Saturday, September 28, 2013

Shadow Kin by M.J. Scott

Shadow Kin (The Half-Light City, #1)

I was born of a Fae mother, but I had no place among her kind. They called me soulless. An abomination. Perhaps they're right.... I am a wraith, a show who slips between worlds. I was given into the service of the Blood Lord Lucius, who raised me to be his most feared assassin. Still, I'm nothing more than a slave to my master and to the need that only h can fulfill....
Then Lucius orders me to kill Simon DuCaine, a powerful sunmage. In the blaze of Simon's magic, my own disappears. Instead of seeking revenge, he shows me mercy. He wants to free me. But that's one thing my master and his kind will never allow.
And even if I thought I could trust Simon, stepping from the shadows into the light isn't as simple as it sounds...

So I bought this book for two reasons, 1 I love the cover (I know, I know, never judge a book by its cover( and 2 it has a Patty Briggs endorsement, and I love me some Patty Briggs. So I bought the book, didn't read the back cover at all, and just dove in. In fact when I bought this book, I bought another 5 randomly chosen books from the same section in the book store, in hopes of finding some new others and going outside of my comfort zone of loved authors.

This book is one of the examples of why I should venture out more, because this book was such a good read. It took me about three days to work all the way through (and believe me if I didn't need to sleep, eat, or build a fence for my yard I would have finished it in one sitting). I love following along with a more "dark" character if you will, and Lily is definitely starting out on the darker side of things, although her existence is clearly a dark and tortured one. I love that Lily's darkness is balanced out by Simon's light, not just in the fact that he is a sunmage and she is a wraith, but rather that he is optimistic and works for good, and she is trapped in darkness in more than one way.

Lily is just such a tortured soul, she reminds me of one of those people who are told by their families that they are ugly and worthless, and then when they go out in the world and people tell them they are beautiful and worthy, they just can't accept it. Of course Lily's situation is much worse than this, but just as heartbreaking. Simon as a character is just great, I think I love him. He's strong, but kind. He has a heart like no other, but as the story goes on you realize he has some dark spots in his past, some demons of his own to contend with. It makes him all the better of a character. And the two of them together are just fantastic.

The plot itself was good, and enjoyable, and I liked seeing the world that Scott created. Sure it is vampire/mages/beast lore, but she uses interesting words to describe it, and paints this great old timey kind of picture. She really transports you into a completely different world, and it felt fresh, which I love.

The only thing I don't like about this series is that it appears (after reading this book and clamoring for more information about the authors upcoming books) that the series itself follows a different couple in each book, as a lot of PNR books do. I will read the authors others books because I love her writing, but I do wish I could follow Lily and Simon some more, because as characters they are just fantastic. I would recommend this book to just about anyone who like the UF and PNR genres.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Blood Law by Jeannie Holmes

Blood Law (Alexandra Sabian, #1)

A provocative and savvy vampire, Alexandra Sabian moves to the sleepy hamlet of Jefferson, Mississippi--population 6,000, nearly half vampires--to escape the demons lurking in her past. As an enforcer for the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations (FBPI). Alex must maintain the uneasy peace between her kind and humans, including Jefferson's bigoted sheriff, who'd be happy to see all vampires banished from town. Then really dead vamps start turning up--beheaded, crucified, and defanged, the same gruesome manner in which Alex's father was murdered decades ago. For Alex, the professional has become way to personal. 
Things get even more complicated when the FBPI sends in some unnervingly sexy backup: Alex's onetime mentor, lover, and fiance, Varik Baudelaire. Still stinging from the betrayal that ended their short-lived engagement. Alex is determined not to give in to the temptation that soon threatens to short-circuit her investigation. But as the vamp body count grows and the public panic level rises, Varik may be Alex's only hope to stop a relentless killer who's got his own score to settle and his own bloody past to put right. 

First and foremost, I really enjoyed the book. I thought that it was kind of a great mix of bring procedural, cop type events, into a paranormal setting. I know a lot of UF books do the kind of PI thing, or the main character works for some kind of paranormal government agencies patrolling fellow paranormals, but this book just worked for me, and it didn't feel like it was copying anything else. 

First off, I loved the characters. I loved all of them. I liked the good guys, I liked the bad guys, and I liked the people who fell somewhere in between. I really liked the fact that the author uses more than one POV and did so convincingly. I have a lot of respect for an author who can put themselves into the POV of so many different people all while being convincing as all those people. When I read the bad guy POV I really felt like I was getting into the mind of real deal, it was so convincing. And when we switched back into a different point of view I was just as convinced. 

I think another element that enjoyed about the book was the bigoted aspect, there was a huge line between the vampires and what can only be described as humans in a hate group. It's hard to read about hateful people sometimes, it can be such an intense and sometimes uncomfortable things to experience, even through a book. But I think the author did a good job balancing the hate aspects of it with other character driven events, romance, suspense, etc. 

Speaking of romance, I loved Alex and Varik. They have a lot of history, a lot of history. And it's hard to really tell you guys anything about the two of them without giving anything away. As the book progresses you get more and more information about the two of them, and you get to see them interact with each other, and it's such a good reader experience watching the two of them evolve throughout. So I won't ruin anything for anyone, except to say that I really enjoyed reading them. 

Overall, I highly recommend this book. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series, which is already out. I wish there was going to be a third book, but it seems like that isn't going to happen through the traditional publisher, so I can only encourage Jeannie to self-publish the third book on her own, because I would love to read it. I think anyone who enjoys UF should read this book as soon as possible.