Wednesday, June 29, 2011

YA Review: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Review: Glass Houses
Series: Morganville Vampires – Book 1
Author: Rachel Caine
No of Pages: 239
Release Date: 3 October 2006


It’s a small college town filled with quirky characters. But when the sun goes down, the bad comes out. Because in Morganville, there is an evil that lurks in the darkest shadows – one that will spill out into the bright light of day.

Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. The popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks on the school’s social scene: somewhere less than zero. And Claire really doesn’t have the right connections – to the undead who run the town.

When Claire heads off campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don’t show many signs of life. But they’ll have Claire’s back when the town’s deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood...

My Thoughts:

I had high hopes for Glass Houses, but it didn’t really live up to my expectations.

Claire is a nerd, she’s sixteen and already in college. She moves to Morganville which is the closest college she is willing to go to that’s near her home, because she also wants to escape her parents, but what teen doesn’t?

When she gets to Morganville though Claire is faced with more than just being top of the class; extreme bullying, violent abuse and vampires are added to her list of worries. Claire can never seem to catch a break. One thing after another after another seems to be going on and it’s only until she moves into the Glass House that she finally is able to make a few friends that things can start to mildly resemble normality.

Claire for me wasn’t very interesting. Trouble follows her everywhere she goes it seems and at the start I felt sorry for her but it got old really quickly to the point where I was thinking “not again”. Caine wrote some cringe worthy stuff when it came to the extent of the bullying Claire faced at the hands of the cheerleaders.

Eve was probably my favourite character in the entire novel, purely because she was the rocker chick that didn’t want anyone to know she cared. She is the epitome of cool because she has a heart to go with her smarts.

Glass Houses also introduces us to some traditional vampires, and by traditional I mean blood-sucking, evil, human controlling fiends. These vampires are very similar to the mafia, expecting protection money so the humans can feel safe.

What detracted from Glass Houses for me was the intense bullying situation. Claire was nearly set on fire in the back of a van at one stage and no one does anything! A few school girls held her down as someone held a lighter to her clothes. Who does that? What kind of people are these? It was infuriating for me to visualise not because of the situation, but what kind of teenage girls would set someone on fire and not face any repercussions? What was the response to this atrocious act? That Claire needs to stay out of her way. She was pushed down a flight of stairs and laughed at, not helped because of the fear of this teenage girl. Even her over-protective parents who came rushing to see her when she didn’t answer their phone call just dismissed it.

For me Monica had too much power. It was more than just Queen Bee she was getting away with things that are illegal. Beating people is illegal, soliciting hit-men is illegal, ordering policemen to shoot people is illegal, and arson is illegal. Not just mean, but against the law and she was just getting away with it. It was unrealistic and it annoyed me that it was the only thing interesting about this book but also the most far-fetched.

I think I will continue this series, just to see where it goes and to find out what happens after the major cliff-hanger at the end, but I am not going in with high-hopes.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Top Review: June 2011 Adult - Jackie from My Ever Expanding Library

Congratulations go to Jackie at My Ever Expanding Library for being this months adult Top Reviewer.
 Check out her blog here and show your support.

235 x 159mm
320 pages
ISBN 9780441018642
04 May 2010
Ace trade paper
18 - AND UP

After enduring torture and the loss of loved ones during the brief but deadly Faery War, Sookie Stackhouse is hurt and she's angry. Just about the only bright spot in her life is the love she thinks she feels for vampire Eric Northman. But he's under scrutiny by the new Vampire King because of their relationship. And as the political implications of the Shifters coming out are beginning to be felt, Sookie's connection to the Shreveport pack draws her into the debate. Worst of all, though the door to Faery has been closed, there are still some Fae on the human side-and one of them is angry at Sookie. Very, very angry...

So, I was trying to figure out ways to do this review without having spoilers, but as you can see from the publisher's synopsis above...well, the biggest one for me is already in it.

I read Dead Until Dark last year but was trying to pace my reading with my viewing of the HBO series TrueBlood (though I haven't gotten to Living Dead in Dallas yet.) There seems to be a fairly close correlation between the two yet enough differences that I, personally, wouldn't give up on either one.

