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‘All Together Dead’ by Charlaine Harris

Haven’t been to Bon Temps in a while. Might as well pay Sookie Stackhouse a visit.

And, it’s definitely worth it. A vampire summit offers lots of colourful characters, brilliant world building and a heap of danger. The hints at the threat is very well-paced and well-placed, never quite in front of you but always in your periphery so, even when you know something’s going to happen, it still takes you off guard. Yes, there is a bit of needless romance asides but they don’t distract from the great story very much. This is my favourite Southern Vampire Mysteries book so far.

That’s the short version. Here’s the long version.

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‘Vampire Romance’ by Kim Newman

Is it too obvious that I love the Anno Dracula universe?

I was a bit doubtful as to whether or not I should do a CROWS review on this. It’s a short story, not a novel, after all and it didn’t seem fair to judge it alongside full-length novels. However, I liked it so much the second time round and it is published in the same book as a full length novel that I decided, what the hell, let’s give it the CROWs treatment!

It more than deserves it. The story almost plays second fiddle to some nicely distinctive narrative voices, a great friendship between a schoolgirl human and a schoolgirl vampire (now, there’s something you don’t find every day) and a truly gloulish villain. Yes, it does lay the world building on too thick and the other villain is hammy to an obscene degree but that doesn’t stop the story being any less fun to read.

That’s the short version. Here’s the long version.

Untamed

…and going back to the House of Night again.

This should have been one of the highlights of the series. There’s an example of some excellent character development, some intriguing Cherokee mythological creatures and finally a bit of action.

But, they blew it all with a frustratingly obvious villain plot, every character holding their own personal idiot ball and a scene that I am not going to touch on here because I could be here all day.

It could have been so great. It was average at best.

That’s the short version. Here’s the long version.

Let’s start the year with going back to Bon Temps…

We haven’t looked at a Sookie Stackhouse book in a while so let’s get back to it.

I’m happy to say this is a great book to start off the year with the exception of an important plot point being left out of the main series but never mind. We’ve got great characters, some excellent world building, a good story and tying up some loose ends all balanced perfectly.

That’s the short version. Here’s the long version.

Murder of CROWS 2017 Review

Merry Christmas Eve and welcome to my review of books read in 2017 (and apologies for the terrible picture)! In terms of reviews, I’m very happy with my progress and my ability to post consistently all year but enough about me. Time to hand out the prizes:

The Prestigious Award for the Best Book of 2017: Anno Dracula by Kim Newman – undefeated all-year champion with marvellous characters, brilliant world building and never taking itself too seriously.

The Mortifying Award for the Worst Book of 2017: The Vampire Shrink by Lynda Hilburn – pipping The Rest Falls Away and Chosen at the post with wasted potential, sickening romance and cliches galore.

And, now, for the awards for full marks (or near full marks because no books have full marks on Originality and Story) on the separate categories:

Congratulations to all the winners (especially to Anno Dracula for winning in every catagory) and, to everyone else, focus on Originality and Story for next year.

Now, for my New Year Resolutions:

  • Finish the House of Night series (got to get that over with)
  • Finish the Southern Vampire Mysteries (I’m rather intrigued as to how it’ll end)
  • Review the Twilight series (had to do it sooner or later)
  • Research more vampire book titles (I’m running out of titles so please suggest something if you know a good/bad one)

…and staying there to round off the year.

It’s the last CROWS review of the year and, since I have a stomach bug which I pray will disappear tomorrow, I’ve decided to post a nice review today to cheer myself up.

The stakes (pun intended) have been raised even higher for Claire. The arrival of Mr Bishop throws Morganville in uproar, adding yet another insurmountable problem on top of finding a cure for vampire dementia, keeping her housemates safe from stalkers and dealing with her overprotective parents. It all culminates in a tense climax that shatters the fragile peace Amelie’s tried to keep over Morganville for years.

That’s the short version. Here’s the long version.

And, stay tuned for my ‘Murder of CROWS 2017 Review’, where I hand out the prizes for the best and worst books of 2017 and tell you what to expect in 2018!

Time to get back to the good stuff…

I need to get the bad taste of Chosen out of my mouth and what better way to do it than to dive back into Morganville.

It did just the trick. There’s some interesting new characters, the old characters get some nice development, the world of Morganville is expanded and the threat of murderers and a terrible vampire disease feels very real. Shame Captain Obvious had to show up.

That’s the short version. Here’s the long version.

 

…and back to my least favourites.

Christmas is gaining on me and I need to free up some book shelf space so time to review some books I’ve been putting off.

Boy, am I glad this review is over with. The whole book is stuffed with too much fluff and the story feels extremely loose, not focusing on anything meaningful and not even resolving all of the major problems. The focus is solely on Zoey’s trainwreck of a love life and it drove me absolutely up the wall, as did Zoey in general.

That’s the short version. Here’s the long version.

Back to one of my ultimate favourites…

I assure you, the fact that this is published on Remembrance Sunday is entirely coincidental.

The Bloody Red Baron returns us to the world of Anno Dracula where, despite Dracula’s best efforts, the timeline has settled back down to normal. Well, as normal as it was during the last year of WW1. Kate Reed and Edwin Winthrop take the reins, along with the surprise edition of Edgar Poe (he doesn’t use Allen anymore), and we’re taken on a muddy, bloody, mad ride through the trenches, across No-Man’s-Land and into the skies in a war-torn world where not even being a vampire can give you much of an edge. It’s a bleak, dreary environment but that doesn’t make the world building or the characters any less fascinating.

That’s the short version. Here’s the long version.

…and not the best vampire novel, full stop.

I picked this up in a second hand bookshop and, when I found out the premise, I had high hopes. I enjoyed it the first time round but, when I read it for a second time from a critical viewpoint, I found myself hating it. The potential was wasted, originality was non-existent and the male vampire lead made me want to scream, “URGH!”

That’s the short version. Here’s the long verson.