Tag Archive | vampires

Review: Lost Souls by Lisa Jackson

Series: New Orleans #5

lost souls -lisa jacksonNew York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson delivers her most harrowing novel yet as a young woman’s determined hunt for a serial killer draws her into a twisted psychopath’s unspeakable crimes.

Twenty-seven-year-old Kristi Bentz is lucky to be alive.

Not many people her age have nearly died twice at the hands of a serial killer, and lived to tell about it. Her dad, New Orleans detective, Rick Bentz, wants Kristi to stay in New Orleans and out of danger.

But if anything, Kristi’s experiences have made her even more fascinated by the mind of the serial killer.

She hasn’t given up her dream of being a true-crime writer–of exploring the darkest recesses of evil–and now she just may get her chance.


 

3.5 Drink Me Potions


Lost Souls wasn’t quite as freaky as Lisa Jackson’s previous novel in the New Orleans series. This might’ve been due to the whole vampire theme that was going on. I’m not shaming vampires. I frankly still read stories on occasion that feature vampires who are very real in their fantasy world, and I was a lover of many vampire novels in the past. But when it’s set in the real world of New Orleans, people who exsanguinate others for blood just didn’t sound as scary as other serial killer types.

That being said, this novel was still weird in its own way. I love that there’s always different clues and red herrings that get pointed in our way to make it harder to easily predict the killer. The POV coming from the killer didn’t make it much easier to help narrow down the pool of suspects. I enjoyed the thought Jackson put into crafting the plot, but at times, it was just a bit slow and long to read. I felt the killer had more “screen” time than most other crime novels do, although I’m not necessarily complaining about that. I’m mostly satisfied with how it turned out and who the culprit was.

What I felt lagged a bit was the reconnection between Kristi and Jay. I liked that there was already a spark there, but it didn’t feel like it rekindled naturally. I also don’t love Kristi. Since the last novel, I already figured that she wasn’t one to listen to anyone, let alone her own survival instincts until it was too late and she’s just screaming for help and praying that someone would intervene in time. There’s no sense of safety and precaution in this girl! You’d think after at least 2 attempts on her life from SERIAL KILLERS, she’d at least be more careful when tracking down another. It’s like she doesn’t experience PTSD or learn anything from not one, but TWO, horrible dealings with killers. And I hated that she was able to persuade Jay to let her do things her way (aka not going to the police when they had some evidence of sorts ’cause she was afraid of what her daddy would do *eye rolls*) or by plainly lying by omission to Jay so he wouldn’t know what harebrained plan she had hatched up and wanted to try – without thinking the consequences through of course.

All in all, Lost Souls wasn’t bad as I’m not adverse to the whole vampirism trope that was happening here, but the personal relationships and the main character could annoy some people.

Review: Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Series: Vampire Academy #2

frostbite -richelle meadWHEN LOVE AND JEALOUSY COLLIDE ON THE SLOPES, WINTER BREAK TURNS DEADLY…

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

Rose has serious guy trouble. Her gorgeous tutor, Dimitri, has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason has a huge crush on her, and she keeps getting stuck in her best friend Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian.

Then a nearby Strigoi attack puts St. Vladimir’s on high alert, and the Academy whisks its students away on a mandatory holiday ski trip. But the glittering winter landscape and posh Idaho resort only provide the illusion of safety. When three students run away to strike back against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. Only this time, Rose – and her heart – are in more danger than she ever could have imagined…


3.5 Drink Me Potions


I’ll be honest. Having read the spin-off series Bloodlines first originally didn’t seem so bad. Until I realized that it spoiled the biggest twists of nearly all the Vampire Academy books. By then, of course, it was too late.

So upon entering Frostbite, I knew what the “surprise”/climax was going to be. That’s why it’s taken me this long to read the sequel even though its predecessor had definitely intrigued me.

With this thought in mind, for me to still give it a high enough rating when there was no surprise tells you how much I appreciate Richelle Mead’s writing. Rose is a delightfully strong and whole character. She knows who she is and she’s definitely not some damsel in distress. She’s the freaking knight in shining armor. In a smaller size and with greater hair, that is. I find her recklessness sometimes way too much for my own taste, but at least she’s distinctly someone I’ve never come across too often in YA novels. I guess I’m saying that she’s discernible in a world full of young, female teenage protagonists. Definitely refreshing.

As for the story, I didn’t find the pace too slow. It wasn’t fast, but the tidbits of suspense relating to the evil vampires (aka Strigoi) held my interest where other areas may not have. This book also revealed more about the special elemental magic known as ‘spirit’ in which Rose’s bestie Lissa had. Once again, not much of a surprise for me but I guess it was nice to see how the information slowly unravelled. I will say that one character I adore made an appearance here, although I’m not happy for what the near future holds for that person.

For a book that’s part of such a long series, it’s hard to rate them high as they are just one tiny part of the whole. I will say that a 3.5 is rather good for such a book, especially with the spoiled surprises included in the picture. There was not a lot of romance going on with Dimitri in this one, so romance people? Don’t get your hopes up. But then again, that’s one thing I love about it. Not everything has to be on just the romantic aspect to make it a good read.

Overall Recommendation:
Although Frostbite was ruined for me by reading the spin-off series first, it was still a fun and enjoyable read. More suspense is created from Strigoi attacks on Moroi vampires, leaving the world of vampires shaken. Rose is still her amazing self, bouncing between fighting and flirting. Even with a mild pacing, the unveiling of new details in this imaginative world of vampires and magic will be more than enough to keep you reading. It was the only thing that did it for me, and I already knew the twists! So for someone who hasn’t figured out the ending already, I’d say it may be even better for you.

