Title: The Immortal Rules
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Blood of Eden #1
Release Date: April 24th 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Media Masters Publicity
Links: Amazon | Goodreads | TBD
Rating: 3.5 stars
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.
Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die
or become one of the monsters.
Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.
Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.
But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.
OMG, look! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s another review and giveaway for The Immortal Rules.
Sick of seeing this book everywhere yet? I hope not, because then you’d truly be missing out on something fangtastic.
Being the vampire fiend that I am, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit more critical of my vampire reads than any other genre I read. I can’t help it. It’s just the nature of the fang-girl in me.
So, upon discovering that Julie Kagawa, the same author who enchanted me to the wickedly awesome world of the Fae when I thought fairytales were lost on me, was next going to be releasing a vampire series, I squee’d in my pants. And when the ARC of The Immortal Rules arrived at my doorstep, the first thing I did was sink my imitation fangs into it.
The Immortal Rules is a perfect example of why I don’t like to give up on books. I have the hardest time DNF-ing books, and it’s because somewhere in the back of my mind, I have that endless hope that even if I don’t really like the beginning of the story, things will get better. And fortunately, most times it does, as was the case with Allison’s tale.
In a effort to not give too much away, and this is coming from the girl who loves spoilers but still refused to read a single review for this book so my reaction could be completely authentic (yes, that is how seriously I take my vampires), I’ll say the latter half of The Immortal Rules is where Kagawa truly shined, with her slow but extremely intense take on one girl’s journey to take the world. It pains me to admit this, but I had my doubts because the beginning half of the novel was predictable and, well, kind of boring.
Initially, my main problem was with Allison. Her TSTL moments piled up faster than I could bear. Plus, the one thing I’m always looking for in stories about vampires is that one unique quality that makes the author’s interpretation of my beloved bloodsuckers stand out from the norm. Yes, keep the fundamentals intact, but also give me something different, something exciting. Much to my dismay, everything about the way the vampires fed to the way they turn others into the undead was very standard and familiar in Kagawa’s novel, and I failed to identify one single quality that would brand her vampires to her.
Those first disappointing impressions aside, I was beyond thrilled when I discovered that the story found more solid footing almost from the start of Part III of the novel. Not surprisingly, this was also when the boy showed up. Yes, I’m that shallow, but come on! Who has the power to resist swoon worthy boys? And the turn in tone finally make me feel wholly invested in Allie and her plight. Now, I can’t wait to get more.
Maybe it’s wrong of me to do this, but I always judge a book by how easily or not it is for me to put it down. Does it erase time by capturing my attention from the start, or is it one that I could leave on my bedside table for a few days in between passages? I may have had a rocky start with The Immortal Rules, but ultimately, I was left breathless, desperately needing just one more shallow gulp of air in the form of another page to keep me until next year.
Thanks to Media Masters Publicity and Harlequin Teen I have a hardcover copy of The Immortal Rules to give away! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US and Canada mailing addresses only.
Vampire for Hire #1
Narrated by Dina Pearlman
Length: 5hrs & 29mins
Amazon | Audible
Mother, wife, private investigator…vampire. Six years ago federal agent Samantha Moon was the perfect wife and mother, your typical soccer mom with the minivan and suburban home. Then the unthinkable happens, an attack that changes her life forever. And forever is a very long time for a vampire.
Now the world at large thinks Samantha has developed a rare skin disease, a disease which forces her to quit her day job and stay out of the light of the sun. Now working the night shift as a private investigator, Samantha is hired by Kingsley Fulcrum to investigate the murder attempt on his life, a horrific scene captured on TV and seen around the country. But as the case unfolds, Samantha discovers Kingsley isn’t exactly what he appears to be; after all, there is a reason why he survived five shots to the head.
Thanks to Charley Davidson, I have a new addiction to and appreciation for P.I. stories. So, while browsing an Audible $4.95 sale a few weeks ago, I spotted Moon Dance and couldn’t resist adding it to my cart. And I’m glad I did!
I often tell myself that UF just isn’t for me because the genre doesn’t have enough romantic elements to satisfy me. Then I read a book like Moon Dance and I discover that just because a story is romance light doesn’t mean that it isn’t darn good!
