The Chess Queen Enigma by Colleen Gleason

The Chess Queen Enigma

Stoker & Holmes #3
Book 1: The Clockwork Scarab
Book 2: The Spiritglass Charade

expected publication: october 6th
author : colleen gleason

pages : [hardcover] 360

favorite characters : . . . all of them?

summary :

Evaline Stoker & Mina Holmes are back for a third adventure. They have to locate a missing chess queen before their nemesis, The Ankh, gets there first!

Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes have reluctantly agreed to act as social chaperones and undercover bodyguards for Princess Lurelia of Betrovia, who has arrived in London to deliver a letter that details the secret location of an ancient chess queen that’s been missing for centuries. But when the letter—which will heal a centuries-old rift between England and the Betrovians—is stolen out from under Evaline and Mina’s watchful eyes, the two girls are forced into a high-stakes race to ensure they find the chess queen before anyone else does. The Stoker and Holmes series is as culturally popular and compulsively readable as the Sherlock Holmes stories and Dracula were in the Victorian era.

review :

I LOVE this series so much and think it’s a shame that I know no one who reads it. Stoker & Holmes are two fierce ladies who kick ass and take names, all in the constricting fashions of the Victorian era. I honestly can’t decide which of them I love more because Mina is entirely hopeless and adorable in social situations, Evaline can’t stop eating and, y’know, staking vampires, and then there are a host of supporting characters that are just . . charming and captivating and also very frustrating. Particularly regarding the gentlemen I can’t decide should be deserving of these two.

It’s an interesting clash as always, with an investigation occurring while there’s also the threat of vampires. Those two worlds are steadily beginning to merge into the bigger picture that has been hinted at throughout the series. So, what does that mean? It means that I’m craving the next book already when there’s NO RELEASE DATE, no name for it, nothing. How am I supposed to survive on an ending like this one? What?!?!

Maybe I’ll talk about something that makes me a little less frustrated and incoherent. Mina and Evaline are developing so nicely, not only in their relationship but as individuals. I love how they continue to endlessly frustrate one another but remain a team, steadfast and now easily able to predict what one another will do. It’s fascinating to read and I can’t wait to see how things will be the next time we see them. Hopefully spending more time with one another outside of investigations and life or death situations!

I can’t recommend this series enough, to be honest. If you read it, let me know! I need to discuss these books with someone.

5/5 stars

2 stars · Fantasy · fiction · young adult

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy

author : richelle mead

pages : [paperback] 332

memorable quote Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies.

favorite character : rose

summary :

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

review :

I started reading Vampire Academy because I’ve been hearing a lot about this series, there’s now a movie about it, and also the library I visited was the smallest thing in the world and didn’t have a large selection. I figured now was the time I needed to give it a go, because I always wanted to give it a shot–even though if I ended up really loving the series, that meant there’d be a LOT of other books for me to read because it’s a long one and now there are spin-off books, too. Well, unfortunately, Vampire Academy just didn’t make the cut for me, like I’d feared it would.

First of all, I did like and appreciate how snarky Rose could be and following her adventures was mildly enjoyable. Still, the writing didn’t leave much of an impression to me because to my taste it was fairly bland with no exciting descriptions, no hint of intrigue. Instead halfway through the book I still wasn’t certain of what the plot would be. Shouldn’t each book, even in a series, have its own little plot? Basically I think that this first book is being used to set up something in the rest of the books. Much of it was fairly predictable. I don’t know if there’s going to be some big reveal later on that would shock me, but I don’t want to slosh through more books to find out.

Honestly, I can see why some people might enjoy these books. They’re definitely not hard to read and if you’re into vampires, the take they have on those creatures is pretty interesting. But for me, I was a little bored. I wanted more action, adventure, cool vampire moments–not endless, repetitive school and training days and then predictable little plot twists.

I don’t think I’ll be recommending this book or this series to anyone–and it already has enough followers that it won’t matter in the least. I’ll just say to anyone hanging on the edge like I was, thinking they should at least read the first book to see what it’s all about–maybe pick up something else instead.

2/5 stars

2 stars · Fantasy

Fledgling by Octavia Butler



author : octavia butler

pages : [paperback] 310

memorable quote When your rage is choking you, it is best to say nothing.

summary :

Fledgling, Octavia Butler’s new novel after a seven year break, is the story of an apparently young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly inhuman needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion: She is in fact a genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire. Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life, she must at the same time learn who wanted–and still wants–to destroy her and those she cares for and how she can save herself. Fledgling is a captivating novel that tests the limits of “otherness” and questions what it means to be truly human.

review :

I feel like most people are over vampire novels but this is a truly unique one. That’s one of the few things I liked about Fledgling. The novel has its own take on vampire lore and Butler creates an entire society of unique creatures who apparently live without most of humanity recognizing their existence. We’re introduced to this community by an amnesiac who can’t remember what much less who she is. Though it was an interesting approach, I can’t say that I’ll be tempted to pick up this book again or recommend it to anyone.

