Book Review: State of Grace by Elizabeth Davies (The Resurrection Trilogy)

This is my review of the first book of the Resurrection Trilogy..

When Grace, 27 years old and with only a few months left to live, returns to her home town of Brecon, she is catapulted nearly 1800 years into the past. At first she attributes her hallucinations to her brain tumour but as the visions become more detailed and closer to the present day, she becomes involved with a certain wickedly handsome and rather inhuman Roman, who has an obsession with blood.
Grace is forced to confront her fears when the past begins intruding on the present, and she falls deeper in love with her phantom man.

‘Death is only one option.’

This is an excellent introduction to the series.  You get to meet Grace and Roman and the way she “time travels”.  You are also introduced to Ms. Davies excellent writing, her exceptional descriptions of places, people, sights, smells.  She literally transports the reader, along with Grace, into the middle ages in Grace’s hometown of Brecon:

I was transfixed by the spectacle of four men, one with his back to me, three facing me, all with swords (swords?) in their hands, the metal gleaming and catching in the firelight.  I had an image of wild, long, black hair, snarling mouths gaping out of straggling beards, ragged, unfamiliar clothing and weapons in both fists.  Then the stench hit me: stale sweat, unwashed bodies, seweage and dead things mingling most unpleasantly with the peculiar money-smell of blood and the scorching rawness of the smoke.  I gagged.

Grace is a very real character.  Very honest in her narrative, very self-aware.  She knows her life is slowly ebbing away, yet instead of adopting a “poor me” pity party, she decides to try and shield her family from the truth as much as she can.  She still insists on being as “normal” as possible, even though she now lives back at her childhood home and can no longer work as a pilot.

I honestly enjoyed her personal perspective with her health as much as I enjoyed the paranormal aspect.

Throughout this book she continues to have sudden “visits” to the past.  Each time it is later in the historical time line.  Each time she returns to Roman.  Each time it is in the vicinity of her hometown.  And each time she is completely naked.

Obviously a ton of research went into the description of life in the middle ages.  And I am extremely grateful that I was born in the 1980s.

I also love how Grace has to describe things in the future that are unheard of to a man living a thousand years in the past:

‘I need a shower,’ I murmured, feeling a strange mix of drowsy as my eyelids wanted to close, and alert at Roman’s closeness.

‘What is this word ‘shower’? You mean rainfall?’

‘No, not rain, it’s uh, it’s when you stand under a sort of tap that’s above your head, and it drips water down on you so you can wash,’ I answered sleepily. 

‘Like a tap in a barrel?’ he asked.

‘Only the barrel would contain hot water and the tap would have lots of little holes in it so the water sprinkles out.’

I felt him nod his understanding.  ‘It would be difficult to heat the water,’ he mused.

‘We use a boiler or electricity,’ I said, forgetting that he would not have a clue what I meant.

‘Boiler?’

‘Sort of like a big stove or oven, and the water is pumped from it to the shower head, er, tap,’ I amended.

He hadn’t finished. ‘And elec-tristy?’

Oh goodness — how on earth was I going to explain this one? ‘In my world we have.. it’s um, er…’ Crap.  ‘ We have a power that.. no, that’s not right. I know! We can harness the lightening.  We can use lightning to make fire.’

The relationship with Grace and Roman deepens, they develop a romance and Grace finds herself longing for him, even when she is back in her world and her disease progresses.

I plowed through each of these books in a matter of days.  Since I read these books about two months ago, I am finding myself being sucked in again as I am reading through highlighted passages.  The end of book one could be a cliffhanger, but it could kind of stand alone.

Excellent start to an excellent series.

The Resurrection Trilogy by Elizabeth Davies

Ok.  I have gone from not reading about vampires at all to now reading vampire love stories with time travel mixed in.  Mr. Altman, my A.P. English teacher in high school, would be appalled.  What’s next?  Time traveling zombies from outer space (Stant Litore, want to take this one on?)

 

This post highlights the entire series as a whole.  I will break down each book in the following days.

I absolutely loved this series.  It is at once sobering, funny, romantic and historical.

The books in order are:

State of Grace

Amazing Grace

Sanctifying Grace 

I purposefully stayed away from the “time-traveling” genre because I’m worried my knowledge of history will make me call “bullshit” on some of the things I read.  And because my eyes cross when I think of the implications of time travel.  That kind of happened a little with the resolution of this book, but Ms. Davies make it a bit bullshit proof.  And I know next to nothing about the history of Great Britain, and even less about the middle ages, so it was all good.

