Mini-Reviews Featuring Werewolves, Vampires, and Gumiho–Oh My!

Well, my drafts folder is over crowded, so that means it’s time for some mini-reviews! All of these books deserve full reviews for sure, but I am low on time and tired and in order to clear these off my plate, min-reviews it is. Better a short review than no review at all. Also, I’ve read enough books featuring ‘monsters’ and such in the past month and half that I’m able to make this mini-review post Halloween themed! I totally meant to do that and it wasn’t at all coincidence. Heh.

Wolfsong by TJ Klune

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Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road. The little boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the little boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the little boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the little boy’s secret and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

Thoughts:

I can’t say enough good things about this book. Is it perfect? Probably not. But I never thought I’d get a book to actually make me embrace werewolves (I’m a vamp girl after all) and this one has. The dynamics between all the characters is great and this is a book that has a ton of great emotional content, really connecting with the main character as it’s set from Ox’s pov. It’s a heartfelt, heartwrenching, hilarious, edge of your seat ride all the way. This book is truly a rollercoaster. It’s a lovely paranormal romance and some bonus sexy times thrown in for good measure. I think everything it did, it did very well. I laughed and I cried. I felt all the emotions. In the end, that’s what it’s all about for me. I also loved the style, sometimes there are these interesting stream of conciousness bits of writing that I really helped emphasize what the characters were going through. I know this won’t be a book for everyone, but I loved every moment reading this one. 5/5 stars.

Bobbles and Broomsticks by Nancy Warren

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Who invited Death to the wedding?

When an ancient beam falls on one of the guests at Charlie and Alice’s wedding rehearsal, it looks like the work of the death watch beetle, an insect that eats old timbers. But fledgling witch Lucy and the vampire knitting club aren’t so sure. Could there be a murderer casting blame on the wood-chomping insects?

Meanwhile, the old broom that’s always stood in the corner of Cardinal Woolsey’s knitting and yarn shop seems to have a mind of its own, and Lucy’s cat is ready to hop aboard and take the broom for a spin. With or without Lucy.

Between learning a new knitting stitch and keeping her broom and cat earthbound, Lucy hasn’t got time to solve a murder—until it turns out the next victim is someone she loves.

Join Lucy and her eccentric band of amateur sleuths in Oxford as they attempt to unravel a twisted skein of clues and catch a killer without dropping a stitch.

Thoughts:

I continue to love Vampire Knitting Club, that is all. Just kidding, I have more to say than that. Like the previous book, this one has a good bit of set up before we get to the actual murder. We get to know an all knew cast of characters that have arrived in town where one of them, sadly, will meet their demise. Aside from the central mysteries in each book Warren does a pretty good job over the series balancing all of the little side elements–Lucy learning how to use her witch powers, Lucy’s love life, the vampires living under her shop, and knitting. Although, one thing I have noticed, is because the books are so short not all the elements are heavy in each book, that focus sort of moves around between books. This time there wasn’t quite as much knitting, romance, or hanging out with the vamps, but we did see Lucy make a huge step forward in her magical abilities. I admit that I missed Rafe a bit, definitely could have used more Rafe. I mean, he’s there, but not nearly enough in my opinion. 😀 This series is fun and light and what cozy mysteries should be. As long as they continue being fun, I’ll keep reading them. 4.5/5 stars.

Slayer by Kiersten White

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Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

Thoughts:

This was a fun book, even though it did take me a little while to warm up to the main character. Also, I think if I’d rewatched the end of Buffy (it’s been a while) or maybe read some of the comics that continued the story I would have been able to figure out what was going on in the world a little sooner. That being said, once I got into this one I was fully engaged. I loved the dynamics between the various characters and there were some nice little revelations–twists and turns that I didn’t really see coming. One thing I appreciated about this is that while it takes place in the BtVS universe, and there are some direct ties to characters from the show, it’s an all new set of characters with their own stories. I did miss the banter that was so common in the writing of both Buffy and Angel, that witty dialogue was lacking here with a few exceptions and I think that’s one of the things that makes Buffy so enjoyable for me. Overall, a good read though. Definitely recommend if you’re a fan of the series. 3.5/5 stars.

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

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Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.

But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.

Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway.

With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.

Thoughts:

I enjoyed Wicked Fox quite a bit. I listened to this one on audio and was glad that I’ve watched so many Korean dramas because it really helped being familiar with some of the terms used in it. 😀  I loved Miyoung and how she’s trying so hard to be a normal teenager and fight against her own nature as a half gumiho. There are some twists and turns in this story, but I’m not sure they all played out so well and in some cases felt a bit forced, like the plot was driving things rather than the charcters. Since I’m more a fan of character driven stories this can sometimes be a bit of a turn off for me if it doesn’t feel organic within the story. Basically, it’s a story that relies on tropes in some ways, and sometimes I can’t decide if the trope is worked in well or not. That being said I didn’t dislike this story! It was still fun and full of drama. I enjoyed the relationship that develops between Miyoung and Jihoon. There is some stuff near the end that made me raise and eyebrow, but overall an enjoyable story. 3.5/5 stars.

Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly

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At the turn of the twentieth century, a former spy is called into service to hunt down a vampire killer…

Once a spy for Queen Victoria, James Asher has fought for Britain on every continent, using his quick wits to protect the Empire at all costs. After years of grueling service, he marries and retires to a simple academic’s life at Oxford. But his peace is shattered one night with the arrival of a Spanish vampire named Don Simon. Don Simon can disappear into fog, move faster than the eye can see, and immobilize Asher—and his young bride—with a wave of his hand. Asher is at his mercy, and has no choice but to give his help.

Because someone is killing the vampires of London, and James Asher must find out who—before he becomes a victim himself.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Barbara Hambly, including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.

Thoughts:

Oh, this was a fun book! It’s a bit historical fantasy, a bit urban fantasy, and all fun. We follow James Asher, former spy and now a studious professor, as he is enlisted to help solve a series of murders. The catch is that the victems are all vampires, and the person who asked for his help, Don Simon, is also a vampire. Learning about the existance of such supernatural creatures is a bit of a shock, but James Asher gets over it pretty fast and gets to work. So, this book is essentially a mystery set in historical London featuring vampires. It’s quite fun. Oh, and lest I overlook her, there’s one other major character that is an absolute gem–Asher’s wife, Lydia. She’s beautiful and smart and much to her family’s dismay decided to pursue an academic career (as much as a women could in those days) rather than make a good match that would increase her social status. It’s clear that Lydia and James love each other very much–despite their age gap they have academics in common at least. I love thier dynamic and casual affection toward each other throughout the story. Really, Lydia plays a large part in the story, even though she’s not the POV character and often seems to be in the background. This is, I’d like to think, a bit of a commentary on history and how often their parts in it have been erased. Maybe it’s intentional or maybe I’m just reading into it, but either way it felt very satisfying. 4/5 stars.

That’s a wrap! Have your read any of these? What are your thoughts on them? Leave a note in the comments, I’d love to chat!

12 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews Featuring Werewolves, Vampires, and Gumiho–Oh My!

  1. Tammy says:

    I recently added Wolfsong to my TBR because of a Tweet I saw, so I’m glad to hear you’ve read and loved it! And I had fun with Slayer as well. I wasn’t caught up with the comics when I read it and I think it detracted a bit from my enjoyment because I felt a little lost. But still, I can’t wait for the next book!

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