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The Gargoyle Prophecies

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Stefani's life has been filled with tragic events and loneliness, all starting when she saw her mother killed in her home. After that, anyone who got close to her died. So, resolved to isolate herself, she doesn't talk to anyone and works two jobs: waitress by day, stripper by night. It is in her strip club that she first encounters the gargoyle world when a free-for-all battle breaks out over who will be taking her. The story following is all about trying to figure out what is real. Is she really turning into a gargoyle? Is everyone lying? Why are they tricking her left and right? Or is she just going crazy? I got this through Early Reviewers and it definitely took me by surprise. It was much better than I had anticipated. It's been a while since I read anything not 1st person, so it took me a couple chapters to reacquaint myself with the omniscient pov. It does get confusing towards the end, but it all fits with the story and works itself out. It's a magnificent start to a series, and I will definitely be reading the second.
Infected: A Novel

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Something is turning normal people into raving, violent lunatics. On top of that, their bodies turn into oozing skeletons within hours of their deaths, so CDC investigator Margaret Montoya can't even properly analyze the remains to try and figure it out. The victims, who often turn into killers, have no discernible connections either. Until they start hearing of blue triangles and find one on a partially destroyed corpse. A lead that could possibly connect them to a living victim before they turn homicidal. But for Perry Dawsey, a former linebacker turned tech support, their discovery may be too late. As his itchy rash rapidly turns into something much more concerning, his tough attitude prevents him from seeking help and just dealing with it DIY style. And then the voices start. . .This is not a book for the squeamish. Right away on page 12, readers are treated to a gore-filled CIA victim extraction that goes terribly wrong. After that, it drops in intensity til around the half-way mark where it all hits the fan.We are treated to three main perspectives: Perry Dawsey, victim; Margaret Montoya, CDC investigator; and Dew, the Vietnam vet turned cop recruited by former war buddy who runs the CIA. These perspectives give us the full picture of the operations and the affect of the infection. We also get mini chapters from side character perspectives that really hammers home the change in Perry.Overall, I liked this novel. There was a lull where I lost some interest when they were all scrambling around going "What is this? What is happening?" for a decent chunk of time. But it is worth it for the ending. Rather unexpected from where we started. 3.5 Stars
Clockwork Angel

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Tess arrives in London expecting to meet her brother, Nate, and to start her new life. What she gets, though, is kidnapped by the Dark Sisters. A pair of warlocks, the Sisters torture Tess until she unlocks a power hidden inside her--the power to shapeshift. Not liking this at all, Tess is eventually able to escape when the young Shadowhunter Will Herondale finds and helps her. With no where else to go, Tess takes refuge with the Shadowhunters. They promise to help her find Nate if she uses her shapeshifting to help them save the world.Clockwork Angel is the first of the Infernal Devices trilogy, which is also the prequel to the Mortal Instruments trilogy. If you liked the MI, then you will like CA. The two are very similar in style and themes, CA is just in England and during the Victorian age. You also see some familiar family names and Magnus Bane is back! It's a fast, action-packed novel with a twist of a love triangle. I want the next one now! LOL Guess I'll console myself with MI 4 when it comes out in April.
The Demon Trapper's Daughter: A Demon Trappers Novel

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Atlanta in 2018 is overrun with demons and falling apart from an economic crisis. While their attempts to fix the economy haven't had stellar results, the employment of demon trappers has kept society a bit safer. This story surrounds Riley, the daughter of master demon trapper Paul Blackthorne and the only licensed female trapper in the city. As an apprentice, she's only allowed to trap level ones. But as the demons become more brazen, the trapper's guild is hit with tragedy. And Riley finds herself as the attention of demons much stronger than the puny level ones.I was really pulled into this novel. It's much different than the paranormal novels I've read recently. And definitely in a good way. Very refreshing. And it channels one of my favorite shows, Supernatural, to jibe our society's recent pop-culture explosion of paranormal entertainment.
Poison: A Novel of the Renaissance

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It's Rome, 1492. Francesca Giordano just poisoned a Spaniard to secure her place as Borgia's official poisoner and her father's successor. But being the poisoner of a high-ranking family isn't quite what she expected. Right away she is pulled into a plot to kill the Pope. Francesca does what is needed and much more, accumulating friends, enemies, and a broader knowledge of what is truly happening in her world. Filled with conspiracies, action, and a representation of Rome that feels real. The first couple of chapters were exciting, but then it hit a slump that took forever to get through. It was a lot of talking and walking and not much else. Although it was necessary set-up for the later chapters and excitement. Once through the slump, the story got better and better. This is the first book of a series, so I hope the series follows the trend. Now that several elements have been set-up, I see it as a good possibility. I will read the follow-up.
Switched

