woensdag 31 december 2014

Anne McCaffrey - Damia

The second book in the Tower and Hive series, published July 1, 1992.
Genre: sci fi romance / fantasy romance
Cover: love it

Damia photo n24249_zps76b080b7.jpg

Of all the Rowan's children, Damia was the most brilliant, the most difficult, the loneliest, and the one who had inherited the greatest Talent. It was obvious from childhood that she was going to be a Prime, with all the honours, burdens and strains of that elite class. Her one friend was Afra - Older, wiser, Talented in his own way, but 'belonging' almost exclusively to the Rowan and the workings of Callisto Station.
As Damia grew up, her Talent became almost too strong to control, and the solution was separation - from her parents, from Callisto, from her beloved Afra. Sent to the distant planet of Deneb, to her strange and gifted grandmother, Damia began the training necessary to turn her into a Prime of extraordinary gifts - a Prime who could contact the minds of approaching aliens through space, some of whom threatened to totally destroy the worlds of the Nine Star League.

Damia is the middle child of the Rowan and Jeff Raven. Her older brother and sister share a very tight bond, often completely excluding Damia from their games and life. So Damia gets into trouble, trying to entertain herself. And on a moon base, living inside a bubble, that can become dangerous. She loves to play with the animals, the Coonies (cats) and they love being with her. She also loves to play inside the escape pods, something that is not allowed. Being highly talented, she learns early on how to shield herself from those watching, and she soon finds out how to open a door.
When she almost dies during one of her adventures, there is no other choice but to send her and her brother and sister to Deneb, to their grandmother and lots of cousins to play with and a whole planet to roam on. The Rowan is devastated by the near loss of her child, but almost more so that she cried for Afra, and not her mother. And her new pregnancy is not easy on her as well. When Damia finally gets her little brother, she keeps in touch with him over the vastness of space, and Lariad loves the sister he has never seen with all his little heart. So when he finally gets to Deneb as well, there is this great bond between them already, and finally Damia is no longer so lonely.

Deneb is a newly colonized world, and some people really dislike Talents, although they are very much needed to settle the worlds. How else could they travel the fast distances in space in a matter of seconds instead of many light years, and stay in touch with the other worlds. And with the arrival of her Talented grand children, Isthia Raven finally gets one of her dreams to come true, a school for Talented children. She herself and her family are all self taught, and her full potential was never measured. She wants more for her family than that, she wants them to have a successful career and to be an asset to her planet.

After an accident on Earth, Damia is send to another planet, the mining planet Auriagae, to become their new Prime. She needs to shift huge carriers of ore to the other planets, and the high grade quality of the ore is wanted everywhere in the League of Planets.
Damia loves to relax in a small capsule out of orbit, listening for danger. Auriagae can’t afford the early warning system that is installed just yet, so she is their first line of defense. So when she does make contact, she is ecstatic. She is so sure that she has found her soul mate, but Afra and her family are afraid for her. Why is she so drained by the contact? And why doesn’t he tell her anything about his own system? So when they merge with her, and find out the truth about this invader, they have to destroy him. But not without casualties. Lariad, as the focus of the mind merge, dies, and both Afra and Damia are severely burned out. They need time to heal their minds. But one good thing has come from it all, Damia finally knows that Afra is her mate, and they become bonded, like her mother and Jeff Raven all those years ago.

And when they are mostly healed, they make another contact with aliens ...

I so love this series, I have read it often, and I am never bored or skipping pages. I really feel for Damia, who is so alone as a little girl, and so clever and creative. She has a great feeling for animals, and they all love her. Being such a powerful Talent, life is not easy for her.
Afra has always loved her, since the day she was born, but he has kept his distance. She had to realize it herself, and live her own life. Even though it was often hard on him, now that she finally opened her eyes, it was worth it.
The book is divided into parts of Damia’s life, with of course things that happen to the other main characters and their worlds told as well. Jeff Raven is Earth Prime now, running FT & T. He commutes between Callisto Moon, where the Rowan (his wife) is the Prime, and earth. For powerful telekinetics like they are, that is an easy thing to do. Book 3 review will be posted soon.

8 stars.

Love this bookAutobuy author

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 29 december 2014

Gail Carriger - Heartless

The fourth book in the Alexia Tarabotti series, published July 1, 2011.
Genre: steampunk
Cover: nice
Re-read for the second time.


Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.
Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?

After months of assassination attempts on Lady Alexia Maccon’s life, she is astonished at the solution to the problem presented her by her husband, Professor Lyall and Lord Akeldama. She has to give up her baby for adoption to Lord Akeldama, which will stop the vampire attacks on her? Her husband explains that both BUR and the pack of which he is Alpha, are stretched thin, keeping her protected. And by giving her child in the care of Lord Akeldama, the vampires will cease. Alexia is stunned. She may be soulless, but she is certainly not heartless! But pragmatic as she is, she sees the merit of the idea. So she agrees, on a few conditions. They are to move next door of Lord Akeldama, but Lord and Lady Maccon will secretly reside with Lord Akeldama as well. Alexia will not be separated from her child if she can help it!
And so it starts. Lord Akeldama does not only have to convert one of his wardrobe closets into a nursery, he will have to give another up as a bedroom for Alexia and Conall. Everything is settled, when miss Felicia Loontwill, Alexia’s half-sister appears. She wants to come live with Alexia again, as she has joined a suffragette organisation, and her mother is not pleased with that. Very reluctantly, Alexia agrees. She has not yet forgiven her sister for telling her personal secrets to the tabloids in the third book. Her sister is always complaining, and downtalking to Alexia, and now she wants to live with a werewolf pack?

And then a ghost, with little sanity left, is warning Alexia of a murder plot against the Queen! All the investigations BUR is doing, lead to nothing, so it is up to Alexia herself to find out the truth. Even if she is 8 months pregnant and Conall wants to keep her locked up in their room. Soon Alexia finds clues to the past, when Conall’s previous pack tried to poison the Queen, and Conall left them to come to London. Conall doesn’t want her to investigate, the past is best left behind and forgotten. But Alexia is determined. It is her job as the mujah to find out the truth and to protect the Queen. Everyone is busy, and there is no option left but the send her best friend Ivy back to Scotland for more information from Lady Kildair.

In the meanwhile, Genevieve Lefoux is acting strange, and appears to be exhausted. Her aunt is very close to dying for the second time, and it is heartbreaking to witness that. But what is she working on?

And Biffy, the latest werewolf, is not doing well. He cannot get used to being a werewolf, he is still in love with Lord Akeldama. He is fighting the change, which makes it worse for him, and more susceptible to the moon. Nothing Conall is doing seems to help much.

This fourth book in the series is very fast paced, a lot happens. Alexia never seems to have a moment of rest in it. But I loved it. Could not stop reading, I just had to know what happened on the next page, and the next. And the ending, brilliant.
Alexia is a really formidable character. Inseparable from her trusty parasol and its many options. She also takes her job as muhjah very seriously, taking care of the supernaturals in England in her own manner. Even though it is difficult to go about, and she is constant hungry and tired, she doesn’t give in. Matters have to be solved, and today.
There was not so much Ivy in this book, which is a shame. She is such a surprising character. At first I thought her a typical ignorant miss, but there is a lot more to her than meets they eye, something Alexia is finding out as well.
After the previous book, I was hoping for more information on Floote, the butler/secretary, and Alexia’s late father’s valet. Instead, we got some info about Professor Lyall, that really surprised me.

Again, there was not a predictable moment in the book. I love Gail Carriger’s writing style, her vibrant descriptions of all the steampunk gadgets and machinery, and her very original take on vampires and werewolves.

Is there an: “I hate Felicity” club? I want to join it. Such a vicious, opportunistic young lady. But at least, she gets locked up in the cellar in the end. I kind of hope she will be forgotten for a while …

9,5 stars

Autobuy authorLove this book

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 27 december 2014

Anne McCaffrey – The Rowan

The first book in the Tower and Hive series, published September 19, 1991.
Genre: fantasy romance / sci fi romance
Cover: love it, I’ve always wanted to look like that.

The Rowan

The Talents were the elite of the Nine Star League. Their gifts were many and varied, ranging from the gently telepathic, to the rare and extremely valued Primes. On the Primes rested the entire economic wealth and communications systems of the civilised worlds. But Primes were scarce – only very rarely was a new one born.
And now, on the planet Altair, in a small mining colony on the western mountain range, a new Prime existed, a three year old girl – trapped in a giant mud slide, that wiped out the rest of the Rowan mining community. Every Altairian who was even mildly talented could “hear” the child crying for help, but no one knew exactly where she was buried.
Every resource on the planet was centered into finding “The Rowan” – the new Prime, the first ever to be born on Altair, an exceptionally unique Prime, more talented, more powerful, more agoraphobic, more lonely, than any other Prime yet known in the Nine Star League.
The Rowan, a new concept, a new legend, from the creator of the Dragons of Pern.