The entire novel is very eerie and not because of the otherworldly creatures within it. The main character appears to be around eleven years old and yet she begins a relationship with a man in his thirties, within the first few chapters. My edition didn’t have the little fact that she’s actually much older than she appears, around fifty-something. But that doesn’t matter because she can’t remember all of those years, and the human she’s with should definitely have known there was something extremely wrong with that situation. While I’m fairly willing to assume that the relationship was more created for shock factor and to show another side of the vampire life, I definitely didn’t want or need any part of that.

Another aspect of the lore that I found incredibly creepy was how the humans became addicted to the vampires and wouldn’t be able to survive without them. I tried to imagine myself in that position and how stifling it would be. I wouldn’t be able to survive like that . . and yet these humans were acting like it was no big deal to abandon their jobs, homes, and families so they could stay with these vampires. No, thanks.

Overall, I think that the novel made a few interesting critiques on society. By looking into the vampire culture, it’s fairly easy to see what’s wrong with the world today and how society has changed and still needs to change. Yet I don’t feel like the plot was strong or interesting enough to pull me through the story. The ending was bland and left me wondering what might have happened next, if it had ended on a more interesting note.

2/5 stars

4 stars · paranormal · series

Wind and Shadow by Tori L. Ridgewood

Wind and Shadow

The Talbot Trilogy #1

author : tori l. ridgewood

pages : [paperback] 228

summary :

Rayvin Woods, photographer and natural witch. She just wanted to start her life over again after a series of misadventures. She didn’t count on rekindling a lost love when she came home to Talbot…or battling a malevolent vampire and his coven for her life.

Grant Michaels, police officer. He thought Rayvin was a murderer. He will do whatever it takes to protect the community he loves from danger…but will he learn to trust his heart, and the word of a witch, before it’s too late?

Malcolm de Sade, cunning vampire, imprisoned underground for a year by Charlotte Fanning and Pike Mahonen (“Mist and Midnight”, Midnight Thirsts). His accidental release unleashes his hunger and ambition on a small, sleepy town…


Facing the past can be a nightmare. It’s worse when a vampire is stalking you.

review :

I really didn’t know what to expect from this book because it seems like there are so many books about witches circulating these days, yet Rayvin manages to make an impression. She’s not your typical witch and she’s not willing to just sit by and let other people take charge, either. I loved reading from her perspective and knowing that she was going to get things done as well as take care of the people she cares about. Rayvin has been hurt, several times, in the past, but I like that she doesn’t dwell on that or let it get in her way.

That said, I don’t feel like I really connected with the book until about halfway through. There was a lot of build-up and I thought that I could see where the plot was going, though some points were confusing and I thought that some of the decisions Rayvin was making didn’t make much sense. But as the action began to pick up in the last half of the book, so did my interest, until I ended the book wondering when I could get the next one. I’m really interested in what happens next to these characters, especially because there were a few twists in there that I hadn’t expected. Because the plot at first seemed so predictable I think they were even more unexpected and made the impact even greater, which might account for why my interest suddenly switched.

There wasn’t much said about Charlotte and Pike, the people who originally trapped the vampire, in this book, so I really hope there’s a lot more about them in the sequel. I think it’d be interesting to see if there are other creatures out there, too, because Rayvin didn’t know for certain that vampires existed until one was trying to kill her! There are so many ways the next book could go and I think, if it picks up the way this book ended, it’ll be fantastic.

I recommend this book to people who are fans of supernatural creatures, romance, and an interesting story.

4/5 stars

5 stars · fiction · series

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

author : Holly Black

pages : [hardcover] 432

favorite character : tana &

summary :

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

review :

I’ve been over the entire vampire idea in books for a while but I have to say that Julie Kagawa’s new series involving vampires has given me renewed hope and has kept me from looking down on awesome books just because they happen to have vampires in them. I think that so many people have an aversion to them because of Twilight and similar books. Today I’d like to say that if you’re having that problem, pick up this book and you’ll feel renewed hope for vampire novels everywhere!

First of all, Tana, the main character in this book, doesn’t romanticize vampires at all. Her mother was infected by one when Tana was a little girl and she’s seen firsthand how that changes a person from who she’s known into a blood-craving monster. I do like how this book addresses the inevitable group of people  who do wish to become immortal, beautiful, deadly creatures. With all of this ‘feeds’ coming out of Coldtowns, where they stick all the vampires and infected they can catch, the entire thing is glamorized to the extreme. All aspects of this are addressed in the books.

Second, there is no romance in this book. I repeat, none! Sure, it’s hinted that maybe there could be something in the future books but I love how in this one the main character actually sticks to her plans and doesn’t allow herself to get distracted just because of some guy. All of the characters are great, from the manipulative to the strange to the downright scary. It’s obvious that the vampires aren’t the only things to fear in this book and things aren’t safe even before they reach Coldtown.