But Samantha Moon’s story did more than prove me wrong, it also thoroughly entertained me. The biggest compliment I can think of to say about Sam is that though her story doesn’t really offer anything new about P.I.s or wives or mothers or even vampires, she’s the type of character you can’t help but admire. Sure, she was turned into a vampire against her will after a vicious attack, but she doesn’t spend a lot of time whining about it, like some characters I know. Instead, she does the best she can to march on. She asks questions and looks for answers. And since she has no all-knowing vampire-mentor to guide her, she’s pretty much on her own, especially after her own husband abandons her.
Another thing that made Sam FANGtastic was her dry sense of humor. She’s very straightforward and blunt, and I really appreciated that quality about her. Her thoughts, as she processed them, were quite amusing. Yet, there was also a terrible sadness that followed Sam around. She expressed her heartache and pain as her relationship with her husband crumbles, and her emotions felt very real and weighty.
Sam’s main concern was her kids. She was terrified of losing them, and I think the author did an exceptional job of portraying that. Motherhood was the bigger part of Sam’s identity, even over the vampirism, and it was empathized in ways that didn’t distract for the story but added value to Sam’s character.
Included with the great character development was an intriguing case that Sam had to solve. I’ll be honest and say I didn’t quite figure it out because the obvious choice just seemed too obvious, so I ignored it. But it was a fun little mystery nonetheless.
Vampire for Hire #2
Kindle Edition, 314 pages
Amazon | Audible
In VAMPIRE MOON, sequel to MOON DANCE, private investigator Samantha Moon finds herself hunting down a powerful crime lord and protecting an innocent woman from her ruthless ex-husband — all while two very different men vie for her heart. And as the stakes grow higher and her cases turn personal, Samantha Moon will do whatever it takes to protect the innocent and bring two cold-blooded killers to justice — her own brand of justice.
I listened to book one as an audiobook, and loved it so much that I ran over to Amazon to put the rest of the books on my wishlist, but then I saw that all four books in the Vampire for Hire series were being offered as a Kindle bundle for only $0.99, and I couldn’t resist!
And let me tell you, this is an amazing deal because I’m loving Samantha Moon. At this point, I don’t think I could ever get tired of her. In fact, I kind of want to be her. She’s more than just your typical bad ass vampire P.I., she’s also a mother, and if reading Vampire Moon taught me anything, it’s that you don’t want to mess with a pissed off mother who also happens to be a vampire.
Vampire Moon turned out to be a much more emotional story. Sam’s in a place that she’d never thought she’d be in. She’s been forced to move out of her house and away from her kids. But instead of becoming a big emotional mess, though granted, she still does have a few breakdowns, she resolves to find a way to be with them again.
And because Sam is apart from her kids, her character takes on a darker tone. She learns more about her vampire self and decides to take justice into her own hands. Still, her thoughts are very clear and introspective. There is precise reasoning behind every action she takes, and it’s enthralling to follow her as she trudges on.
I wasn’t really sure how to feel about Sam dealing out her own brand of justice, even if the criminals deserved it, but I also couldn’t help but feel protective of Sam. She was visibly distraught, and for once, I was glad that romance wasn’t at the forefront of the story, though that’s not to say that there aren’t two hot guys waiting in the wings for Sam when she’s ready.
Vampire Moon does end on an evil cliffhanger, which made me especially happy to have purchases the series. I’m definitely going to do some more dancing in Sam Moon’s light.
City of Fallen Angels
The Mortal Instruments #4
Narrated by Ed Westwick, Molly C. Quinn
Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: 12 hrs & 39 mins
Amazon | Audible | GR
Who will fall in love, and who will find their relationship torn apart?
Who will betray everything they ever believed in?
Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge.
In the heart-pounding fourth installment of the Mortal Instruments series, as we follow Simon into the heart of Downworld, the stakes are higher than ever.
I own a physical copy of this book, as I own all the other books in this series. I mean, how could I not? I love the shiny, pretty covers and the way they look next to each other on my shelf. But when I found out that Ed Westwick was one of the narrators for this installment, I just had to listen instead of read.
I wish I could say I’m glad I did. Usually, I’m a big fan of audiobooks with duel narrators, but for that to be possible, I feel that the narrators’ voices have to compliment each other, and in this case, I don’t think they did.
