Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine

Midnight Alley (The Morganville Vampires 3) by Rachel Caine

Morganville is such a nice place to live… And die. If you don’t mind that sort of thing.

When Claire Danvers learnt that her college town was run by vampires, she did what any intelligent, self-preserving student would do: she applied for a transfer and stocked up on garlic. The transfer is no longer an option, but that garlic may come in handy.

Now Claire has pledged herself to Amelie, the most powerful vampire in town. The protection her contract secures does little to reassure her friends. All of a sudden, people are turning up dead, a stalker resurfaces from Claire’s past, and an ancient bloodsucker extends a chilling invitation for private lessons in his secluded home. (back cover)

Claire has now pledged herself to Amelie, the founder of Morganville, but is scared to tell her friends knowing they will get mad. Something is happening to the vampires and Amelie needs Claire’s help to solve it. She sends Claire as a pupil to Myrnin, who is old and half-crazy with periods of lucidity.

I have to say that I hate these evil cliffhangers! It’s so wrong to end every book like that…

The book pretty much starts where the last one ended and now Claire is pledged to Amelie but is afraid to tell her friends because she knows they’ll get mad. Especially Shane who is still trying to come to terms with the fact that Michael is a vampire. Shane doesn’t trust Michael anymore and honestly it’s getting old very soon. I mean they’ve been best friends for ages and now that Michael is a vampire everything suddenly changes? It’s not like he wanted it and is killing half the city.
But I like Shane and Claire together and it’s nice to see they move forward slowly.

How Claire always manages to get herself into these situations where she need to be saved is beyond me. And once again she finds herself in party where everything doesn’t go as planned. I understand she’s polite and all but enough. Monica threw her down the stairs and what else and she’s still being polite to her. Enough is enough.

We meet new vampire Myrnin to whom Amelie sends Claire. I liked Myrnin who’s half-crazy and only has periods of lucidity. His mood swings made him unpredictable and dangerous but he was nice between those.

We also meet Eve’s brother Jason again who’s apparently killing girls but no one seems to do anything about it. I really want to learn what’s his deal and I think he is hiding something.

Another enjoyable read from Caine. These are fairly quick reads but entertaining.

3,5/5

Published: Allison & Busby (2008)
Format: paperback
Pages: 384
Source: my own

Mailbox Monday (26.8)

Mailbox Monday was created by The Printed Page. Mailbox Monday is currently on tour, hosted by a different blog each month. Today’s Linky will be hosted by Bermudaonion’s Weblog.

Henry Plantagenet by Richard Barber (bought)
Henry II is the most imposing figure among the medieval kings of England. His fiefs and domains extended from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, and his court was frequented by the greatest thinkers and men of letters of his time, besides ambassadors from all over Europe. This readable and accessible biography offers both a study of his character, and an estimate of his work as a ruler, work which is in a sense the history of his life, since it occupied his entire energies from his accession at the age of twenty-one to his death thirty-five years later. Nor is this the mere routine of government; from the desolate and lawless anarchy of Stephen’s reign, and against the opposition of the great magnates and the Church, he built in England a stable and prosperous realm, and welded his diverse inheritance overseas into a single, and by the standards of the time, peaceful, unit. Only the folly of John dispersed his empire, and his work in England left an enduring mark on the institutions by which we are governed today.

A Brief History of Henry VIII: Refomer and Tyrant by Derek Wilson (bookmooch)
King Henry VIII remains one of the most controversial figures in our history. Wilson draws together all the most recent discoveries and looks afresh at the fascinating life and times of the Tudor monarch, particularly, looking at the King’s childhood which is too often dismissed, and the influences of his father and grandfather. Interwoven with an insightful account of how England became a Protestant nation and Henry VIII’s life within the court and, of course, all his wives, this Brief History will bring this enigmatic monarch and the dramatic changes that occurred in Britain during his reign to life.

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother: The Official Biography by William Shawcross (bookmooch)
Written with complete access to the Queen Mother’s personal letters and diaries, William Shawcross’s riveting biography is the truly definitive account of this remarkable woman, whose life spanned the twentieth century. Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes Lyon, the youngest daughter of the Earl of Strathmore, was born on 4 August 1900. Drawing on her private correspondence and other unpublished material from the Royal Archives, William Shawcross vividly reveals the witty girl who endeared herself to soldiers convalescing at Glamis in the First World War; the assured young Duchess of York; the Queen, at last feeling able to look the East End in the face at the height of the Blitz; the Queen Mother, representing the nation at home and abroad throughout her long widowhood. ‘This splendid biograpy captures something of the warm glow that she brought to every event and encounter. It also reveals a deeper and more interesting character, forged by good sense, love of country, duty, humour and an instinct for what is right.

Tudors by Peter Ackroyd (purchased)
Rich in detail and atmosphere and told in vivid prose, Tudors recounts the transformation of England from a settled Catholic country to a Protestant superpower. It is the story of Henry VIII’s cataclysmic break with Rome, and his relentless pursuit of both the perfect wife and the perfect heir; of how the brief reign of the teenage king, Edward VI, gave way to the violent reimposition of Catholicism and the stench of bonfires under ‘Bloody Mary’. It tells, too, of the long reign of Elizabeth I, which, though marked by civil strife, plots against the queen and even an invasion force, finally brought stability.
Above all, however, it is the story of the English Reformation and the making of the Anglican Church. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, England was still largely feudal and looked to Rome for direction; at its end, it was a country where good governance was the duty of the state, not the church, and where men and women began to look to themselves for answers rather than to those who ruled them.

Saxon: The Book of Dreams by Tim Severin (purchased)
Frankia 780 AD

Sigwulf, a minor Saxon prince, is saved from execution after his family is slaughtered by the ruthless King Offa of Mercia. Thanks to his Devil’s Mark – his eyes of different colours – Sigwulf is exiled to the Frankish court of King Carolus, the future Charlemagne.

He gains the friendship of Count Hroudland, Carolus’s powerful and ambitious nephew – but, mysteriously, several attempts are made on Sigwulf’s life. When he obtains a Book of Dreams, a rare text giving understanding to the meaning of dreams, he attracts the attention of Carolus himself. But the Book proves to be a slippery guide in a world of double dealing. Sent into Spain to spy on the Saracens, Sigwulf becomes caught between loyalties; either he honours his debt to new Saracen friends, or he serves his patron Count Hroudland in his quest for glory, gold and even the Grail itself…

One after another Sigwulf’s predictions come true, but often not as expected, and he finds himself swept forward into a final great battle that reveals who his enemies are..

Malice by John Gwynne (purchased)
The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle. An uneasy peace reigns, but now giants stir once more, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of gigantic worms. Those who can still read the signs see a prophecy realised: sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield.

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors and yearns to join them, determined that he will make his family proud. It is only when everything he knows is threatened that he discovers the true cost of becoming a man.

As the Kings look to their borders, and priests beg answers from the Gods, only a chosen few know that the fate of the world will be decided between two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. And with their coming will be a war to end all wars.

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (purchased)
ONE GIRL AND A GRIFFIN AGAINST AN EMPIRE: A DYING LAND
The Shima Imperium verges on collapse. Land and sky have been poisoned by clockwork industrialisation, the Lotus Guild oppresses the populace and the nation’s Shogun is lost to his thirst for power.

AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
Yukiko and her warrior father are forced to hunt down a griffin at the Shogun’s command. But any fool knows griffins are extinct – and death will be the price of failure.

A HIDDEN GIFT
Disaster strikes and Yukiko is stranded in the wilderness with a fabled griffin, now furious and crippled. Although she hears his thoughts and saved his life, Yukiko knows he’d rather see her dead than help her. And discovery of the talent allowing them to communicate would mean her execution. Yet together, the pair will form an indomitable bond, and rise to challenge an empire.

A Rip in the Veil by Anna Belfrage

A Rip in the Veil (The Graham Saga 1) by Anna Belfrage

On a muggy August day in 2002 Alex Lind disappears without a trace.
On an equally stifling August day in 1658, Matthew Graham finds her on an empty Scottish moor.
Life will never be the same for Alex – or for Matthew.

When Alexandra Lind is unexpectedly thrown several centuries backwards in time, she lands at the feet of Matthew Graham – an escaped convict making his way home to Scotland. Matthew doesn’t quite know what to make of this concussed and injured woman who has seemingly fallen from the skies – what is she, a witch?

Alex gawks at this tall, gaunt man with hazel eyes, dressed in what (to her) mostly looks like rags. At first she thinks he might be some sort of hermit, an oddball, but she quickly realises the she is the odd one out. Catapulted from a life of modern comfort, Alex grapples with this new existence, further complicated by the dawning realization that someone from her time has followed her here – and not exactly to extend a helping hand.

Potential compensation for this brutal shift in fate comes in the shape of Matthew – a man she should never have met, not when she was born three centuries after him. He quickly proves himself a willing and most capable protector, but he comes with baggage of his own, and on occasion it seems his past will see him killed.

Alex finds her new situation desperately exciting, but also longs for the structure of the life she used to have. Can Alex get home? And does she want to? (Goodreads)

Alex Lind’s car breaks down in the middle of nowhere in Scotland on her way to a business meeting. While trying to figure out what’s wrong with the car, a terrible storm springs to life, she’s struck by a lightning and pulled through a tunnel in the earth – and she wakes up in 17th century Scotland. There she meets Matthew Graham who is an escaped convict and he takes care of Alex.

Back in the present day, Alex’s family is trying to figure out what happened to her and they’re worried because she’s disappeared before which resulted in her son. They learn something new about Alex’s mother who also disappeared years ago.

This was fun to read with enough action. It’s not just about time traveling and I liked the relationship between Alex and Graham. I thought the reactions were believable and Alex didn’t spend the whole book being in shock about the difference.
It was interesting to read the meeting between Alex and Matthew’s ex-wife. I could understand Alex’s reaction. Sometimes men are idiots no matter the time period…

I had few things that bothered me one was that the first sex scene felt little rushed and little too soon. The second was how easily she was starting to forget her son. Apparently she hadn’t really loved him from the start anyway but still.

And how I wanted to punch Luke! What an idiot! I’m curious to see how that matter will be settled.

3,5/5

Published: Matador (2012)
Format: ebook
Pages: 370
Source: author

Mailbox Monday 19.8

Mailbox Monday was created by The Printed Page. Mailbox Monday is currently on tour, hosted by a different blog each month. Today’s Linky will be hosted by Bermudaonion’s Weblog.

Since my blog was down so long I have quite a few books to post. This post consist books I got from a shopping trip to Helsinki few weeks ago.

Also, if you want to receive posts via email you need to re-subscribe.

Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle (purchased)

Katherine Parr is thirty-one years old and already twice widowed.

She’s in love with a man she can’t have, and about to wed a man no one would want – for her husband-to-be is none other than Henry VIII, who has already beheaded two wives, cast aside two more, and watched one die in childbirth.

What will become of Katherine once she’s wearing Henry Tudor’s ring and becomes Queen of England?

They say that the sharpest blades are sheathed in the softest pouches. Only time will tell what she is really made of…

The Queen’s Vow by C.W. Gortner (purchased)
Young Isabella is barely a teenager when she and her brother are taken from their mother’s home to live under the watchful eye of their half-brother, King Enrique, and his sultry, conniving queen. There, Isabella is thrust into danger when she becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot to dethrone Enrique. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, torn between loyalties, until at age seventeen she suddenly finds herself heiress of Castile, the largest kingdom in Spain. Plunged into a deadly conflict to secure her crown, she is determined to wed the one man she loves yet who is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragon.

As they unite their two realms under “one crown, one country, one faith,” Isabella and Fernando face an impoverished Spain beset by enemies. With the future of her throne at stake, Isabella resists the zealous demands of the inquisitor Torquemada even as she is seduced by the dreams of an enigmatic navigator named Columbus. But when the Moors of the southern domain of Granada declare war, a violent, treacherous battle against an ancient adversary erupts, one that will test all of Isabella’s resolve, her courage, and her tenacious belief in her destiny.

The Favourite Ralegh and His Queen by Mathew Lyons (purchased)
The Favourite strips away the myth to reveal Sir Walter Ralegh in the role in which his contemporaries knew him best: the courtier who could win the attention – and the heart – of Elizabeth I, while also being the ‘most hated man in England’. Using first-hand accounts, Lyons uncovers the maze of ambition and desire: a brutal Elizabethan world riven with crime and corruption and riddled with traitors and spies.

The Gothic King: A Biography of Henry III by John Paul Davis (purchased)
The son and successor of Bad King John, Henry III reigned for 56 years from 1216, the first child king in England for 200 years. England went on to prosper during his reign and his greatest monument is Westminster Abbey, which he made the seat of his government—indeed, Henry III was the first English King to call a parliament. Though often overlooked by historians, Henry III was a unique figure coming out of a chivalric yet Gothic era: a compulsive builder of daunting castles and epic sepulchres; a powerful, unyielding monarch who faced down the De Montfort rebellion and waged war with Wales and France; and, much more than his father, Henry was the king who really hammered out the terms of the Magna Carta with the barons. John Paul Davis brings all his forensic skills and insights to the grand story of the Gothic King in this, the only biography in print of a most remarkable monarch.

Exile by Rowena Cory Daniells (purchased)
Slowly losing himself to madness, King Charald has passed his verdict on the mystic Wyrds: banishment, by the first day of winter. Their leader, Imoshen, believes she has found a new home for her people, but many are still stranded, amidst the violence and turmoil gripping Chalcedonia. A reward is offered for their safe return, and greedy men turn to abduction.

Tobazim arrives in port, to ready the way for his people, and finds their ships have been stolen. Sorne, the king’s half-blood advisor, needs to find his sister and bring her to safety. Ronnyn and his family, living peacefully in the wilderness, are kidnapped by raiders eager for the reward.

Whether the ships are ready or not, the Wyrds must leave soon; those who remain behind will be hunted down and executed. Time is running out for all of them.