What drew me to this book was the entire premise:

When Grace, 27 years old and with only a few months left to live, returns to her home town of Brecon, she is catapulted nearly 1800 years into the past. At first she attributes her hallucinations to her brain tumour but as the visions become more detailed and closer to the present day, she becomes involved with a certain wickedly handsome and rather inhuman Roman, who has an obsession with blood. 
Grace is forced to confront her fears when the past begins intruding on the present, and she falls deeper in love with her phantom man. 

‘Death is only one option.’ 

A love story with a supernatural twist, it looks at vampires from an unusual angle, knitting together the twelfth century with the present day.

 

 

As I have often stated, I am a hospice nurse.  I am always intrigued by books that portray the dying process.  Especially from the perspective of the dying person.  And everything I found in this series was right on from what I can tell from my coherent patients.

This entire series fascinated me because I always wonder what is going on with my patients as they are approaching death, as it is well know that they dream rather vividly.

The portrayal of what her family is experiencing is spot on as well.  The helplessness that her family feels watching her deteriorate, Grace’s desire to keep her health status from her friends.  Even the impact her illness has had on her relationship status.  All is very common, very real to the terminally ill person.

And despite the rather somber state Grace is in, she still has a rather wicked sense of humor.  I love her.  She is strong, she is independent, and even though she finds herself in ridiculous situations, she still retains her stubborn streak.

The romance she experiences during what she believes are hallucinations is quite erotic.  This isn’t erotica, but there is vivid and very steamy sex scenes.  Nothing gratuitous or crude.  Very tasteful and it is very meaningful to the story rather than being a book about sex with story in between.  The relationship develops over the entire series at an even pace and is very real and palpable rather than being contrived from beginning.

The vampires are a bit different, and that is one thing that I enjoy from reading each writer’s different take on the genre.

I also want to make mention of the covers for the three books. In this post you see all three.  And you can see how they are different.  I think that was a really cool concept to have Roman, the romantic male lead character, concealed by on the first cover, then a bit more revealed in the second, and fully turned to face front on the third.  Excellent idea.  Coincides greatly with the progress of the books. And it is also exactly how I pictures Roman.

Look for my review on book one, State of Grace, tomorrow.

 

A Shade of Vampire Series

shadeofvampire

Good Lord, I am addicted to another one of these “vampire romance” series.  I stumbled on this series as part of my Kindle Lending Library benefits, and probably as intended, I was sucked in and bought the rest of the series.  And I am now eagerly awaiting the sixth book.

Here is the synopsis for the first book:

On the evening of Sofia Claremont’s 17th birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake. 
A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood. 

She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine. 
An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains. 

Sofia’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince. 

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? …or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

What I like about this series is that is is more….realistic? than the other vampire series.  The other “we are vegetarian vampire” series.  Vampires are historically monsters.  They feed off of humans.  And this series is no different.  Derek Novak fully intends to murder Sofia at first sight.  But there is something special about her, something different.  And that is why this series, and those like it, appeal to teenage girls.  They want to feel special.

This series is darker.  It is more violent.  I would put it at 17+.  And there is also sex.  The heroine does not remain a virgin until her wedding night.  But it is not particularly graphic.  It is not Fifty Shades of Vampire.  Although an adult version wouldn’t be a bad idea.

I do like the magic interspersed throughout the story.  The magic of the island, the travel.  The prophecy.  The intriguing love triangle.  I love how the island has been cut off from the rest of the world for centuries.  That creates a completely unique element.

As the stories progress, I love the twists and turns it takes involving vampire hunters, Sofia’s family ties, Derek’s past.  I am looking forward to see how it ends.

My only complaints?  The books are too short, probably as intended, and Sofia is way too good.  Too perfect.

Here is the list of the books in the series.  I seriously devoured them in a few days:

  1. Book 1: A Shade of Vampire
  2. Book 2: A Shade Of Blood
  3. Book 3: A Shade Of Vampire 3: A Castle Of Sand
  4. Book 4: A Shadow of Light
  5. Book 5: A Blaze of Sun

I also read Bella Forrest’s Beautiful Monster.  That two book series was absolutely phenomenal.  Her writing is excellent, her ability to change the rules of her universes are extremely unique.  I also recommend those books as well.

If you are looking for an escape into an interesting teenage vampire world that is a bit different, give this a try.  But make sure you have some time because you WILL get sucked in and you won’t be able to put them down.

