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Currently Browsing: urban fantasy
Jul
9

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Night Broken

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Night Broken Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Night Broken Author: Patricia Briggs Narrator: Lorelei King Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Mercy Thompson #8 Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: borrowed NOTE: This review may contain spoilers from the previous books in the series. I started to listen to Night Broken almost eight months ago and quit after the opening scene. I realized that I needed a break from the Mercy Thompson series because I couldn’t take the pack’s treatment of Mercy any longer. The fact that after seven books and the countless times she’s helped them, the pack still treated Mercy with utter disregard and dislike completely ticked me off. This, coupled with the introduction of Adam’s ex-wife, told me a break was needed. So when I picked the book up again recently, I skipped the opening scene and jumped in where I’d left off all those months ago. And I’m glad I did. Night Broken is another well-developed, exciting tale in the Mercy Thompson world. The enemy is unique, aggressive, dangerous, and just plan bad. I enjoyed listening to Mercy, along with her mate, Adam, her friends, and even newcomers, figuring out the pieces of the puzzle and determining how best to take on a god-like entity. I also love that Coyote is back, and he even displays some affection for Mercy, in his own twisted way. Background storylines weave in and out, some which started several books back, and even one that originally came from Mercy’s sister series, the Alpha and Omega. All of this, plus the introduction of two new characters made this one of my favorite Mercy titles. While I didn’t forget what turned me off from the book all those months ago, time away from the series brought fresh air and a new perspective. Mercy had a couple great heart-to-hearts with some of the pack, conversations that warmed my heart and gave me hope for Mercy’s place among them. I know she’ll never be buddies with everyone, but Mercy knows this too, and is okay with it. I’m also hopeful that having the pack see Mercy in action and listening to her expose hurtful lies may help her cause among the pack. Additionally, Mercy and Adam have to deal with his ex-wife coming into the picture. We know from earlier titles that she’s not the best mother and can be a horrible manipulator. This was very evident during the book, and I did get ticked off...
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Jul
7

Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine Ink and Bone Author: Rachel Caine Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: A What We’re Talking About: For fans of Rachel Caine’s young adult series The Morganville Vampires, she has something new.  Although Gikany and Una both had very different reactions to the start of Ink and Bone, by the end we both loved it and are eagerly awaiting more in the new The Great Library series. For fans of The Morganville Vampires series looking for something similar, this is not it unless you want something just as addicting.  The Great Library series is completely new and entirely intriguing.  Una thought the book had a slow start to it while Gikany was able to jump right in and be hooked.  However, by the 25-30% mark, Una was hooked and found it difficult to put down.  Ink and Bone starts a bit slowly, giving a little of the history of the world and a bit of background about our hero, Jess.  But the slow pace doesn’t last for long and soon your heart will be racing from the fast-paced action and political suspense. The world is fascinating and Ms. Caine builds it slowly, interspersing the world-building with the adventures of Jess.  It is set in an alternate future – with Libraries (books and knowledge) as a prominent and controlling force of the world.  Ms. Caine deftly uses the correspondence of various Library dignitaries and historical writings to give context to the story.  Since the novel is told solely from Jess’s point of view, these letters balance out the world-building while also giving clues to the on-going political intrigue. Gikany and Una suffered book hangover once they reached the end.  The novel ends with a minor cliffhanger, and the ramifications and consequences of Jess’s choices leave much to ponder, reminisce and grieve over.  This book, and most likely this series, is for a mature young adult.  High school age and older would be appropriate for the serious nature of the novel.  War is a very real aspect of the novel, and the depictions of it are included.  Tough decisions and loss are appropriately handled and included, grounding the novel and giving a clearer picture of the world while also defining Jess’s character and his development. So much occurs in the novel that to discuss more of it would be a disservice to those who will read it.  Gikany and Una were consumed by this new, unique, and compelling world.  The plight of...
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Jul
2

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Cat & Bones Get Good!

