As a Stay at Home Mother, I found I was many things: Household CEO, Toddler Tantrum and Meltdown Negotiator, Executive Chef on a tight budget, Head Cheerleader, Housekeeper, Teacher, Child Advocate, Event Planner, Guru in special education, and so on. But somewhere along the line I had lost myself within a world of diapers, baby talk, and tears. Although I am highly educated, I found myself being defined by my children and the role of being a mother. Don’t get me wrong; I love spending time with my children. But I am so much more than a Mother. I am a lover and critique of books and maybe one day an author.
I started this blog at the beginning of 2016 in hopes to redefine and connect with who I once was and discover who I’m going to become. And I feel like I have done just that. I have read amazing books that have allowed me to get lost form one imaginary world to the next. And I have been able to meet some amazing people. Please don’t be shy, feel free to jump in and comment on any of my reviews and posts. I would love to get a conversation started! You can also reach out to me by email –firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you enjoy my blog as much as I enjoy writing it. Until next time, Happy Reading
We all have those few Authors who never disappoint and for me, Chloe Neill is one of those Authors!! I love her imagery, story telling, and the depth of her characters. While this book is not as intense as Wild Hunger, it was easy enough to slip into the book and get lost between the wonderful pages.
Published: December 3, 2019
Stars: 5 out of 5
Synopsis: Vampires were made, not born—until Elisa Sullivan came along. As the only vampire child in existence, she grew up with a heavy legacy, and tried to flee her past. Then circumstances drew her back to Chicago, and she stayed to keep it safe. With shifter Connor Keene, the only son of Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, at her side, she faced down a supernatural evil that threatened to destroy Chicago forever.
After the dust from the attack has settled, Elisa is surprised when Connor invites her to a usually private Pack event in the north woods of Minnesota, and by the warm welcome she receives from some of Connor’s family, even though she’s a vampire. But the peace doesn’t last. The shifters tell tales of a monster in the woods, and when the celebration is marred by death, Elisa and Connor find themselves in the middle of a struggle for control that forces Elisa to face her true self—fangs and all.
Review: This is one of those books I find myself trying to write a review but realizing I took very little notes. Funny how a good book can capture so much of your attention.
The majority of this book takes place in Minnesota and if you have ever been there, you have heard about “Minnesota Nice”. I think it’s hilarious to find it quoted in this book and applied so perfectly.
I am not a cat person but I absolutely love Eleanor of Aquitaine!! She is spicy with so much attitude. Not to mention how Elisa and Lulu treat her –
“We went cautiously inside, closed and relocked the door, then peeked around the corner – a vampire and the daughter of two sorcerers checking the battlefield for their frenemy.”
On a quick side note, I really love LuLu’s character. She is one of those people that everyone should have in their lives. She is someone who will push us when we know we should but struggle to take that first step. I can’t wait to see if something develops between her and Alexei. It does seem like something is there but not sure exactly what..
The book begins as Connor asks Elisa to accompany him to something no vampire has ever been allowed to be apart of. Why wouldn’t Elisa want to go? The interesting thing is Elisa tries to convince herself she is going strictly as a professional and not because the guy she is seeing asked her to come be apart of something that’s special to him and his family.
My heart pounded, as it if understood something the rest of me hadn’t yet. “What kind of prince do you want to be?” He looked up at me, blue eyes shinning as if they were lit from within. “The kind that’s good enough for you.”
Although Elisa is in a relationship, a controversial one might I add, with Connor, she is a bit dense and really needs Connor to spell things out for her. I will say, there are some situations that come up in this book that would make me question Connor’s commitment/interest. But regardless, I am a sucker for romance and I love that Connor is confident enough to say these things.
It probably doesn’t help that not many are happy about the Connor and Elisa’s relationship. They’ll have to overcome hundreds of years of bias, fear and judgement. That’s what makes Connor’s invitation that much more controversial. Pack rules specifically outline who can and cannot attend ceremonies, let alone be together. I’ll give you a hint, vampires are not part of that list. I do love how confident Connor is and how he takes a stand for what he wants. It’s no surprise that he wants both Elisa and the Pact. It’s interesting how the Pact responds to him.
I wondered if that reaction bothered Connor. Not the pause, but the implicit acknowledgement that he was different. Pact, but different.
In this case, Chloe Neill isn’t referring to the same kind of difference that Elisa is hiding. This particular scene shows how isolating it can be when you are looked at as the potential next leader. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to enter a room – a room full of friends, family, those closest – and instead of smacks on the back and handshakes, Connor is met with silence once everyone realizes who walked in. In Wild Hunger, you get to see the transformation of Connor going from playboy to someone to take serious, someone who has their own path they will walk. In Wicked Hour, you see the path Connor walks is separate, isolated from the rest of his Pact. Although this path is made harder by having Elisa by his side, it doesn’t seem as lonely.
We all know Elisa isn’t a typical vampire. First off, she was born and not bitten. Second, as she likes to refer to it, she has a monster dwelling inside her. Another thing that separates her from other vampires is her dislike for politics and engaging in verbal warfare.
I understood battle, and I understood politics. But I liked on of those a lot more than the other. I wasn’t looking forward to this war of words. words were often pointless, and politics just an irritating ego game. Give me a sword any day.”
I really loved this quite because I also am not one for politics. But I think it is safe to say politics is an essential part of vampires. And for Elisa to rather fight with a sword than battle with words, I can’t help but see how that is more of a shifter mentality than that of a vampires.
Elisa faced a lot of challenges throughout this book and because of those, she has had to make some difficult choices. There is one particular challenge that struck a cord with Elisa’s moral compass. Which led her down the path she never imagined being on; led her to do the unthinkable.
I don’t believe in giving away the entire book while writing a review. So I apologize ahead of time if this is cryptic. But I am worried if I say too much more, that I will be giving away a big part of what happens in this book. I will say Chloe Neill did an amazing job describing the inner turmoil Elisa was dealing with. But this is one of those situations where if you read the Chicagoland Vampires Series, you have a better understanding exactly how difficult this situation was.
“Do you want me to tell you that you did the right thing?” (said Ethan, Elisa’s Dad) So much, I thought. So much it made my chest ache. “Yes.” “You did the right thing, ” he said, his answer coming quickly. “But that doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences. And those can be the hardest consequences to bear – the ones we face because we’ve done the right thing, the hard thing.”
The passage that follows this quote briefly describes why Elisa is twisted inside over what happened while also giving a quick overview of what you might have missed in the Chicagoland Vampires series. I liked that Chloe Neill added this but it really doesn’t give it justice.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I love the relationship between Connor and Elisa. I love the mystery and action. I am looking forward to the next book in this series!!!
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Otherwise – Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂
Okay, so this is the third time reading this book. F.Y.I. still loving it.. life has thrown a lot at me lately and I ended up walking away from books. Part of walking away was due to the needing to focus on life and trying to get back to a calmer state. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that another part, maybe even a bigger one, was due to losing the enjoyment I once felt when I read. Today is the first day I could even pick up a book and that reading even sounded interesting. But getting back to the book at hand.
Published: August 14, 2018
Stars: 5 out of 5
Synopsis: As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she’s a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he’s prince of the Pack and its future king.
When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.
There has just been too much time (just over a year) that has passed between reading this book and the second. I felt I was due for a reconnect and refresher before digging into Wicked Hour. So since this is my third round with this book and I already have a review down, I thought I would highlight some of my favorite passages. This post does contain spoilers so please refer to my spoiler-free book review (link just above) if you are considering reading this book. If you’ve already read the book, by all means continue on..
As she bit her lip, Elisa looked up at Connor and saw the flush of embarrassment on his cheeks. She didn’t like being teased – or not that much, anyway – but she really didn’t like that look on his face. She stepped forward, putting her small body between Connor and his father. “It was my fault,” she said.
This passage came out of the Prologue and it’s the first insight into who Elisa is, what she stands for, with a little clue of her weakness for Connor. Elisa is the type that will never stand bye while someone else takes the blame. Even if she only played a little part in what happened, she will always do the right thing. Always stand even when it is the hardest thing to do. It’s one of the things I admire about her character.
“There are some decisions that we make, and some that are made for us. Sometimes you accept the path that’s offered to you, and you live that path – that life – with grace. And sometimes you push forward, and you chart your own path. That decision is yours. It’s always been yours.”
“Doesn’t matter if the road is hard,” Connor finally said. “The road is the road.”
The first quote comes from the famous Ethan, Elisa’s Father, and was in the very beginning of the book. There are always two paths you can take, even when it only looks like there is one. The primary focus of this quote is Elisa and deciding what path she will walk, who she will be now that she is all grown up. But underneath all of this, something that is not as obvious – is the struggle Connor faces throughout this book. He has been given a path that if played by the rules, he will get everything he has always wanted. The second quote is found at the very end, the Epilogue, when Connor decides his path is not the one handed to him but one most will not approve.
“It’s not an advantage to be numb to terrible things. It means we can’t feel. When we can feel, and we do it anyway, we show our bravery. And terrible times are when we need to act most of all. That’s when we do the most good.”
This quote comes from Merit, Sentinel and Elisa’s Mother. Although I think this quote stands on it’s own, I feel I need to still say it. What is happening in the world today is awful and we have to fight to continue to feel. Because without feeling, there is no action and that is what we need most right now – action! This quote leads into the what I feel is a prominent theme throughout this book – Prejudiced, racism, and privilege.