There were so many parts of this book that I loved that I can’t even hope to describe them all here without spoiling you completely. Just trust me when I say that you’ll find something to enjoy about this book. It’s such a refreshing voice and story on an idea that’s been overdone and I can’t wait to read more!

5/5 stars

If you like this book, you should read The Immortal Rules

2 stars · fiction · romance · series

Into the Night by Shannon Pearce

Into the Night

author : shannon pearce

pages : [paperback] 298


Vampires, she can handle. Werewolves…No problem! Demons? Nothing a little holy water can’t fix. Damien and his hunting partner? Well that’s a whole other story! Misty West knows the rules, and has been taught them her whole life. When given a chance to escape, she takes it, knowing better than anyone that her past won’t stay buried forever. After years of a so-called normal life, Misty is confronted by the news that her brother, Damien, is missing and that it’s up to her to find him. With the aid of Xavier Connor, her brother’s tall, dark, and handsome hunting partner, Misty is thrown deep into the supernatural underworld, fighting vampires, other hunters, and her desire for Xavier, all the while discovering things about her family that even she finds hard to believe.


This book had a really great premise and I liked the way that the supernatural world was presented alongside the human one throughout the novel. Unfortunately this book didn’t have the butt-kicking heroine that I anticipated from the summary. Misty comes from a long line of hunters; her entire family has hunted throughout their lives and she’s been on hunts before. I understand her being a little rusty or reluctant to fight just because she was trying to get herself back into a normal life. But, honestly, looking back over the book, most of the scenes were just instances of Misty getting into trouble and some guy or another coming to get her out of it.

I really, really don’t like books like that. It’d be a little more understandable if she’d known nothing about this world and was suddenly thrust into it that way . . but everyone kept going on about how the Wests were incredible hunters and everyone should be afraid of her because of that. I wasn’t impressed.

Unfortunately, this was a book I knew could have benefitted from a little more editing. Not just because of misspellings and things like that but because in most of the book there were awkward phrasings and the dialogue was so distracting. Often the characters would talk and commas were used where periods might have been better, to make the words flow together more realistically. That took away from my overall enjoyment of the book and frustrated me.

The main characters had an insta-love, which I never really go for. They knew each other for a few days before actually telling each other about their love. It was really unbelievable for me.

I might be interested in continuing this book series only because I liked the world it was set in, have a little faith for the characters, and like how the ending was set up.

2/5 stars


The Vampire Psychologist Series!

Looking for a new vampire series to read? I know, there seems to be an endless amount of vampire lit coming from everywhere these days, so it’s hard to know what will be worth picking up. I’d definitely recommend checking out the Vampire Psychologist series, starring. Dr. Kismet Knight as she accidentally gets herself involved in a real world filled with blood-sucking creatures when she thinks she’s only looking into the newest teen craze.

The Vampire Shrink is the first novel in the series and it’s just been rewritten, expanded, and re-released!  Here’s the summary:

Kismet Knight, PhD, doesn’t believe in the paranormal. She especially doesn’t believe in vampires, but she begins to wise up when she is introduced to a handsome man named Devereux who claims to be 800 years old. Kismet doesn’t buy his vampire story, but she also can’t explain why she has such odd reactions and feelings when he is near. Then a client almost completely drained of blood staggers into her waiting room and two angry men force their way into her office, causing her to consider the possibility that she has run afoul of a vampire underworld. Enter FBI profiler Alan Stevens, who warns her that vampires are very real, and one is a murderer—a murderer who is after her.

The Vampire Shrink is filled with fantastic characters, from Kismet to the vampires themselves to Alan the FBI agent, who seems to know more about these vampires than he should. The writing is great, plus the plot is action-packed and filled with plot twists . . . And, of course, romantic moments.

You can’t ignore those book covers, either. I was looking through the old editions of book books and really prefer these. I feel like they relate so much more to the series as a whole. Plus they look awesome!

Once you read the first novel, you won’t be able to resist picking up the second right after you’re finished. Here’s the summary, just in case you aren’t sure you’ll be hooked:

Blood Therapy is a dark contemporary fantasy with humor, mystery, romance and adult situations.

Kismet Knight knows exactly how to handle her clients, but when it comes to her love-life, she’s on less steady ground. That was until she met master vampire Devereux, an 800-year-old hunk, who not only managed to convince the entirely rational shrink that vampires really do exist – he also persuaded her to start dating him.

Kismet’s still having nightmares after being kidnapped by Lucifer, a psychotic vampire. From a therapeutic perspective she finds his split personalities fascinating – but she’s constantly terrified. And Dev’s become obsessed with finding Lucifer – before he comes after Kismet again.

So much for her nice, ordinary life…

–  –  –

Need I say more? Try out this series now-you won’t regret it, and you’ll have a new favorite vampire series to read!