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Currently Browsing: urban fantasy
Aug
9

Review and Giveaway: Primal Law

Review and Giveaway: Primal Law Primal Law Author: J. D. Tyler   Release Date: August 2, 2011 Publisher: Signet Alpha Pack series #1 ISBN: #978-0451234346 Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Founded by a group of former Navy SEALS, the Alpha Pack is a top-secret team of wolf shifters with Psy powers tasked with eliminating the most dangerous predators in the world. But the gift of their abilities comes at a price…       After a massacre decimates half his team and leaves him crippled, Jaxon Law must relearn how to fight—and battle the anger and guilt threatening to overwhelm him. But when he rescues a beautiful woman who reawakens his primal instincts, Jax is unprepared for the dangers that lie ahead.       On the run from her employer, brilliant lab assistant Kira Locke has evidence that leads the Alpha Pack on a hunt for someone targeting human civilians with Psy abilities. And as Jax and Kira circle both the killer and each other, Jax will have to decide if the deep connection he feels with Kira is worth breaking the ultimate shifter rule—because bonding with Kira means putting his abilities at risk, and they might be the only tools he has to keep his mate alive…  What G & U are talking about:       Primal Law is the debut novel in the Alpha Pack series by J.D. Tyler.  Gikany and Una had much discussion over this book and hope you enjoy our following review.       Una enjoyed Primal Law.  She considers it up there with her other guilty pleasures (Lora Leigh’s Breeds series and J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood).  For her, this is what she considers romantic-fluff fun.  It’s urban fantasy with a ribbon of romance running through it.  Oh, and don’t forget… lots of smexy moments, hot smexy moments are not missing in this story.  However, Gikany is right…there are a few issues…but for Una, they didn’t detract from her overall enjoyment of the novel (in fact, it was difficult for her to put down).       This is the first book in a series and like most, due to world-building and introducing all the main players, the overall story arc suffers.  Gikany wishes the author started the story with the team being changed in Afghanistan versus starting with the team’s betrayal which occurs years later (six months prior to where the main...
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Aug
1

ARC Review & Giveaway: Downpour

ARC Review & Giveaway: Downpour Downpour Author: Kat Richardson  Release Date: August 2, 2011 Publisher: Roc The Greywalker Novels #6 ISBN: #978-0451463982 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Hardcover (368 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      After being shot in the back and dying—again—Harper’s recovery has been hard. She’s lost a great many of the powers she’d acquired since first becoming a Greywalker, and Harper knows that if she dies again, she won’t be coming back.      Her only respite from the chaos is her work. But while conducting a pre-trial investigation in the Olympic Peninsula, she witnesses the ghostly echo of a fatal car accident for which there are no records. Worse still, the victim of the wreck insists he was actually murdered, and that the nearby mountain resort—called “Blood Lake” by locals—is to blame.      The picturesque area is as unlikely a haven for conspiracy and malignant magic as Harper’s ever seen. But she soon learns that the icy waters of the lake hide a terrible power, and a host of hellish beings. And both are held under the thrall of sinister mages who will use the darkest of arts to achieve their fiendish ends… What G & U are talking about:      Downpour is the sixth book in the Greywalker Novels.  Let us first say that Una has not read any of the previous books, however, Gikany was able to read the first book in the series.  Even though there are references to previous experiences and moments, we feel it isn’t necessary to read the first five books to enjoy this one.  However, to get the full impact of the series, we would recommend starting from the beginning.      Downpour starts off with our heroine, Harper Blaine, doing some less than fabulous legwork for a pretrial hearing.  During the course of this, she runs across some strange creatures and power lines in the Grey. The Grey is an alternate, paranormal dimension that Harper can experience and witness ever since she died (in a previous novel). These events cause her to take a deeper look into her surroundings, which leads her to a ghost and a murder mystery.  What could be classified as a straight-laced detective drama/mystery is made more suspenseful and engaging with the element of the paranormal.  It creates a thoroughly grounded but surreal urban fantasy.      Gikany and Una enjoyed Downpour.  The mythology is very interesting and the way the paranormal is...
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Jul
26

