Sunday, October 04, 2015

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015

I can't believe there is only 27 days to Halloween (which I love) and I haven't turned the heating on yet. Hurrah. God bless a good Indian summer as it has been beautiful this week and lots of time to read outside. So what did I read?

I discovered that Blood Dark had been released which is the 5th book in Lindsay Pryor's Blackthorn series. We return to Caitlin and Kane who were the stars of book 1 Blood Shadows. Caitlin  returned to her job at the Vampire Control Unit despite being instrumental in the downfall of her former boss, her stepfather, and former boyfriend due to the evidence she uncovered of their nefarious activities. She isn't exactly popular with most of her colleagues nor was her decision popular with her lover and vampire king-pin Kane. Kane didn't want her to return to her former life especially when dangerous creatures from the fourth dimension start to appear and threaten everything and everyone he loves, including Caitlin. This is all against the backdrop of the prophecy of the rise of a master vampire, the role of the serryn and the opening of the fourth dimension and the hell it would unleash. While their relationship all seems trivial in comparison, it is the cornerstone to the prophecy itself and the fate of Blackthorn.

I have a love/not-so-love relationship with this series. I think that the heroines in this series are brutalised a bit too much by their respective love interests to truly fall in love with them but the overall plot arc is too interesting to miss out on. The tension really ramps up in this instalment as we re-visit Caitlin and Kane's relationship. For approximately the first half I thought I was reading the cross between JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood book or and E.L James Fifty Shades with all the kinky/post-near-death experience/vampire sex the hero/heroine were having. I am not that much of a fan of erotica and it was verging a bit too close to that for me. However, from 50% onwards (reading the Kindle version) the plot came into the fore and overtook the romance as Caitlin finds out something about Kane that changes almost everything she has ever thought about him or herself for that matter. Pryor includes a number of rather clever recaps for the reader which I found very useful as sometimes the prophecy, which is central to the overall plot, is a bit confusing. Overall, I found it a good read. It would have been a great read had it not been for all the erotica but I am still looking forward to book 6 where I hope Pryor starts to bring the plot arc together.

Book number 2 for me was Red Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire. I can't believe this is the 9th in the October Daye series. Once again our hero knight finds herself in another near death experience or two. Just when Toby thought that her life was going to be a little less dramatic after the events of the last 8 books she ends up in the Kingdom of the Silences on a diplomatic mission that might not be that diplomatic. I did enjoy it but seriously, McGuire needs to give Toby a little break. Its another marathon for Toby with barely any sleep, barely anything to eat and lots more blood/bleeding. Also, dear reader...don't attempt to read this while eating...especially anything in a bacon or ham food group. Might never touch meat again.

Remember when I said a few sentences ago that I don't like erotica? Well I have been making the exception for the Dragon Kin series by G.A. Aiken.  I have been finding the sex scenes interspersed with some rather funny scenes although in the last few books there have been fewer funny scenes and the dragon sex scenes get a bit too repetitive. Dragon on Top is technically book 0.5 of the series which tells the story of events before the main Dragon Kin series. In this one it features the love story of Ghleanna the Decimator and Bram the Merciful. Readers of this series will remember these two characters as the parents of main characters in the main series but here in Dragon Kin we find out how they get together. As per the other books in this series it involves mayhem, death, sex and well....dragons. In this instalment Ghleanna the Decimator is sent to escort Bram the Merciful on an important diplomatic mission when they are attacked and Ghleanna almost dies. Left alone in an underwater world with potentially more dangerous dragons the pair must find a way to get rescued while fighting their growing attraction to each other. The typical tale of how opposites attract. Rather standard fare for Aiken and I hope she returns to the main story, as despite the quick read, these are becoming a bit too stereotypical.

Well folks that is all for me for this week. I hope you have had an equally good week and congratulations to The Qwillery on its 7th anniversary earlier this week. Until next week Happy Reading.

Blood Dark
Blackthorn 5
Bookouture, September 21, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 396 pages

‘There are guardian angels, and there are monsters with wings’

Caitlin Parish should have been the last person to fall for a vampire. A member of the Vampire Control Unit, her relationship with master vampire Kane Malloy had explosive consequences. Caitlin’s colleagues count her as the enemy. And now she’s going back.

Kane has made powerful enemies of his own – and is being targeted by the head of the Global Council, Sirius Throme. With the stakes higher than ever before, Kane knows caring for Caitlin makes him vulnerable. Worse, her decision to return to VCU feels like betrayal.

With Throme threatening to tear Blackthorn apart, and the prophesied vampire leader finally revealed, Kane and Caitlin must both fight with everything they have to stop an all out war. But they’re fighting on opposite sides…

Right when she needs him most, Caitlin makes a shocking discovery about Kane. Has he been playing her all along? And can she trust him with her life when he won’t even trust her with the truth?

The choice Caitlin makes will change the game in Blackthorn forever.

A Red-Rose Chain
October Daye 9
DAW (September 1, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Things are looking up.

For the first time in what feels like years, October “Toby” Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life — and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.

Or not. When Queen Windermere’s seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.

How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what’s past is never really gone.

It’s just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

A Red-Rose Chain is the ninth installment in Seanan McGuire’s urban fantasy October “Toby” Daye series.

Dragon on Top
Dragon Kin 0.5
Zebra, October 27, 2015
eBook, 176 pages

Try a little dragon tenderness.

I am Ghleanna the Decimator. I am a warrior. A soldier. I know no fear. No pain. No mercy. I do, however, know acute embarrassment! How could I not after getting dumped by a bastard dragon in front of my own troops? So I tuck tail and return to my cave, drowning my sorrows in ale—as is my family’s way. But instead of leaving me to my misery, I’ve been summoned to the Dragon Queen’s court.

As if my life wasn’t pathetic enough, Her Majesty now has me escorting the highborn Bram the Merciful through dangerous territories—not exactly the best use of my military training. And just so he can negotiate with enemy dragons instead of battling them? Honestly, what has my world come to? Then again…Bram is quite easy on the eyes. And the perfect distraction for what ails me. Perhaps I’m looking at all this the wrong way. Maybe there is a place for a little “mercy” in my life…

Previously published in Supernatural (Zebra, September 1, 2011) featuring stories by Larissa Ione, Alexandra Ivy, Jacquelyn Frank, and G. A. Aiken.


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