The Qwillery | category: Bo Blackman


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Melanie's Week in Review - August 14, 2016

Melanie's Week in Review - August 14, 2016

Hello folks.  I hope you have had a good week. I was on annual leave this week and start my new job on Monday (15th) so didn't get a lot of reading done. I did however, get quite a bit of DIY done with my youngest step-son who I co-opted to help me out. It wasn't all work, work, work though and I did have a 'me day' which was the only way I was going to get any reading done! Enough about me and my me day....what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - August 14, 2016
I discovered (and apologies because I can't remember how!) that the final book of Helen Harper's Bo Blackman series had been released - Dark Tomorrow. I will have to admit that I really struggled with this book as I seemed to have blanked the entirety of the previous book from my memory. In fact I had to go back and read a few reviews (including my own) of book 5 before I felt I could continue past the first few chapters. In this instalment Bo is bent on revenge after the Kakos demons destroyed nearly all of the vampires in London. All her new friends and frenemies have been blown up and the 'Families' (of vampires) have been decimated. With very few vampires left there is nothing stopping the witches and the demons from taking control. Michael - Bo's ex-vampire honey bunny - is recovering from his near death experience and struggling with humanity so its now up to Bo to make sure those that led to soo many deaths pay for their crimes. This is all tangled up with solving the mystery of a years old abduction of a young girl. Bo's got a lot on her plate but a few friends along the way to help her out.

I was kind of surprised that this was the final book of the series as it certainly didn't seem like it. I thought that Harper's introduction of the abduction mystery muddied the waters a bit in terms of resolving the power play between the vampires, the witches and almost everyone else. It felt like Harper didn't have enough to say about the decimation of the Families and threw the abduction in to pad out the plot. Harper is quite a prolific writer but I don't find that she is consistent throughout a series. I felt the same way about her Blood Destiny series which I liked at the start  but my enjoyment dropped off considerably as the series progressed. Less is often more!

Melanie's Week in Review - August 14, 2016
I was looking for something short that I could read in a day so that I had more than 1 book to tell you about.  I quick peruse of my Amazon recommendations and I came across Lover of Thorns and Holy Gods by Grace Draven. This is comprised of 3 short (and very short) stories from the Master of Crows, Wraith Kings and from the stand alone novel Entreat Me. The first story - Strong Blood is a cross over with Ballard from Entreat Me and Silhara from Master of Crows. Story 2  - Crow Awakened is set in the Master of Crows world following on from Brush of Blackwings and explains what infliction Martise is suffering from. The final takes us back to the world of Brishen and Ildiko and shows that some things have no cultural divide.

If you have read my WIR before you will no that I don't usually enjoy two things - short stories and crossovers and here I was reading a combination of both! Lucky for me I enjoyed both. I did feel that these were short stories with a capital S for short. They seemed to take only a few minutes to read each. I am sure it was much more in reality. If I had to choose I would say I enjoyed Crow Awakened the most and added more to this series in terms of character development. Worth a read if you are a Draven fan.

That is it for me this week. I am back to commuting 2 hours each day so I hope to have a few more books to tell you about next week. Feel free to drop me a line with your recommendations. Until next week Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015

Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015

Well hello December.  You almost passed me by in a flurry of things to do and not many books read. I think the unseasonably warm weather we are having in the UK has tricked my brain into thinking Christmas isn't just around the corner. I had had so much to do recently and not enough of it involved reading good books. I have managed to get a couple goodies  read to tell you about So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015
I thought I would start by telling you about a new release from one of my favourite authors and favourite series - Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews. I was very lucky to receive an e-ARC from the author.

Magic Stars is a novella from the Kate Daniels world and tells a story from the POV of the now lone wolf Derek and Kate's ward, Julie. Derek has been ordered to find justice for the murder of a young family including two children. Derek isn't at all impressed to discover that Julie is also on the trail of the person behind the murders. Together, they start out hunting a murderer and end up as the prey on the race through the city to find an evil warlock. Killer mermaids, a deadly hunt and ancient magic are all in store for this young pair in their race to save Atlanta from yet another evil force.

