Book-by-Book Reviews: The Midnight Breed Series (#2)

KoCCover

He comes to her more dead than alive, a towering black-clad stranger riddled with bullets and rapidly losing blood. As she struggles to save him, veterinarian Tess Culver is unaware that the man calling himself Dante is no man at all, but one of the Breed, vampire warriors engaged in a desperate battle. In a single erotically charged moment Tess is plunged into his world–a shifting, shadowed place where bands of Rogue vampires stalk the night, cutting a swath of terror.

Haunted by visions of a dark future, Dante lives and fights like there is no tomorrow. Tess is a complication he does not need–but now, with his brethren under attack, he must shield Tess from a growing threat that includes Dante himself. For with one reckless, irresistible kiss, she has become an inextricable part of his underworld realm…and his touch awakens her to hidden gifts, desires, and hungers she never knew she possessed. Bonded by blood, Dante and Tess must work together to thwart deadly enemies, even as they discover a passion that transcends the boundaries of life itself….

 

“Vibrant writing heightens the suspense, and hidden secrets provide many twists. This is a dark, steamy tale filled with intricate plotlines; it stands easily on its own outside of the series . . . KISS OF CRIMSON is a winner and will have readers eager for the next Midnight Breed story.” –Romance Reviews Today

 

The Review [5/5 Stars]

Kiss of Crimson is one of my absolute favorite novels in this series! Dante is just… I cannot describe why I love him and it make sense to be honest. He’s just one of my favorite warriors of the Order, the others you will find out as I get to their books. I was glued from page one with Kiss of Crimson and it really got me invested in the overall story which carries through each book. Though I doubt I ever would have picked KoC up if I hadn’t made my way through Kiss of Midnight.

KoC is much darker than KoM as the war between the Order and Rogues has escalated greatly with the invention of a Breed drug called Crimson that’s being sold to young Breed males. We are introduced to the Enforcement Agency through agent Sterling Chase who becomes a member of the Order after some time (he has his own novel in the series now) and the Darkhaven raised Breedmate Elise Chase, whose mate is also in the Enforcement Agency and is Sterling’s brother. Her book is number three and explains a great deal more about the civilian women and Breed. The main difference between the Order and the Enforcement Agency is warriors and bureaucrats. The Order is a SWAT team while the Enforcement Agency are more politics and trials with all the paperwork and much less bloody clothing. KoC also shows a different side of things that I hadn’t encountered in PNR before. Vampires are predators and, as we all know, murderers by circumstance, but in KoC it isn’t just the vampires that are murderers. It shows the terrors of humanity as well, which tend to be lost in a lot of Vampire PNR novels.

I think part of the reason I fell in love with Dante was his weapons. He has two custom blades he uses which are his signature and when I imagine them I get weak in the knees. Tess, however, is also one of my favorite Breedmates of the series. She’s careful but she’s much stronger than she realizes and it takes her some time to realize it. Similar to Kiss of Midnight, Tess has no idea she is a Breedmate, she was raised in normal human society and hides her Breedmate gift which is extremely powerful and volatile. The push and pull between Dante and Tess had me chewing my nails through most of the book, especially when it went into the depth of Dante’s visions of his own death that were passed to him from his mother.

Dante reminded me, oddly enough, a lot of “Spike” from BTVS (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), but even more of a badass, which I never believed was possible. He’s rough, he’s tough, but he’s also sweet under it all, a romance staple, however, he’s very far from a stereotypical hero. At least to me. He’s more of an anti-hero really and does some very questionable things. Kiss of Crimson is a very busy book, there were more times of peace in KoM than KoC. I adore violence and blood, so those were positives for me. Though it can get a little strange with the number of minor characters given their own spotlight at times. KoC also introduces the scarred shell that remains of the Order warrior Rio, who is another of my favorites and we’ll get to his book in the coming weeks. Rio’s tale is very sad, so bring your tissues for that one.

You don’t have to read KoM before KoC, each novel in the series can stand alone but there is a background story that carries through each book which will suck you in as it intensifies. If read stand alone, you risk the likelihood of you buying the entire series and reading them in order to find out if or what you missed in the overall plotline.

Now, because every book has it’s faults, this one only bothers me in the fact that Dante lies, a lot. I don’t like liars or lying and it really bothers me, but I also understand that it is part of his character so I forgave him for it. Other than that, I don’t have any real peeves about this one. Lara’s fluidity improves in this novel, there aren’t as many ‘pause’ moments like in KoM when it seemed she wasn’t quite sure where they were turning on her. It seems to me that after KoM she hit a groove and everything smoothed out for KoC. She is still getting the hang of the world she created, but by the end of KoC it’s obvious she has a real feel for what she’s creating. It really begins to show in book three when she introduces another piece of the Breed world for us, the readers. As a writer, I still have a big heart throb for her style, though it gets dicey at times, I thoroughly enjoy her personal style.