Most times, when I review an audiobook, I’ll talk about the narrators’ voices last, but because the combo on this audio was kind of creepy, I thought I’d admit that right away. Don’t get me wrong. Ed Westwick’s accent is sexy as hell. And while he read, I was found myself very engaged, but when he took on a few of the character’s voices, he made them sound much older than confused teens running round New York. And the girl’s voice sounded way too young. It was awkward and high against Ed’s husky and low tenor. I still listened to it the whole way through, so I guess I’d say it was bearable.
For the story itself, I was happy to see Simon take the spotlight. I was eager to find out more about his vampirism and how exactly he grows into it. An intriguing mystery surrounding his new undead life seemed to be developing, and that quickly got me on board. So I was more than a little disappointed when I discovered that he was just being used as a pawn for a demon with bigger fish to fry.
Not surprisingly, those fish turned out to be Clary and Jace. I guess I shouldn’t fault them because they are the heart of the series, but why not just let them have their moment of peace and happiness? It was frustrating to see them being dragged around again. And I suspect that the next book in this series is only going to prolong their happiness, and that really upsets the HEA wanting girl in me.
And please don’t tell me that I’m the only one who is not a fan of the Alec/Magnus thing. It’s super creepy! But only for the reasons that were highlighted in this book: Magnus, 800 years old, been with a whole lot of people and creatures, and he’s immortal. Alex, only 18 and mortal, throws a tantrum when it finally dawns on him that Magnus has had many, many other lovers. I just don’t get the Magnus draw. I keep thinking I missed something, like a novella that focused on Alec and Magnus’ relationship, one that would have convinced me.
But even with all the things that frustrated/annoyed/upset me in City of Fallen Angels, I must say there were some very interesting developments in the overall arc of the story, even if the main thing wasn’t all that surprising.
Narrated by Emily Bauer
Length: 7 hrs & 53 mins
Amazon | Audible | GR
New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20s. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters – or Freaks – who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.
Though I didn’t feel like anything new was introduced to the YA world with Enclave, I still enjoyed the story. It was a quick listen because of the many fighting/action scenes. The narrator was a great Deuce, who did an excellent job of conveying an array of emotions for the young protagonist. From her moments of fierce determination to her cries of true fear, the narrator animated a Deuce that was every bit a Huntress who should not be reckoned with.
I didn’t really feel a connection between Deuce and her love interest, Fade. This story wasn’t really a romance at all, so it didn’t really bother me, and I understood Fade’s disconnect since he’s the type of character that was meant to be mysterious. Still, I thought the hints of a coming romance between the two were sweet and much needed in the mist of all the fighting to survive that took place.
My main observation was that I just didn’t think the story was very memorable. Every thing that happened had a familiar and common quality to it. Yes, Aguirre did a phenomenal job in her descriptive writing, illustrating an array of settings; for instance, I was as taken away as Deuce was when she saw the ocean for the first time because of the way Aguirre described it. But as a series, I think it might have been better to wait to read this book until the rest are released because I couldn’t identify anything unique and will probably forget a lot of the particulars of Deuce’s story by the time the next book comes out.
ZOMG! I did it! I finally read The Mortal Instruments series, well at least books 1-3. Anyhoo, yes, I finally know why everyone loves JACE! I feel so accomplished or something because these books have been on my TBR since the beginning of time.
Okay, so I just wanted to quickly scribble down my thoughts so I wouldn’t forget because it’s already starting to blur.
- Wow, that’s a fast way to assimilate to a world you never even knew existed. Way to roll with the punches, Clary.
- Gah! Clary’s annoying and bratty and spoiled, so of course I can see why Jace fell in love with her at first sight.
- Really, Clary? You can’t be that clueless about Simon’s true feelings for you. *shakes head*
- Cool world building but introduction of so many supernatural creatures/Down Worlders feels overwhelming and underdeveloped at the same time.
- Jace is so amusing/charming/arrogant.
- Ah, so that explains how they are brother/sister. Seems probable.
- Huh, what? Now Clary and Simon are dating? When did that happen? And why? Makes no sense.
- Of course Clary is a special Shadowhunter with powers she’s never known about before but suddenly knows how to use.