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For the first six years of Wendy's life, her mother told her she was a monster, not her child. And on her sixth birthday, she came at Wendy with a kitchen knife. Since then her brother Matt, who saved her, and aunt have been telling her otherwise. But a strange new student, Finn, tells her otherwise: She is a Trylle changling, or more commonly, a troll, switched at birth into a human family. Finn wants to bring her back to her birth family and the Trylle's land of Förening, but she is reluctant to leave her brother and aunt behind. An attack from a different troll tribe forces her to run there. But will she be safe there? Can she be happy without the family that raised her?I found this to be a very enjoyable fluff novel. The storyline was unique and fun and the characters were memorable. However, there were some flaws. Many times I wanted more descriptions. I also wanted to feel it more. It seems she held back a bit and I kept wanting the author to push through that. But, I found the story entertaining enough to keep the 3.5 star rating. The fact that it was originally self-published (being re-released) also eased my concern about these flaws. Switched is the first in the Trylle trilogy and I look forward to seeing the author's style grow with the following books. (Oh! She is also from Minnesota. I love it when I find books set in my home state.)
Bite Me: A Love Story

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4 StarsThis is the third story in Christopher Moore's comedic vampire series. From Abby's point of view, a perky high school goth minion of the vampires Jody and Tommy (who are complete vamp noobs). After bronzing Jody and Tommy so they wouldn't split up, Abby and her boyfriend Foo set up in Jody and Tommy's loft, nick named the love lair. All is going smooth since all the vampires are gone until they figure out Chet, a huge cat, had been turned vamp by Elijah and is now running around San Francisco making a horde of kitty vamps. Then they start to eat all the homeless people and the hookers. Things get out of control, so all the players of the last books are brought in to help stop Chet, who is getting bigger by the day.Hilarious like the first two. You don't need to read them in order, as there is a mini sum-up at the beginnings. Official order of the books = [Bloodsucking Fiends], [You Suck], [Bite Me]. I read them 2, 1, 3. Order of liking is 2, 3, 1-- although the margins are very slim.
20 Years Later

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20 years ago It happened, killing millions of people. Established governments, electricity, transportation, and most modern conveniences are gone. London has been divided into rival gang territories that are fight-happy. But in this new chaotic world, Zane has grown up in relative safety and comfort thanks to his mother's strategic alliance with two nearby gangs in exchange for healing. But Zane's innocence often hinders his ability to accurately assess and judge people and situations he comes across. But his isolated, innocent life is pushed into the harsh world when he meets two new friends, Titus and Erin, and they realize that they have unique abilities. In their quest to save Titus' kidnapped sister, their abilities, friendship, and morals will be tested against greater forces than they have ever known.I enjoyed this book. I haven't run across many post-apocalyptic novels that have characters with such convincing innocence, especially with a character at the age of 15. The world and characters had depth to them. However, I think there was a bit too much time focused on world building in the beginning and some of the action scenes could have been expanded--especially the end. The world building was very interesting though, not the slow trudgery of some books. Oh, and that cover makes it seem much grittier than it actually is. Yes, there is death and killing, but it doesn't over elaborate. And other things are only eluded to, such as rape--they never say the word or go further, but if you're not sheltered, it's pretty obvious. Not saying anything's wrong with that approach, especially for a YA book, but the cover just gave me the impression that it would be a bit darker and grittier is all.This is a good start to a new series. It doesn't say if it's a trilogy or more, just that there will be 'sequels.' I will read the next ones when I come across them. I really want to see how their abilities develop and how the gangs deal with it.
Department 19 (Department 19, Book 1)

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Early Reviewer CopyJamie saw his dad die by a line of gunman in is front yard with suspicious shadows moving along the edges of the scene. Everyone told him that his father was a traitor and a homeland terrorist to England. The other kids were told the same and treated Jamie like he was the traitor. Not feeling up to the bullies one day, he skips school to laze about in a park. But he wakes up to a vampire sparing his life. He rushes home to find his house empty, his mother kidnapped and himself barely saved by a monster from an underground government organization. Jamie is forced to the department where he is the only one who wants to attempt the rescue of his mother. So he suits up, trains, and goes after those vampire scum.That little synopsis doesn't do the story justice. There is so much going on. You can get the family, government and vampire aspect, and maybe a bit of the politics. But the monsters and many characters are taken and extrapolated on straight from Bram Stoker's [Dracula]. Hill knows that story backwards and forwards, and proves that. He even goes into Stoker's history. (Which I know, because of class last semester. . . and if you followed my thread last year, you may remember my dissatisfied attitude towards the book). Anyway, Hill's book spans the time right after Dracula's conclusion into the 21st century, so he's got a decent grasp on some historical bits. I enjoyed the extrapolation, though it was a bit iffy in places. The best part was that there was actually violence and gore! So much of the recent paranormal YA is action or romantic--there may be danger and suspense, but those are pretty kid friendly. Department 19 has evil characters that not only want to kill you, but to tear you apart slowly, savor your blood, and make you watch it done to everyone else. Not only do the vampires want that, they actually deliver. Ah, no sparkles here :DThe only part that bothered me a bit was the romance between Jamie and vampire Larissa. I know--I said no sparkles, and there aren't any. She drinks blood and is violent. She attempts to indulge in revenge. And I really do like her character. But the beginning of their relationship just felt weird. Though, I didn't mind it at the end, once it was established. This is the first of a trilogy that I think has great potential. I can't wait to see how the characters and the department handle what happens during the final battle and the implied situation to come.
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