Join me next week for book three, Midnight Awakening!

Additional note: I recommend that if you love PNR and haven’t read The Dark-Hunter Series you do so. It’s going to be one of the series I review, after I get the rest of the series myself. I only have the first two books so far. Sherrilyn Kenyon has been added to my idolized authors list with J.R. Ward, Lara Adrian, Larissa Ione, G.A. Aiken, and Allyson James. The latter pair are less PNR, a lot more F/R and will be reviewed in the future.

Advertisements

Weekly WIP Update (#1)

Firemists 7-27-14

 

Hi everyone!

It’s time for my Weekly WIP Update! If I can learn to get my timing right, this will stay on Saturdays or be moved to Fridays depending on which is easier. I am proud to say that I got a lot more done this week than I planned. My husband started feeling bad Tuesday afternoon and by the same time Wednesday I had to take him to the hospital, which wasn’t fun. He’s fine! He has asthma and sinus problems which combined with bronchitis have just proceeded in making him a miserable blob that has trouble breathing. He’s on all sorts of remedy medication and feeling better everytime I get him to sleep. However, it did mean that I skipped two entire days of writing. The first day because we were at the hospital for hours then the stress of picking up medicine and fast food for dinner, which I just don’t like anymore. That night when I finally had time, I was too exhausted to manage a sentence and I didn’t feel good. Second day, he didn’t sleep needed more medicine for that. He finally went to bed and shortly after he fell asleep, I realized that I was sick too. So another day of reasons for not writing. The third day, when I was at my lowest and he finally started feeling better, I managed about 500 words.

 

So I know the word count is lower than it could be, but sick days are sick days and that can’t really be helped. Those 500 words were terrible, by the way, I do not suggest writing while taking cough syrup. I did proudly manage to break 11K which I am happy with. According to my chart I have 15.8% of my overall word count goal completed. I’m glad to be working on Firemists again, we broke up for a while but time apart made us both better and the flow came back. I have a strong feeling I will make it through my revisions without having to pull my hair out by the roots in the process. Of course that can also change in two pages so, no promises that will last through to next week.

 

Details are being added, some things are being taken away, this editing process isn’t driving me as crazy as I thought it might. I had difficulty working out the first chapters of Firemists, adding details and picking the right opening character proved itself to be a challenge but I like how it came out. It is a minor character, however it really sets things up a lot neater than before. I have added much, much more scenery, lest I be shot dead by the next person who reads this WIP without enough scenery in it. That gave me a great deal of trouble until I found a few geographical words to use instead of trying to give a picture I couldn’t seem to paint without the right words. Once I used the right ones, the world came to life for the testers I had read it better than before.

 

I’m honestly hoping to have this done soon, I’m already five chapters in and I’ve cut the expected word count down from 100K to 75K. I don’t want to spend too long on it again and burn out. It needs to be edited and ready to look at again before autumn, so that’s my goal. By the end of the summer, Firemists should be in Edit Stage Two and my other WIP, which there will be an update about sometime in the future, should be in Edit Stage One. Accordingly to the husband though, Firemists needs to go somewhere other than stored away for a rainy day, he is very seriously pushing me to finish it and I don’t think I could love him any more for it than I already do. I don’t think I would have gotten half as far as I have without him making sure my word count goes up by so much every day, bringing me coffee, and reminding me that I don’t have an excuse not to finish after all the work I put into it in the beginning. He really is amazing at enabling me.

 

As always, I am in the market for future beta readers for Firemists, you won’t be expecting anything from me until September or October. Other than that, I don’t think there is anything left.

 

Have a great weekend! See you Monday!

Book-by-Book Reviews: The Midnight Breed Series (#1)

KoMCover

He watches her from across the crowded dance club, a sensual black-haired stranger who stirs Gabrielle Maxwell’s deepest fantasies. But nothing about this night—or this man—is what it seems. For when Gabrielle witnesses a murder outside the club, reality shifts into something dark and deadly. In that shattering instant she is thrust into a realm she never knew existed—a realm where vampires stalk the shadows and a blood war is set to ignite.