I really enjoyed Magic Stars as I thought it worked well as a tool to develop two of the secondary characters from the main series. According to Ilona Andrews' blog fans have been requesting a short story that featured Derek and I am glad that they waited until now to tell that story. While Derek is now in his 20's, Julie is only 16 and getting those two together earlier, even in the non-romantic sense, would have been creepy. I also think that it is really interesting that Derek has separated himself from the pack and that Julie is taking magic lessons from none other than Roland, her quasi grandfather. Their internal struggles with this change in their circumstances gives both characters more depth and makes them interesting in their own rights rather than just as supporting characters to Kate or Curran. All in all a great read and thank you again to Andrews' for giving me the opportunity for an early read.

Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015
If you remember a few weeks ago I was doing a NetGalley tidy up and trying to finish books that had been there for awhile. I had not yet finished Apex, book 3 of Ramex Naam's fabulous Nexus series. While I had really enjoyed books 1 and 2 I missed completing the series until just this week. In Apex Kade and Sam have escaped to India while Rangan is in hiding in the States all while a Nexus fueled revolution is underway. The tortured and once dead scientist Su-Yong is now attempting to take over the world one nanite at a time. Humanity is on the brink of extinction as the Nexus enhanced post-humans are set to take over with Su-Yong as their goddess.

Apex is a great book and a fantastic end to the series. I wasn't really sure how the good guys were going to win this one and it even got a bit fuzzy regarding who were the good guys in the end. This final book of the series had everything going for it - great character development, enough action to keep things exciting and a complex plot line. I also thought Naam's chapter at the end  - the Science of Apex - was really interesting and really added credibility to his science fiction based plot. This is a must read for any and all science fiction fans.

Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015
My final read was Vigilante Vampire by Helen Harper. This is the next instalment of the Bo Blackman series. I didn't realise the next book was out until I inadvertently signed up for a trial of Kindle Unlimited. Oooops. I better get reading. Poor Bo has had a rough ride as a new vampire and things don't improve in book 5. Bo has separated herself from her friends and loved ones by joining forces with the daemon X. She is running around town killing baddies and basically being a 'vigilante' - no surprises why Harper chose the title. X has Bo looking for a missing girl all in the backdrop of an ever increasing war between humans and vampires. The stakes are high and Bo is more than willing to do what it takes no matter what the cost.

While I thought that Bo was feeling sorry for herself a bit more in this instalment she is definitely a lot more hardcore. She hurt and even killed people left, right and centre. Not at all what I was expecting from the previous 'goody two shoes'. I hope Harper ends this series on a high especially after the exciting cliff hanger at the end of this book. Also, high fives to Harper on yet another fantastic cover.

That is it for me this week. I have been wondering if it is time for a change with my Week in Review. I have been thinking of options but would really love to know what you think. I would be eternally grateful if you could spare a couple of minutes to answer the poll below regarding what should happen to this Week in Review. Happy Reading!

What would you like to see happen to Melanie's Week in Review? free polls

Magic Stars
NYLA,December 8, 2015
eBook, 64 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015
From award-winning author, Ilona Andrews, an original novella, set in the New York Times #1

bestselling Kate Daniels World and featuring fan-favorites, Derek, and Curran and Kate’s very independent ward, Julie.

Scarred, solitary Derek Gaunt has separated from his Pack, and is truly a lone wolf. With no family he answers to no one; but is fiercely loyal to a chosen few. So, when several of those close to him are murdered, he’ll stop at nothing to hunt their killer through the magic-drenched streets of Atlanta.

Never one to be left on the sidelines, equally determined—some might say stubborn—Julie Lennart-Olsen soon joins in his pursuit; and what began as revenge turns into a race to save the city. Their search pits them against powers they never imagined and magic so old, it predates history. It may cost Derek his life, but there are things for which even he would risk everything.

