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Currently Browsing: urban fantasy
May
2

Review & Giveaway: Hard Bitten

Review & Giveaway: Hard Bitten Dear Readers: Please help me welcome my friend Wendy, a big fan of the Chicagoland Vampire series. She brings you today’s review of… Hard Bitten Author: Chloe Neill  Release Date: May 3, 2011 Publisher: NAL Publishing Chicagoland Vampire Series Book 4 ISBN: #978-0451233325 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (368 pgs), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals–and they’re camping outside of Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Inside its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan are … tense. But then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: get your House in order. Or else. Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it doesn’t help that she can’t tell who’s on her side. So she secretly calls in a favor from someone who’s tall, dark, and part of underground vamp group that may have some deep intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in the heady, dark heart of Chicago’s supernatural society–a world full of vampires who seem to ready to fulfill the protesting human’s worst fears, and a place where she’ll learn that you can’t be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands…. What Wendy is talking about: I love it when I know there’s a new Chloe Neill novel coming out. She writes excellent urban fantasy with plenty of action, humor and just enough romance to draw me in. Hard Bitten is the fourth novel in her Chicagoland Vampires series and I was ready for number five before I hit the last chapter!  As Sentinel of Cadogan House, Merit is a newly-made but completely bad-ass vampire who was very recently a “nerdy graduate student.” Neill has a real talent for writing very regular people into her supernatural world. Merit loves shoes and baseball, and like most girls (the girls that I know, at least) she over-indulges in chocolate when she’s feeling sorry for herself. And she has a fair amount of things to be bummed about this time around. Her boss, Ethan, has changed his mind (again!)...
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Apr
26

Review: The Cold Kiss of Death

Review: The Cold Kiss of Death The Cold Kiss of Death Author: Suzanne McLeod  Release Date: April 26, 2011 Publisher: Ace Books Spellcrackers Novels Book #2  ISBN: #978-0441020393 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (336 pages), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Genny Taylor works for Spellcrackers.com ± Making Magic Safe. But her own life is anything but safe! ‘The ghost grasped her shift and ripped it open. The three interlacing crescents carved red-raw and bleeding into her thin chest didn’t look any better than the last dozen times I’d seen them. The wounds weren’t lethal – they weren’t even recent; she’d been dead for at least a hundred and fifty years – but my gut still twisted with anger that someone would do that to a child.’ Being haunted by a ghost is the least of Genny’s problems: she’s also trying to deal with the witch neighbour who wants her evicted. Finn, her sort-of-Ex – and now her new boss – can’t quite decide whether he wants their relationship to be business or pleasure. And then there’s the queue of vamps inviting her to paint the town red; how long before they stop taking no for an answer? Just when it seems things can’t get any worse a human friend is murdered using sidhe magic. Determined to hunt down the killer and needing help, she turns to one of London’s most capricious wylde fae and the seductive vampire Malik al-Khan.  But all too soon she realises she doesn’t know who she can trust – and now Genny’s the one being hunted, not just by the police, but by some of London’s most powerful and dangerous supernaturals. What Gikany & Una are talking about: Well, where do we begin?  Let’s start by saying that overall we enjoyed The Cold Kiss of Death.  The premise, world and characters were engaging and interesting.  Spellcrackers is the type of series where you do feel dropped into the middle of a puzzle and will have to slowly fill in the missing pieces.  The main character, Genny, tends to be a little bratty, showing herself as the princess she was raised to be.  However, for someone that is supposed to be quite powerful, we could not understand why she is unable to figure out how to use that power now that she is an adult and finally surrounded by those who could teach her.  Genny is...
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Apr
21

Review: Uncertain Allies

Review: Uncertain Allies Uncertain Allies Author: Mark Del Franco Release Date: April 26, 2011 Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Connor Grey Series, Book 5 ISBN: #9780441020409 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), ebook I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: After a night of riots and fires, the Boston neighborhood known as the Weird lies in ruins. When a body is found drained of its essence, ex- Guild investigator Connor Grey fears one of the most dangerous fey is still loose in the city. But things are not what they seem. As he is drawn deeper into the case, shades of the past threaten the present as an explosive secret tears apart the city–and brings the world to the brink of war. What B is talking about: Connor Grey is a druid without his powers and a lot of enemies. When he’s asked to investigate a series of unexplained disappearances, he stumbles across a murdered dwarf and the beginning of a mystery he feels obligated to solve. Connor has a lot more questions than answers, and it seems that each success he achieves in the case only leads to even more questions. With rival factions on the brink of war, and an old enemy back and wreaking havoc, he’ll have to learn to place his trust in others if he wants to win and keep those he cares about alive. Del Franco has created a vivid world filled with new takes on some familiar creatures, as well as a few original creatures I’d never seen before. Against the familiar landscape of Boston, the Weird is home to all manner of the unfamiliar, operating under its own laws and unwilling to change anytime soon. His characters are seldom flat and uninteresting, but tend to rely on healthy doses of snarky cynicism throughout their dialogues, which I always appreciate.  Uncertain Allies is an intriguing read with more than a few unexpected turns. As is usual when reading a later book in an unfamiliar series, there was a bit of a learning curve, but once I became familiar with the key players, the story itself drew me in handily. Del Franco is a talented and descriptive author, and I enjoyed feeling a part of the novel and seeing the pieces fall into place as the story progressed. I think Uncertain Allies is a good story on its own, and I am...
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Apr
20