My first impression of Dead in the Family was that it seemed to be a much larger book than any of the previous ones. As I started reading it, I found after about 30+ pages, a page entitled "Chapter 1", so I scratched my head, thinking "What?" and flipped back through to see if I'd missed something. Nope, didn't say "Prologue" or anything like that, it just mentioned a general date time frame. Once I caught on to this I realized it was just a bridge of sorts between the last book to this one. Sookie was needing some recovery time, but this format also served as a way for the reader who hadn't read the previous book (like myself) to catch up to speed.

What I love about this series is that there is a languid quality to Harris' writing that you feel totally invested in the Bon Temps/Louisiana laid back lifestyle. But it has such a sensual feel also, that you are completely engrossed and really don't want to put the book down, even when Sookie's performing mundane tasks.The chemistry between Sookie and Eric is fantastic (I'm totally team Eric, lol) and their moments together are definitely enough to leave a girl weak in the knees!

Harris maintains such an intricate world of vampires, weres and other "two-natured" types, including their hierarchies and politics, that I'm in awe she keeps it all straight and can clearly bring her ideas across to the reader fluidly. She also builds in other previous storylines without making them tedious in the process. I very much enjoy when she brings a figure from history as someone that's been turned (ie. "Bubba" from previous books). This time, the new name involved had me thinking..."geez, that sounds so familiar?!" As the story of this person was explained, I was impressed with how the author handled it while tossing in a little history lesson (this has always been a story that I found beautiful yet sad and ultimately tragic.)

I really can't say enough about Charlaine Harris' wonderful characters, settings, writing style, etc. They are light reads, really, but at the same time offer some depth in emotion, history, and Southern waitressing. Dead in the Family is another winning offering in the Sookie Stackhouse series and if you haven't started reading these books, summer is the perfect time to work on it. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!

June YA Read: ANY book from the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Cain

Once again you have the choice of any book you like from the Morganville Vampires series.

For June's YA read feel free to read and review ANY book from the series.

Review Deadline: 30th June 2011

(Don't forget to add a BWB banner somewhere in the review to be considered for the Top Reviewer)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June Adult Read: ANY book from the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris

So we've all heard of it, and quite a few of us have seen the TV show (True Blood) the series of course is the Sookie Stackhouse series or alternatively the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris.

Have you read all of the books yet? Need to catch up? Well here's your chance.

For June's Adult read feel free to read and review ANY book from the series.

Review Deadline: 15th June 2011

(Don't forget to add a BWB banner somewhere in the review to be considered for the Top Reviewer)

Leave a link to your review in the comments and I will add it to the page.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Adult Review: Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

Review: Dead to the World
Series: Sookie Stackhouse – Book 4
Author: Charlaine Harris
No of Pages: 321
Release Date: 3 May 2005

Sookie Stackhouse is a cocktail waitress in Bon Temps, Louisiana. She’s pretty. She does her job well. But she has only a few close friends, because not everyone appreciates Sookie’s gift: she can read minds. That’s not exactly every man's idea of date bait - unless they’re undead; vampires and the like can be tough to read. And that’s just the kind of guy Sookie’s been looking for. Maybe that’s why, when she comes across a naked vampire on the way home from work, she doesn’t just drive on by. He hasn’t got a clue who he is, but Sookie has: Eric looks just as scary and sexy – and dead – as the day she met him. But now he has amnesia, he’s sweet, vulnerable, and in need of Sookie’s help – because whoever took his memory now wants his life.

Sookie’s investigation into what’s going on leads her into a battle between witches vampires and werewolves. But there could be even greater danger – to Sookie’s heart – because the kinder, gentler Eric is very hard to resist.

My Thoughts:

Another dive into the world of Sookie Stackhouse, and now that Bill is out of the way, it’s getting interesting.

Sookie once again is just getting better, taking Eric in after he suffers amnesia to help keep him safe to me is just so good for her and her growth in this society. Sookie still remembers her place in the supernatural society, but she also is starting to come into her own. Things aren’t quite as scary anymore and when Sookie finds out about witches actually existing she doesn’t freak out like she would have in earlier books.