When The Rowan was three years old, she lost her family in a mudslide. She was only spared because her mother had left her in the hopper, while she ran through the rain to get some groceries inside. It had been raining for weeks, and no one knew, the mud avalanche was building. Not one precog had foreseen it. The whole planet heard her mental cries for days, until she was found.
As a Ward of Altair, and a very powerfully Gifted child, The Rowan (named after the mining community she was born in, as she could not remember her given name), should be in the care of Altair’s Prime, Siglen. But Siglen didn’t care much for children, and Lusena, who got the care of The Rowan, kept making excuses for letting her stay with her and her children for as long as possible. But at the age of twelve, The Rowan had to go live with Siglen, to be trained as a Prime, in the responsibilities of operating a Tower. Every major planet in the Nine Star League has a Tower, and a Prime, or perhaps a pair of T2’s, to take care of business. Sending cargo, messages, freighters and passenger ships from one planet to the other, by means of telekinesis, and with the help of mighty generators. They are the most important assets a planet has. Of course they earn a lot of money, but the responsibility and work ethic is drilled in them from a young age. The work is hard, and there is no one else who can take it over, so they don’t have a lot of free time themselves.

The Rowan is lonely, totally without a family of her own, except for Lusena, and Geraloman, who takes care of the generators in the Tower. And her special pukha, named Purza. An upgrade to a normal stuffed animal, a being programmed to offer comfort and reassurance to a lonely child. But there are no children to play with, or time to be a child.
Earth Prime Reidinger has concocted a scheme to bring her in contact with other Talented children, out of whom she someday has to form her own Tower personnel. At first Rowan tries to blend in, but she soon discovers that as she is the Prime, her word is law. They will have to listen to her, and respect her. Some she likes, some not, but none of them is becoming anything close to a friend.

When Rowan looses her Purza thanks to a jealous cousin of Lusena, she is inconsolable. Siglen is unfeeling about it, she should have been weaned from that toy a long time ago! But thanks to Geraloman, Rowan gets a barquecat cub, which is a huge honor, as they normally only live aboard spaceships. They are better and faster then the humans in finding minute leaks and fissures in the ship hull and conduits.

When The Rowan has turned 18, Earth Prime Reidinger (who is a distant grandson of the original Peter Reidinger in the Pegasus books), assigns her her own Tower, on the moon Calisto. And there she lives and works hard for the next 10 years. Her agoraphobia is preventing her from travelling to Earth or any of the other planets in the league. This hurts, as all the other Talents, except the Primes, have no difficulty whatsoever with travelling through space.
Then someday, out of the blue, she gets contacted telepathically by a stranger, from the most recently colonised planet Deneb VIII, which is supposedly under attack by aliens! Jeff Raven needs help, and he wants her to alert Earth prime and send in the cavalry. But of course, military decisions are not made quickly, until Jeff deflects a few missiles to Earth, and they suddenly believe him. And so Deneb is saved for the moment, and Jeff Raven has come to Calisto to meet The Rowan, and thank her for her help. They have an instant connection, and know they are meant for each other. Due to the mindmeld with all the other Prime Talents in the Nine World League, they already know each other intimately, even though they are still strangers.

Of course Deneb has to pay heavily for the help they have gotten, and thanks to the weeks of biological attacks, and the fact that 2/5 of their population has been killed, they are virtually bankrupt. Jeff has been drafted by Earth Prime, but Deneb has not yet earned the privilege of their own Tower with a Prime. Will their relationship last, when The Rowan is unable to travel to her beloved?

I’ve read this series so often now, and I still highly enjoy it. Especially this book. And I absolutely adore that cover! Every time I read it, I stare at it for a few minutes.

The book is divided in parts, detailing a part of the life of The Rowan (Rowan for short). Her childhood and youth, her time on Calisto, the Deneb part, and of course, the last part ;)
You have to love and admire Rowan, she is such a great character, such a strong little girl to cope with everything that comes on her path. Her path is not easy, and often very lonely, until she meets Afra, a young Capellan boy who comes to work in her Tower. Afra also becomes her closest friend and confidant. But she is still lonely, longing for a soul mate.

