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Currently Browsing: urban fantasy
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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Jun
10

Review: For Heaven’s Eyes Only

Review: For Heaven’s Eyes Only For Heaven’s Eyes Only Author: Simon R. Green Release Date: 7 June 2011 Publisher: Roc Hardcover Secret Histories Series #5 ISBN: #978-0451463951 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Hardcover (384 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: The fifth and possible penultimate book in the Secret History’s series.   After the murder of the Drood Matriarch, the family finds itself vulnerable to evil. This time, it’s a Satanic Conspiracy that could throw humanity directly into the clutches of the Biggest of the Bads.   What Gikany & Una are talking about:       We must preface our review by saying that we have not read the series. Gikany and Una have jumped into book five, For Heaven’s Eyes Only without trying to read the previous novels. (See, we are working on our OCD) We can’t wait to read the previous novels in the Secret History’s Series.          From the start of For Heaven’s Eyes Only, you have the sense that the author loves a good cliffhanger. Just based on the beginning of this book, the last book must have been a doozie. This is the first book we’ve ever read where the main character starts off dead. Oh, yes, dead…not a ghost, not some out of body experience, no, he was dead, just like the parrot in Monty Python (for those that don’t get the joke, check this Youtube link for Monty Python Parrot sketch). Gikany has to admit, even though it didn’t really have any bearing on this novel’s plot (however, it may prove to be important in later novels) it is a dramatic way to start a book. Una, at first glance, noticed the allusion to the James Bond series (you must check out the book titles on the author’s site for this series – see html link above) and hoped it would be a witty and lighthearted book.        Una and Gikany were not disappointed. We found For Heaven’s Eyes Only to be a very enjoyable read, even for jumping into the middle of the series. The banter is very witty and the book flows very well. We both found it to be (when Una could sit down without a sick child screaming) engrossing and a quick read. We now have to go out and purchase the rest of the books in this series because...
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May
26

Review: Infernal Affairs

Review: Infernal Affairs Infernal Affairs Author: Jes Battis Release Date: June 2011 Publisher: Penguin Publishing OSI Series, Book 4 ISBN: #9780441020454 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (320 pages), ebook I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Being on the night shift as an Occult Special Investigator means losing track of what’s normal—or safe. And hiding a childlike demon named Ru from a four-legged bounty hunter qualifies as neither—even for Tess Corday. It doesn’t help that tensions have been rising between her and Lucian—her partner in the professional AND personal sense. Drawn into an investigation that spans multiple worlds, Tess must confront the one thing she’s dreaded most of all: her family’s own demonic past. Being mage-born, she never knew who—or exactly what—her father was. And she’s about to come face-to-face with the one power across the worlds that can answer the mystery of her past…if it doesn’t kill her first. What B is talking about: Tess Corday has her hands full. She lives with her friend who’s a mind reader, a college-aged vampire, and a teenager who would also be a vampire if she weren’t taking medication to stop her transformation. She’s also dating a necromancer, isn’t sure who her real father is, and she works the night shift for an agency of paranormal investigators. Throw in some inter-dimensional baddies, and is easy to see why she’s sleep deprived. But, as long as somebody keeps the coffee pot full, she’ll be okay. For all that, I really liked this book. It’s suspenseful, never stops moving, has very interesting characters, and fully embraces the art of the snarky response. I had to keep my browser open to Dictionary.com for a lot of it, but I think that’s a good thing. Battis seems to know a lot about everything: from specific autopsy methods (Rokitansky) to a proper reference to erythropoietin (a hormone that promotes the formation of red blood cells) levels. I had to look up both because I had no idea what they were. The plot is easy enough to follow without handy reference materials, though. Every scene is rich with details, and the dialogue is explanatory enough to keep the story “friendly.” Battis never talks down to the reader, but there are a lot of specialists and experts in the novel, and he lets them do their jobs. I always regret not being able to read a series...
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May
25

Review: Magic Slays

Review: Magic Slays Magic Slays Author: Ilona Andrews Release Date: May 31, 2011 Publisher: Ace Kate Daniels Book #5 ISBN: #978-0441020423 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (320 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:      Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.      Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.      So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price . . . What I’m talking about:      The fifth Kate Daniels book opens with Kate and Curran in post-mating bliss, being as domestic as one of the most powerful magic wielders and the Beast Lord of Atlanta can be. Taking place shortly after the end of the fourth story, Magic Bleeds (review HERE), we find Kate trying to make a go of her new business. Kate’s best friend Andrea comes home (she took off after the climax of the fourth book), and her “ward” Julie has run away from school, again. Kate is learning her place as the alpha female and Curran’s consort, and things seem to be going okay. And that’s about as calm as it gets in this book. Right away, things go crazy. It starts with a renegade vampire that threatens innocents and doesn’t slow down until you close the book after the last page.      WOW – I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this series! Each book just gets better than the last. And I want to stress to you that if you have not picked up the Kate Daniels Series, you really need to add it to your TBR list –...
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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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