in dunkler Nacht“ an.

 

Haus Cadogan versetzte dem Zirkel einen schweren Schlag. Ethan und Merit vereitelten die Pläne der kriminellen Organisation, doch ihr Oberhaupt Adrien Reed wird nicht eher ruhen, bis er ganz Chicago unter seine Kontrolle gebracht und Rache an den Vampiren geübt hat, die sich ihm entgegenstellten. Als das Paar die Leiche eines Gestaltwandlers nahe Wrigley Field entdeckt, der von einem unbekannten Vampir ermordet wurde, ahnen sie, dass Reed seine Finger im Spiel hat. Neben dem Getöteten sind seltsame Symbole an eine Wand gezeichnet. Es scheint sich um eine alchemistische Gleichung zu handeln, aber ihre Bedeutung bleibt rätselhaft, obwohl Ethan, Merit, Mallory und Catcher alles daransetzen, sie zu entschlüsseln. Bald tauchen die Symbole überall in Chicago auf. Würde Reed tatsächlich einen Krieg unter den Übernatürlichen Chicagos riskieren, um zu bekommen, was er will? Würde er magische Energien entfesseln, die er unmöglich beherrschen kann?

 

Meine Güte, jetzt werde ich auf meine alten Tage wohl doch noch sentimental. Wer hätte das gedacht? Ich mochte „Wie ein Biss in dunkler Nacht“ viel mehr, als ich erwartet hatte. Tatsächlich war ich überrascht, wie gut mir dieser zwölfte Band gefiel. Ich wollte ihn gar nicht mehr aus der Hand legen und war wirklich gefesselt. Emotional erinnerte er mich sehr an die frühen Bände der „Chicagoland Vampires“, was die Augenblicke melancholischer Wehmut natürlich verstärkte. Jetzt ist es bald vorbei. Schnüff. Ja, ich gebe zu, trotz aller Kritik an Chloe Neill und der Entwicklung, die die Reihe genommen hat, muss ich mir ein metaphorisches Tränchen verdrücken. Eine Ära endet (demnächst). Ich weiß noch, wie ich mir mit dem ersten Band „Frisch gebissen“ die Nacht um die Ohren geschlagen habe. Ach was war es schön. Gut, hier soll es aber nicht um Nostalgie gehen, sondern um „Wie ein Biss in dunkler Nacht“. Ich denke, ich mochte das Buch deshalb so sehr, weil alle liebgewonnenen Figuren endlich wieder aktiv zusammenarbeiten und am selben Strang ziehen. Nach den dramatischen, einschneidenden Erlebnissen der vergangenen Bände sind sie endlich wieder ein Team, besonders Merit, Ethan, Mallory und Catcher. Es war toll, sie gemeinsam gegen einen Feind antreten zu sehen. Merit erhält trotzdem eine Sonderrolle, denn sie wird brutal mit ihrer jüngsten Vergangenheit konfrontiert – ein cleverer Schachzug, der die übergreifende Handlung rund erscheinen lässt, obwohl ich bezweifle, dass dieser von Beginn an geplant war. Langfristige Abläufe sind meiner Ansicht nach nicht Chloe Neills Stärke; ich kann mir nicht vorstellen, dass sie eine Idee dieser Größenordnung geduldig mit sich herumtrug, ohne unmissverständliche Andeutungen fallen zu lassen. Dazu fehlt ihr die nötige Subtilität. Deshalb bin ich sicher, dass Annabelle, eine neue Figur, die sie in „Wie ein Biss in dunkler Nacht“ vorstellt, eine Rolle in der Familienplanung von Ethan und Merit spielen wird. Sie ist eine schwangere Nekromantin. Schwanger. Nekromantin. Das schreit ja geradezu nach einem Zusammenhang mit der Prophezeiung, laut der „Methan“ als erstes Vampirpärchen der Historie ein Kind bekommen werden. Wozu sonst sollte Neill so spät die Besetzung erweitern? Erstmal hilft Annabelle unserem Powerpaar bei den Ermittlungen zu den alchemistischen Symbolen, die überall in Chicago auftauchen. Die Idee, Alchemie in das magische Potpourri der Reihe aufzunehmen, verdient Applaus, doch leider involvierte Neill mir zu wenig Details. Die Alchemie ist eine komplizierte und umständliche Kunst. Sie erklärt nicht, wieso sich überhaupt ein_e Hexe_r auf diese Richtung spezialisieren sollte. Welche Vorteile bietet sie gegenüber anderen Magieformen? Die Verbindung der Symbole mit dem Gangsterboss Adrien Reed ist kein Geheimnis, die Herausforderung besteht darin, herauszufinden, was er plant. Ich fand es schade, dass Neill in „Wie ein Biss in dunkler Nacht“ ausschließlich Reed fokussierte, statt den Zirkel als kriminelle Organisation richtig in die Handlung einzuarbeiten. Dadurch erschien das Ganze als 1-Mann-Unternehmen und erinnerte kaum noch an die Mafia. Adieu, organisiertes Verbrechen. Dennoch ist es mir hundert Mal lieber, dass sie sich auf die Handlungsaspekte konzentriert, die ihr liegen, statt irgendwas zu versuchen und dann zu scheitern. Letztendlich war es mir auch egal, wer nun als Bösewicht herhalten muss – die Hauptsache war, dass ich Freude mit diesem Band hatte.