Review: Grave Dance by Kalayna Price

Review: Grave Dance by Kalayna Price Grave Dance Author: Kalayna Price Release Date: July 5, 2011 Publisher: ROC Alex Craft Novels #2 ISBN: #978-0451464095 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (371 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Whoever said dead men tell no tales obviously never met Alex Craft. After a month spent recovering from a vicious fight with a sorcerer, grave witch Alex Craft is ready to get back to solving murders by raising the dead. With her love life in turmoil thanks to the disappearance of Fae Investigation Bureau agent Falin Andrews and a shocking “L” word confession from Death himself, Alex is eager for the distractions of work. But her new case turns out to be a deadly challenge. The police hire Alex to consult on a particularly strange investigation in the nature preserve south of Nekros City. The strange part: There are no corpses, only fragments of them. A serial killer is potentially on the loose, and Alex has no way to raise a shade without a body, so she’ll have to rely on the magic of others to find leads. But as she begins investigating, a creature born of the darkest magic comes after her. Someone very powerful wants to make sure the only thing she finds is a dead end—her own. What G & U are talking about: Grave Dance is the second novel in the Alex Craft Novels. Una was not able to read the first book however Gikany (to the rescue) was able to. After conferring, Gikany and Una agree, it is best to read the first book, Grave Witch. There are quite a few plot points that are referred to in this book that occurred in the first book, along with relationships that have bearing in the second book. It isn’t necessary, but we feel that to fully enjoy Grave Dance you need to have invested the time in understanding some of the characters and you will get that if you read the first book. For a small non-spoiler example, it took Una a bit of time to realize that one of Alex’s roommates is a fae, something that was established in the previous book and is important to the storytelling. Not to mention a good bit of Alex’s background is revealed. Grave Dance begins a month after Grave Witch ends. From the moment the story begins, Una was hooked. The story was paced well and the balance of the detective/mystery unfolds nicely with the...
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Jul
22

Quickie Review: Magic Dreams

Quickie Review: Magic Dreams “Magic Dreams” from the Anthology HEXED Author: Ilona Andrews  Release Date: June 7, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation Kate Daniels #4.5 ISBN: #978-0425241769 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Purchased with my own funds About the book:      Old legends and frightening nightmares came to life in Magic Dreams.  The shapeshifting Tigress Dali Harimau finds herself in deep water when she must challenge a dark being to a battle of wits, or risk losing the man she secretly longs for.      This novel features Jim, the alpha of the Clan Cat, and Dali, the mystic vegetarian weretiger. What Una is talking about:      As stated above, Magic Dreams is a novella and is the first story in the anthology Hexed.  You need not have read the series nor does it impact whether you read it before or after book 5, however, the true impact of the story will not be as significant if you haven’t invested in the characters.  I would recommend reading the series first, but I think this is one of the best series out there so…  I’m a little biased.      Magic Dreams was a very quick read for me.  Not only because it is a novella and therefore short, but the story was gripping and I was held to the pages by the humor and the action/drama of the storyline.  Dali has been a character that I have wondered about for a while.  She is everything you wouldn’t expect from a shapeshifter and being able to have the story from her perspective is priceless.  We also get a glimpse of how she views Kate (who is the heroine of the series and our narrator).      Another wonderful aspect is seeing more of Jim, the elusive black jaguar.  He is mysterious and foreboding.  In this story we see past his armor that he keeps up around Kate and yet another perspective of him from Dali.  The interactions between him and Dali are humorous and fun.      If you are a Kate Daniels fan, this is a must read.  If you aren’t, it’s worth taking a look and reading this short story to get a feel of the world.  Ilona Andrews is talented at mixing drama, action/adventure and humor. Una’s Rating: Loved it – enthusiastically...
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Jul
20