If you like sci-fi with some romance thrown into it, with great characters, I heartily recommend this series. There is no need to read the Pegasus series first. Anne McCaffrey has a very distinct writing “voice”. Very descriptive, a great pace, the books are never boring, though sometimes a little too much techno talk for me to follow.

10 stars.

Autobuy authorLove this book

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

vrijdag 26 december 2014

Gail Carriger - Blameless

The third book in the Alexia Tarabotti series, published September 1, 2010.
Genre: steampunk
Cover: nice
Re-read for the second time.


Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season.
Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London's vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.
While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires -- and they're armed with pesto.

After the way her husband treated her in Scotland, Alexia has cleared out of Woolsey Castle, and moved back in with her “loving” family. Her family is not happy to have her living with them again. Her stepfather is ignoring her, as usual. Her mother is glad she is not eating that much anymore, but her stepsisters want her out of the house, as she is ruining their chances at marriage by being such a scandal. Her sister Felicity has finally let the cat out of the bag, it is all over the London papers that Alexia is pregnant, and that it cannot possibly be her husbands child, as he is a werewolf, and partly dead, or undead. Alexia decides to move out, and go to Lord Akeldama, who has invited her. But she finds the house empty, apparently they moved out in a big hurry? What has happened?
Losing the protection of the pack could not have been worse, as the vampires are determined to kill her. For being pregnant? Why? What will the nature of her Infant Inconvenience be? Will he be a preternatural like Alexia herself, or a werewolf like its father, or something else? Something bad?
Of course Alexia is used to being the target of a murder attempt, but this is getting ridiculous! Luckily she has her trusty parasol with her. Perhaps it would be better though, if she went to the continent to escape all the gossip and find out more about her own nature and that of her child. Madame Lefoux and Floote will accompany her, and Ivy, the new Mrs Tunstell, will take over the hatshop for Madame Lefoux while they are away, something Genevieve is dreading.

And so, through Paris and Nice they arrive in Italy, barely escaping some drones chasing and attacking them, to end up in the tender care of the Templars! From the frying pan into the fire, or not?
And all that time, Alexia is mad at Conall and almost crying about what happened. How can he believe those horrible things he has said to her? Doesn’t he know her character by now? Doesn’t he love her after all? She will find evidence though, and rub his nose in it, and make him grovel!

And back in England, Professor Lyall is left behind to hold the fort. His Alpha is useless, as he is doing his best to stay drunk. As a werewolf cannot get drunk on alcohol, he is using formaldehyde… So it is up to Professor Lyall to defend the pack against challengers, to look after BUR, and everything else. Where did Lord Akeldama go? What happened? What is the potentate up to?

A book I read in one evening (okay and part of the night) and I highly enjoyed it. The fantastic inventions used in this book are marvellous; I really am in awe of Gail Carriger’s imagination. She has a very fluent writing style, characters you just have to love (or hate) and such an engaging storyline, I just have to keep reading. Never could I predict what would happen next. The scientific explanations and theories are total gibberish to me, but do not detract from the story at all.
A book filled with werewolves and vampires and steampunk devices, and just a lot of fun and action. I love it, and recommend it if you have not yet read the series.

9 stars

Autobuy authorLove this book

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 25 december 2014

Recommendations and Christmas wishes from Karin for December 2014.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Karin from Austria.


I’ve read 6 books this month two anthologies and 3 novellas – admittedly that doesn’t sound like a lot and it isn’t. But still I managed to pick out a favourite this time. It’s

Light my Fire (Dragon Skin Series) by G.A. Aiken

 photo w335432_zps5845b7b3.jpg

It is followed by

Christmas Revels – one anthology I was writing about

 photo w558219_zpse8bb62e3.jpg

and Song for Sophia by Moriah Densley (a new author for me)

 photo w488566_zps7f421303.jpg

I know I have already talked about G.A. Aiken aka Shelley Laurenston but I want to reinforce once again how much I’m smitten with her books. The author uses some strong language, there is violence, battles and gore – and then there is the family life the dragons have carved out for themselves. This book is not suitable for beginning to read G.A. Aiken; what I liked most about it would only confuse readers who start the series with this book.
We hear a lot about how the families have developed, there is the author’s trademark snarky comments and humour and last not least there is the romance (sure it is an odd one). The main character is Celyn the Charming, the most curious and chatty dragon in the family. His heroine is Elina Shestakova of the Black Bear Riders of the Midnight Mountains of Despair in the Far Reaches of the Outerplains. She bears a long, long name (a running gag of course) but she doesn’t like talking too much.
The story carries on the last threads that Aiken has spun for her readers in the latest books.