 

Vielleicht sehe ich „Wie ein Biss in dunkler Nacht“ durch die rosa Rückblicksbrille. Mir ist bewusst, dass ich ein bisschen nostalgisch bin, weil sich „Chicagoland Vampires“ dem Ende nähert. Mag sein, dass das mein Urteilsvermögen beeinflusst. Aber sind wir ehrlich: ist das wichtig? Spielt es eine Rolle, warum ich Spaß mit der Lektüre des zwölften Bandes hatte? Ich denke nicht. „Wie ein Biss in dunkler Nacht“ ist reine Unterhaltungsliteratur und diesen Job hat das Buch hervorragend erfüllt. Ich habe mich nicht einmal besonders an den schmalzigen Liebesschwüren zwischen Ethan und Merit gestört. Klar, das ist alles unfassbar kitschig, doch ich konnte diesen Part problemlos ignorieren. Etwas Glück wünsche ich den beiden ja auch. Deshalb freue ich mich wirklich auf das Finale „Ein Biss von dir“, für das ich mich emotional wohl lieber wappne. Sonst wird aus dem metaphorischen Tränchen am Ende noch ein echtes.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/13/chloe-neill-wie-ein-biss-in-dunkler-nacht
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text 2018-11-03 21:37
Reading progress: 16%.
Wild Things - Chloe Neill

Series has been uneven for me, but so far liking this one.

 

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review 2018-10-23 13:22
Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill
Some Girls Bite - Chloe Neill

This book was so damn slow. Nothing actually happened and the characters were just weird. The main character was 27 but sometimes she acted like a teenager. Then there was her best friend, who met a man and a few days later she basically lived with a guy. Who does that?
And the Master Vampire Ethan was a jerk. I actually wanted Merit to stake him. Who dresses an unconscious woman into a cocktail dress and gives her a manicure? A pervert? A serial killer? And later Ethan had the nerve to pimp Merit. I was so mad I wanted to scream.
The only aspects of the book I liked, were the fact that Merit was reluctant to be a vampire, and the house system the vampires had. 
I'm not sure whether to read the second book or not. Tell me if it's worth the while.

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review 2018-09-02 02:14
Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill
Wild Hunger - Chloe Neill

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was good. I decided to read this book largely because I have been enjoying Chloe Neill's Devil's Isle series and I noticed that this book was the start of a new series. I didn't initially realize that this series is a spin off of the Chicagoland Vampires series so I was a little nervous after I made that discovery since I have only read the first book from that series. I am happy to report that this book works perfectly fine as a starting point and there is no need to have read the Chicagoland Vampires series to enjoy this novel.

This book starts out very strong. Elisa is in Paris with a friend when the area is attacked and she springs into action. Tensions are high among the European vampires so representatives from the areas go to Chicago to discuss peace. Elisa hasn't been home to Chicago in years but she is determined to help make these peace talks successful.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Elisa was very smart and resourceful. She knew how to handle herself and was willing to take necessary risks. She did have fears and worked hard to hide certain things from others. Connor was absolutely wonderful. He is the son of the local werewolf pack and has known Elisa since they were kids. He was smart, tough, protective, and incredibly sexy. Lulu, Elisa's best friend, added some laughs to the story. She was very competent and seemed to be exactly what Elisa needed at times. Theo worked very well with Elisa and proved that even humans could hold their own with all of the supernaturals in the area.

There was a really well done mystery at the core of this story. There is a murder that needs to be solved but nobody in charge seems to want to look beyond the surface. Elisa knows that there is more to the story so she works to figure out what is really going on. There is plenty of excitement and a few twists and turns that kept me guessing. I thought that there was a really nice balance of creativity, action, character development, humor, and a touch of romance.

I would recommend this series to others. Elisa and her friends were all really strong characters trying to solve a rather complex mystery. I do look forward to future installments in this series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
This is probably more like 3.5 stars but I am rounding up for now. This book was exciting and some of the dialogue made me laugh but I never found the book hard to set aside for some reason. I liked the characters well enough and thought that all of the key players were rather unique. There were a couple of mysteries going on and I liked how they were tied together in the end. There was even a bit of romance that kept things interesting.

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