Nexus Arc 3
Angry Robot, May 12, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 608 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015
The Explosive Conclusion to Nexus and Crux

Global unrest spreads through the US, China, and beyond. Secrets and lies set off shockwaves of anger, rippling from mind to mind. Riot police battle neurally-linked protestors. Armies are mobilized. Political orders fall. Nexus-driven revolution is in here.

Against this backdrop, a new breed of post-human children are growing into their powers. And a once-dead scientist, driven mad by her torture, is closing in on her plans to seize planet’s electronic systems, and re-forge everything in her image.

A new Apex species is here. The world will never be the same.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Humanity 2.0 | Mind Matters | Hive | This Will Happen ]

Vigilante Vampire
Bo Blackman 5
November 30, 2015
Kindle eBook, 268 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015
It's no more Miss Nice Vampire.

Bo has turned her back on everything that's familiar and is now working for X, the dangerous Kakos daemon who demands that his identity be kept a secret. She's prepared to do just about anything to clean the streets of London of its crime - and she's no longer sure if she cares who gets hurt in the process.

However, the vampire Families aren't going to be that easy to ignore. Lord Medici is continuing with his cold-blooded power bid - while Michael is determined not to let Bo forget him. Add a mysterious case of a missing girl into the mix and chaos is going to follow.

This is the fifth book in the Bo Blackman series.

Melanie's Week in Review - June 7, 2015

Melanie's Week in Review - June 7, 2015

Wowser! Its been a 3 whole weeks since I regaled you with reviews of all the books I had read. Have you missed me?  I certainly hope so for I have missed you and writing this. I apologise for the lack of WIR but I have been on holiday, mainly visiting my elderly mother which didn't leave a lot of time for either reading or writing reviews. I am back now and I have a couple of great books to tell you about.

Melanie's Week in Review - June 7, 2015
I started my holiday with the final book in Susan Ee's Penryn and the End of Days series. I absolutely loved book 1  - Angelfall which introduced us to the plucky teenager Penryn, her disturbed mother and disabled sister. She was doing everything she could to survive following the angel apocalypse. She is joined by one of the enemy  - an angel named Rafe who has lost his wings. I didn't however, enjoy book 2 - World After as much as I felt Penryn spent more time swooning over Rafe than she did trying to save her family. Book 3 is the end of the trilogy which finds Penryn a leader in the revolution against the tyranny of the angels. Part of her journey involves uncovering Rafe's past and she isn't sure whether or not he is as innocent as those snowy white wings have led led her to believe. I thought this final instalment was an improvement on the previous novel however, neither has lived up to the gripping excitement and overall 'coolness' of book 1 - Angelfall. I think that Ee would have had a much more powerful story had she not resorted to the happy ever ending.

Melanie's Week in Review - June 7, 2015
I then discovered that the latest in the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones had been published - Eighth Grave After Dark. The story starts several months after the end of book 7 with Charley and Reyes now living in an abandoned convent so that she can escape the hellhounds that are baying for her blood. Charley has more than just the birth of her baby to celebrate but the marriage of her best friend Cookie and her uncle Ubie. Nothing is ever straight forward for Charley as the ghost of an murdered nun needs her help to solve her murder, there is the issue of the hell hounds to resolve, Reyes hasn't slept in months and oh yeah, she is about to give birth to a prophecy. All in a days work.

I have enjoyed this series but I did find that this instalment really dragged until almost the ending. Apart from the dead nun plot line it could have read like one of those filler shows on TV composed of flashbacks. However, things started to get very exciting towards the end and Jones leaves us with a corker of a ending. I can hardly wait until book 9!