Lucan Thorne despises the violence carried out by his lawless brethren. A vampire himself, Lucan is a Breed warrior, sworn to protect his kind—and the unwitting humans existing alongside them—from the mounting threat of the Rogues. Lucan cannot risk binding himself to a mortal woman, but when Gabrielle is targeted by his enemies, he has no choice but to bring her into the dark underworld he commands.

Here, in the arms of the Breed’s formidable leader, Gabrielle will confront an extraordinary destiny of danger, seduction, and the darkest pleasures of all. . . .

About the Author

As a child, Lara Adrian used to sleep with the covers up around her neck, afraid she might become the midnight prey of deadly vampires. Later on, under the influence of Bram Stoker and Anne Rice, she had to wonder if her fear wasn’t actually something else: a secret desire to walk in a darker world, to live a dangerous and sensual dream with a man of seductive, preternatural power. It is that twining of fear and desire that fuels Lara’s own fantasies today, and the idea that she explores in her New York Times bestselling Midnight Breed series of vampire romance novels from Bantam Dell Books.

With an ancestry stretching back to the Mayflower and the court of King Henry VIII, Lara Adrian lives with her husband in coastal New England, surrounded by centuries-old graveyards, hip urban comforts, and the endless inspiration of the broody Atlantic Ocean.

Lara Adrian’s debut title, Kiss of Midnight, was named Borders Books bestselling debut romance of 2007.

To read more about Lara Adrian and her work, visit her website.

The Review [3/5 Stars]

I had actually sworn off PNR with vampires after Twilight was released. I am not a fan of Twilight and I can not make it more than a page into any of the books before I throw them across the room like they have the plague. For all of you who are fans of the Twilight series, you should know right now that I am not, nor will I ever be and I will not apologize for it. Anyway, the Twilight books put a chip in my shoulder because my YA Vampires were The Den of Shadows and they were what originally made me want to become a writer. Because of how crazy everyone got for Twilight and no one would ever listen to my rants about The Den of Shadows, I swore off PNR Vampires for several years. Kiss of Midnight was released in 2007, during my PNR Vampire strike which didn’t end until 2009 with the book Lover Avenged from J.R. Ward. I had found the adult PNR and I was absorbed instantly.

Kiss of Midnight, I purchased a year later after going through all of the released BDB series and noticing Lara Adrian was commenting on J.R. Ward’s novels just as she was commenting on Lara’s. I was honestly not very impressed at first and thought I wouldn’t keep going with the series. I actually had a great deal of trouble finishing Kiss of Midnight the first time because I was expecting J.R. Ward and reading Lara Adrian who have very different styles. However, by the end, I was curious to see what would happen next. Truthfully it was Kiss of Crimson (MB #2) that sold me on the series, possibly because Dante is one of many fictional boyfriends I have, but that’s for next week.

I didn’t like Kiss of Midnight until I read it again, going through what was released, then putting them away for a while and starting over really gave Kiss of Midnight the chance it needed. Without jumping from one series to another, I was able to see the brilliance Lara Adrian was putting into the Midnight Breed series and exactly how it wasn’t like the BDB series. I was glued for the second read, I discovered I had been so caught up in the BDB series I hadn’t even remembered what the contents of Kiss of Midnight was, it was as though I opened the paperback for the first time. And can I just admit how much of a sucker I am for paperback PNR? I love hardcovers, but there is something special about PNR paperbacks, might just be me.

Kiss of Midnight is about Lucan Thorne, leader of the Order in Boston, Massachusetts and Gabrielle Maxwell, a very talented photographer, and how they ultimately end up together. I actually remember it fondly, the push and pull of their relationship and all Lucan’s ‘Angel-esque’ brooding. He’s really serious and not kidding, gorgeous! Lara did a fantastic job, I found out with the second read. Her characters while similar in some ways, are all very different and troubled by very different things. The villains in the series are about as evil as they come, especially when the antagonist finally truly shows his face.

What I love the most is the lore she used for the series. J.R. Ward has made what amount to deities for the BDB series, but Lara Adrian took hers a completely different route that kicked supernatural out the door and snuck science fiction in through the window when no one was looking. The tale between Gabrielle and Lucan is fantastic, but even better is the overall plot of the Order vs. the Antagonist. The characters are amazing, the scenery is exactly what you want when you think underground vampires no one notices. There are minor cliches but she uses them appropriately and usually for a good bit of comic relief right when you need it otherwise some situations would send you into a blanket nest to cry for days. There were a few little errors that bothered me, a hole or two that weren’t fixed in editing, also I believe there are 4 typos in the printed version I have which has the same cover as above. But all in all, I give Kiss of Midnight 3/5 stars.