Eric is just getting hotter as far as I’m concerned. Suffering from amnesia at the hands of the witches Eric has forgotten that he is a 1,000 year old Viking vampire that people bow to and cower in fear from as soon as he enters a room. Eric’s tender side in Dead to the World made me fall even more in love with him than before, because it proves that he’s not just an evil overlord, but that he may have a sliver of humanity left.

Eric is a little bit of an odd character for me, I don’t want him to be gentle; I want him to be hard hitting, evil and funny. But in Dead to the World, his tender side was just so perfect; it didn’t even seem like Eric. So although I missed witty Eric, I absolutely loved gentle Eric and although it fits him I can’t see the two sides of him ever reconciling into one being and if I had to choose it would definitely be evil Eric.

Alcide and his wolves also play a major part again in this book and with the addition of Alcide it once again adds more of a plot mover to the story.

I was so glad that Bill barely made an appearance in Dead to the World, as in Club Dead because I really don’t like him. Sookie doesn’t need the distraction that Bill causes and I am hoping that the series continues on this broader path of the extended set of characters.

Dead to the World also introduces witches, which for me wasn’t that big a deal. They seemed more like the hippy Wiccans rather than full blown cackling witches for most of the story. They made for an interesting dilemma for Sookie to deal with though.

Dead to the World was yet another excellent instalment in this fabulous series.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Vote for July's YA title

These are the selections for the July adult titles, all descriptions are from Goodreads. Feel free to vote using the side bars or the comments section below.

13 to Life by Shannon Delany

Everything about Jessie Gillmansen’s life changed when her mother died. Now even her hometown of Junction is changing.  Mysterious dark things are happening. All Jessie wants is to avoid more change. But showing a hot new guy around Junction High, she’s about to discover a whole new type of change. Pietr Rusakova is more than good looks and a fascinating accent—he’s a guy with a dangerous secret. And his very existence is sure to bring big trouble to Jessie’s small town.  It seems change is the one thing Jessie can’t avoid…


Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz 

When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America: Miles Standish; John Alden; Constance Hopkins. But some among the Pilgrims were not pure of heart; they were not escaping religious persecution. Indeed, they were not even human. They were vampires.The vampires assimilated quickly into the New World. Rising to levels of enormous power, wealth, and influence, they were the celebrated blue bloods of American society.

The Blue Bloods vowed that their immortal status would remain a closely guarded secret. And they kept that secret for centuries. But now, in New York City, the secret is seeping out. Schuyler Van Alen is a sophomore at a prestigious private school. She prefers baggy, vintage clothes instead of the Prada and pearls worn by her classmates, and she lives with her reclusive grandmother in a dilapated mansion. Schuyler is a loner...and happy that way. Suddenly, when she turns fifteen, there is a visible mosaic of blue veins on her arm. She starts to crave raw food and she is having flashbacks to ancient times. Then a popular girl from her school is found dead... drained of all her blood. Schuyler doesn't know what to think, but she wants to find out the secrets the Blue Bloods are keeping. But is she herself in danger?

Could those vampire legends really be true? Steeped in vampire lore and set against the glittery backdrop of New York City, Blue Bloods will be devoured by Melissa de la Cruz's legion fans.


Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

I slowly opened my eyes. The sun speared its first bright rays of golden orange into the sky and I leapt from the cliff, with the sorrowful knowledge that no matter what the outcome, at least part of me would die that day...

Violet Eden is dreading her seventeenth birthday dinner. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. The one bright spot is that Lincoln will be there. Sexy, mature and aloof, he is Violet’s idea of perfection. But why does he seem so reluctant to be anything more than a friend?

After he gives her the world’s most incredible kiss – and then abandons her on her front doorstep – Violet is determined to get some answers. But nothing could have prepared her for Lincoln’s explanation: he is Grigori – part angel and part human – and Violet is his eternal partner.

Without warning, Violet’s world is turned upside down. She never believed in God, let alone angels. But there’s no denying the strange changes in her body ... and her feelings for Lincoln. Suddenly, she can’t stand to be around him. Luckily, Phoenix, an exiled angel, has come into her life. He’s intense and enigmatic, but at least he never lied to her.