Review: Bloodlust

Review: Bloodlust Bloodlust Author: Michelle Rowen  Release Date: July 5, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation Nightshade Series #2 ISBN: #978-0425242131 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (#295 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: ONE TASTE IS ALL IT TAKES For those who feast on blood, Jillian Conrad is a fatal attraction. After being injected with a serum that made her blood both irresistible and deadly to vampires, she was used as a pawn to assassinate the vampire king. Now, the vampires want her eliminated. Hunted and unable to return to her old life, Jillian desperately seeks to prevent the poison in her veins from killing her. And she must find a way to help her dhampyr protector, Declan, whose exposure to the serum has split his personality into one part uncontrolled desire, and one part stone cold killer. But an even greater danger is rising. The Amarantos – a secret society of vampires – is seeking the infant daughter of the slain king to complete their quest for true immortality. And if they succeed, no one, living or undead, will escape the darkness. What G & U are talking about: Bloodlust is the second novel in the Nightshade series.  Gikany was able to read the first novel, Nightshade while Una was not.  After some discussion, we would highly recommend that you start this series from the beginning.  There is much that occurs in the first book and unless you have your own Gikany to fill you in… you’ll need to read it.   Nightshade covers Jillian being infected, meeting Declan (a dhampyr and Jillian’s protector) and Matthias (the vampire king in hiding), and finding herself in this world. It also gives background information about the vampires and vampire hunters along with finding out that the Nightshade formula she had been injected with not only is deadly to vampires, it is killing her.  Again, we highly recommend you read this book prior to Bloodlust. Bloodlust picks up with Jillian waiting to meet an ally who may be able to stop the Nightshade formula from killing her.  While there, she meets someone she never expected to and the wild ride begins.  This book is a quick and gripping read.  Una and Gikany enjoyed the world, the premise, and even the vampire politics that seem to be the main focus of this novel.   Our main character is someone who truly is an innocent forced into a world she should never have been party...
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Jul
16

Review – Viper Moon

Review – Viper Moon Viper Moon Author: Lee Roland  Release Date: July 5, 2011 Publisher: Signet Novel of the Earth Witches #1 ISBN: #978-0451233769 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Cassandra Archer has faithfully served the earth Mother for years, rescuing kidnapped children from monsters—both human and supernatural—dwelling in the ruins of the Barrows District. But when two children are kidnapped under similar circumstances, all clues point to a cataclysmic event on the next dark moon. Now Cass must race against the clock and prevent a sacrifice that could destroy the entire town… What G & U are talking about: Viper Moon is the exciting first book in the new Novel of the Earth Witches series by Lee Roland. Gikany loved this book and excitedly passed it on to Una (who also fell in love with it). This book is the doorway to a rich and fascinating world. The series is classified by the author as a dark contemporary fantasy. Gikany and Una felt that translates into urban fantasy and whoa, what a fantasy! Viper Moon starts off with Cassandra, Cass for short, trying to escape a monster chasing her through the Barrows with the lost child she had found. From the start, you have no choice but to grip tightly and hold on this dark and wild ride. From this first glimpse the reader finds himself or herself in a world that exists within the normal realm. The mythology took Una a bit to grasp because it is so different from what she has learned and read before, but it is fascinating. Ms. Roland did an expert job at blending the world-building into the plot without slowing the pace of either the action or the suspense. There were quite a few twists and surprises, which only added to the layers of this novel. The characters are well rounded and have really intricate chemistry between them. The world that has been weaved is incredibly realistic along with the characters. The characters are not superhuman; they do not have an all-powerful being that gives them everything they need when they need it. There are questions, struggles and sometimes the all-powerful being gets in the way and, dare we say, don’t have all the answers. Another aspect that is interesting is that the book wraps up nicely in the end. There is an unresolved issue, but for out main characters, there is not. Even though the premise...
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Jul
8

Review: Green-Eyed Envy

Review: Green-Eyed Envy Green-Eyed Envy Author: Kasey MacKenzie Release Date: June 28, 2011 Publisher: Ace Shades of Fury #2 ISBN: #978-0441020492 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (304 pages), e-book We received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Jealousy can be a killer… As a Fury, Marissa Holloway belongs to an Arcane race that has meted out justice since time immemorial. As Boston’s chief magical investigator, it’s her duty to solve any crimes committed by or against supernaturals. Months have gone by since Riss discovered some unwelcome truths about her past—and managed to stop a supernatural war. Since then things have been quiet. Too quiet. But that all changes when the bodies of Bastai, shapeshifters also known as Cats, begin piling up in Boston’s magical underbelly—even though the legendary shifters are supposed to have ninety-nine lives. One common thread ties the victims together: all were old flames of FBI Agent Harper Cruz. And since Harper and Riss’s lover Scott Murphy enjoyed a one-night stand before he and Riss reunited, the Fury has twice the incentive to crack the case wide open, before the killer’s green-eyed gaze turns in Scott’s direction… What Gikany & Una are talking about: Green-Eyed Envy is the second book in the Shades of Fury series. Gikany has read the previous novel, Red-Hot Fury while Una jumped into the series with this novel. That being said, we strongly recommend that you read the first book in the series. Quite a lot of world-building takes place in the first novel and there is quite a bit you should have under your belt before you start Green-Eyed Envy. As Una was reading, she could tell that Green-Eyed Envy deals with some important ramifications of what occurred in the previous novel and there is quite a bit of fury politics (and arcane politics) that are very confusing if you haven’t read the first book. Luckily, Una had Gikany to fill her in (after the fact, sadly, but still) on what she missed in the first book, however, Una looks forward to going back and reading the first book. The Shades of Fury series follows the fury, Marissa Holloway, who is Boston’s Chief Magical Investigator. She is a fascinating and complex character. This alternate world that Ms. MacKenzie has created is enthralling and her writing style is fairly exciting. In this world, a fury is a powder keg of emotion ready...
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Jun
23

Review: Medium Dead

Review: Medium Dead Medium Dead Author: Chris Dolley  Release Date: May 28, 2011 Publisher: Book View Cafe Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): E-book We received a copy of this book from the author for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Brenda Steele is smart, funny and out of her depth. A Vigilante Demon called Brian wants her to find murdered spirits and help him track down their killers. But Brian doesn’t just catch criminals, he likes to play with them first, and make the punishment fit the crime. As he tells Brenda, “if all you did was turn up, capture the bad guy then leave – century after century – you’d die of boredom.”  He’s also reckless – his last partner died during one of his takedowns.  Along the way, Brenda discovers that Brian isn’t as old, or as powerful, as he led her to believe. He might even be human. Whereas the murderer they’re hunting, and the child he’s holding prisoner, might not.  What Gikany & Una are talking about: Medium Dead is a lighthearted, urban fantasy romp.  The story begins with Brenda, the reluctant medium, as she starts her summer vacation.  However Brenda’s vacation does not go as planned when Brian, the Vigilante Demon, shows up and convinces her to join him as he fights crime.  Thus Brenda goes from being the reluctant medium to being the reluctant medium private investigator. The banter between Brenda and Brian is quite funny and entertaining.  However, there are moments in the storytelling where Brenda seems so whiny and annoying. The plot moves fairly fast, however, it can be jerky and has the occasional speed bump.  What we mean is that the story doesn’t always flow smoothly–at times the story leaps ahead and the reader feels as if they missed something, while other times a scene or moment drags (like having to slow over a speed bump).  These were the times when Una, admittedly, started skimming to get to more action.   Without giving anything away, the ending seemed to have some loose ends.  We were uncertain if Medium Dead is the first novel of a series, but all evidence points to it being a standalone novel. If so, we feel that a few issues should have been resolved prior to the end of the book.  If you are looking for a light read, something as a break between beloved and serious series, this is a good book to curl up...
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Jun
16