You can tell it’s the first in the series and she’s just getting the feel for everything. Some of the characters are a little flat in this book but have grown in the later books. It only gets a 3 because it’s too obvious of a beginning book. I liked it, I have read it a few times and will likely read it again over the winter holidays when I need some steamy romance, but I don’t like how 2-D it becomes at odd points. I had the same problem with Dark Lover from the BDB series, they have faults but they’re worth looking over.

If you liked the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, you should honestly give Midnight Breed a chance. The similarities between them are only in the fact that both series are about vampire warriors who are all male that find love. The amount of work I can imagine Lara Adrian has put into the Midnight Breed series is amazing, to come up with everything she did and have it flow so smoothly together. I strongly suggest if you enjoy NA PNR with a hearty dose of action, you pick up a few of the Midnight Breed books, get the first two or something, but not just one. I bought them one at a time and the wait between them was torture. I love this series and the characters and the story, I hope you will too!

See everyone next time for Kiss of Crimson!

New Blog Schedule!

Hi everyone!

I mentioned last week that I was going to start blogging and writing again now that I am able, so here is the new schedule! Mondays I will be doing book reviews which will go here as well as on my Goodreads, I read mostly NA and PNR but I have a number of other genres I haven’t read yet and are sitting in the ‘book drawer’ collecting dust. Because I have a number of physical copies that is constantly growing because we live 2 miles from a Books-A-Million, those are what I will focus on first. These are series books as well so I will do them by series up to the last in the series I completed. The first three series have been chosen already; The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward, The Demonica Series by Larissa Ione, The Midnight Breed Series by Lara Adrian. Wednesdays will be a mixture day, it could be a review or it could be an update, or even just a snippet of what I’m working on. I’m calling Wednesday posts ‘Chaos Posts’ because they can be anything. Saturdays will be a weekly report on drafting and editing of the various WIPs I have been working on. I will also continue my WIPMarathon reports and updates as those dates go by. I will be participating in NaNoWriMo 2014 this year as well which means October-December the schedule will likely change until NaNo is over.

Unfortunately I do not have a book review prepared for this week’s start, so it will be up on Wednesday, but that does give you guys, and gals, a chance to decide which series you might like me to start with. Since they will be book-by-book series reviews I will go in order from the first to last and when the series ends I will also put up an ‘Overall Series Review’ but that is some time away considering all these series are still going. With all that being said, I truly look forward to finally being back on track with everything.

The Great Return to the Internet

IMG_20140628_185451

 

Hi everyone! I’m back!

 

I know I’ve been gone for a while and, to be honest with you guys, I’m behind on everything in regard to writing. Life got too hectic for a while and what little I did write was only so I didn’t go mad inside my own head. Without a home internet connection I was unable to post and thus fell out of my WIPMarathon updates. However, I have great plans for this fall and winter! (Because summer has fallen into madness and chaos that I can’t dig my way out of yet.)

 

I am going to participate in NaNo’14, I am also going to put up several more book reviews as well as updates in my numerous WIPS (and there are several). I am in the process of organizing a schedule so I can begin posting on time (probably Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) and I am back on Twitter! I apologize for dropping the blogging ball, but sometimes you have to break up with the internet for a little while.

 

I can’t wait to catch up on everything and with everyone!

 

Book Review: The Elvenbane by Andre Norton & Mercedes Lackey

Hi everyone!

 

Do not adjust the settings on your monitor/phone/tablet, this is not a drill… It’s my first book review!

 

The Elvenbane Cover

 

The Elvenbane

(The Halfblood Chronicles Book 1)

Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey

Paperback, 566 pages

Published 1991 by Tor Books

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

The Elvenbane is the first novel of the Halfblood Chronicles, and………..

SPOILER ALERT:

The Elves are aliens! I was a little wary at first on it, but it turned out better than I imagined at first. Shana’s adventure is amazing both internally and externally. The down side, which is likely my being picky, is that some parts were drawn out while others were grazed over when I expected detail. It seemed, within the first few chapters, that Alara and Keman should have more presence and they dropped off rather roughly. The struggle with the wizards and the elves was amazing, but the battle was almost nonexistent other than occasional mention. Another nit-picky detail was the odd switches with the halfblood wizard Mero/Shadow; his name flip flopped to the point it seemed like there was an extra person with them. I had an issue with Mero in that he was much less present as well and he seemed to be more of an important character. Dryan, I loved as a villain. He fit the role perfectly and went out with a bang. 😉

 

I am interested in the rest of the series though. I haven’t read anything else by Andre Norton or Mercedes Lackey – I have heard several of her songs off various albums. I give it 4 out of 5 stars only because of how picky I am, other than those little details I was swept up in the story. I wanted to know what might happen next and I am still curious what happens in the rest of the series. I say give it a shot if you like fantasy!

WIPMarathon Monthly (Report #2)

Hi everyone!

It’s the last Saturday of the month again and that means WIPMarathon time! I didn’t meet my goal but there is a legitimate reason for said failure!

Last Report Word Count + Chapter Count:

Zero Draft – 109,275 words, 61 chapters

First Edit – 10,000 words, 4.5 chapters

Current Report WC + CC:

11,097 words, 4 chapters

WIP Issues This Month:

Uhm… Well, I heard back from the lovely and talented MM Jaye, who confirmed what I thought, but wasn’t 100%, was wrong. To be honest, I haven’t had any issues with Firemists, the characters, the plot, self-doubt – none of those this time. The issue is… well keep reading.

Four things I learned this month in writing:

  1. The joy of hearing back from a beta reader is almost as overwhelming as having your first child. I wasn’t sure if she would finish it, she wasn’t sure if she would finish it, and so I sat on needles for a while. Once I got the email though, if I had wings, I would have flown out of the atmosphere.

  2. In-depth character sheets are the way to go when you get stuck. I had an issue with a lot of blurring between a couple of the characters in the zero draft where they said several generic lines, so I had to find a way to fix it. Thus was born; major and minor character beat sheets, made by me!

  3. Researching can be tedious but fun once you realize how much you learned from it.

  4. WRITER BEWARE! Long hours of work, day after day, month after month, really wears on a laptop and keyboard. I broke mine while editing Firemists.

What distracted me this month while writing:

Mostly the broken keyboard issue… My daughter’s birthday was at the beginning of the month and a few other fun things, but my main obstacle is a broken keyboard. (And let me tell you, mobile blog posting is some serious work, fyi.) Other than that, I started up a couple of playful side projects that are better suited to the short spurts of writing time I get for the time being. One is dark urban fantasy, one is erotic horror, and one is still in the brainstorming process.

Unfortunately, I won’t be getting my laptop replaced for an indefinite amount of weeks, which means lots of sprints on Hubby’s desktop when he isn’t using it. All of my social media will be on light and random posts until the laptop is replaced or I have enough time on the desktop to get a few things queued up.

Goal for next month:

Uhm, get the laptop replaced… The same as last month, since this broken keyboard thing is a serious issue and happened in the middle of editing.

If the laptop gets fixed/replaced: Edit Act One

If not…: Edit half of Act One. That’s pretty realistic if I focus my sprints, but still really unlikely.

If nothing else: Maybe 2,000 words added to the count? Up to chapter five?

Last 200 Words:

Ahem, instead of the last 200 words I wrote… I’m going to see what you think of the opener. (There’s a prologue before it, but that’s all set up. A visual map of the setting, if you will.)

Entering the Dockside Tavern for the first time a soft sigh of amazement left his lungs as his eyes roamed the main room. The building was a structure of three wooden walls and a roof, joining with the stone mesa that created the scarp where the town had been built. Within settled a large main room filled with tables, chairs, and high backed benches all made of worn wood, most of the tables stained with rings from spilled tankards. Lining half the stone wall was the bar, barrels of various liquor and wine stacked against the stone with labels on those available. Wooden stools lined the greasy bar, a short distance from them was an alcove, opening up the stone where a staircase had been carved into the cliff, allowing access to the upper floors of the inn. Some of the rooms had balconies that overlooked the town, others were deeper into the stone but more available.

The tavern and inn offered many things, especially for the crewmen that came and went from the port regularly. Unfortunately, he had not entered the tavern for the leisure it offered, he was there to work. His older sister volunteered him as a runner for a ship master who came to port with rare resources and would pay a hefty portion for a good runner. Every merchant in the town had crammed into the tavern, arguing with one another around a single table where the captain sat casually. Black leather boots propped in a chair near him, crossed at the ankles. Dark brown breeches reached up his legs, the light colored, collared tunic trimmed with a brightly embroidered vest. His skin was dark olive hinted with a pink undertone from exposure to the sun during ship voyages. Wavy black hair tied in a tail at the base of his skull. His gunmetal blue eyes rested on the cargo manifest, laid out on the table before him, his tankard held in one hand while he listened to the bickering merchants.

I hope everyone else had a better time of it than I did. Also, a gigantic THANK YOU to MM Jaye for her epic beta reading skills.