Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

About Leslie S

can usually be found hunched over her ebook reader or lurking in the romance and sci-fi/fantasy sections of her local bookstores. She discovered her love of fantasy at a young age, reading everything from Piers Anthony to Robert Aspirin and C.S. Lewis. At the age of 12, she picked up a little book called The Thorn Birds, and after crying for five days straight, decided that she liked the romantic elements, but needed a happier ending. Her first tentative visits to the romance section brought her to such favorites as Linda Howard and Judith McNaught where her love of the romance book was born. She then turned to Brenda Joyce, Lisa Kleypas, J.D. Robb, Anne Stuart, and as the years passed, many more. She currently prefers paranormal romance, urban fantasy, traditional fantasy, historical and the occasional YA.

Posts by Leslie S:

REVIEW: Saving Midnight by Emma Holly

REVIEW: Saving Midnight by Emma Holly

Dear Ms. Holly:

The problem I’ve run into with reviewing this trilogy is discussing the book while trying to avoid spoilers. I’ve decided that it’s close to impossible.   You’ve been warned . . .

Saving Midnight begins soon after the events of the second.   Edmund has been rescued thanks to Graham, Pen, Estelle, Ben and Sally, but the two vampires Li-Hua and Frank have managed to escape.   To his dismay, Edmund discovers that while he was captured, Graham had been forced to feed off from Estelle, and that Estelle enjoyed herself.   Nevermind the fact that Estelle couldn’t help herself or had no choice but to assist Graham in such a manner, this knowledge is more than Edmund can deal with.   He’s angry that such a feeding took place, but he also feels guilty because he knows Estelle had no choice and that neither she nor Graham would betray him in such a way.   Instead of discussing his feelings with Estelle, he closes himself off from her and slowly drives himself mad.   His feelings bring forth all sorts of guilt that he has bottled up from his past- most of it not deserved.   Once again, I was glad that you had shifted the focus of the trilogy away from these two.   I found this entire plot development frustrating and bordering on the ridiculous. I’m not sure how much more I could take of Edmund’s self indulgent angst.

Saving Midnight once again features Durand, mercenary and rogue vampire.   This time he’s working for the Fitz Clares, trying to bring his former employers down.       I was particularly interested in his past relationship with the vampire queen, Nim Wei, and his resentment towards her.   I was glad for the opportunity to learn more about him and wouldn’t mind seeing him featured in his own book.   However, this isn’t his book.   Instead, it’s really Graham’s and Pen’s more than anyone else’s.

After she helps rescue Edmund at the end of book two, Pen goes back home where she discovers that her estranged mother has passed away.   She needs to visit her mother’s home and claim her inheritance or risk losing it to her viperous aunts.   I liked this little detour in the story. We find out that while she may have grown up with a father who loved and protected her, she was continuously belittled by a mother who   masked her venomous intent towards her with a Southern, sugary sweet charm.     It’s during a visit to her mother’s home that Pen is attacked by Li-Hua and Frank and we discover just how unusual a young woman Pen really is.

Li-Hua and Frank have given up their quest to discover the means to change a human into a vampire.   This time, they’ve managed to get their hands on an ancient vampire device that allows the user to suck the soul from their victim and to absorb that soul into themselves while also increasing their powers.   This means that Li-Hua and Frank have gone from dangerous to almost impossible to kill.   To make it worse, the rapid increase in power has driven them nearly mad.

Li-Hua and Frank were rather unpredictable to begin with, but you’d think the extra bit of craziness would make them two very difficult vampires to track down.   Not so.   In fact, it’s almost laughable how easy they are to find.   The FitzClare clan decide to travel to Chicago to search for the villainous duo and as soon as they arrive, a friend of Pen walks up and happens to have exactly the information they need to locate Li-Hua and Frank’s new lair.   I was kind of amused by how easy it fell together, but by this time in the story, I wasn’t really looking for a long drawn out chase scene either.

My major complaint with this book was Edmund’s psychotic spiral.   Not only was the entire thing easily resolved, but it was completely unnecessary in the first place.   Not necessarily a Big Misunderstanding, but just as frustrating.   What also became frustrating were the numerous sex scenes that broke up the action in Kissing Midnight and actually, throughout the entire trilogy. I know this is trademark Emma Holly, but it seriously got a little old after awhile.

I’m glad I read your upyr trilogy, but I’ll admit to experiencing some fatigue towards the end.   As I was reading the last hundred or so pages of Saving Midnight, I remembered thinking that it was almost like I was at the last mile of a marathon- or what I imagine a marathon would be like.   And while the marathon may ultimately be rewarding, it’s not always an enjoyable experience.

C+

:) Joonigrrl

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

REVIEW: Breaking Midnight by Emma Holly

REVIEW: Breaking Midnight by Emma Holly

Dear Ms. Holly:

When I first decided to read and review your latest upyr trilogy, I had the idea that I would write a single review of all three books together. Two paragraphs in, I realized I was going to need more space than a single review allowed.

Breaking Midnight begins shortly after the ending of the first.   While Edmund was attempting to come to terms with himself and his relationship with Estelle, he is suddenly gifted with enough power to transition to Elder. During this transition, he is captured by Li-Hua and Frank, two unpredictable and very dangerous vampires.   Li-Hua and Frank chain him up, torture and starve him in an attempt to learn the secrets that only Elders know: how to change a human into an upyr.

Meanwhile, Estelle, Sally, Graham and Ben are doing their best to look for Edmund.   One night, Estelle dreams that she’s with Edmund, although a thinner Edmund than she’s used to.   After a few more dream visits, Estelle begins to realize that these aren’t simple dreams at all. Despite her best efforts, she struggles to uncover clues as to his location.

After closing Kissing Midnight, I was a little concerned where the second book would go. I wasn’t sure I could take more of just the Edmund/Estelle and Sally/Ben relationships.   Thankfully, book two introduces Pen Anderson, the daughter of Graham’s former boss at MI5.   Pen’s a prickly, independent young woman. Although she has always liked Graham, she doesn’t really think all that highly of him either.   Convinced that Graham needs her help in finding Edmund, she thrusts herself into the middle of the FitzClare family crisis regardless of whether anyone actually wants said help.

But Graham isn’t the same reliable, mild young man anymore.   Believing that the best way to help find his father is to become upyr, Graham turns to Edmund’s biological son Robin for help.   The change to vampire creates subtle but compelling differences with Graham: he’s taller, better looking, more commanding, and more confident.     And what he doesn’t need or want is his former boss’s annoying daughter involving herself in Fitz Clare business.

Like the other relationships, there’s not much anticipation or build up before Graham and Pen are jumping in bed. Or, rather, on the floor of a train.   Together, Pen and Graham find in each other the perfect sexual partner.   They can express their desires and needs to each other in ways they having never been able to share with anyone else.   Outside of bed is another story.   When not tearing each other’s clothes off, Pen and Graham are two very guarded individuals. Trust doesn’t come easily for either of them.     Pen is a bit of a mystery in book two, but for Graham, he is still dealing with the betrayal from his handler at MI5 and how easily he was fooled into turning against his father.

Breaking Midnight also introduces Durand, rogue upyr and mercenary. Durand somehow ended up working for Li-Hua and Frank, and is assigned to guard Edmund.   Durand is an odd combination of honorable and ruthless. It’s that hint of honor which is at odds with his current employment.   I liked this mysterious upyr quite a bit. In fact, whenever the point of view shifted back to Edmund, it was about Durand I was more interested in reading.

Of the three, Breaking Midnight was the most difficult to finish, and the one that took the longest.   Perhaps that’s because I found Edmund’s angst at the end of the first book and his subsequent capture a little contrived.   For me, his imprisonment by these two vampires was a little hard to follow for an entire book.   Breaking Midnight also features the rather convenient dream waking scenes so that Estelle is able to pin point Edmund’s location and narrow the search.   Of course, it also allows them to have sex even while they’re thousands of miles apart.   I probably could have done without the latter.   By the second book, Estelle and Edmund had become my least favorite couple and that’s including the icky brother sister Ben/Sally pairing.   It’s not that I disliked them. I just found them rather tedious.   I was glad that you shifted the book’s focus to Graham and Penelope and looked forward to learning more about where their relationship would progress.

C+

:) Joonigrrl

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.