Review: Hunt the Moon

Review: Hunt the Moon Hunt The Moon Author: Karen Chance  Release Date: June 7, 2011 Publisher: Signet Cassandra Palmer Series #5 ISBN: # 978-0451413079 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (432 pgs), ebook I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Cassandra Palmer recently defeated a god, which you’d think would buy a girl a little time off. But it doesn’t work that way when your new job description is Pythia — the world’s chief clairvoyant. Cassie is busier than ever, trying to learn about her power, preparing for her upcoming coronation, and figuring out her relationship with the enigmatic sexy master vampire, Mircea. But someone doesn’t want Cassie to become Pythia, and is willing to go to any lengths to make sure the coronation ceremony never happens—including attacking her mother before Cassie is even born. What B is talking about: At twenty-four, Cassie Palmer hadn’t planned to be one of the most important players in the supernatural world, but she is. For reasons Cassie doesn’t understand, the Pythia’s power chose her, not the other way around. But there are plenty of others who would be more than happy to take that power away from her, even if they have to destroy her to do it.  This was a great story from start to finish, even though it’s the fifth book in the series. It didn’t take me long to become familiar with most of the characters, much of the dialog is witty and quick, and the action never seems to stop. There’s inadvertent cliff diving, horse-drawn carriage chases, and combustive dragons. Although Ms. Chance packs a lot into Hunt the Moon, it’s not to the point of being overwhelming.  Cassandra is a lot of fun. She’s snarky, clever, and has given up on trying to please everyone. Something is trying to kill her, and despite a battalion of armed vampires assigned to keep her safe, whatever it is has been far too close to successful in its attempts. Her head vampire bodyguard, Marco, is a riot much of the time, and the general banter among her guards is consistently amusing. Even in the middle of a crisis, Ms. Chance manages to keep the observations funny. This is a far sexier Urban Fantasy novel than some others I’ve read. Between the vampire she loves, who has claimed her for his own (although Cassie would have preferred to actually date him for...
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Jun
14

Review: Shadow Walker by Allyson James

Review: Shadow Walker by Allyson James Shadow Walker Author: Allyson James  Release Date: June 7, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation Stormwalker Series #3 ISBN: #978-0425241820 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (304 pgs), e-book I purchased this book with my own money because I LOVE this series! From the author’s website: Winter descends on the town of Magellan, and new evil comes to call.Racing her motorcycle down a lonely winter highway, Stormwalker Janet Begay feels the ground collapse beneath her feet. After tumbling two hundred feet into an underground cavern, she manages to escape with help from her sexy dragon-shifter boyfriend, Mick—but not before they disturb dark forces. As Janet contends with a hotel inspector intent on putting her out of business, and her grandmother, who’s taken up residence, Mick’s behavior becomes strange and erratic, until he is a clear danger to Janet and her friends. Janet’s drag-queen, attitude-ridden magic mirror insists that Mick has been “touched by shadows,” and Janet realizes that someone is out to enslave her dragon. Now she must free Mick before he kills her… What I’m talking about: AH! I cannot stop talking about how much I adore this wonderful (still fairly new) series by Allyson James! For those not familiar, the series followers half-Navajo Janet Begay, a Stormwalker who can bend the power of storms to her will.  Oh, and she also is the daughter of an evil goddess who has passed on dangerous Beneath magic to Janet. She lives in a small Arizona town, owns a quaint hotel, has a ridiculously hot and sweet boyfriend, Mick, and trouble seems to follow Janet where ever she goes. The third story picks up shortly after the end of the second book, Firewalker, and opens with Janet finding herself in danger once again when she plummets to the bottom of a sinkhole while being tailed by Sheriff Nash Jones for speeding. Janet finds herself under attack from dozens of mysterious petroglyphs and once again, she finds herself at the center of another dangerous mystery.  Soon, the story deepens with Mick acting strange, the pipes and wiring in her newly renovated hotel suddenly corroding, and the appearance of her “sister” who seems bent on destroying Janet. One thing I love about this story is that Janet has matured. She has always been a mighty kick-ass heroine, but by now she has gone through many trials, including saving the world, and she is embracing all of her magic – even the dark Beneath...
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