I know this series is not for everyone – some might hate all the violence, the battling and perhaps the coarse language (now and then when the females of the family – or the males, come to think of it, converse with each other). Their life is a strange one. How could that not be when most of the males can change into dragons? But fact is that I look forward to each and every new book that this author publishes. And there is a new series on the horizon. The first book is going to be published in April and is called “The Unleashing”. So far, what I have read, it sounds promising!

Now I also want to draw your attention to Grace Draven once again. She has published some short stories (e.g. The Light Within) and an anthology with Elizabeth Hunter
she has an ongoing series on her website: “Radiance”.
(here is a: link/)
I highly recommend it now because she is about to publish the last chapter and an epilogue one of these days (so you don’t have to wait too long like I did). Boy, did I wait for the continuing of this story! I’m of course going to purchase it the moment I’m aware it’s published – it’s so good.
Are you curious? Well, catch a glimpse at her website, read a few paragraphs and I’m sure you’ll be ensnared.

With this being said I wish you all a Merry Christmas (or a Happy Holiday Season depending on what you believe and celebrate). And I wish you a wonderful, healthy year 2015 when you enjoy reading lots and lots of good books.

Aurian: Thanks for the recommendations and Christmas Wishes Karin! With both you and Freya loving G.A. Aiken and Grace Draven, I need to try Grace Draven soon. I know G.A. Aiken is not for me though I do love her Shelley Laurenston shifters.

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 24 december 2014

Anthology – Wolfsbane and Mistletoe

An anthology of stories edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L P Kelner, published October 7, 2008.
Genre: paranormal romance / urban fantasy / horror
Cover: nice

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe photo t6772_zps62d63564.jpg

The editors of Many Bloody Returns deliver the perfect howl-iday gift, with new tales from Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, and many more.
New York Times bestselling authors Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Keri Arthur, and Carrie Vaughn - along with eleven other masters of the genre - offer all-new stories on werewolves and the holidays, a fresh variation on the concept that worked so well with birthdays and vampires in Many Bloody Returns.
The holidays can bring out the beast in anyone. They are particularly hard for lycanthropes. Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner have harvested the scariest, funniest and saddest werewolf tales by an outstanding pack of authors, best read by the light of a full moon with a silver bullet close at hand.
Whether wolfing down a holiday feast (use your imagination) or craving some hair of the dog on New Year's morning, the werewolves in these frighteningly original stories will surprise, delight, amuse, and scare the pants off readers who love a little wolfsbane with their mistletoe.

Have you ever wished you could un-read a story? Or un-watch a movie? Well, in this anthology, there are a few stories I wish I had not read. To me, those are just sick and depraved and I will never read anything by those authors ever again. There are some nice stories in here as well though, mostly from ongoing series I haven’t even read yet. And the only one I have read before is Patricia Briggs – Star of David. I loved that story in her latest anthology Shifting Shadows.

Charlaine Harris – Gift Wrap

This is a short Sookie storie, featuring her faery grandfather, and although I don’t like the series, I did enjoy this short story.

Donna Andrews – The Haire of the Beast

A fun story about a woman scorned, who takes revenge. Enjoyed this one, and Donna’s writing style.

Simon R. Green - Lucy, at Christmastime

This story is one of the sick ones. Skip it.

Dana Cameron – The night things changed

I enjoyed this story, about vampires and werewolves created to fight evil and needing sun light to get energy and healing. About a vampire sister and werewolf brother, and a serial killer.

Kat Richardson – The werewolf before Christmas

If I hadn’t already read the first Greywalker book, I would never pick it up, as I did not like this story at all. But I have, and I will read the next one. Someday.

Alan Gordon – Fresh Meat

A story about a werewolf training dogs, and able to communicate while in werewolf form. Loved the dogs parts.