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Cat & Bones Get Good! Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook reviews: Night Huntress series Author: Jeaniene Frost Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Audio Speed: 1x Series: Night Huntress #5-#6 (Night Huntress Universe #7-#8) Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: purchased NOTE: These reviews may contain spoilers from the previous books in the series. This Side of the Grave (NH #5 / NHU #7) After a two book hiatus from Cat and Bones’ adventures, the Night Huntress universe returns to its roots with a first person narrative told from heroine Cat’s POV. Chronologically, the book takes place after the two spin off stories, and having read them will fill in a lot of backstory that is assumed in This Side of the Grave. The story picks up with the ghoul uprising lead by Apollyon, a ghoul bent on killing Cat and attacking the vampire nation. Masterless vampires are being picked off by ghouls and our dynamic duo turn to the ghoul queen of New Orleans for some hints as to what is going on. Soon the pair are deep into the ghoul uprising, trying to predict where they will next strike. I absolutely enjoyed this story! This Side of the Grave is hands-down the best book in the series so far. The book genuinely embraces its urban fantasy roots and gives readers a smart adventure, full of action, romance, and humor, not to mention sexy good guys and dangerous bad guys. The story is well executed, with Cat having to use both brains and brawn to stop her enemies. The fight scenes are kick-ass, but there are so many tender moments as well. I love how Cat struggles with her growing powers, but gets through it because she’s tough and determined. Some of my biggest issues with the earlier stories have all been addressed in This Side of the Grave. Previously, the pair didn’t work together, letting jealousy, deception, and stubbornness get in the way of a healthy relationship. This time around, the pair is a team, sharing in the ups and downs, shouldering responsibilities, and genuinely loving one another. They are a tight-knit pair, considering the other and their relationship before decisions. They listen to one another and the book is so much better for it. Additionally, I am happy that Cat finally deals with once-friend Tate and his inexcusable behaviors. This is something that should have happened 4 books ago! I enjoyed seeing Cat back with her old team, and some of the changes going on are downright fun! I hope we see...
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Jun
22

Review: Misery’s Way by J.C. Daniels

Review: Misery’s Way by J.C. Daniels Misery’s Way Author: J.C. Daniels Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: C+ What I’m Talking About: Frankie is a non-human of unknown origin. She keeps her true nature and identity hidden for fear of being captured, or worse. She’s torn by her dark side, which craves and needs misery and suffering. However, she also has a side that longs to heal and fix pain. She balances both parts by posing as a faith healer; however now that someone has discovered Frankie, it’s time to move on. Misery’s Way is a short story told from the first person POV of Frankie. It is set in the Colbana Files world, and although not told from Kit’s POV, the story is germane to Kit’s whole journey and the overall series. So, it’s a “must read” for series regulars, and probably not the best place for newbies to begin. And honestly, if I hadn’t read all of the books in the series, I would have been lost at times. One issue I had with Misery’s Way was the feeling of disconnectedness as the story jumped from scene to scene, especially when Frankie explores Kit’s memories. And with that, I have mixed feelings about Misery’s Way. First, the story is VERY SHORT and is more like the prologue to the next book, albeit told from someone else’s POV. Second, the book ends at the 38% mark of the mobi version, followed by a previously released novella (which I’ve already read and reviewed), and then an excerpt from the author’s upcoming sci-fi title. With those two things in mind, I struggled to understand why this short story wasn’t integrated into the next full-length title rather than left as a stand alone story. Granted, it is from another person’s view point, and it does add value to the overall series and world, but it just felt so incomplete, it left me frustrated. Overall, the storyline is interesting. I enjoyed reading about Frankie and her partner, Saleel. However, I’m so used to reading from Kit’s POV, I struggled a bit with confusion when reading the book from Frankie’s POV, especially when she shared page time with Kit. However, Frankie and Saleel both intrigued me, and I expect they will be a large part of an upcoming Kit book based on what happens between Kit and Frankie. I honestly look forward to that, regardless of my frustration with this story in particular. Misery’s Way is an interesting and intriguing addition to the Colbana...
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Jun
15

Review: From a Drood to a Kill by Simon R. Green

Review: From a Drood to a Kill by Simon R. Green From a Drood to a Kill Author: Simon R. Green Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: A- What We’re Talking About: Mr. Green has done it again.  From a Drood to a Kill is another witty, exciting, and enjoyable Secret Histories adventure filled with quirky characters, humorous banter, and nail-biting adventure. Despite some tragedy in From a Drood to a Kill, the novel follows what we normally expect from Mr. Green.  He has the most amazing ability to tie his different worlds together.  It is so enjoyable to see the connections between the Secret Histories, Nightside and Ghost Finders series.  The humor and dry wit that are characteristic of the Secret Histories series kept us in stitches even as we fretted over Eddie’s plight.  Although the mythology of the Secret Histories remains strong and true, the overlaps and tangents add a depth to the overall story and world that is uncanny. We love the different characters and crew that make up this remarkable world.  Molly, the notable other Drood family members, and some much loved characters from some of Mr. Green’s other worlds all make appearances.  We loved the long visits with the London Knights and the Metcalf sisters. There is not too much we can say about the novel without giving anything away, which is the last thing we want to do.  The way the plot twists and turns, it sometimes seems as though it is going off in a strange direction, but then things circle back around and relate to the overall ending.  Although Eddie has moments that he must endure and fight through alone, he still triumphs in style and wit. If you haven’t experienced this series, it is time to start.  We’d recommend that you start at the beginning so the characters will mean more and the overall adventures will make more sense to you.  Plus, why deprive yourself of the fun and enjoyment?  We eagerly look forward to the next novel in this series. Our Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot About the Book: Some call me Shaman Bond, but I was born Eddie Drood, the latest in a long line of folks who chase monsters out of closets for a living to keep humanity safe from all that is dark, demonic, and just downright evil. Needless to say, we’ve made our fair share of enemies over the centuries—and made some questionable bargains. In exchange for the power to fight the forces of darkness, my parents...
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Jun
8

Review: Powerless by Terra Lynn Childs & Tracy Deebs

Review: Powerless by Terra Lynn Childs & Tracy Deebs Powerless Author: Terra Lynn Childs & Tracy Deebs Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: A What We’re Talking About: Powerless is a fabulous start in the new young adult series, The Hero Agenda.  It was a fast paced, riveting, and engaging new novel in a world of Heroes and Villains with super abilities. Gikany and Una really loved the debut book of this series.  Although it is a young adult novel, anyone from a mature junior high student to an adult will enjoy it.  There are some moments of romance and allusions to sex, but nothing graphic. What really is captivating about Powerless is our heroine, Kenna.  She is an ordinary in a world of supers.  Her father was a Hero and her mother works for the Heroes organization.  Her whole life she has lived in fear of the Villains because she has seen what they can do.  Although Kenna is ordinary, she is fearless.  When faced with Villains, she doesn’t run away, but tries to protect others and the research she and her mother have worked on.  From this confrontation, Kenna discovers that her world is not what it seems.  Life is not black and white.  Her coming of age is more than getting comfortable with herself; she must also come to understand the complexities of her world.  It was really fascinating. Another aspect that we enjoyed was the seamless world-building.  The novel starts with action and the tension never really ebbs.  As Kenna navigates from one encounter to another, we learn more about the world – just as she is.  We see the veil being removed from Kenna’s eyes and journey with her as she painfully matures.  It is emotionally charged as Kenna learns the world is not black and white. We eagerly look forward to the next novel in the Hero Agenda.  If you are looking for something new and riveting in the young adult genre, look no further.  Join a new adventure in a fascinating world with engaging characters, an action-packed plot, and riveting storyline.  Check out the new supers in Powerless. Our Rating:  A, Loved It About the Book: Kenna is tired of being “normal”. The only thing special about her is that she isn’t special at all. Which is frustrating in a world of absolutes. Villains, like the one who killed her father, are bad. Heroes, like her mother and best friend, are good. And Kenna, unlike everyone else around her, is completely ordinary—...
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May
28

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Eighth Grave After Dark Author: Darynda Jones Narrator:  Lorelei King Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Charley Davidson #8 Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: purchased from Audible If you are a reader of my reviews, it’s no surprise to you that I have a love-hate affair with the Charley Davidson series. While Charley is one of my favorite characters in literature, she’s also one of the most frustrating. And after having several issues with the previous two books, reading Eighth Grave After Dark became a “make or break” book for the series. While I still had some issues with the book, it is by and large a step above the subsequent two titles. I did make one big change this time around… I listened to the audiobook rather than read the story. I realized that I needed to step away from the trappings of the written word and my note taking, and rather just sit back and enjoy the story. I think that went a long way towards helping me reconnect with Charley and the gang. Picking up eight months after the conclusion of the previous novel, we find out that Charley and Reyes have moved into an old convent outside of Albuquerque – onto sacred ground – to keep the 12 hellhounds away from attacking Charley, Reyes, and their unborn daughter, Beep. The story opens with a special wedding between Charley’s Uncle Bob and her best friend and partner, Cookie. Unfortunately, evil doesn’t stop for the festivities, and soon Charley and Cookie find themselves working on a missing persons case for Special Agent Carson. And of course, Charley, once again, makes her own way into trouble. As I mentioned, overall Eighth Grave After Dark was much better than the sixth and seventh books. Two of my biggest complaints with those books were 1) inconsistencies and continuity errors and 2) too many subplots and storylines, especially ones that didn’t give value to the overall story. I am very happy that Eighth Grave After Dark did not fall victim to these pitfalls. The primary storyline of the missing girl was entertaining and kept my interest, and I was glad it didn’t have any misdirects, although it did result in a trip Charley won’t soon forget. And per usual, there was a ghost who need Charley’s help, leading to another enjoyable subplot, again, with consequences that were a direct result of the storyline. Additionally, the book does a great job finally answering some long running questions that have been dragging from book...
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May
25

Review: Path of the Heretic by Ivan Amberlake

Review: Path of the Heretic by Ivan Amberlake Path of the Heretic Author: Ivan Amberlake Reviewer: Una Rating: C What I’m Talking About: The Path of the Heretic is the second novel in the fascinating mythology of the Beholder series.  Though the mythology is intriguing, the story falls flat for me. I tend to prefer novels with character-driven plots. And in order for those plots to flow and keep me reading, I need an emotional connection to the characters. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it in the previous novel, The Beholder, and sadly I wasn’t able to do it in this second installment.  The problem is that I can’t really put my finger on what is the weak link, what is blocking me from connecting to the characters.  The plight of Jason is compelling, his search/hope for his lost love, Emily is interesting, but I just do not feel the emotions.  I don’t know if it is an issue with how the author conveys the character’s emotions or just a personality type issue I have with the characters.  Additionally, most of the urban fantasy I read has stronger romantic elements to it, while this does not.  I was compelled to finish the book, but that was only to see how the mythology turned out and if the prophesies would come to pass, along with a couple other loose ends. The world continues to be interesting; I do find the mythology fascinating.  Through Path of the Heretic we learn that there are more than just Lightsighted and Darksighted people.  There are the Transcended – those that switch sides.  This comes into play heavily in this novel.  What seems like betrayals are sometimes either Transcended spies or someone being compelled to change from one side to the other.  The politics are intriguing, the webs that the Darksighted (most importantly Pariah) weaves are interesting but some of it had me a little lost.  The legend of the Heretic was a bit confusing as well. One aspect of the novel really did irk me though and that is the multiple first person point of views – more than in the previous novel.  When we have more than a few it can be a little confusing constantly changing perspective.  I like getting into a character’s head and being there for a bit, it allows the story to flow better.  However, this is not the only issue.  Sometimes when the story changed perspectives, the timeline went back to the previous scene to allow another...
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May
20