- Book 2 is a repeat of book one. I’m not amused.
- Jace is so broken.
- Finally, we move on to a new location. Love it.
- Disappointed by the romance between Alec and Magnus.
- War means that people die, even the innocent. That sucks, but it’s a bold move.
- Jonathan vs. Jace… Aaaah, so that is who they really are!!
- I don’t understand Simon’s new mark. Grrrr
- Awwww, HEA ending is sweet, but will it last?
Sorry, I know my notes make very little sense. I guess the main problem with knowing a lot about the series before ever having read it was that I quickly grew impatient. Clare does some incredible things with illustrating her world with words, but most times, I felt like she was being too descriptive when it wasn’t necessary and not descriptive enough when more details about what exactly was going on would have been helpful. Still, I think Clare weaved her themes in to the story very well. The present tale was tied to a richly layered backstory that was just as fascinating. The Shadowhunters have a long and pained history, and their constant willingness to sacrifice themselves by fighting demons almost excused their prejudices towards mundanes.
I will say that I was disappointed by how instant all the romances seemed to be. I was expecting it with Jace and Clary so that didn’t bother me as much, but I wasn’t expecting it with Magnus and Alec. I really thought their romantic tension would be a bit more palpable, like that of Qhuinn and Blay from Black Dagger Brotherhood, but sadly, the fact that they seemed to spend very little time together yet were suddenly in love was weird, and even kind of creepy considering that Magnus is 800 years old and Alec only 18. I’ve come to understand that the two have a huge fan base, but I’m failing to see why. But then again, I guess I can’t really expect theirs to be a relationship like Qhuay’s because it’s a YA series.
Overall, I had a fun time with this series. It was great to finally discover the stories for myself after hearing about the characters for so long. I definitely consider myself an invested fan and am looking forward to seeing where the series goes from here.
Jane True, #1
Amazon | Goodreads | TBD
Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn’t quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human.
Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures alternatively terrifying, beautiful, and deadly- all of which perfectly describe her new “friend,” Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire.
It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries; and whatever you do, never-ever rub the genie’s lamp.
Book bullies are the best. Especially when they convince you to read a book you wouldn’t have normally picked for yourself. And that’s just one of the many reasons why I now owe a debt of gratitude to Jen of In the Closet with a Bibliophile! She suggested this series to me, then all but knocked me over the head with cupcakes until I started it. And I’m glad she did.
Jane True was built just the way I like my female protagonist. She’s funny, smart, and totally adorable. Sure, she may only be half human, but you can’t really hold that against her since she just found out about that herself. But the best thing about Jane was that instead of shying away from her newly revealed otherness, she tackled it head first, ready to learn more about the supernatural world she comes from, while trying to help the new investigator in town, Ryu, solve a murder mystery.
I really enjoyed the development of Peeler’s supernatural creatures. She introduced me to a lot I hadn’t ever read about before. Even her brand of vampires were a little different from the norm. And, she very creatively constructed the hierarchy of the supernaturals and dispersed the details about their social structure throughout the story, effectively avoiding large amounts of info dumping that is often so distasteful.
But I will say that I thought this book was a tad bit too slow going for me. I didn’t mind it too much because I liked getting to know Jane and seeing how she’d adapt to all the new changes in her life, but it was easy for me to put the book down, and I found that I lacked the burning desire to return to the story asap.
Still, despite the overall slowness of the tale, I loved the way Jane and Ryu jump each other’s bones almost right from the start. There was no being coy or playing hard to get or pretending that they weren’t immediately attracted to one another. For an adult PRN/UF series, this was a refreshing change of pace, though I’m not really sure that their relationship was a real romance. It was more like a frenzy!
I also really connected with the emotional bits of the story. Jane has not had an easy life. She has loved and she has lost, and she reflected on that often, adding a surprising amount of depth to her character.
I’m definitely looking forward to more of Jane’s misadventures. I’ve been told the series picks up speed, which makes me all the more eager to continue reading it. I’m also curious to see if I’ll change my mind on who I think Jane’s leading man should be.
P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! I hope you have a good one. And, don’t forget that today is the last day to enter my Follower Love Giveaway Hop! Go on and enter so you can take my book boyfriends home. *besos*