As Violet gets caught up in an ancient battle between dark and light, she must choose her path. The wrong choice could cost not only her life, but her eternity...


City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.


Bianca wants to escape.

She's been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.

Then she meets Lucas. He's not the "Evernight type" either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him.

"I couldn't stand it if they took it out on you," he tells Bianca, "and eventually they would."

But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Vote for July's Adult title

I hope everyone has been having a lovely June so far. Half way through the year already, but all is well when you have books!

So here are the selections for the July adult titles, all descriptions are from Goodreads. Feel free to vote using the side bars or the comments section below.

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Werewolves can be dangerous if you get in their way, but they'll leave you alone if you are careful. They are very good at hiding their natures from the human population, but I'm not human. I know them when I meet them, and they know me, too.

Mercy Thompson's sexy next-door neighbor is a werewolf.

She's tinkering with a VW bus at her mechanic shop that happens to belong to a vampire.

But then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly normal herself ... and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble.


Shadowfae by Erica Hayes

Steal souls.

Live in hell.

Never die.

In a city infested with psychotic fairies and run by sadistic vampire mafiosi, life as a soul-sucking succubus rarely involves lacy lingerie, hot guys or great sex.

Instead, Jade must spend her nights seducing gangsters and murderers, or simpering as a trophy girl for hell's minions.

So when she discovers a forbidden ritual that promises to break hell's thrall and set her free, she's got nothing to lose, even if it involves seducing the four most repellent souls in town.
But when you're cheating hell, there's always a catch...


Stray by Rachel Vincent 

There are only eight breeding female werecats left . . .
And I'm one of them. I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.
Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.
I'd been warned about Strays -- werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.
This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back . . . for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever -- and whoever -- I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays -- 'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them . . .

Touch the Dark by Karen Chance

In the hot-blooded vein of Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake saga and Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan series, Karen Chance's debut novel is a contemporary dark fantasy revolving around a gutsy female protagonist with supernatural abilities that blends mystery and romance with hair-raising horror.

Cassie Palmer, a powerful clairvoyant who works part-time at an Atlanta club reading Tarot cards, is finding it difficult to escape her past. Orphaned at a young age and brought up by the undead, Cassie has the ability to communicate with the spirit realm, and her powers were abused time and time again by a ruthless master vampire named Tony. It's been three years since Cassie -- a self-described "ghost magnet" -- has been free of the centuries-old bloodsucker, but now he's back and eager to reclaim his human possession. Forced to turn to the Senate (a group of "really old vamps" who make laws for the supernatural community) for protection, Cassie is thrown into a complex conflict where control of the entire supernatural world is at stake. Rasputin (yes, the Mad Monk himself), a power-hungry vampire, is killing off the Senate members one by one. Aided by some impressive allies -- including Dracula's older brother, Mircea -- Cassie must use everything in her paranormal arsenal to fight the encroaching evil -- and somehow stay alive

Fans of authors like Hamilton, Harrison, Kelley Armstrong, and Charlaine Harris will undoubtedly enjoy this fast-paced, blood-sucking romp through the supernatural underworld -- yet another noteworthy addition to the ever-growing subgenre of fantasy/romance/mystery hybrids. Paul Goat Allen

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman.

Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands….

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We're Back!

Blogs With Bite is back peeps.

A few things have changed but we're going back to basics.

Vote on the books you would most like to read. Read the books. Review the books. Post the review and link to BWB. Then we can all read each others reviews, discuss our perspectives and congradulate the top reviewer.

We do it twice a month, once for YA, once for Adult, and then we do it all over again the next month.

What do we get out of this you may ask? Exposure, new books, broadened horizons and some (hopefully) insightful discussions about what we're reading.

So this month, we don't have a single review book for YA and Adult because I haven't got all of your great suggestions yet (so please submit your review suggestions on the tab at the top of the page!). So I am letting you choose whichever book you like from the Sookie Stackhouse series and the Morganville Vampires series to read and review.

Remember that during any month, if you have previously read and reviewed the book, please feel free to post it in the comments section of that review page and I will add it to that list - no matter how old it is!

So please, feel free to vote, review and have fun!