Review: Eternal by Kristi Cook

Series: Haven #3

eternal -kristi cookTrue love and destiny collide in the conclusion to the Haven trilogy, which Booklist called “a blend of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, the Twilight saga, and Lois Duncan’s thrillers.”

Forced to endure the violent punishment of the Tribunal for murders he has no recollection of committing, Aidan is slowly rotting away in a Paris dungeon. Violet is all but an unreachable dream to him now.

But unlike Aidan, Violet has not given up hope as she works tirelessly with Matthew, her guardian and protector, to prove Aidan’s innocence and unravel the haunting vision that plagues her thoughts—the death of someone closest to her.

Determined to set Aidan free, Violet discovers that a dangerous vampire war is brewing—and that Aidan may be at the center of it all. It’s only when the war reaches the doors of Winterhaven and tragedy strikes the school that Violet has to finally accept her fate. But that could mean losing Aidan—forever.

With no other option, Violet must choose between true love and fulfilling her destiny…unless she can find a way to have them both.


3.5 Drink Me Potions


It was what I expected, and totally not, at the same time.

Cons?
Eternal made a decent conclusion to the Haven trilogy. And I do mean just decent. The story picked up where its predecessor, Mirage, left off, with Aidan missing somewhere with the Tribunal. How Violet works to get him back really wasn’t…all that exciting. It didn’t even really feel like she had to do anything, as it was the circumstances that dictated his return into her life. So there went one major plot twist that held a lot of potential.

There was also the threat of some vampire war, and the hinted importance that Aidan might play in that (thus making it also Violet and the rest of her Winterhaven Warrior gang’s business). That sounded potentially great and full of action, right? It’s WAR, after all. Violence apparently equates to excitement factor according to all the action movies out there. Was it, though? Guess I was wrong at that too. It really didn’t build up very well, and the actual process that dealt directly with the war was maybe 40 pages maximum? Couldn’t a 400+ page book at least make the “war” plotline a little longer? It definitely had me on the edge of my seat while it lasted.

And her visions? The ones that potentially held possible death for some of her loved ones? Some of them never really come to pass or even remotely come close to happening because of her precautions. Makes the vision seem anticlimactic doesn’t it?

BUT, I’m not gonna continue to semi-rant the rest of this review. It was NOT all bad.

Pros?
The majority of the novel did focus on the impossibility of Aidan having a future with Violet, and his ever-present quest for the cure to his vampirism. There was also that new aspect of Violet finding her male counterpart and protector, her Megved, Matthew. Aka Dr. “Hottie” Byrne. That was intriguing indeed.

Why, you may ask? It says he’s supposed to be his Sabbat’s mate in every way?

Although it may sound like the potential for a horrible love triangle at the end of the series, it never does come to that. And weirdly enough, although I have a horrible annoyance/disgust towards these romantic entanglements, I felt quite badly for Matthew. He had a girlfriend, or I supposed was a girlfriend, until he found Violet and now he was dedicated to her and her only. Too bad, old girlfriend. The Sabbat comes first. And it was obvious that he cared for her, possibly in a romantic way (which isn’t creepy ’cause he’s a teacher….well, not too creepy. Come on, he was a hot YOUNG teacher, right?) But he never pursued anything, letting Violet be with Aidan although I’m assuming that went against all HIS early teachings as a Megved. I oddly found myself wishing there was some way he’d get a happy ending of his own somehow.

Let us just pause for a sec and really think of what a great guy Matthew seems to be.

Okay, now that’s out of the way, I really did enjoy Matthew and Violet’s dynamic. They made a great fighting pair when it came to vampire slaying. Even if Violet only felt a strong brotherly love towards Matthew, they too had some understanding and psychic connection that was unlike any other relationship she could have, even the one with Aidan. I think it was great seeing this other kind of relationship at this point in time of the story.

Her friends made a bigger impact in this story comparatively to Mirage. And unlike some novels, not everyone gets a happy ending. I can’t say I was surprised about certain twists of fate that occurred (mostly because I saw a review that ruined the surprise), but I was actually glad to see Cook adding this element. Because visions can’t always be prevented, even with forewarning. This just adds layers to Violet’s character having to deal with possible failure.

One thing I do wish was that the ending answered a few more questions. For example, for the life of me, I felt Tyler’s introduction in the last book as rather…suspicious? Maybe that’s not the right word, ’cause I do like him, but I always thought there had to be some ulterior motive for his presence and joining the gang’s efforts in helping Aidan. Did Cook ever answer that? No. Still waiting here. Am thinking I’ll be left hanging. And what the heck was Dr. Blackwell’s plan in the first place way back in Haven?

All in all, the ending was definitely the highlight of the story for me, maybe even in the series. It was possibly the best way it could’ve concluded, in my opinion. Sure, most of the story wasn’t terribly exciting, but this nearly redeemed all of that. For all the lack of action, Cook did do a good job of creating her characters and the dynamics between everyone in the group. They really were like an eclectic family. A family that by the end of it, felt like I wished I had a group of people like that myself. I’d say that’s a job well done in my books for characterization.

Overall Recommendation:
Although it lacked the ability to expand potentially exciting plot elements set up from the previous novels, Eternal did do an amazing job at continually making the friendship dynamics between Violet and the rest of her gang of friends at Winterhaven really believable and enjoyable. They tackled every problem together. With the added element of discovering she had a protector and vampire slayer partner in Dr. Byrne, all while Aidan was either AWOL or irritated with finding his cure against the ticking deadline till graduation, things definitely heated up in the romance department. The series’ ending made it worth the slow pace, and for the most part, wrapped it up in the most heartfelt way possible that left me touched at the depth love goes.