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Currently Browsing: urban fantasy
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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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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