Review: Gods and Monsters

Review: Gods and Monsters Gods and Monsters Author: Lyn Benedict  Release Date: April 26, 2011 Publisher: Ace Books Shadows Inquiries Book # 3 ISBN: # 978-0441020386 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (311 pgs), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the back cover: Sylvie Lightner is no ordinary PI.  She specializes in cases involving the unusual and unbelievable, in a world where magic is real, where hell just around the corner – and where death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you… When Sylvie discovers the bodies of five women in the Florida Everglades, she believes their deaths to be the work of a serial killer and passes the buck.  Or at least she attempts to.  When the bodies wake and shift shape, killing the police, Sylvie finds herself at the heart of a potentially lethal investigation. With the aid of a necromancer, Sylvie learns that the women are victims of a sorcerer who combines alchemy, shape-shifting, and death magic into a gruesome whole.  As more bodies pile up along the Gulf coast, Sylvie is determined to stop the sorcerer.  But how do you defeat a man who can manipulate the dead without becoming one of them yourself?  What Gikany is talking about: Sylvie Lightner (aka Shadows) is a private investigator who specializes in cases involving the Magicus Mundi.  The Magicus Mundi is a world filled with magic, monsters and gods that surrounds the ordinary world that most of us live in.  The vast majority of people are unaware of this world simply because they choose to be unaware of it.  Awareness of this world makes you vulnerable to the dangerous elements that exist within it.  When the Magicus Mundi intrudes into the lives of ordinary people, they turn to Sylvie Lightner and Shadows Inquiries for help. Gods and Monsters picks up immediately after the conclusion of Ghosts and Echoes.  Sylvie has been hired to find a missing woman whose husband believes she was abducted by aliens.  Sylvie discovers that a powerful sorcerer has abducted the missing woman.  The sorcerer has placed her, and four other women, in a state of suspended animation and is using them to break a curse.  Sylvie has to turn to Tierney Wales, a necromancer for help. One of the things that I like the most about this series is that Sylvie Lightner is able to defeat people and monsters that are far more...
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Apr
7

Review: Shady Lady

Review: Shady Lady Shady Lady Author: Ann Aguirre  Release Date: April 5, 2011 Publisher: Roc Corine Solomon Novels, Book #3  ISBN: #978-0451463258 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book We received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: I’d spent my whole life settling, trying not to attract attention, and generally doing whatever it took to keep other people happy. I didn’t want to do that again. Not when I was finally comfortable in my own skin. Sure, there were certain challenges, like a drug lord who wanted me dead, and the fact that I owed a demon a debt that he could call due at any moment. But everybody’s got problems, right? Whenever Corine Solomon touches an object, she immediately knows its history. But her own future concerns her more and more. Now back in Mexico, she’s running her pawnshop and trying to get a handle on her strange new powers, for she might need them. And soon. Then former ally Kel Ferguson walks through her door. Heavily muscled and tattooed, Kel looks like a convict but calls himself a holy warrior. This time, he carries a warning for Corine: the Montoya cartel is coming for her—but they don’t just pack automatic weapons. The Montoyas use warlocks, shamans, voodoo priests—anything to terminate trouble. And Corine has become enemy number one… What Gikany & Una are talking about: First, we are back as a team on this book.  Yay!   Secondly, I, Una, read this book as a standalone, because Twimom asked me to review it.  However, because Gikany is just as obsessive/compulsive as me (and had the time and money) read the first two books in the Corine Solomon Novels before reading Shady Lady.  It made a huge difference!  We both strongly recommend that you read this book after reading the first two.  It seems, as poor Una found out, much from (especially the first book) previous books are referenced, implied, alluded to, etc.  Goodness, poor Una got very confused and frustrated during the first half of this book because of carried over plot lines and romantic entanglements. As Gikany filled in Una, there is quite a lot that takes place in Corine’s (for those, like Una, who didn’t the first book, her name rhymes with Doreen) life prior to the third book.  However to know any of it, you have to read the first two books.  So...
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Mar
29

Review: Waking Nightmares

Review: Waking Nightmares Waking Nightmares Author: Christopher Golden  Release Date: March 29, 2011 Publisher: Ace The Shadow Saga #5 (Peter Octavian Novels) ISBN: #978-0441020171 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (352 pages), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: When chaos erupts in the small coastal town of Hawthorne, Massachusetts, former vampire-turned-mage Peter Octavian and earthwitch Keomany Shaw arrive to investigate.  Years ago, Octavian helped expose the secret existence of vampires to the world, dismantling the Vatican’s sorcery corps in order to save his fellow shadows from destruction.  But without the Vatican sorcerers, the magical barriers they spent centuries constructing to keep the forces of darkness out of our world are beginning to fail, and things are slipping through.  Now an ancient god of chaos is awakening in Hawthorne, its influence spreading…and it’s Octavian’s fault.  If he can’t stop it, the blood of all human kind will be on his hands. What B is talking about: Peter Octavian is a former vampire who has, quite literally, been through Hell and back and is now not only mortal, but the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Believing that he bears responsibility for the dark forces threatening our world, he has become mankind’s champion, determined to do what he can to save humanity. Waking Nightmares, the fifth novel in The Shadow Saga, was a difficult novel for me. Although it was a well-written book, it was more “horror-fantasy” than Urban Fantasy in my opinion. And while I have a serious soft spot for Paranormal Romance, as well as a growing appreciation for Urban Fantasy, I’ve never been able to really enjoy Horror as a genre.  With that in mind, I have to say I didn’t care for Waking Nightmares. It was gory, there is no trace of a happy ending, and there is at least one sex “situation” that I found fairly awful. The novel definitely had me turning pages as fast as I could read them, but I realized at some point that my compulsion to keep reading was born of the hope that the characters were going to catch a break soon, rather than a real anticipation of what Golden might have in store next.  To be fair, if I was a fan of horror novels I’d probably like this book a great deal. The story was truly well-written and would have been a good read, I think....
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Mar
22

ARC Review: Magic on the Hunt

ARC Review: Magic on the Hunt Magic on the Hunt Author: Devon Monk  Release Date: April 5, 2011 Publisher: Roc Allie Beckstrom Series #6  ISBN: #978-0451463913 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (368 pgs), e-book I received a ARC copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website:       There aren’t many girls who can say they’ve gone into the realm of death and lived to tell the tale. But to restore her lover Zayvion’s soul, Allison Beckstrom had to pay a bitter price–and things are about to get worse….       It turns out the leader of the Authority, the council that decides what can–and can’t–be done with magic, is being held hostage. But when the trail leads Allie and Zayvion to the secret prison where the Authority locks away magical criminals who are too dangerous to be held anywhere else, they find more than they bargained for. An undead magic user has possessed one of the prisoners, and he wants his freedom–and then some. Now Allie and Zayvion are the first line of defense against the chaos he’s about to unleash on the city of Portland…. What Una is talking about:       Sadly, I am writing this review on my own.  Poor Gikany is ONLY on book 2 and will not, hmmm, corrupt herself by skipping ahead to read this one.  So it is my pleasure to read and review this book for all of you (and Gikany) because she has already been sucked into this refreshing series and it’s driving her nuts that I know what’s happening….*grins evilly* ***Please note that if you haven’t read the whole series, there may be spoilers in the following review.  You have been WARNED!       After finishing book 5, Magic at the Gate, I was eagerly anticipating the arrival of this book.  Ms. Monk does not disappoint with this fascinating urban fantasy.  We pick up a few days after the previous book ends.  It seems that Zay and Allie have had a much deserved break and rest.  However, that break is short lived once Dane enters her home, knocks out Zay and shoots Allie.  He does this to force her father, whose soul still stubbornly resides in her body, to reveal where Sedra is being held by Jingo Jingo.       Magic on the Hunt has an explosive beginning and a faster pace than the previous novels.  I was completely...
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Mar
11

Review: Dead Waters

Review: Dead Waters Dead Waters Author: Anton Strout  Release Date: February 22, 2011 Publisher: Ace Simon Canderous Series Book 4 ISBN: #978-0441020119 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), ebook I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: With Manhattan’s Department of Extraordinary Affairs in disarray (forget vampires and zombies- it’s the budget cuts that can kill you), Simon Canderous is still expected to stamp out any crime that adds the “para” to “normal.”  And his newest case is no exception… A university professor has been found murdered in his apartment.  His lungs show signs of death by drowning.  But his skin and clothes? Bone dry. Now Simon has to rely on his own powers- plus a little help from his ghost-whispering partner and technomancer girlfriend- to solve a mystery that has the NYPD stumped and the D.E.A. shaken and stirred. What B is talking about: Simon Canderous has it rough. He’s a psychometrist (someone who can “read” the history of an object by touching it) with the Department of Extraordinary Affairs – Other Division, and he’s trying to solve a murder, all while dealing with bureaucrats and budget cuts. Never mind the resurrected victim, a vengeful Naiad, and his girlfriend’s need for extra drawer space. It’ll take everything Simon and his colleagues can do to save themselves…and New York City while they’re at it!  I wasn’t sure what to think about Dead Waters at first. I felt a little disoriented trying to follow all the scene changes in the beginning, which shouldn’t be surprising when starting an established series with a book other than the first one. The previous books in the series, Dead to Me, Deader Still, and Dead Matter, would definitely have been a more solid beginning.  Aside from the learning curve, I really enjoyed this book. I laughed out loud at Strout’s comic skewering of governmental procedure, oblivious restructuring, and fiscal mishandling. Despite these challenges, the D.E.A. (loved the acronym) functions as a secondary character. In fact, Simon and his fellow employees are more like a moderately dysfunctional family than a team.  Simon isn’t cuddly. He’s immature, vain, and obstinate, but he’s got a lot to contend with to be a young member of the Other Division, especially when his psychometry leaves him with some serious emotional baggage to carry around. Simon is also caring, determined, and heroic, though, and Strout makes it all work somehow.  I...
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Mar
2

Review: Taste Me

Review: Taste Me Taste Me Author: Tamara Hogan Release Date: March 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc. Underbelly Chronicles, Book 1 ISBN: #978-1402246012 Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs) I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: He wants her so badly he can taste it… Ever since their tempestuous fling years ago, incubus Lukas Sebastiani has known that siren Scarlett Fontaine was meant to be his. But when you’re a sex demon with an insatiable desire, relationships are…complicated. Her siren song brings men to their knees… Rock star Scarlett Fontaine desperately needs a break after a grueling tour. But with murder and mayhem surrounding her band, and Lukas guarding her body, life is going to be anything but peaceful.  Every encounter between them creates more turmoil—and heat—until Scarlett pushes Lukas to the boiling point, and unleashes forces that go way beyond anything she can hope to control…  What B is talking about: Lukas Sebastiani has more to contend with than your average incubus: he’s on the trail of a killer, has a genetic quirk that enhances his incubus abilities far beyond anything “normal,” even for an incubus, and he has just been tasked with guarding the one woman he’s never been able to forget. Too bad he’s convinced she’d be better off without him.  Scarlett Fontaine is a Siren on the run from memories of the man who broke her heart and the lost love she’d given up on over a year ago. But a string of murders brings Lukas is back into her life, and this time she won’t let him go without a fight. I’m very excited to be able to read the first novel in Hogan’s new Underbelly Chronicles series. Hogan has created a wonderful heroine in Scarlett who, even when she’s most uncertain, remains clever and determined. She realizes that, in order to win Lukas’s love, she’ll have to strip away his control, make him meet her passion with his own, and teach him to accept not only the love she’s offering, but the worth of the love he himself has to give.  Lukas carries quite a few alpha male characteristics, such as the need to be in control, a healthy dose of “hapless male syndrome,” and worst of all, the tendency to assume that his point of view is the divine lens of absolute truth. Owing to Hogan’s capable storytelling, however,...
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Mar
1

Review: River Marked

Review: River Marked River Marked Author: Patricia Briggs Release Date: March 1, 2011 Publisher: Ace Books Mercy Thompson Series #6 ISBN: #978-0441019731 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Hardcover (336 pgs), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the book dust jacket:      Welcome to Patricia Brigg’s world, a place where “witches, vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters live beside ordinary people” (Booklist).  It takes a very unusual woman to call it home – and there’s no one quite like Mercy.      Coyote Shifter Mercy Thompson knows that life with her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will never be boring, but even their wedding doesn’t go as planned.  Nevertheless, a ten-day honeymoon camping on the banks of the Columbia River, alone, just the two of them, should make up for it.  But the trip – and the pimped-out trailer they’re using – is courtesy of the fae.  And nothing from the fae comes without strings attached….      Being a different breed of shapeshifter – a walker – Mercy can see ghosts, but the spirit of her long-gone father has never visited her.  Until now.  An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River – and innocent people are dying.  As other walkers make their presence known to Mercy, she must reconnect with her heritage to exorcise the world of the legend known as the river devil… What Gikany & Una are talking about:      The wait is over, at least for us, River Marked is here!  Would it be wrong to say that the rest of you poor people had to wait until the March 1?  Oh, wait, today is the first of March…well, what are you waiting for? GO GET IT!  This highly anticipated sixth novel in the Mercy Thompson series was well worth waiting for.      **Please note, if you haven’t read the series, this review will spoil some plot points in the earlier books so please; Go buy and read the first five books (or check them out from your local library) and then come back, read this review and then go get this book.  We are happy to help you out!      The first part of the novel is classic Mercy Thompson.  It has all of the elements of humor and wit that we have come to associate with Patricia Briggs’ writing.  We’ll just come out and say it: Mercy and Adam...
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