Book Review: Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie VaughnTitle: Kitty and the Midnight Hour
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Series: Kitty Norville, Book 1
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Paperback: 259 pages
Source: Chicago Public Library
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)

Kitty Norville is a midnight-shift DJ for a Denver radio station – and a werewolf in the closet. Her new late-night advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged is a raging success, but it’s Kitty who can use some help. With one sexy werewolf-hunter and a few homicidal undead on her tail, Kitty may have bitten off more than she can chew?

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

This has been on my to-read list for a WHILE, but there’s only so much paranormal romance I can read at once, so between Jeaniene Frost, Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, and Kelley Armstrong, I’ve been pretty booked — so to speak. But, I’ve finally found the time to read this, and I am glad I did.

My favorite part is that the supernatural world is actually portrayed by Kitty as being weird. She doesn’t blindly accept werewolf rules and completely buy into the alpha/pack thing — it freaks her out and she’s constantly trying to reconcile what she knows as a human and how she feels as a wolf, which was interesting and unique, at least in terms of comparing to other paranormal books I’ve read. I also like that she starts off as the bottom of the pack and has that conflict between her human life and wolf life. Basically, Vaughn does a great job in contrasting Kitty’s wolf and human life and putting them in constant conflict. It makes for an engaging read.

I do think the “romance” between Kitty and the hunter was handled a little clumsily. I get that they need to have somewhat of an attraction for each other in order to move the story forward, but I think it was rather awkwardly fast, even with all of the drama going on. As a rule, I don’t particularly like how a lot of romance is done in books anyway, so I’m getting used to getting disappointed by strangely unrealistic portrayals of relationships.

Overall, this book surprised me quite a bit and I enjoyed the picture it painted of the supernatural world and how it interacts with the human world. In the future books, I’m hoping to see more consequences from Kitty openly admitting to being supernatural, and hopefully I get to see more of this world at work and how other packs/supernaturals interact with each other. We’ll see how quickly it’ll take me to get to book 2. :p

Book Review: Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

grave sight by charlaine harrisTitle: Grave Sight
Author: Charlaine Harris
Series: Harper Connelly, Book 1
Publisher: Berkeley
Paperback: 293 pages
Source: Chicago OverDrive
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)

Harper Connelly has what you might call a strange job: she finds dead people. She can sense the final location of a person who’s passed, and share their very last moment. The way Harper sees it, she’s providing a service to the dead while bringing some closure to the living – but she’s used to most people treating her like a blood-sucking leech. Traveling with her step-brother Tolliver as manager and sometime-bodyguard, she’s become an expert at getting in, getting paid, and getting out fast. Because for the living it’s always urgent – even if the dead can wait forever.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

This is so different from the Sookie series — I love it! I’m hoping that future books keep the tone and don’t turn into straight-up romance novels like the Sookie series kind of did. A sex scene or two is fine, but I don’t want to feel dirty reading what I thought would be a nice thriller/mystery story. Anyway, back to the topic.

It’s refreshing to have a female character as complex as Harper — she has cool powers, a pretty twisted background, can take care of herself, and is yet still fragile and quite dependent. She’s not one of those kick-ass female characters who’s constantly beating people up — she actually has some fragility and problems with insecurities, and it’s beautiful. I really like her relationship with her brother, but I wish that his characterization were a bit more developed; I hope to see that in future books.

In terms of story, this one is quite good. Investigating crimes in small towns is an inherently creepy concept, considering that there are only a few suspects and how knows who could be in on the crime. This is no different, especially since the crime was left to be unsolved for such a long time before they called Harper in. This was a fairly fast read — nothing felt too dragged out, and I mostly enjoyed myself the whole time.

There is a sort of weird teenage-crush thing that goes on in this book where a teen falls in love with Harper’s brother. Nothing inappropriate happens, but it felt like a contrived way to get Harper and her brother to be involved in this character’s life, and I think it could have been done in a way that was far less creepy. It took me out of the story and just made me feel gross and uncomfortable whenever she came up.

Aside from that, this is an entertaining story with interesting characters and Charlaine Harris isn’t a best-selling author for nothing — the woman can write! If you like mysteries, definitely check this one out.

Book Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Title: Bloodlines

Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Series: Bloodlines, Book 1
Hardcover: 421 pages
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)

When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive – this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.


Overall Rating: 4/5

I haven’t read Vampire Academy, and I think I should have before starting out on this book. There are references to past events that aren’t fully explained, although I stopped being completely confused a few chapters in, so it wasn’t a major issue. Still, I do recommend reading the Vampire Academy series before starting out on this one. You’ll be clued in a lot faster and you’ll have a deeper appreciation for the situation, I think.

With that said, I still really enjoyed Bloodlines. This world is rather unique, with two separate species of vampires, a secret society called the Alchemists who try to control all vampire-related activities, and magic! I’m always up for a book with magic. I liked Sydney right away — her father was just so demanding and pushy, that I immediately started rooting for her to get what she wants. And it was like that the whole way through. I was elated when she succeeded in something and frustrated when things just weren’t going her way. The easiest way to get me to fall in love with a book is to create characters that I love, and Mead is a master at that. While I felt the most for Sydney, because she is the main character and I got to know her the best, I also cared about all the characters involved.

The whole premise of Bloodlines is that Jill is sent to Palm Springs to hide out while the political drama in the Moroi world settles down and assassins stop going after her. I loved that Mead didn’t resolve this right away, and I think that’s one of my favorite things about this novel. She is able to sustain conflict without a lot of action and melodrama. Instead, it’s more about the characters adjusting to their situation, with a couple of minor mysteries thrown in for good measure. By the end of the book, Jill is still in hiding and there are a few loose ends that aren’t urgent enough to give the reader a heart attack over a cliffhanger, but are still enough to keep the intrigue going.

I would definitely recommend this book to YA and vamp-lovers. It’s entertaining, suspenseful, and there’s a bit of romance! Not of the instant I-will-give-up-everything-for-you-and-I’d-die-for-you variety, either. Actual romance that has hints in the beginning with a promise of more development in future books. There isn’t anything more you can ask for, really.


Book Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Title: Ruby Red
Author: Kerstin Gier
Translator: Anthea Bell
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Hardcover: 324 pages
Series: Precious Stone Trilogy, Book 1
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)

Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Ruby Red is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in a long time. It’s entertaining, humorous, and original. Gier has created a unique concept of time traveling in that there are only 12 time travelers born within two different family branches (as far as we know, anyway) and it can only be controlled by a device that uses the time traveler’s blood to fuel it. I also liked the addition of the secret society and the inclusion of Count Saint-Germain in the story.

The main character, Gwyneth, is very relatable. I liked her relationship with her best friend Leslie, and especially liked that she didn’t even try to keep her time traveling abilities a secret. Instead, Leslie is Gwyneth’s main confidante and helps by doing research on various things that Gwyneth needs information on. I actually loved all the characters — the reader gets to see how their personalities change in front of different people or in different sorts of situations, which added an extra level of complexity and entertainment.

I would like to warn everyone that this book is addicting. Gier does an amazing job at setting up a suspenseful mystery that lies at the heart of this story. On top of time traveling and secret societies, there are also family secrets, a betrayal within the group of time travelers, assassination attempts, and a creepy Romanian dude (the secret to a good conspiracy/mystery novel). Once I started, it was hard to put this book down because I needed answers!

I had only one problem with Ruby Red, and that is the plot. There isn’t much of one. This book is kind of long — a little over 300 pages — and most of that is spent on set-up. If the ending had been different and provided some sort of resolution, then I think this novel would have been a whole lot better. I usually don’t mind cliffhangers, and I love series books where the main plot takes awhile to develop; however, I do prefer books in a series to have their own separate plots. In the end, not one of my questions was answered, and I felt disappointed and a bit cheated by that.

Book Review: The Green Mile by Stephen King

Title: The Green Mile
Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hardcover: 400 pages
Summary: (From Goodreads)

At Cold Mountain Penitentiary, along the lonely stretch of cells known as the Green Mile, killers are depraved as the psychopathic “Billy the Kid” Wharton and the possessed Eduard Delacroix await death strapped in “Old Sparky.” Here guards as decent as Paul Edgecombe and as sadistic as Percy Wetmore watch over them. But good or evil, innocent or guilty, none have ever seen the brutal likes of the new prisoner, John Coffey, sentenced to death for raping and murdering two young girls. Is Coffey a devil in human form? Or is he a far, far different kind of being?

Overall Rating: 4/5

Stephen King should stick to writing these sorts of books. Don’t get me wrong, I love most of his horror stuff, but it’s this sort of subtle supernatural genre that I think really shows his talents as a writer and story-teller since the horror element isn’t overshadowing everything else within the novel.

The Green Mile is a little long, being comprised of 6 novellas and it is definitely slow-paced. That doesn’t mean it isn’t exciting, though! The slowness of the story really allowed me to delve into the characters and the story King has created. I felt like I got to know all the characters, especially Paul, whose first-person narrative it is. This made the action parts even better, since I had a connection with the characters and cared about them.

I liked how the narrative jumped from Paul as an old man living in a nursing home to Paul as a middle-aged man meeting John Coffey. I think it added a lot to the intrigue, as there were multiple mysteries you were trying to solve at once. The Green Mile has a great message and is a compelling story that will leave you in tears by the end.

I saw the movie before reading the book and honestly, if you’ve seen the movie, the novel won’t add all that much for you. The movie is very true to the book and captures the most important events. Naturally, the book has other elements that added to my appreciation of the story. The parallelism between the prison and Paul’s nursing home, for example, and a deeper understanding of the characters.

There were some things I didn’t like — like I said, the pace was too slow at times. But then again, King’s books always seem to drag just a little bit for me. I also didn’t like how at times the characters all laughed at something as if it were hilarious, and I didn’t think it was funny at all. Besides that, though, it was a good story and I enjoyed the read. I definitely recommend this.

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