Book Review: Blood and Fire (The Talbot Trilogy) by Tori L. Ridgewood

BloodandFireCover

I reviewed the first of this trilogy, Wind and Shadow, earlier this year and was delighted to be able to review the second book.

Here is the syopsis:

What chance does one witch have against five vampires? Alone, not much. But Rayvin’s allies are gathering… 

The battle between good and evil supernatural forces heats up in the long, cold November nights of the former mining town. But how will Rayvin’s motley crew of spellcasters and shapeshifters cope when they discover the threat they face is even greater than they imagined? 

In between reading the first and second books, I finally read The Twilight Saga.  Mainly because I kind of knew that all of these vampire books I was reading were making references to it, and I wanted in on the secrets.

 So now I’m going to allude to this series as a more realistic Twilight in which vampires actually do kill people and consenting adults do actually have sex.

So there you have it.  As an adult female with a healthy libido, it makes this series much more enjoyable.

I absolutely love Rayvin.  She has her flaws, but she is a very strong character.  She is fiery, she is alive, and that is probably why de Sade is so taken with her.  I have to admire the strength of anyone who does what she does to get out of his grips.

I’m not entirely sure about Charlotte yet.  I don’t know enough about her.

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the characters of Marcy and Siobhan.  I have read many, many, many paranormal romance books, most I don’t blog about because its my guilty pleasure, but I can’t remember a duo quite like them.  They are worthy of their own series.

Ms. Ridgewood evokes my rage as a rape survivor.  She accurately captures the smug arrogance that many rapists Tori Headshot 3possess.  In the character of Jason Lucas and to an extent Malcom de Sade, she embodies these despicable qualities and makes me want to scream at my poor, innocent Kindle screen.

Yes, this series is dark.  It is not for teenagers.  Definitely not YA.  It is for adults who like the paranormal romance genre and like an added adult aspect to it. As I said in my review of the first book, even without all the magic, vampires, etc, it would be a wonderful story just because of the relationship issues that are explored.  The entire “going back to your roots” the “dealing with your past”.

But that is what makes it more realistic for me.  Vampires of classic literature don’t sparkle.  They are cursed.  They aren’t beautiful, they are parasites.  I love how Ms. Ridgewood brings this element of vampirism back to these types of novels.

Overall, I loved this book, can’t wait for the next one.

I gave in and read the “Twilight Saga”

I was trying to avoid this.  Really, I was.  I am usually a big supporter of self published and small press authors.  I try to avoid anything on the best sellers list.  But discovering new genres over the past few years has brought me to this point, namely romance and paranormal romance.

Also due to a very profound “vampire aversion” developed in high school, I have ardently tried to avoid anything vampire in order to prevent flashbacks.  But after reading zombies, werewolves and witchcraft books, starting to read vampire books was inevitable.

Actually, a self published author of zombie books asked me to read her vampire series.  So I blame her completely.

I was able to download the entire “Twilight Saga” via my local library.  I read it all in four days.  I think that’s over 2000 pages.  It helps that I’ve been in bed most of the time due to my health.

I wasn’t in high school when this entire phenomenon went down about 10 years ago.  I vaguely knew about the movies, the books etc just from not living under a rock.  But I had never seen the movies.

I was very surprised that these were good books.  And I don’t know why.

Sometimes I read these paranormal romance books and they are just awful.  I usually don’t blog about those ones.  They are sappy, way too superficial, and cliche.  So it was very refreshing to read these books and realize that there are much, much deeper themes than a vampire love story.

Aside from the romance, there is the issue of female self confidence, a hint of “race relations” and the undercurrent of the definition of family.

The writing is fantastic.  Absolutely fantastic.  When a writer can move me to tears, I am greatly impressed.  Last night I was finishing “Breaking Dawn”, and the entire thing with Renesemee and the final climax of the book had me sobbing.  I actually went to hold my daughter for a bit while she was sleeping. Stephanie Meyers struck the motherhood chord and describes it so completely, I was speechless.

I do see the other themes, i.e. the “no sex before marriage”, but I really don’t see the abortion debate.  I see it more as a pro-choice debate than anything else.  Even though her baby could (and did) kill her, Bella couldn’t stand the thought of destroying anything that she and Edward created.  Even though I created a baby with a man who didn’t love me (I thought he did at the time), I can’t ever imagine not having my daughter.  She is my entire world.  If you are interested reading more about her, check out my other blog .

