Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Book Lists Pt. 4: Paranormal Day


*Back to Introductory Post; Pt. 1; Pt. 2; Pt 3; Pt. 5; Pt. 6; Pt. 7
*Books are linked to my reviews, if available. They're also linked to Amazon. I have read all of these books and written reviews for most, but haven't posted many of them yet. As I do, I will update this page.

Until I read Twilight I had never picked up a paranormal romance book (note that I consider Harry Potter fantasy, not paranormal). Twilight released the flood gates for me on a whole new genre. Now paranormal romance comprises a good percentage of my reading. Here are a list of various paranormal romance novels, split up by paranormal element.

Vampires

How can you not love these adorable blood-sucking fiends?

The Greyfriar and The Rift Walker by Clay and Susan Griffith
Fabulous, unique vampire story. A mixture of suspenseful action scenes with a slow-building romance will satisfy readers of multiple genres. The vampires are intensely violent creatures more like animals than humans. Lots of political intrigue, steampunk elements, as well as sci fi/fantasy tie-ins. The romance is subtle but so sweet that I repeatedly re-read my favorite "Aww..." inducing moments. (Amazon 1, Amazon 2)

Midnight Alley and Feast of Fools (Morganville Vampires #3 and 4) by Rachel Caine
Morganville Vampires is the potato chip of YA paranormals. You can't read just one. The stakes are raised in this installment. Claire moves to Morganville to attend college and realizes the town is strewn with vampires. Claire quickly becomes a mediator of sorts, having relationships with humans and vampires, both good and evil. Hot romance with Claire's boyfriend Shane and great moments with friends/roommates Eve and Michael. (Amazon 1, Amazon 2)

Eighth Grade Bites (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, #1) by Heather Brewer
Vlad is half vampire, half human. Being a vamp isn't that big a deal, as long as it stays secret. His secret is threatened when a teacher disappears and is replaced by a creepy guy who is extremely interested in Vlad. Vlad and his best friend go searching to find his old teacher and discover the new guy's issues. Funny book but has surprising dark side. (Amazon)

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6) by Richelle Mead
Perfect ending to a fabulous series. There's less action in this installment since Rose is on the run and has to learn the value of accepting help rather than giving it. Meanwhile, Lissa is waging a political battle at court to acquit Rose and maybe change the future of the royals. Don't forget about romance. Dimitri and Adrian will both make you squeal, yell, and cry in this book. (Amazon)

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Bloodlines lives up to Vampire Academy, but I think it may be even better! Sydney is easier to relate to than Rose - Cautious, thoughtful, ambitious, responsible, subdued, self-conscious. And there's Adrian! I loved him in VA, but he comes into his own here. Not a huge amount of action - mostly set-up for the series - but the plot flows quickly and enjoyably. Also not much romance, but what's there is perfectly done. Heart-stopping! Don't read this unless you've read the entire Vampire Academy series. (Amazon)

Faeries

Definitely not Tinkerbell...

Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
My favorite book of the entire Iron Fey series! Ash is determined to trade his fairy sold for that of a mortal, so he can reside with Meghan in the Iron Kingdom. Reminiscent of Homer's The Odyssey, Ash sets off on a long journey of dangerous adventures to reach the place where he might become mortal, joined by his friend/enemy Puck. Full of what Julie Kagawa does best - great action and well developed characters. Plus lots of Grim! (Amazon)

Illusions (Wings #3) by Aprilynne Pike
I love Aprilynne's unique take on traditional fairy lore. We learn more about fairy-land in Illusions because it is told from both Tamani and Laurel's points of view. So refreshing to see another perspective. A new character is added to the series: Yuki, who Tamani is assigned to watch over. Creates a very melodramatic love rectangle between Laurel, David, Tamani, and Yuki. A bit overdone, but there is some great romantic moments in the book. (Amazon)

Shadowspell and Sirensong (Faeriewalker #2 and 3) by Jenna Black
Dana the Faeriewalker is wanted by everyone for her powers. Especially the dangerous Erlking, the faerie hunter who Dana meets when he is on the loose in Avalon. A love rectangle (or square) between Dana, Ethan, Keane, and the Erlking. There are now three hot, sex guys in this series. Of course, one of them is out to kill her...but little details. Shadowspell takes awhile to get into, but once you do, you won't put it down. Somewhat stereotypical plot and romance but hooks you regardless. (Amazon 1, Amazon 2)

Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
The perfect combination of historical fiction and fantasy. The Faerie Ring is set in Victorian England. You get to see the extremes of wealth and poverty in this novel since Tiki, the main character, lives on the streets while Leo, another main character is the son of Queen Victoria and lives in Buckingham Palace. Add to that a stolen ring that establishes peace between mankind and the fey and you have a story that will totally carry you away. (Amazon)

Werewolves

I'm more of a vampire girl than a werewolf girl, but I'll take a gander at a cute little puppy.

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
Conclusion to Wolves of Mercy Falls series. The helicopter shoot is on and Isabel, Cole, Sam, and Grace had to race to save the wolves. It wasn't a page turner, but there was a definable plot and finally some action. New characters become important. We revisited old ones. Relationships improved. Relationships broke down. The book dragged a lot at the beginning. As always, beautiful, cold, stark writing. Controversial ending that I loved, but many people didn't. (Amazon)

Lost Saint (The Dark Divine #2) by Bree DeSpain
One of the "second books" that is better than the first despite following the predictable sequel plot. Grace and Daniel, the happy couple, are thrust into conflict. A new, mysterious guy comes into to thwart their relationship. Stereotypical love triangle, but still highly enjoyable. Rich, fascinating werewolve mythology. Loved the theme of secrets and the dilemma of who to trust. (Amazon)

Witches

I didn't set out to read a lot of witch novels this year, but I certainly did.

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The third installment of the Caster Chronicles ups the ante yet again. Ethan and Lena are back together after their struggles in Beautiful Darkness. Strange things are happening in town. Insect infestation, freak weather disasters - it seems like the apocalypse. Ethan too is struggling. The natural order has been disrupted and only Ethan and Lena can fix it. (Amazon)

Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
Witchlanders is a quietly enticing novel. A high fantasy that feels foreign yet familiar. The Baens and the Witchlanders have been enemies forever. Each culture has its own myth stories decrying the evils of the other. This is a tale about a Baen boy and Witchlander boy whose lives intertwine unexpectedly. Very interesting, if a little confusing world-building, because of the two very different groups. Easy to read prose that is smooth and welcoming. (Amazon)

Always a Witch by Carolyn McCullough
Sequel to Once a Witch. Combination of witchcraft and time travel. Tamsin Greene is no longer Talentless. She is an incredibly powerful witch and will need all her powers to rescue her past and present family from Alistair Knight. Great, headstrong female lead complemented by cute romance. (Amazon)

Red Glove by Holly Black
Great follow-up to White Cat. Full of danger and curseworking. Cassel has to learn to rely and trust on his friends rather than doing everything himself. Great Cassel and Lila moments! The book is a real page-turner yet also has a lot of substance - developed characters and excellend world-building. (Amazon)

Chime by Franny Billingsley
Briony is convinced that she's an evil witch who hurts everyone around her; she despises herself. She holds everyone back, so she can't hurt them. Eldric, the new lion-boy, refuses to stay away. Beautiful, lyrical, stream of consciousness prose that is sure to garner this book awards. Well-developed characters and complex plot. The emphasis on "pretty" writing kept me from ever feeling truly attached to the plot and characters though. (Amazon)

Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Combination of high fantasy set long ago, traditional folk tale, family love and strife, burgeoning romance, and small town narrow-mindedness. When an unknown boy arrives in the town of Near, tongues start wagging. A new person is a cause for fear not celebration in this narrow minded, easily frightened community. These fears seem well-founded when local children begin disappearing in the night soon after the boy arrives. Lexi and said unknown boy dubbed Cole join together to search for the true Near Witch. Beautiful prose. (Amazon)