Melanie's Week in Review - June 7, 2015
Another instalment out this week was Red Angel which is the fourth in Helen Harper's Bo Blackman's series. Bo has become somewhat of a celebrity following the events at the ending of book 3. With the help of the daemon X Bo's rise to stardom turns meteoric much to her disdain. Her popularity with the press makes it very difficult to investigate the missing persons case of Tobias Renfrew - the billionaire daemon who went missing in the 60's. The investigation is secondary and you could even say tertiary to the real storyline which is Bo's relationship with her maker the enigmatic vampire Michael and the ever increasingly blurred line between her humanity and the monster within.

I liked this instalment. Harper keeps it gritty with Bo's descent into her dark side through the events that unfold during her investigation of the missing person's case. This is a very quick read as are all of Harper's books. I wouldn't say it is the best writing ever but still entertaining. Love, love, love the cover!

Melanie's Week in Review - June 7, 2015The final book I am going to tell you about switches from urban fantasy to science fiction with Elizabeth Bear's Jenny Casey series, specifically book 1  - Hammered. This is very much the story of the former Canadian soldier Jenny Casey who is one of the first human cyborgs. She had been enjoying relative anonymity until the army comes calling again and she finds herself just another cog in the race into space. Jenny is lured back to Canada with a tale that her implants are failing and without more pioneering surgery she will soon die. The stick to this carrot is that Jenny has to help the government get the first spaceship up and running. While the story is about Jenny we are also introduced to Razorface her enhanced friend and gang kingpin who along with a former cop and an assassin try to solve a murder and to find a way to help Jenny. The story also include POVs from other minor characters but the 'action' is focused on what is happening to Jenny and to Razorface.

I enjoyed this book and thought that Bear was brave having her protagonist be a 50 year old female who is covered in scars and is almost more machine than human. I also found the pacing consistent all the way through with a good mix of action and back-story. I did, however, find some of the wording a bit odd and I felt in parts that it had been translated into English (and not the parts where the characters were speaking French either!). Overall, a good read and I have already bought book 2.

That is it for me for this week. I hope you have had a good week in reading.  I have some crackers of books lined up for next week so until then Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - December 28, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - December 28, 2014

I can hardly believe this is my last Week in Review for 2014. Where has this year gone? I have read so many good books this year and a few not so good ones. So what did I read this week?

Melanie's Week in Review - December 28, 2014
I was having a little trawl of my Amazon recommendations when I came across Monster by Carmen Caine which is the first in the Cassidy Edwards series. Cassidy is unique in the supernatural world. Her mother was turned into a vampire when she was pregnant with Cassidy and rather than drinking blood Cassidy sucks the life force out of her victims. Cassidy is on a mission, a mission to kill the vampire who turned her mother. Her path to revenge is not so straightforward as she takes a job for the hunky, warlock Lucian. She is joined on the mission by Lucian's quirky band a misfits including a happy go lucky werewolf, a firedrake with an attitude and a turmeric addicted imp.

I thought this book was OK, especially for a first in a series. Cassidy was not as irritating as I thought she could be but did think that the some of the explanation of her powers (or emergence of her powers) was a bit weak. In parts they seemed to more of a plot device rather than a well constructed supernatural being. I did think that Caine a few good surprises in store for Cassidy and it has made me want to continue with the series.

I also downloaded a free novel when I was checking out my recommendations. I can't remember it's
Melanie's Week in Review - December 28, 2014
title and it was soo bad I only read 3 chapters and immediately deleted it from my Kindle. I am not sure why I decided to download it as I don't normally like romantic science fiction but this one ran more into erotica and the 'hero' was such a misogynist that it was low on the actual romance.