Carrie Vaughn – Il est nĂ©

Part of her ongoing Kitty series, which I still haven’t started. But I enjoyed this, were Kitty meets a new werewolf who doesn’t know anything about being a werewolf and can’t control his Wolf or his Change. They are afraid he is the serial killer the police are looking for, but they find the real one.
Makes me want to start this series,

Dana Stabenow – The perfect gift

Very strange tidbid of a story, feels like it is part of an other story or series perhaps. It was nice enough, but the background eludes me.

Keri Arthur – Christmas Past

A second chance at love werewolf story, and I enjoyed this one. Grovelling while fighting evil.

J.A. Konrath – SA

Totally dislike this one. A man turns into a werewolf without knowing it, and eats people. He finds out because of the strange items in his toilet. And then mixing it with a weird Santa story, nope. Really disliked it after the intriguing start.

Patricia Briggs – The Star of David

Loved this story, even for the second time.

Nancy Pickard – You’d better not pyout

Two Russian vampires figure out that Santa really is a very old Vampire himself, and want a piece of the action. They end up in Africa, where Santa is defeated by a werewolf raised by Wild Dogs who killed one of his reindeer the previous year.

Karen Chance – Rogue Elements

A story in the world of Cassie Palmer. I did enjoy this one. A halfbreed werewolf who can’t shift who is also a war mage, disliked by her boss, and forced on a case to find out about missing werewolf princesses.

Rob Thurman – Milk and Cookies

Another one I wish I did not read. It did start out good, about a bully and a boy who stands up to him. But the ending, no, I want to forget that. Skip it.

Toni L.P. Kelner – Keeping watch over his flock

This story I did like, a young teenager werewolf who has been rescued from foster homes, learns what it means to live in a pack. When disobeying his alpha, he manages to rescue a missing girl. He grows, and I liked that. I did not like the strange Christmas related way the first werewolf was created though.

I really can’t recommend this book. If you love Christmas, you won’t like some of this strange Christmas related werewolf and vampire and Santa stories. If you are a grinch, or if you really enjoy horror stories, you will enjoy this book. I know I will have some more nightmares in the near future about what I read.
So why didn’t I DNF some of those stories? Because the bad ones are so short, they were over before I thought about stopping with reading, and sometimes just the last few pages made the story bad.

So how to rate this one? Some I liked, only 1 I loved (but already knew), and some I really, really disliked or even hate.

4 stars out of 10.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 23 december 2014

Gail Carriger - Changeless

The second book in the Alexia Tarabotti series, published April 2, 2010.
Genre: steampunk
Cover: nice
Re-read for the second time.


Alexia Tarabotti, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears - leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.
But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can.
She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.

Another great book by Gail Carriger. Alexia and Lord Maccon, werewolf alpha of London, and head of BUR, an agency that keeps track of the supernatural population in England, are married. And Alexia has discovered she likes being married, and is even getting accustomed to seeing naked werewolves around, in wolf form and in human form. She also likes being the Mujah, one of the Queen’s supernatural advisors, and the voice of reason against the werewolf and vampire counsellors.

Just when Alexia wants to leave for her next meeting, there is a lot of commotion outside the castle. It appears as though a whole regiment is setting up its tents, and Alexia is informed that is customary, to welcome the soldiers and the werewolf soldiers back into the pack. Of course Alexia knew they were being deployed from India, but why do they have to squat on her front lawn? Also, she really dislikes their commanding officer, who mistakes her for a house keeper he can discipline. He is the back Gamma.

And something is not right in London. Her husband takes of without noticing her, only cryptically telling her, she will find out at the meeting. At which she is even later, as her good friend Ivy appears, telling her she has just gotten engaged to a Captain.
Alexia is appalled at what she finds out eventually. Something is causing all supernatural beings in a specific area in London to become human again and mortal! Something only she can do, and only if she touches that person. And now something is affecting a large area. Is it a disease? Some kind of new weapon invented by the scientists? The dewan and the potentate are not so easily convinced she herself has nothing to do with it. Queen Victoria asks her to investigate, she knows too well her realm needs the power of her werewolf soldiers and the cunning of her vampires to survive. Unfortunately, there is nothing to be done about the ghosts in the area, they have really gone on.

Surprise after surprise for Alexia, as she learns her husband has taken of for Scotland, where he apparently has another werewolf pack, which is not without its Alpha. He never did tell her much about his past. But as the curse seems to be travelling to Scotland as well, Alexia is determined to follow him. He will be mortal there, so she has to keep him safe and find out what is happening. She has always wanted to travel by dirigible, and this is her chance now the trains are out. Unfortunately, she gets some unwelcome company, in the form of her younger half sister, her friend Ivy, and the hatmaker/inventor she met the other night. Also her maid Angelique and her husbands valet are with her. And of course her new parasol with all its nifty gadgets. The journey is not without danger, as someone tries to poison Alexia, and even throw her out of the dirigible (some kind of zeppelin/airship).

Having finally arrived at Castle Kingair, they are not exactly welcome there. It happens to be Conall’s great great great granddaughter who is mistress there now, and she resents him for having left the pack without an alpha, and refusing to turn her into a werewolf. There is also no love lost between Conall and the pack’s beta. Still, they will have to find a resolution for the pack, and find out what is causing them all to be human. And of course, who is trying to kill Alexia, or is someone else the target all along?

A very action filled novel, which kept me reading and reading. The end is very disturbing, and I am so glad the next book in on my shelf. I will dive right into it. No, not going to spoil it for someone who has not read the books yet.

I really like Gail Carriger’s writing style and the unique characters she has created. Both the main and secondary ones. And then the interaction between Tunstall and Ivy, well that was melodramatic, but not unsuspected. And that sister of hers, I wish she would have fallen out of the dirigible. What a mean character. How Alexia can tolerate her, I have no idea.

A great second book in a unique series. I even have the illusion that I know how all the gadgets work in the steampunk scenes. A lovely mix of historical, mystery, paranormal and steampunk, I do recommend the series to anyone. Steampunk is not really my thing, I don’t like the Iron Duke for instance, which is highly loved by most everyone else. But this series, I do like. A lot.

9 stars.

Love this bookAutobuy author

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 21 december 2014

Rachel Caine – Ghost Town

The ninth book in the Morganville Vampires series, published November 1, 2010.
Genre: young adult urban fantasy
Cover: good

Ghost Town photo n349407_zpscfa509fe.jpg

When Claire is ordered to repair the systems that protect Morganville, it’s not just cutting into her study time, it’s a life-threatening problem. If there’s one thing this vampire-infested town is serious about, it’s security.
But achieving the impossible only brings a whole new set of problems, and the upgrades have unexpected consequences: people inside the town are slowly beginning to forget who they are, even the vampires. Soon, the town’s little memory problem has turned into a full-on epidemic. Now Claire needs to figure out a way to pull the plug on her experiment – before she forgets how to save Morganville...

Claire is working with Myrnin on repairing the computer that keeps the town safe from outsiders, and insiders unable to leave. Preferably without adding a human brain this time, especially as Myrnin seems to want to use hers...
She has managed to repair the portal system, but so far things going through end up being dust. Then one evening when her friend Eve is at a rave with a new friend, things are getting really bad. Vampires crash the party and start killing and be killed, and Eve and Shane cannot leave Eve in danger, and rush in to save her. In self defense, Claire kills a vampire, and the punishment for that is high. Especially as it was al instigated by a local college boy, who killed his Protector. Thinking that humans now can take over control of the town from the Vampires.
She will have to work on the computer non-stop, without sleep, for as long as she can keep awake. If she fails, it will be her brain that will be used after all. After many long days and nights of working, with only very short food and bathroom breaks, Claire manages it. But the system has flaws, and Myrnin won’t acknowledge that as he is living in the past again and doesn’t recognize her. The town is becoming dangerous again, Olivier challenges Amelie and wins, so what will happen to them?
Claire and her friends have to find a way to shut the machine down ...

I am still not much a fan of YA, but this series is just so good. I never know what will happen next, and the characters are truly unique. Some scary, some good and some stupid. But I like all the main characters, and of course love to hate the evil ones, like Monica.
And surprise, this book does not have an evil cliffhanger like many others. Of course, I still want to read the rest of the series, and hope to pick up book 10 soon.

8 stars.

Autobuy author

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 20 december 2014

New additions to my addiction

Stapel boeken

My 20th and new additions post for 2014. Here is a list book the new books I added to my collection in the past 10 days. It is really small, I had hoped more books would have arrived from Bookdepo by now.

From Bookdepository:
Larissa Ione - Pleasure Unbound

Secondhand books:
Clive Cussler – White Death
Susan Isaacs – Lily White
Tamar Myers – The glass is always greener

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 19 december 2014

Gail Carriger - Soulless

The first book in the Alexia Tarabotti series, published October 1, 2009.
Genre: steampunk
Cover: nice
Re-read for the second time.


Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Gail Carriger has created a wonderful world, set in Victorian times, but it is shared with vampires and werewolves, who are also welcome in Society. It is believed that the few humans who can be successfully turned into a werewolf or vampire, have an excess of soul. And all the humans who die shortly after the transformation, had just a normal soul, or just too little of it. Scientists have been trying to find out how exactly, and how to measure a persons soul. This is very important to both the vampires and werewolves, as they would like to expand their species. Very little females are transformable, so their role in both the vampire as the werewolf world is much more important than as a mere human woman.
And then there is that very rare soulless person. Alexia Tarabotti is one of those. When she was six years old, a nice man from BUR, the agency that registers and controls all the supernatural beings, told her she was preternatural, soulless, and what it signifies. It is not that she is undead or so, she just has to work on her personality, and sense of right and wrong. So she studied hard ever since, being interested in science, so unlike her mother, stepfather and two stepsisters. Her own father was soulless as well, and Italian, which gave her her dark complexion and big nose. But he died when she was very young, so he did not have the chance to teach her anything.

Being soulless means that she cancels out the supernatural powers that make a person vampire or werewolf. When she touches a vampire for instance, his fangs disappear, he cannot bite her, and his superstrenght diminishes as well. A werewolf would change back to being human. But only for the time she touches him.

Due to her looks, her mother found it not important for Alexia to have a formal coming out, so she has always been on the shelf. Not that she minds that very much, she has her fathers’ library, and her own pursuits. She prefers visiting the libraries instead of the balls she has to attend with her family. When the book starts, she is enjoying some tea she ordered from the butler. Normally a very rude thing to do, but there were no refreshments at all in the ballroom, and she does like her tea and foodstuffs.
Her solitude is interrupted though by a young vampire, who tries to bite her. When that doesn’t work he is confused, by keeps trying. Strangely enough, he seems not to know who or what she is. And Alexia knows that all the vampire hives have been informed about her existence. In the days of old, the preternatural hunted down the supernaturals, but that is a thing of the past. There are far too few preternatural beings left, as they don’t tend to get old.

When the vampire keeps attacking her, Alexia has no choice but to defend herself, for which she uses her beloved parasol, and a sharp wooden hairpin. She even accidentally kills him. And at that point some dandies discover her near a dead body, so she does the only reasonable thing left to her: she screams in horror and faints.
Then Lord Maccon, Alpha werewolf of London and surroundings, and head of BUR and his Beta, Professor Lyal enter the room, and Alexia has to tell what happened. Alexia and Lord Maccon have been rubbing each other the wrong way before, so Alexia is not very polite (which of course I like!). She wants to work for BUR as one of their agents, but as a young lady of the ton, that is just not done.
Where did this vampire came from? Malnourished, and without any manners or knowledge of the vampire world? All new vampires are registered, and there are even parties when someone is successfully transformed.

Alexia is also good friends with the rove vampire Lord Akeldama, a real dandy. This is not to the liking of Lord Maccon, who is developing feelings for Alexia. But treating her as an alpha female werewolf is not working, as she does not know the rules to being one. She definitely is an alpha female, but not a werewolf! Professor Lyal is very much amused by it all, and gives his alpha some tips. But can an alpha werewolf grovel?

I really like this book and series. The steampunk angle consists of little gadgets, which I loved. Like the ability to make tea inside a carriage. Or special glasses. Airships like balloons, but with more technology. It is certainly not taking over the story. And the horror, well, the part were the new vampires (and automatons) are “made” is not a happy place, but to name that horror is a matter of taste. I didn’t mind it, and I really hate anything scary.

I like Alexia. She is very outspoken, and knows what (and who) she wants. Her family is just a bunch of silly people, who are no match for her. Lord Maccon is also a great character. He has his hands full of her, but that is just what he likes.
One minor point was for me, how they kept harping that she is not pretty. Her skin is too tanned, her nose to big, her curves too round. No, she is not an English rose, but she has a great personality, and is very intelligent. This is much more important after all. But her family really cut down her self confidence by constantly mentioning it in one way or the other.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series again as well, as I enjoyed myself with this book. This is still a very original story.

9 stars.

Love this bookAutobuy author

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian