Novel Review: The Renegade Hunter by Lynsay Sands

Lately, I’ve not been so much in the mood to read. Then Monday came around featuring my last scheduled review, and I started to panic. Honestly, I’ve started four or five books in the last two weeks. None of them have seemed to keep my interest. Finally I turned to an old favorite I’ve been putting off for months. Lynsay Sands. I’m not sure how many Argeneau books she’s released, but I know it’s been quite a few. The last book I read in this series was “The Immortal Hunter.” You all probably know how it goes. After reading so many of one series, it rather gets old. Well, that was me for the Argeneaus. I hadn’t picked up a Lynsay Sands book since.

Well this reading rut thing got to me. I had to do something. Desperate for something which would keep my interest, I pulled out “The Renegade Hunter.” Welcome back into my life, Ms. Sands. Before I go any further, the teaser from Ms. Sand’s website:

The Argeneau family has a secret…one of their own is a rogue vampire!

Nicholas Argeneau was once a successful hunter who went after rogue vampires who break the immortal law. Except no one has mentioned his name in the last fifty years, not since he turned into a rogue himself. But once a hunter, always a hunter. When Nicholas sees a bloodthirsty sucker terrifying a woman, it’s second nature for him to come to her rescue. He had no idea he would also want to kiss her senseless…

One minute Josephine Willan is taking in a breath of fresh air, and the next sharp fangs are heading straight for her neck! Luckily a gorgeous stranger saves her life . . . and gets locked up for his troubles. Can a man who kisses so lovingly and passionately really have committed the crime he’s accused of? Jo isn’t so sure…and she’s determined to prove that this renegade hunter is worth fighting for.

This was an okay read. Well, a little better than just okay. Or maybe it was just eh. <shrug> I can say it got me back in the reading mood. It started well enough I was a bit bummed I’d taken so long to get to it. 🙂

I would love to say something significant stood out in this story (good or bad), but really I found it not really spectacular one way or the other. Really a middle of the line type deal. It was typical of an Argeneau story with pretty much the same themes in the prior books. Nothing risky, nothing fresh. Tried and true is what I’d call it. But I’m guessing after how many novels? the storyline is bound to get played out.

Anyway, I saw someone do this once on another blog for a spoiler and liked it. So from this *** to

There was one thing about the story which stumped me. How did Charlie recover so quickly? I thought he’d ingested nanos, but there was no mention of it later. And he didn’t experience any of the trauma which went along with a turning. Yet he took a bite out of Ernie. What gives?

***, you’ll have to cursor over the text to see what I have to say.

Moving on. I thought the novel was well paced except toward the end. For me the last 50 pages or so were a bit slow, but I understand Ms. Sands needed to wrap up all the loose ends. At least most of them, that was.

So, a few of my favorite lines:

  • Worst way to break the news/apology: Right…well…I’m sorry. I bit you. I’m a vampire. [I don’t believe you!]
  • Lamest Confession: I guess I bit and killed a mortal. [Way to exude confidence!]
  • Least sympathetic: Dear God, if you’re going to get all weepy and maudlin on me, I’m going to put you to sleep. I’m not listening to this crap the entire way. [Thanks for understanding.]
  • Most Direct: I convinced him calling ahead was totally unnecessary and would merely piss me off. [Glad we got that out of the way.]

I’d recommend The Renegade Hunter for anyone who really enjoys the Argeneau series and is looking for something consistent. As I said, it wasn’t a bad read, just not very fresh.

Available at Barnes & Nobles || Amazon || The Book Depository || Kobo || iTunes

I purchased my copy of The Renegade Hunter from the Book Depository!
The Book Depository

Hang on to Your Seats

My first and only COMPLETE novel, Shadow Cat I wrote by the seat of my pants. Sometimes it amazes me I managed to write it from start to finish. Honestly, I don’t know how I did it. I don’t even remember the process. I had an idea which led me to the start of the book. Next thing I know I’m at the climax and thinking it’s time to wrap this thing up.

Of course there were some plot issues with the book. I’ve tried fix them and hope I have. I started a few more books by the seat of my pants and made some decent progress since then. After reaching some points which ended in the question: What next? I decided to try a little plotting.

I love plotting! I’ve got a three act method set up which is just wicked awesome. I replotted some of the ones I started and plotted a few more ideas I’ve had in the meantime. Only thing, plotting doesn’t really motivate me actually write the story. So I have all these great stories (yes I’m subjective to my own ideas) ready to be written but no ghost writer to do the deed. What gives?

So here’s to finding the motivation to write the actual stories. <sigh>

So what about you? Pantseater or Plotter? Have any advice to writers as far as methods?

Can I Earn Too Many Teen Points?

A few weeks ago I won a contest at To Read or Not to Read. Marcia allowed me to choose three books from a wicked list. Today my goodies arrived! Thank you Marcia!

So what did I win?

These are book three (3) and four (4) of the House of Night series. I requested these two books with my daughter in mind. Though I own the first two books, I’ve not read them. However, my daughter is in the process of reading Marked, which she says is pretty great. She also is hoarding the second novel, Betrayed, which I won Bloody BookaHolic a while back. Now she has these to start as soon as she finishes.

Okay. I’ll be honest here. I’ve never read Jane Eyre, though I own the novel. I’ve only seen a version or two of the movie. I have read an alternative version of Jane Eyre called Jenna Starborn though. Anyway, I’m intrigued by classics and want to get into reading them. I just haven’t found the motivation yet. Though Jane Eyre’s Daughter isn’t a classic, I’m still hoping to enjoy it some time soon.

These titles are available at the Book Depository!

The Book Depository

As a side note: Check out Gena Showalter’s new book!

A new release by Gena Showalter

Novel Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I mentioned my Pandigital Novel (see review here and here) about a month ago and how it’s great for free reads such as samples. Well, after all the “Shiver” hype, I decided to download a sample from Barnes & Nobles. I’ll be honest, the first few pages seemed a little slow, but the premises seemed interesting enough for me to give it a shot. So I ordered the book. When it arrived, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins arrived the same day (see review here). As great as the Hunger Games (see review here) was, I had HAD to dig into Catching Fire. I passed Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater on to my daughter and set a deadline for the both of us since she was eager to get into Catching Fire also. One week, then we’d switch books. Previously, Daughter girl said the Hunger Games was the best book she’d read that year. She finished shiver and said it was right up there with Hunger Games. Keep in mind, we don’t always share the same taste. Before I get into my review, the teaser from Ms. Stiefvater‘s website:

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl.

There was a lot to like about Shiver. Not one of my favorites, but definitely a decent read.

Grace was an interesting character. My first impression was she acted too grown up for a seventeen year old. It took me a while to warm up to her because of it. (tee hee…did you catch my pun? “warm up” Okay that was lame. Moving on.) It wasn’t until later when her situation became apparent that her personality began to fit in my mind. Sometimes experiences do make children grow up a little fast. Sad, but true. Truly Grace was aged before her time.

Certainly Sam was an important character. Even though he had his own POV in the story, for some reason he just didn’t seem to take lead as I’d expect a main character to do. He seemed to play second fiddle to Grace. Not sure if this is what Ms. Stiefvater intended when she wrote the two POVs, but that’s how it played out to me. And it was certainly okay in my mind. A lot of romances are like that, with the female having more of a presence than the male. I wasn’t bothered, it just an impression which stayed with me. If I could put some adjectives to Sam’s name they would be Loyal, Chivalrous, Persevering.

So, I’m looking at my earlier notes and found I had a lot of questions at the beginning of the novel. The answers were answered later in the book, but I remember being very confused early on and asking the question “what are the rules?” I didn’t like the vagueness. In truth, I believe it was a main reason I had such a difficult time investing in the novel. It wasn’t until the rules about transformation and such became concrete that I was able to really get into the book. In a way, I guess it was fitting since Grace didn’t really know all the rules herself. Sam certainly was more familiar, but he wasn’t keeping me privy to all the hush, hush secrets about lycanthropy.

One of the things I found fascinating was Grace and Sam’s relationship. They reminded me of an old married couple many times in their mannerisms. They seemed comfortable with each other. It was almost as if they’d spent the last six years in each others company and not just a few weeks (or whatever the time period was). It was odd to see their relationship at that maturity level when really everything was so fresh to them.

That Grace was the sexually assertive one, also surprised me. 🙂 Even though I’m a prude and want all children to wait before engaging in sex, I found this novel modern in its presentation. Like many YA shows (Kyle KY, Vampire Diaries, Smallville, Pretty Little Liars), teens are doing the “deed.” It saddens me so little thought goes into sharing an experience which should be special. Yes, quite a few teens are having sex, and Ms. Stiefvater didn’t put anything on the table which wasn’t already there. I’d be naive to think they weren’t. And it’d also be silly to think the heavy petting and spit exchange wasn’t a common occurrence amongst some teens. I was a kid once too, despite my archaic mentality. 🙂 I just hope I’ve talked to my kids enough about the emotional side of sex that they know when the time come it should be a special for them and not something to give away lightly, regardless of the way the media portrays it. Like I said. 🙂 I’m a prude despite my fondness for writing and reading erotic literature and talking about sex in general.

Now keep in mind, I just started reading the YA genre this year as an adult. I’m told this genre can incorporate a lot of adult issues while remaining YA. I think Shiver has one foot planted in the YA world, while crossing into the adult mentality. End the end, I have to say Ms. Stiefvater did an excellent job. Cause really, isn’t that what it’s like being a teen? Not quite a child, but definitely not a adult. The in between.

Shiver ended rather abruptly. I certainly wasn’t ready for the ending and neither was my daughter. After she finished Shiver she came to me with the same thoughts. The story didn’t quite seem finished. Well, I mentioned in an earlier post that I won Linger from Arena (The Nerd’s Wife Blog). So now I just have to wait until my daughter finishes hording it. I’m certainly looking forward to it.

So before I wrap up, a few favorite lines:

  • I remember being intrigued by the idea of school-in-a-box, just-add-water-and-Sam.
  • You’re like a song I heard when I was a little kid but forgot I knew until I heard it again.”
  • I turned down the heat — Sam had it set to hell — and shoved my backpack down by my feet.

I purchased my copy of Shiver at the Book Depository!
The Book Depository