Lucky for me that High Stakes, the third in the Bo Blackman series by Helen Harper, had also popped onto my Kindle. This third instalment starts relatively soon after the end of book 2 where Bo was given the cure for vampirism, extricated herself from the Families and started a new job in a supernatural PI firm. Life as a vampire isn't an easy one as tensions are high between human population and the vampire Families. After begrudgingly taking on the case of an allegedly vampire dog Bo finds herself investigating the brutal rape of a young woman. The case is truly brutal and Bo soon discovers it may not be the first but one of the few where the victim escapes. Her maker and love interest Michael Monserrat is there to help her with the case and save her life ...again. Time is ticking on Bo's decision whether or not to take the cure and like Bo you are left guessing whether her new life as a vampire is better for her or not.

I think Harper could put us out of our misery with the 'will she/won't she' with Michael. There is teasing and slow burn romance but 3 books is time for our heroine to make a decision. Overall, the murder mystery was quite gory but I enjoyed the development of Bo as a character and I didn't guess 'who dunnit'.

That is it for me for this year and this year. I started Transmuted by Karina Cooper but I am not finished with it yet so will leave you guessing until 2015 as to what I think. Until next year...Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 5th, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - October 5th, 2014

Hello everyone! I had a better week this week and finished 3 books, although by the skin of my teeth. I thought I had better not disappoint either you or me by only reading one book so I put Mirror Empire to one side. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - October 5th, 2014
Look what magically popped onto my Kindle! New Order is the second in Helen Harper's Bo Blackman series. If you read my WIR a few weeks ago you will remember that I came across this series a bit by accident but had read Harper's Blood Destiny series. In book 2 Bo still hasn't come to terms with being a vampire and is desperately searching for the elusive cure. She gets herself embroiled a black vs white witch feud and pharmaceutical company that is making money by patenting spells while at the same time trying to solve a missing persons case. I think Harper must be channeling the saying - what a tangled web we weave - as her missing persons case, the witches and the cure are all tangled together. Needless to say she is also kept busy by trying not to be attracted (and failing) to her maker, the hotty Lord Montserrat.

I was a tad disappointed by New Order as Harper is just re-writing Bo as her dragon changeling Mac from her previous series. The heroines' in both series are very similar so it seems a bit of a re-hash. I haven't decided whether I will continue with the series or not. I generally like Harper's characters and I always enjoy reading books set in London but Bo spends so much time doing the opposite of anything that makes common sense. So much so that you want to reach inside the book and give her a ginormous slap. Fantastic cover though!

Melanie's Week in Review - October 5th, 2014I then turned to my TBR for a book I have had for absolute AGES but haven't really made any attempt to read, The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest. This is the fourth in her Clockwork Century series. I have read book 1, Boneshaker and was given this book but haven't read the others. I have never really been able to figure out what the 'clockwork'/steampunk element of this series was as it always seems more dystopian or alternative history to me. I quite liked Boneshaker but The Inexplicables was quite dull. I can't put my finger on it as lots of 'stuff' happened but it just was.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 5th, 2014I have been looking for weeks to find The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire in a local bookstore as I resent the fact that Amazon now charge for delivery on books under £10. Unfortunately, I couldn't find it but the Hubinator was also buying a book so there it popped into my virtual basket. This is the 8th book in the October Daye series and I think it is the best one. With rather disastrous results October learns some secrets from her and her mother's past which she rather she didn't know. She also discovers who in her life she can really trust and is disappointed by those in her life that she thought she could. A lot happens in this instalment and there is one or two excellent twists that I wasn't at all expecting. October has also lost her irritating coffee addiction but she barely ate or slept for the whole book. Her romance with Tybalt the King of the Cats is still going strong but the romance does not overtake the action but rather, compliments it quite well. Overall, a great book and a great ending to my week.

That is it for me for this week. You may not hear from me for a couple of weeks as I am heading to Canada for Thanksgiving and it might not be possible for me to post my WIR. Just think of the books I will be able to tell you about though!. Until next time Happy Reading.
Melanie's Week in Review - August 14, 2016Melanie's Week in Review - December 13, 2015Melanie's Week in Review - June 7, 2015Melanie's Week in Review - December 28, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - October 5th, 2014

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