I am also impressed with the depth of the characters.  You absolutely KNOW these characters, inside and out.  Their motivations, their desires, their points of view.  Even the secondary characters are brilliantly fleshed out and made real. Many of the paranormal romance books do not go to these levels of description.

And I can see how these books greatly influenced the entire genre of paranormal romance (and now erotic romance) after they were published.  Throughout the book, I found elements that following books “borrowed”.  I can’t count how many werewolf and vampire books have used very similar elements.  Except for the sparkles.

I knew that “Fifty Shades of Grey” was originally a fan fiction based on “Twilight”.  I was intrigued to see how an all powerful, strikingly beautiful man with a BDSM fetish could possibly be inspired by a teenage vampire story.  But it’s all there.  Just in different contexts.  The big difference being that it is completely X rated.

So now on to the movies.  And while I’m on a “very successful books turned into movies” kick, I may read Harry Potter.

Don’t judge me 🙂

 

 

Book Review: Wind and Shadow (The Talbot Trilogy) by Tori L. Ridgewood

wands

I like paranormal romance.  Most of the time.  So I was intrigued by this book.  Here is the blurb:

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…

I liked the story.  It was definitely darker than most paranormal romance, and definitely had more sex.  This is NOT for YA.  I wouldn’t completely classify it as “erotica” but there is some graphic sex and language.  That isn’t gratuitous.

Outside the whole “vampires and witches” thing, there is a really good story underneath about returning to the place you grew up and overcoming assumptions made about you.  Rayvin is a very strong woman, regardless of her powers.  Even if you took out all of the magic stuff, it would be a fantastic story.

I really liked the way the author portrayed vampires.  Too many of these paranormal romances look over the fact that historically, vampires are ugly, evil creatures.  I think of the vampire of “Salem’s Lot” by Stephen King and I’m dumbfounded why so many vampires are exceedingly good looking.  And some of them even sparkle.

So it was refreshing to read a paranormal romance rooted in the historical notions of the genre.

And it seems like Rayvin’s witching is rooted in some fact as well.  I don’t know anything about other religions, but I do have friends that claim to be Pagan or Wiccan and the portrayal of Rayvin’s religion seems based in reality.

I don’t want to write a spoiler, but it was refreshing the way the book ended.  Its not the typical “and they live happily ever after” ending.  And I liked it.

And I am now anxiously awaiting part two.

If you like a different type of vampire tale, give this a shot.

Amanda’s Favs for 2013 Part Two

Here is the second part of my favorites list.

These are books that I have read and haven’t reviewed. Most I get from my monthly Kindle Lending Library allotment. Some are series I picked up when the first book was offered for free.  Some of the larger press books come from my weekly library run.

Favorite zombie book:  Apocalypse Z:  Darker Days by Manel Loureiro translated by Pamela Carmell.  I found apoczthis series a year ago, and I have already pre-ordered the third installment.  I have to wait til May!! Very well written, I love the European take on things.  A page turner.  Definitely recommended.

Honorable mention:  The Zomblog Series by T.W. Brown and The Remaining by D.J. Molles.

Favorite self-help book:  Invisible Scars:  How to Stop, Change or End Psychologicalinvisscars Abuse by Catharine Dowda.  I left an abusive marriage nearly five years ago.  He never once hit me.  But the verbal and emotional abuse has caused deep wounds that I am still healing.  What I liked about this book in particular is that it gave me a name to put with some of his behavior.  That I can name some of the abuse I suffered is extremely helpful.

Favorite history book:  Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff.  I reviewed his new book this year, Frozen in Time and just had to go and read this book.  

Favorite romance/erotica:  Entwined with You by Sylvia Day.  I love me some Crossfire series.  Much more realistic than “Fifty”, deals with deeper issues on the part of both characters.  Can’t wait for the fourth one.  And I think I would love to see this one made into a movie more than “Fifty”.

draculaFavorite paranormal romance:  Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta.  So not what you think of when you think “paranormal romance”.  And not a typical romance either.  I loved it.

Favorite YA romance (paranormal):  Significance Series by Shelly Crane.  Very sweet, very intriguing.

 

Favorite YA romance:  Fight or Flight by Jamie Canosa.  Very heart-rending.  Extremely emotional.

Favorite mash up:  The Fridgularity by Mark A. Rayner — humorous, apocalyptic, with a technology twist.   Loved it. fridge

And my total for this year is 152 books.  And counting…

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: