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Currently Browsing: urban fantasy
Feb
20

Review: A Sliver of Shadow

Review: A Sliver of Shadow A Sliver Of Shadow Author: Allison Pang  Release Date: Feb. 28, 2012 Publisher: Pocket Books Abby Sinclair Book #2 ISBN: #978-1439198346 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (400 pgs), e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Just when her new life as a TouchStone – a mortal bound to help OtherFolk cross between Faery and human worlds – seems to be settling down, Abby Sinclair is left in charge when the Protectorate, Moira, leaves for the Faery Court. And when the Protectorate’s away…let’s just say things spiral out of control when a spell on Abby backfires and the Faery Queen declares the Doors between their worlds officially closed. The results are disastrous for both sides: OtherFolk trapped in the mortal world are beginning to fade, while Faerie is on the brink of war with the daemons of Hell. Along with her brooding elven prince Talivar and sexy incubus Brystion, Abby ventures to the CrossRoads in an attempt to override the Queen’s magic. But nothing in this beautiful, dangerous realm will compare to the discoveries she’s making about her past, her destiny, and what she will sacrifice for those she loves. What B is talking about: Eight months after the end of A Brush of Darkness, Abby Sinclair is still figuring out her place among the OtherFolk. She’s not only a TouchStone to her boss and Faery Princess, Moira, but she’s a living Keystone as well, a designation that has more than a few complications of its own. She’s also the temporary guardian of Moira’s infant son, the object of an elven prince’s affections, and the possessor of a Faery relic some would kill to have for their own. This time, Abby travels to the royal court of Faerie itself, and finally gets the answers to some of her most vexing questions. That she doesn’t like some of those answers is to be expected, but Pang made it clear in the previous novel that she’s not inclined to make the journey easy for either her characters, or her readers. Once again, Abby is tossed into the most impossible situations, many of which don’t turn out well, though they are a lot of fun to read. She is still a delightful mix of snarky wit and mortal vulnerability, and carries the weight of two worlds with competing bouts of resignation and determination. She is sometimes hurtful and always stubborn, but she admits her mistakes and would die for those she loves. As dark as...
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Feb
16

Review: Mind Games

Review: Mind Games Mind Games Author: Carolyn Crane  Release Date: Mar 23, 2010 Publisher: Bantam/Spectra The Disillusionists #1 ISBN: #978-0553592610 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book Book Source: Author About the book:      Justine Jones is a hopeless hypochondriac whose life is crippled by fear…until one day when a handsome, tortured mastermind named Packard peers into her soul and invites her to join his psychological hit squad.      Justine resists until she gets a taste of the peace Packard can promise. At first, Justine enjoys being part of the thrilling world of neurotic vigilantes who battle Midcity’s paranormal criminals. Things get complicated when she uncovers certain secrets…and falls for one of her most dangerous targets. What I’m talking about:      This book is amazing. There. Said it. If you haven’t picked up Carolyn Crane’s Disillusionists Trilogy, do yourself a favor and go get Mind Games now.  And while you are at it – just pick up the entire series (three books) because you will not be able to stop after the first book.      The story takes place in the heart of Midcity, a twisted urban metropolitan, where a secret group of individuals, the Disillusionists, are learning to debase and reset dangerous criminals. Their teacher and leader, Packard, teaches his gang how to transfer their negative (and extreme) emotional darkness into others, causing the victim to question who they are and see their crimes in a new light. Packard, however, is trapped in a restaurant by his mysterious nemesis and will do whatever it takes to get free.      In addition to the Disillusionists, there are “high caps,” high-brain capacity individuals that have X-men type powers – telekinesis, precognition, memory revision. The general population doesn’t really know if high caps exist. Packard is a high cap who can read a person’s psyche.      Packard discovers Justine – an extreme hypochondriac, whose fears are so intense, she rates as a prime candidate to become a Disillusionist.  Packard sucks Justine into his world, and she goes screaming and kicking almost the entire way.      Justine is a conflicted woman. She craves normalcy, but isn’t truly happy without challenge. Her emotions run both sides of the coin. Her beliefs follow her gut instincts, which can change depending on circumstances. I love that she is flawed and deals with her crazy life by making choices that I could see me making if I were in her shoes....
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Feb
14

Review: A Brush of Darkness

Review: A Brush of Darkness A Brush Of Darkness Author: Allison Pang  Release Date: Jan. 25, 2011 Publisher: Pocket Books Abby Sinclair Book #1 ISBN: #978-1439198322 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (368 pgs), e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Six months ago, Abby Sinclair was struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, she has an enchanted iPod, a miniature unicorn living in her underwear drawer, and a magical marketplace to manage. But despite her growing knowledge of the OtherWorld, Abby isn’t at all prepared for Brystion, the dark, mysterious, and as sexy as sin incubus who shows up searching for his sister—and is convinced Abby has the key to the succubus’s whereabouts. Abby has enough problems without having this seductive shape-shifter literally invading her dreams to get information. But when her Faery boss and some of her friends vanish as well, Abby and Brystion must form an uneasy alliance. As Abby is sucked deeper and deeper into this perilous world of faeries, angels, and daemons, she realizes her life is in as much danger as her heart—and there’s no one she can trust to save her. What B is talking about: Abby Sinclair is one of the most enjoyable heroines I’ve read in a while. She is lost and imperfect, and is in way over her head, but she is loyal, fiercely protective, and determined to right the wrongs she commits along her journey. But she’s also very aware of the fragility of her own mortality, and unapologetically takes her comfort where she can. Pang introduces a host of what could have been overly familiar characters in A Brush of Darkness, but by instilling them with such distinctive personalities, she makes each one completely unique. Brystion is a sexy, gorgeous unknown in the game Abby finds herself playing, but she’s unable to help herself where he’s concerned, and I don’t blame her one bit. Phineas, the miniature unicorn, is a smart, hilariously naughty, if occasionally inebriated, surprise, and I’m certain the novel wouldn’t have been the same without him. The other characters are similarly fascinating, and Pang does an excellent job keeping the comfort level low and the pages turning.  Another thing that made reading this book so much fun is that Abby herself is new to the OtherWorld. As a reader, there’s a sort of reassurance in not being the only one with a lot of questions. I felt a ready connection to Abby’s disorientation, and happily cheered...
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Feb
14

Review: Wild and Steamy

Review: Wild and Steamy Wild and Steamy Authors: Meljean Brook, Jill Myles, Carolyn Crane Release Date: Aug. 3, 2011 Publisher: self-published Genre: Steampunk, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Anthology Format(s): e-book Book Source: Purchased with my own funds What I’m talking about: “The Blushing Bounder” by Meljean Brook (Iron Seas Story) Summary: While the search for a killer puts Constable Newberry’s life in danger, he faces a danger of another kind: to his heart, by the woman forced to marry him. What will it take for this prudish bounder to convince his wife to stay? Twimom’s Take: If you are a fan of Meljean’s Iron Seas series, you will enjoy this brief look into Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth and Constable Newberry’s first case. However, if you’ve never read the series, this is a perfect introduction to Meljean’s Iron Seas. Newbury is so sweet, and I love the inspector and Newberry’s relationship. It is an easy story to follow and has a satisfying plot for the novella length. Rating: 4 stars: Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-) “Vixen” by Jill Myles Summary: Miko’s denied her were-fox nature for far too long and turned her back on her vixen heritage. But when she meets two very sexy cat-shifters, she has to decide if she truly wants to give up on her frisky side, or embrace it. Because the were-fox in her doesn’t want to choose between both men…it wants them both. Twimom’s Take: This is a cute, stand alone shifter story by one of my favorite authors. The three main characters had great chemistry and dialogue. The story is enjoyable, full of fun and play. And oh, by the way… it is a HOT as hell menage. Rating: 4 stars: Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-) “Kitten-Tiger & the Monk” by Carolyn Crane (Disillusionists Story) Summary: Sophia Sidway, Midcity’s most dangerous memory revisionist, seeks out the mysterious Monk in the wasteland beneath the Tangle turnpike, hoping for redemption…but it turns out that the Monk is not all that pious, and the turnpike is no turnpike at all. Twimom’s Take: OMG! I am totally hooked on Ms. Crane’s urban fantasy series! The mythology is very original and different than anything I’ve read before. I wish now I’d started at the beginning of the series (this novella takes place between 2nd and 3rd books.) I am going to be reading the series ASAP! I was not lost – and the story is fine as a stand alone, but Sophia made references to...
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Feb
10

Review: Supernaturally Kissed

Review: Supernaturally Kissed Supernaturally Kissed Author: Stacey Kennedy Release Date: Dec. 29, 2011 Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Frostbite Series #1 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Ghosts harass and annoy Tess Jennings to save their souls. Sometimes she helps them. Other times she ignores them. But one ghost will give her no choice. Kipp McGowen, a cop with the Memphis Police Department, will stop at nothing to gain her help, including using his ghostly charms to seduce her. Tess must help solve the five year old cold case of Hannah Reid, because solving the case will save Kipp. But a bigger problem presents itself. Tess is falling in love with a ghost. Now she must decide. Keep Kipp forever or find the killer… What I’m talking about: Tess is a little different from the rest of us – she sees and communicates with ghosts. She usually ignores their plight, or if she stops to listen, she tries to send them on their way to the “other side” quickly. That process has always worked for her until she meets Kipp – he is different from any ghost she’s met before. He remembers his life and acts like a “normal person.” Kipp implores Tess to help him catch the man who killed him while he was tracking down the killer of a young girl. Right from the start, Kipp reminded me of Patrick Swayze’s character in the movie Ghost – bothering Tess until she acknowledged him and did his bidding. It didn’t hinder the story, but rather made me chuckle. I will tell you right up front that I spent a lot of time during the first half of so of this book trying to figure out how Kipp and Tess could have a happy ending. First, I thought maybe he wasn’t really dead like Reese Witherspoon’s character in the movie Just like Heaven. Then I wondered if she would die too. Or *gulp* would there not be a happy ending? I just couldn’t see how it could possibly end well…. with him a ghost and her, well, not. Let me reassure you that this concern is addressed AND once the story got rolling, I was so engrossed that I didn’t really care. I loved how my emotions were tugged around in this book. For example, several times my heart raced with Tess’s frustration when she tried to explain the truth to Kipp’s partners. I was waiting for one of...
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Feb
9

Review: Unbroken

Review: Unbroken Unbroken Author: Rachel Caine  Release Date: Feb. 7, 2012 Publisher: ROC Outcast Season #4 ISBN: #978-0451464422 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: For millennia, Cassiel was a powerful Djinn-until she was exiled to live among mortals. Now the threat of an apocalypse looms, and Cassiel is in danger of losing everything she has come to hold dear… As the world begins to fall apart around her, Cassiel finds herself fighting those she once called her own-the Djinn. With Weather Warden Luis Rocha and the rescued child Ibby by her side, Cassiel struggles to find a way to protect those that are in her charge and come to terms with the leadership role she never asked for. Cassiel is opposed by a powerful Djinn bent on raising an army of kidnapped Warden children to bring about nothing less than the end of the world. It will take everything Cassiel has to stop the Djinn from starting a war that will wipe all of humanity from the face of the earth. She knows that this might not be a battle she can survive, but protecting those she loves is worth any cost… What B is talking about: Mother Earth is awake and suffering, angry and insane, and is using everything in her power to lash out at the cause, obliterating humanity in the process. With perpetual disasters, both natural and otherwise, taking an enormous toll on all life on the planet, Pearl, a powerful Djinn who wants nothing less than absolute domain over the earth itself, is putting her plan into motion as well. Cassiel, Luis, and the rest of the Wardens are facing the impossible, and although they know they can’t stop the destruction, they are helpless to do anything other than fight to the very end.  Unbroken is easily one of the most challenging novels I’ve reviewed to date. It is by no means light reading. Cassiel, Luis, Isabel, and Esmerelda pick up where Unseen left off, fighting not only a crazed and powerful Djinn, but Mother Earth herself. Aside from persistent, deadly natural disasters, the rest of the Djinn have fallen under the Mother’s spell, and are eradicating the rest of humanity in a wave of destruction, with only the Wardens to stand in their way. Caine is a gifted writer and her unflinching drive to the ultimate reckoning is filled with tension and compelling narrative. The love Luis has...
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Feb
1

Review: Spirits Rising

Review: Spirits Rising Spirits Rising Author: Krista D. Ball  Release Date: Jan. 3, 2012 Publisher: Self-Published, Smashwords Spirit Caller Series #1 ISBN: 978-1-4660-5265-9 Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Rachel Mills has one wish in life: for the spirit world to shut up and leave her alone. She thought her move to a remote fishing village in Northern Newfoundland would help. Population: Twenty. What could go wrong? Instead of peace, however, she relocates to a land of superstitution, the air alive with the presence of others. When a local teenager accidentally summons the spirits of the area, including those from a thousand-year-old Viking settlement, all supernatural breaks loose. As the spirits stalk her and each other, Rachel finds herself in over her head. With the help of Mrs. Saunders, her 93-year-old neighbour, Rachel has to put aside her own prejudices long enough to send the spirits back to rest, or risk being caught in the midst of a spirit war. What VampBard’s talking about: Ms. Ball has started out her Spirit Caller novella series by showcasing Rachel and her self-torture because she can’t have Canadian Mountie, Jeremy for herself.  While there’s not a lot of romance, there surely is some major tension.   The tension in Spirits Rising doesn’t only come from the interplay between Jeremy and Rachel, however.  More serious conflict arises between Rachel and the native spirits of the area, unleashed by an unsuspecting Manny – a local teen – as well as his devout father, David.  The resolution at the end of the story was pretty predictable, but over-all, this was a nice read for a lazy day. I really enjoyed the inner conversations Rachel had with herself, and it seemed like her relationship with Mrs. Saunders seemed to ground her.  I look forward to reading future installments of the Spirit Caller series, simply to find out how Rachel fares…and whether she will end up with Jeremy or not! VampBard’s Rating: Liked it a lot – recommend (B+) Purchase Info: Spirits Rising (Spirit Caller...
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Jan
30

Review: Thread of Death

Review: Thread of Death Thread of Death Author: Jennifer Estep  Release Date: Jan. 31, 2012 Publisher: Pocket Books Elemental Assassin #5.5 Genre: Urban Fantasy, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book:       Gin Blanco, aka the assassin the Spider, might have finally killed her nemesis, Mab Monroe, but that doesn’t mean that it’s smooth sailing. Gin goes to Mab’s funeral to say her goodbyes and runs into some of Ashland’s most notorious underworld power players, including Jonah McAllister and Phillip Kincaid. McAllister wants her dead, and Kincaid has his own murky motives when it comes to the Spider, and Gin once again finds herself fighting for her life. Only this time, she might wind up in the cemetery right next to Mab. What I’m talking about:       I have been hearing great things about Ms. Estep’s Elemental Assassin series for a while now. I’ve wanted to read it, but by the time I got around to it, the series was already four books in, and I just didn’t have the time to commit to reading four to five books. (Lame excuse, I know!). Anyhow, I’d been chatting with the wonderful Ms. Estep and asked her when would be a good time to “jump in” to her series. She suggested this novella, and I’m so thankful she did!       For those unfamiliar with this urban fantasy series, it centers around Gin Blanco, an assassin whose parents were killed by nemesis assassin, Mab Monroe. The first five books centered on Gin (aka the Spider) trying to take out her long-time adversary, culminating with a massive elemental battle between the two in Spider’s Revenge, where Gin finally defeats Mab. (Note: I did NOT read the first five books.)       Thread of Death is a nice little story – a “day in the life” of Gin – that bridges the story arc ending in the past book with Mab’s death, and a new one starting in the upcoming By a Thread (February 28, 2012, Pocket Books). In this novella, we find Gin recovering from her battle with Fire Elemental, Mab. Gin is also an Elemental, able to manipulate Stone and Ice to her advantage (there are also Air Elementals). I’m still learning about Elementals, but I got a feel for what they can do in this story.       The story takes place over the course of one day – the day of Mab’s funeral. It...
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Jan
27

Quickie Review: Magic Gifts

Quickie Review: Magic Gifts Magic Gifts Author: Ilona Andrews  Release Date: Dec. 25, 2011 Publisher: n/a Kate Daniels #5.5 Genre: Urban Fantasy, novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author (A free ebook as a gift to her fans – only available for 2 weeks on her website) NOTE: this story will be included as an extra in the upcoming Gunmetal Magic. About the book:      A dinner date after a hard day at work sounds heavenly. Of course, when that date is between the Beast Lord and Kate Daniels, things don’t go as planned. Before you know it, undead are running amok, heads are being chopped off, lawyers are deployed and used with extreme prejudice, and drunk vikings are calling people out.      Read at your own risk. What Una is talking about:      Magic Gifts is a wonderful present for Ilona Andrews’ fans.  It is a delightful tale that takes place during the next, highly anticipated novel, Gunmetal Magic: Andrea’s story.  If you haven’t read the series, the story will be neither as magical, nor witty and wonderful as if you have.  I seriously suggest you take up this series.  Ilona Andrews is a must-read author for me.  The Kate Daniels series is phenomenal and, as soon as I am able, I’m tying Gikany down so she has to read it.      In Magic Gifts, we get to glimpse behind the scenes as our beloved couple Kate and Curran try to have a date night that goes horribly, horribly wrong.  Their give-and-take, witty banter, and the intricate adventure they go on are fundamentally Kate and Curran. Long-time fans also get a glimpse into what is happening with Andrea, which is set-up for the next book.      The series is a must read.  This story is a must read for Kate and Curran fans – but be warned, as poor Ms. Andrews has talked about on her blog, it is a self-published story and therefore should be treated as an advanced reader copy.  There are a few grammatical blips, but you should have NO trouble following along since you just KNOW what she is talking about!   Yes folks, she (well, they, it’s a husband and wife writing team) is just awesome! Una’s Rating: Loved it – enthusiastically...
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Jan
20

Review: The Bitter Seed of Magic

Review: The Bitter Seed of Magic The Bitter Seed of Magic Author: Suzanne McLeod  Release Date: Dec. 27, 2011 Publisher: Ace Spellcrackers #3 ISBN: #978-1937007201 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (357 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: On the surface, Genny’s life seems ripple-free right now. Finn, her sexy boss and — well, Genny’s not sure what else she wants him to be — has stopped pushing for a decision on their relationship. The seductive vampire Malik al-Khan has vanished back into the shadows. And the witches have declared her no longer a threat. But unless Genny can find a way to break the fertility curse afflicting London’s fae, she knows this is just the lull before the magical storm. Then a faeling — a teenage girl — is fished out of the River Thames, dead and bound with magic, and Genny is called into investigate. As she digs through the clues, her search takes a sinister and dangerous turn, exposing age-old secrets that might be better left buried. Then another faeling disappears, and Genny finds herself in a race against time to save the faeling and stop the curse from claiming its next victim — herself! What G & U are talking about: The Bitter Seed of Magic is the third installment in the Spellcrackers novels.  As usual, Genny is up to her eyeballs in fae issues, curse issues, vampire issues and all important relationship issues.  By the end of this novel it seems everything is resolved.  Almost. This is a difficult review to write.  Now that we have read two of these books, one of our main issues with these novels is something that seems to be characteristic of the author’s writing style.  The first half of The Bitter Seed of Magic is slow…Genny agonizes about past events and continues to be torn about on-going issues (see the list above).  However, as the murder mystery develops, the last half is gripping and exciting.  The ending is so sudden that it feels like “poof” here’s the ending.  The build-up to the end is too long and the ending is more summarized than experienced by the reader. Genny is an interesting character.  She tries to be very independent and strong but she isn’t…and she can be incredibly dense at times.  It was very refreshing to watch her ask and plan for help in this novel.  She didn’t try to do it all herself.  She was much more open and worked well with others. ...
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