Biting Cold

Instead of me writing a start to a story for my Sample Sunday post, I’m taking a different path today. I’m going to share some of my favorite lines from a recent read.

Not too long ago, I finished Biting Cold, book six in the Chicagoland Vampires series, by Chloe Neill. Merit and Ethan fans, please don’t kill me after you read my next sentence. While I enjoyed Biting Cold, it wasn’t everything I hoped for and more. I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel this way but haven’t come up with a reason yet.

I liked the beginning – it was fast-paced and action-filled. Most of my favorite lines are found in this part of the book. The second portion of the book – meh. Instead of Merit and Ethan celebrating his coming back from being dead, there was worry and distance. A happy reunion was nowhere to be found…until much later. The last part of the book rocked!!

The story telling in the book was amazing – with the two Seth Tates and the explanation behind fallen angels. I really like how Merit and Paige (and yes, Cadogan’s librarian) research and find answers. To me everything made sense, there were no surprises that she pulled out of thin air, and Seth/ Dominic was dealt with in the end – no, I’m not sharing the particulars of what happened!

I’m going to work backwards (sort of) on my favorite lines. Only one came from the latter part of the book. This one is from Malik to Merit (see pages 309-10):

“Not pressure to win,” he said. “Pressure to try. Pressure to push through pain and fear and to do the thing even if you don’t want to do it. He did not trust you with this task because you guarantee him a victory; he trusts you with this task because he believes you will give everything you have to the effort. It is the heart, Merit, not the sword, that rules the day. Remember that, and good luck.”

Wow! What a quote (not that I doubted Malik had that kind of wisdom)! Ethan and Merit shared some amusing conversations at the beginning of the book. I’m looking for the best one to share. Ok, this one is an example of why I liked the beginning so much (see pages 2-3). They are in Ethan’s Mercedes on the way to Nebraska:

Ethan chuckled. “And are you aware you keep looking over here like you’re nervous I’m going to disappear?”

“It’s because your devastatingly handsome.”

He grinned slyly. “I wasn’t questioning your good taste.”

Hee hee. Oh, no, Ethan doesn’t think too highly of himself or anything!! Ok, one more… At the beginning of Chapter 4 (pp. 40-41). Ethan has been sure to remind Merit several times over that he took a stake for her. I’ll pick up with Ethan talking:

“Really, the stake was only worth it for the points it got me. For saving your life twice,” he added, in case I hadn’t remembered that he’d made me a vampire and jumped in front of a stake to save me. As if either was something I could easily forget.

I rolled my eyes. “I’m giving you one week to use the stake against me, and then you’re done.”

He smiled smugly. “It won’t take me one week, Sentinel.”

I didn’t bother to ask what he was trying to accomplish.

“But for now there’s business at hand, and I prefer to have you undistracted when the time comes.”

His eyes flashed silver before falling back to emerald green again. A bolt of desire shot through my body, raising goose bumps on my arms and magic in the air.

Despite my hesitations with this book, the series is amazing, and I highly recommend it.

4 out of 5 stars

Biting Cold: Sneak Peak

Well, I’m supposed to be editing my suspense/ thriller short story, but I made the mistake of checking my email first. Lucky for me, though, it contained some good news. Although, my editing is going to be further delayed, at least it will be for a good reason – I need a taste of Merit and Ethan!!

Thank you, oh thank you Ms. Neill! She has generously posted the first chapter of Biting Cold, her next book in the Chicagoland Vampires series, on her website. http://www.chloeneill.com/?page_id=1753

Unfortunately, we still have to wait until August to get the full story on Merit, Ethan, and Mallory (among others, I’m sure!).

I’ll leave you with a tantalizing tidbit between Sentinel and Master:

Ethan chuckled. “And are you aware you keep looking over here like you’re nervous I’m going to disappear?”

“It’s because you’re devastatingly handsome.”

He grinned slyly. “I wasn’t questioning your good taste.”

Best of 2011: Urban Fantasy

I’m so behind on posting my picks. Forgive me! So, without any further ado…

My #1 pick is Magic Slays (Kate Daniels series, book 5) by Ilona Andrews. How can anyone not love Kate, the kick-ass heroine, and Curran, the Beast Lord of Atlanta? I love the futuristic setting of these books, the magic, the unique role of vampires, the characters (Jim, Andrea, Derek, and others), the action, and the completely snarky and witty comments Kate makes. For instance, Kate’s description of Curran (p. 81): “He was dangerous. And difficult. And he was all mine.” She and her husband are a writing team and can be found at http://www.ilona-andrews.com/

My #2 pick is Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires series, book 4) by Chloe Neill. This book moved me in a very emotional way (see full details on my November 24th post). If you haven’t read it yet, make sure you are equipped with a full box of tissues for the ending. Ms. Neill broke my heart. And she was able to do that because she completely and totally sucked me into the story. It was masterful! Check out her website at http://www.chloeneill.com/

Honorable Mention goes to Chosen by Fate (Para-Ops series, book 2) by Virna DePaul. The author has created a new and interesting world. She had me hooked after reading her first book. This one featured Wraith and Caleb, and I’m happy to say that it included more romance. I stumbled upon her books and am glad that I did. She can be found at http://www.virnadepaul.com/index.shtml

Drink Deep

Before I get into my discussion of Drink Deep, I want to apologize for being a stranger. This past week has been beyond insane at work, and unfortunately, it has spilled over into my off time. I have missed blogging and tweeting and being connected with friends far and wide via social media. Ok, ’nuff said on that. Time for book talk!

Before you read any further, this post contains a major **SPOILER** – read ahead at your own risk if you haven’t at least made it through Hard Bitten in the Chicagoland Vampires series.

It took me a while to read Drink Deep. After Ethan’s death, I was angry with the author – how could she kill off such an incredible character? Why would I want to continue in the series if there was no Ethan? Better yet, what would I think if she tried to bring him back – he was a pile of ash after all. Not such an easy thing to do and have it be plausible.

Well, I forced myself to get back into reading the book. Yep, I shed more tears in this one. Merit is such a strong character that she was able to continue on without her love and Master. She proved herself worthy of being Sentinel, and yet she was human enough to miss Ethan so that she slept in his bed one day, savoring the remaining scents of her man. She found a new partner in Jonah (from the Grey House), who was big enough to admit that though his feeling for her were more than just friends, he was happy to have a partner.

I won’t spoil the plot twist of who was causing the sky and moon to turn blood-red or the water to turn black, but it was definitely interesting. It also played heavily in Ethan’s return. Yep, ladies, Mr. Sexy Cadogan Master is back! Congrats to Chloe Neill for making it believable and realistic – not cheesy or hokey in the least. I can’t wait for the next book in the series. She’s left us with a cliffhanger and several unanswered questions.

 

Hard Bitten

Oh boy, where to begin?!

First, I should warn you that this post contains **SPOILERS** so if you have yet to read Hard Bitten – beware!

This was an incredible book – so many emotions combined with a riveting plot – and I was completely sucked in. Even though I knew what was going to happen (Ethan was going to die) it still caught me off guard. The finality of that scene left me sobbing. Merit wouldn’t take him back – she didn’t believe that he was sincere despite his attempts to woo her. In the end, he showed her unquestioning, unfailing love – he died for her. The ending completely did me in – thank goodness for Kleenex! I couldn’t believe the words even as I read them (pages 335-36):

“Without a pause, and with the speed of a centuries-old vampire, Ethan threw himself forward, his torso in front of mine, blocking the stake from hitting my body. He took the hit full on, the stake bursting through his chest. And through his heart. For a moment, time stopped, and Ethan looked back at me, his green eyes tight with pain. And then he was gone, the stake clattering to the ground in front of me. Ethan replaced by – transformed to – nothing more than a pile of ash on the floor.”

I immediately started Drink Deep. It has been heart wrenching to read thus far. Chloe does such a good job of sucking the reader into the story that you can help but feel every emotion that Merit is feeling. Kudos to her for drawing me in and keeping my attention. And yes, I will be keeping the box of Kleenex handy!

I want to leave you with an Ethan quote that stuck with me. All is not plum pitiful (one of my favorite Bluegrass song descriptions) but pretty darn close. I have my fingers crossed for a miraculous Ethan comeback by the end of Drink Deep. Alas, I digressed from my quote (page 88):

“No one said love was easy, Sentinel.”

More Adam and Mercy

So, I might be a little bit obsessed with Mercy and Adam (Patricia Briggs’ Mercedes Thompson series). They are my second favorite urban fantasy couple. First is Kate and Curran (Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series).

I just finished reading Silver Borne, book 5 in the Mercedes Thompson series. I am dying to get my hands on book 6. I can’t believe I will have to wait until 2013 for book 7! Grr! At least I will have some other books to keep me distracted in the meantime… looking forward to the next Downside Ghost book by Stacia Kane and the next in the Chicagoland Vampire series by Chloe Neill.

My #SundaySample is going to be two passages – one from Bone Crossed and one from Silver Borne.

First, the passage from Bone Crossed (pp 64-65 Mercy speaking):

“Thank you, Adam,” I told him. “Thank you for tearing Tim into small Tim bits. Thank you for forcing me to drink one last cup of fairy bug-juice so I could have the use of both of my arms. Thank you for being there, for putting up with me.” . . . “Thank you for making the tough calls, for giving me time.” I stood up and walked to him, leaning against him and pressing my face against his shoulder. “Thank you for loving me.”

Now, the passage from Silver Borne (p. 99 Adam speaking):

“No apologies from you,” he told me, his voice soft enough to melt my knees and most of my other parts. “First of all, as I already pointed out – you would make the same choices again, right? So an apology doesn’t work. Secondly, you, being who you are, could have made no other choice. Since I love you, as you are, where you are . . .”