Review: Lie Down with Dogs by Hailey Edwards

Review: Lie Down with Dogs by Hailey Edwards Lie Down with Dogs Author: Hailey Edwards Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Wait. What just happened here?!? If you’ve been reading the Black Dog series by Hailey Edwards, you pretty much need to pick up this book now and binge-read it. Not kidding here, folks. If you’re a fan of fantasy (fae, incubi, and all sorts of other interesting critters roaming ‘round) and magic, this series should be on your TBR. I really want to write up all the things I loved so hard about Lie Down with Dogs, but that’d be super spoilerific, and that’s not how I roll. I’ll get to some of that, but I wanted to talk about the rock I’ve apparently been living under. Until I actually went to Amazon and looked at the categories (and how well this title is doing!), I never thought I’d read a New Adult romance. *facepalm*. Being a smidge older than our illustrious heroine, Thierry, I guess I thought about how she was like college age, but never actually connected it to this whole ‘new adult’ genre that’s been cropping up like mushrooms after the spring thaw. I never sought out this subgenre of romance, because I didn’t think I’d connect with the characters. Obviously, since I’m closer to fifty than forty, I’d be hard-pressed to ‘get’ the character. Totally not the case. This was a bit of a revelation for me, and it really made me pause. It doesn’t MATTER what the subgenre is, really. It’s about the characters, the plot, and those beautiful moments when we can immerse ourselves in another world—if only for a moment. The conflicts present in the newest in the Black Dog series were tightly interwoven. Think: fifty bazillion-thread Egyptian cotton sheets here, folks. Here’s the one thing I *will* tell readers about this book: isolated incidents are rarely isolated. Especially when Theirry is concerned. I think a computer server would explode with all the redirects readers were treated to in Lie Down with Dogs. And, don’t get me started on betrayal. I got that raised eyebrow thing going on at one point, and I was ticked off on Theirry’s behalf several times. So, in Lie Down with Dogs, we get more of kick-ass Thierry. We’ve watched her develop from a starry-eyed cadet just learning about all the weirdness she’s been born into, and evolve into a woman with a mind of her own, and a sarcastic side that...
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May
19

Review: Cursed by Fire by Danielle Annett

Review: Cursed by Fire by Danielle Annett Cursed by Fire Author: Danielle Annett Reviewer: Una Rating: C- What I’m Talking About: I am not sure what to say.  After reading Cursed By Fire, I wonder how a first novel in a series can feel like a transitional novel.  The story had promise but just did not deliver for me. My first trouble with Cursed by Fire is that the mythology is very vague.  Some first novels suffer from an overabundance of world-building – spending a lot of time teaching us what the world is like at the sacrifice of the story.  However we have the opposite problem here.  There is almost no world-building.  What little there is are terms and certain elements that bring to my mind another series.  By the end of the novel, I started relying on the mythology of another series to fill in the gaps.  In fact once I started thinking about other books I’ve read, I saw similarities to other series.  I am all for imitation is the best form of flattery – but mythologies should be singular.  I can understand a coincidence or a common element or two but for so much of it to be similar bothers me.  Especially when the mythology overall remains vague and I feel we can only pull from our knowledge of the similar one to understand this world.  That just doesn’t sit right with me. Taking this issue out of the equation of this review, I was not thrilled with the writing.  I felt that once I was at the end, the novel was a long goose-chase.  It felt like a transitional novel, getting characters into place for the next one.  The original mystery that started this novel is not solved by the end.  True, we learn a lot about players and an eventual war, but nothing was resolved.  People died, we know who killed some of them, we know the “agency” behind it, but that’s it.  There is no justice at the end, it just stops abruptly.  I’m not sure I would call it a cliffhanger because it was more irritating than engaging. My other issue is that I was unable to connect with the heroine, Aria.  She felt flat to me.  I couldn’t connect emotionally with her and found her to be too chaotic.  Her thoughts and feelings really bounced around, and she made poor decisions of which she would question herself and yet still proceed to make.  For a woman that...
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