Sanctuary by Rowena Cory Daniells (purchased)
The mystic Wyrds have been banished by King Charald, whose descent into madness grows ever steeper. Exiled and forced to set sail on the first day of winter, Imoshen’s people are packed onto seven crowded ships. Tensions flare under the pressure and the all-fathers and all-mothers are put to the test controlling their hardened warriors. Ronnynand his sister Aravelle have been separated, just as they feared, and look to an uncertain future. Sorne is betrayed and captured on the seas. Tobazim faces a confrontation with the bloodthirsty All-father Kyredeon and his notorious assassin, Graelen. And, while Imoshen has promised the T’Enatuath a home with the Sagoras, the enigmatic scholars have not yet replied to her plea for sanctuary. This is the thrilling climax to The Outcast Chronicles.

The Rogue by Trudi Canavan (purchased)
Living among the Sachakan rebels, Lorkin does his best to learn about their unique magic. But the Traitors are reluctant to trade their secrets for the Healing they so desperately want.
Meanwhile, Sonea searches for the rogue, knowing that Cery cannot avoid assassination forever — but the rogue’s influence over the city’s underworld, however, is far greater than she feared.
And in the University, two female novices are about to remind the Guild that sometimes their greatest enemy is found within..

The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan (purchased)
Events are building to a climax in Sachaka as Lorkin returns from his exile with the Traitor rebels.

The Traitor Queen has given Lorkin the huge task of brokering an alliance between his people and the Traitors. Lorkin has also had to become a feared black magician in order to harness the power of an entirely new kind of gemstone magic. This knowledge could transform the Guild of Magicians – or make Lorkin an outcast forever.

The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts (purchased)
Owen is the organizer of the Montgomery clan, running the family’s construction business with an iron fist – and an even less flexible spreadsheet. And though his brothers bust on his compulsive list-making, the Inn BoonsBoro is about to open right on schedule. The only thing Owen didn’t plan for was Avery McTavish

Avery’s popular pizza place is right across the street from the inn, giving her a first-hand look at its amazing renovation – and a newfound appreciation for Owen. Since he was her first boyfriend when they were kids, Owen has never been far from Avery’s thoughts. But the attraction she’s feeling for him now is far from innocent.

As Avery and Owen cautiously take their relationship to another level, the opening of the inn gives the whole town of Boonsboro a reason to celebrate. But Owen’s hard work has only begun. Getting Avery to let down her guard is going to take longer than he expected – and so will getting her to realize that her first boyfriend is going to be her last…

The Killing of Richard III by Robert Farrington

The Killing of Richard III by Robert Farrington

1483: King Edward IV dies, leaving two innocent young princes in line to the throne. But when scandal and conspiracy explodes around their claim, Richard of Gloucester is proclaimed king. Shortly after, the princes vanish, and storm clouds begin to gather around the newly crowned King Richard III.

Fighter, philanderer and royal spy Henry Morane is tasked with investigating the princes’ disappearance, the attempted kidnap of the exiled Lancastrian leader Henry Tudor and the hunting out of traitors amid Richard’s supporters.

And at the bloody battle of Bosworth Field, King Richard and Henry Morane will face a fatal trial that will dictate the path of history. (back cover)

When Henry Morane, chief clerk to the King’s Secretary, finds out he’s mistress is also William Stanley’s mistress, he’s in for a trouble. Even more so when Alice slips information about rebellion that is going to happen. After attempted murder the king sends him to Brittany to capture Henry Tudor. He fails but will notice he’s life is intervened with the king.

The book started little slow and at first I was wondering where this was leading but it picked up towards the end.

I liked Morane and his humour and I was interested to see what will happen to him. He fought at Tewkesbury and remained loyal to the Yorkist cause and to Richard III during everything that happened.
After Stanley’s men tried to kill him, he was found and saved by woman named Matilda. I wasn’t huge fan of Matilda by herself and she was little annoying but I loved to see Matilda and Morane together. Their relationship and bickering was so much fun to read. Matilda could use a knife and kill but would suddenly just cry and sob and at times I just wanted to shake her. But she wouldn’t do anything just because Morane told her to and I liked her for it.

I liked how Richard III was portrayed but it took some getting used to how Francis Lovell was. He wasn’t evil but not exactly likeable either. I found it odd how everyone was calling the king as Dickon. Not to his face but when talking someone they kept calling him Dickon. I can be wrong but I didn’t think calling someone by nickname was that common back then?
I thought the idea that Elizabeth Woodville and Jane Shore were in good terms was interesting one.

“They were on good terms, those two, the Queen and the royal mistress, although they rarely lost the opportunity of sinking their barbs into each other.”
Pg. 1

I’ve never come across that anyone has suggested that but it was an interesting notion.

The book ends just after the battle of Bosworth Field where also Henry Morane fought and trying not to tell too much but I thought the book stopped too soon after the battle.

3.5/5

Published: Sphere (2013)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 401
Source: publisher