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
A middle grade historical fantasy set in early 19th century England and centers on a family that is just outside the cusp of wealth. Since the family is desperate for money (to pay off Kat's brother's gambling arrears), Elissa the oldest sister is going to marry the horrible (but rich) Sir Neville. Kat is bound and determined to stop this. In a parallel plot line, Kat finds her deceased mother's magic book and ends up being thrust into a world of magic that she couldn't have imagined. The two plot arcs intertwine as Kat has to get her sister away from Sir Neville while also juggling magical powers and magical politics. (Amazon)

Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
Jack goes from being a normal kid with a mysterious heart problem to a warrior with incredible strength, power, and purpose. He is a pawn in a vicious game of wizard's chess. Jack has to protect his family and friends and fulfill his destiny on his own terms. Easy read with relatable main character. Interesting world building of wizard society, although not entirely believable. (Amazon)

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
One of those books that you finish and want to immediately re-start to immerse yourself in the magic and beauty and also to understand its complexity. Two twists magicians create a circus as the framework to pit their proteges against one another. This results in an ensemble book that tells the stories of multiple characters. The book is a romance between Celia and Marco, but it is just as much the story of Poppet and Widget, Bailey, Tsukiko, Isabel, and more. The circus is incredibly described; I'd pay great amounts of money to attend this circus. (Amazon)

Angels

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Best angel book I've read yet. Clara is half angel and is still coming into her powers. She is assigned a task to help someone and molds her life around it. Twist on normal love triangle. Great worldbuilding that is different from other angel books. Really fun read. (Amazon)

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Ellie discovers that she is a Preliator: a mortal with an immortal soul tasked to destroy Reapers. With her handsome, kind, devoted aide Will at her side, Ellie is a fighting machine. Complicated angel/devil mythology that is partially explained in this book but will surely be developed more in later books. Hard to tear yourself away from the pages. (Amazon)

Personal Demons and Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers
A guardian angel and a demon duke it out to tag Frannie's soul for Heaven or Hell. The problem comes when both Gabe and Luc (angel & demon, respectively) fall for Frannie. Why is Frannie so important to Heaven and Hell? Which side will Frannie choose? A little silly but fun angel/demon series. (Amazon 1, Amazon 2)

Mermaids

I didn't like Ariel much, but I am fond of literary human fish.

Fins are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs
Typical second book. Quince and Lily are in love and happy happy. Pretty typical start to a second book. Then Lily's cousin Doe shows up and threatens to ruin everything. We get to learn a lot more about the mermaid world, particularly how it interacts or doesn't interact with the human world. Plus the existence of other kingdoms. Some of the plot arcs, particularly Doe's actions are a bit too outrageous to be believed though. All in all, a fun fluffy book. (Amazon)

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
A very different mermaid story. Abused girls transform into man-killing sirens who gleefully kill humans for fun (since humans never treated them well). Just about as dark as it sounds. But it's also a story of a supportive girl-power group of mermaids and features a sympathetic main character. (Amazon)

Ghosts

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade
Second Ghost and Goth book took the plot in a direction I didn't expect. Will and Alona are on separate journeys in the book - mostly alone. Will is intrigued when he meets other people who can see ghosts and who knew his father. Alona is mourning the fact that the world is moving on without her. Very interesting plot twist at the end. (Amazon)

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendara Blake
Cas is a teenage ghost-buster, skilled at killing the dead until a 17 year old ghost named Anna bests him. Anna kills everyone who enters her home, except for Cas. Still, Cas is determined to kill Anna before she harms again. Mixing horror with romance with friendship with family drama, this book is a unique take on the ghost paranormal genre. (Amazon)

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
Reminiscent of classic children's stories. Set in Victorian era England, Liesl & Po is a book of friendship and loneliness, of greed and generosity, of death and life. Liesl, Po, and Will are all lonely and suffering characters. We watch as all three lives collide and then travel together in an exciting and heartwarming adventure. Oliver's prose is magical. It flows so smoothly that I felt like I was flying while reading the novel. Love the simple yet haunting sweetness of the book. (Amazon)

Zombies

Zombies Don’t Cry by Rusty Fischer
Campy zombie horror romance. Very likeable main character who isn't overly angsty about becoming a zombie. Great side characters in Dane and Chloe who function as zombie mentors. The zombie world was very interesting - sticks close to traditional lore with added things like zombie laws - but wasn't explained fully enough. The story is framed around romance, which is a typical love triangle, but it isn't as interesting or important as the zombie plot. (Amazon)

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
If you're a fan of zombie books, Warm Bodies is definitely something to pick up. If you're not a fan of zombie books - as I am not - don't pass this by. While the book doesn't skimp on the violence of zombie appetites, its most prominent features are beautiful prose, thought-provoking philosophical questions, and a subtle, sweet love story. (Amazon)

Multiple Paranormal Creatures

One big happy family. Or not.

Hex: Witch and Angel by Ramona Wray
A witch is torn between two otherwordly guys. Not a normal triangle - one is good and one is bad but the book twists around so you're not sure who is the right guy. Lily, our heroine, has a great voice. Better written than most self-published novels. (Amazon)

City of Bones; City of Ashes; City of Glass; City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Clary falls into the world of the Shadowhunters, an organization dedicated to destroying demons, when her mother disappears. She teams up with sexy, arrogant, handsome, incredible Jace; snooty Isabel; quiet Alex; and even her nerdy friend Simon. Incredible world building. Fall to your knees romance. Very descriptive prose. (Amazon 1, Amazon 2, Amazon 3, Amazon 4)

Supernaturally by Kiersten White
Sequel to Paranormalcy. Evie has the normal life she's always dreamed of, but it's boring. Lend is still the awesome boyfriend, but he's not around. Evie jumps at the chance to work again for the IPCA on a contract basis. Enter stage-right new boy Jack who may be trying to help or hurt Evie. Lots of funny moments, although not as many as in Paranormalcy. Good character growth and world-building development. (Amazon)

Other

Some books defy characterization. Either that or I only read one book within that genre this year.

Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Kate accepts a bargain from Henry (aka Hades) to join him in his house for 6 months, pass tests, and perhaps become his wife in order to save a schoolmate and prolong her dying mother's life. Greek mythology very light. Kate is incredibly self-sacrificing and Henry is handsomely intriguing. The romance builds gradually. Love how mysterious the tests and characters were - the tests suprise Kate and the reader and no one knows who amongst the character is really trustworthy. (Amazon)

Switched by Amanda Hocking
Wendy has never fit in. Even her own mother tried to kill her. Turns out she's really a troll who was switched at birth. When she goes back to her real family, the danger, drama, and romance begins. Wendy is a strong character with lots of gumption. Great beginning to a series. Lots to criticize if you want to, but lots to enjoy if you give it a chance. (Amazon)

Die for Me by Amy Plum
Fabulous new series. A bit Twilighty but in a good way. Even better, it's set in Paris. Unique paranormal element with great history and world building. Kate and Vincent have some insta-love, but Vincent is such a great guy that I don't mind. Well developed side characters make book a joy to read. (Amazon)

Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsay
Lenzi is a reincarnated Speaker who helps lost souls find their way. She doesn't remember any of her past lives, but luckily she has handsome, kind, loyal Alden to help. Very interesting paranormal element. Lenzi and Alden fight evil spirits but also help good dead people. I like the altruistic element. The plot isn't original but the characters are fun and I quickly came to think of them as friends. (Amazon)

Carrier of the Mark by Carry Fallon
Megan is the new American girl who moves to Ireland with her dad and is instantly drawn to dark, mysterious Adam who doesn't like any of the other girls at school but is also drawn to Megan. Sound familiar? This book is very Twilighty by still delightful. Unique paranormal element. Unlike Twilight, Megan is equally powerful as Adam, if not moreso. Forbidden romance. Great family side characters, especially Aine - who is almost as cute as Alice. (Amazon)

4 comments :

  1. I read most of these, but there are a few I still need to read! Love the list!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think I'm ready to give vampires another go in 2012. I have sworn off of them for the last few years because I've just been so burnt out, but I think my much needed break is over. I will probably start with Vampire Academy because I always hear such great things, but Vampire Empire also sounds good. And weird and unique which is awesome.

    As for the rest, I still need to find a faerie and angel book that I truly love - I find that I'm more often annoyed by them than anything. You've given me some good recs here. I've never read about mermaids before. I would like to try it out.

    ReplyDelete
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