“‘Killer’ is in the shifter’s name, for god’s sake” (quote from Dearborn) “It’s a family name, Gabriel said.. “There’s history behind it that has nothing to do with this.”
“That was the other penalty of the deal made with the mayor, the other promise exacted from Cadogan House… (all the vampire houses) They were, basically, allowed to exist. Ironic, considering the House had been in the city longer than any of its humans had been alive.”
“But it’s their city, too, and they’re entitled to the same rights as humans. Including being considered innocent until proven guilty.” (Elisa) “That’s surprisingly naive for a vampire.” “It’s not naive,” I said. “It’s the ideal. If we don’t live up to it, we’ve failed.
“You put your life on the line because the fairy would have killed her. And instead of thanking you, she insulted you. She’s the monster. Not you.”
When I first read this book, I thought this theme was more of an underlining idea, not one that is throughout the book. Oh, how I was ever wrong! This book is hits home to the struggles many face today. I love how Chloe Neill went here.
In the book – Whether it’s certain vampires who regard shape shifters as less, shape shifters who regard vamipires as the nothing more than dirt, humans who hold themselves as more superior than all other race – the theme of injustice is strong throughout this book. When one community, one race holds privilege and disregards the life of another race as unimportant, it’s wrong.
“We could end up dead.” (Elisa said) “That’s true for you every time the sun rises. The only thing that matters is what you do in the dark.” (Connor)
“You are braver than me,” (Elisa mimics the excuse Seri used when her and her house abandoned Elisa in town) “Is it wrong if I say there’s something bitchy about that? Like she’s using it as an excuse. ‘Oh, you’re just braver than me.” (Lulu said)
I love these two quotes because it highlights the difference of a true friend. A friend will not pity you or make you feel bad because your convictions are strong. No, a true friend will always build you up and help you stand stronger when times are tough.
“I don’t mind rescuing you the first time,” he (Connor) said. … “But you don’t really need rescuing, Lis. You just need a good partner.”
“I didn’t expect… I didn’t expect you, Lis.” … His eyes were dark, stormy, and unfathomable. And he didn’t say a word.
“I thought you were leaving,” I said (Elisa) “I was. And then Theo called, said you’d been taken to the castle…” “I guess I owe you for the second rescue.” … “What – What is this?” “I don’t have the foggiest idea, brat.” He looked down at his linked fingers. “Confusing?” “Yeah,” I said “But also maybe…” He trailed off,a nd then he turned to me again, and then his hand was on my cheek, pulling me closer, and his mouth was on mine, hard and hot and possessive.”
Of course I had to pull some of my favorite moments between Connor and Elisa. There is this entire scene on page 300 -301 that makes me giddy every time I read it. This is the moment Connor and Elisa figure it out, figure out what they have between each other. I gave a small snippet in the last quote above but I promise it doesn’t do the passage justice. I am a sucker for a good romance but what really gets me is when both characters are strong, independent, and they each respect each other because of that. Elisa is not some damsel in distress and Connor’s confidence doesn’t come off as an asshole who doesn’t care. There is strength is being able to show vulnerability and emotions. These are strong characters with depth to them.
“We all carry expectations,” Seri said quietly, her eyes suddenly clouded. “Sometimes our own, sometimes others’. Both can be heavy.”
“My smart and kind and beautiful girl.” He (Ethan) liked to say that, had been saying it for years, and had always put “beautiful” last. Whether it was true or not, he’d tell me it was the least important of the three. “You are smart,” he’d say. “You should be kind. And if you are, you’ll always be beautiful.”
These are just quotes that I feel stand on their own. Almost food for thought..
Well, that’s it for this book. I feel like I could go on and on about how much I love this book but I promise I will save you from all of that.
If you’ve read this book, I would love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite quotes/moments from the book?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Otherwise – Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂
I am not sure where to begin. Life really got away from me. It took me 2.5 years to get discharged and be done with all doctors appointments and therapy after the car accident. 2.5 years is a long time.. and I never did get back to who I once was. My personality changed a lot and I stopped reading.
Yeah, you read that last sentence correctly.. I didn’t want to read anymore and I walked away from books. March 22, 2019 was the last time I read a book. Which is kind of extreme if I think back on how I would read sometimes 2 books in a week.
I don’t know why I didn’t want to pick up a book anymore. The thought of reading sounded awful. And life got really hard. My son was diagnosed with Autism and anxiety. He was also bullied at least once a week by the same boy in his class. Fighting his school to one – see he has Autism and two- to do something about the bullying. It was exhausting. And then Covid-19 hit and I had to work and teach my kids. That was impossible.
But here I am, writing this post, and thinking maybe I just needed some time. Work was officially done for summer break on June 10th and I all of a sudden I found myself wanting to read again. I have read 3 books in nine days.
I hope you can hang with me as I try to get my blog cleaned up and back up and running again. I hope to get some book reviews out to you soon.