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Currently Browsing: urban fantasy
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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Feb
28

Review: Moon Called

Review: Moon Called Moon Called Author: Patricia Briggs  Release Date: January 31, 2006 Publisher: Ace Mercy Thompson Series #1 ISBN: #978-0441013814 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): hardcover (reprint 2010), paperback (304 pgs), e-book This book was purchased with their own money. From the Goodreads:      Werewolves can be dangerous if you get in their way, but they’ll leave you alone if you are careful. They are very good at hiding their natures from the human population, but I’m not human. I know them when I meet them, and they know me, too.       Mercy Thompson’s sexy next-door neighbor is a werewolf.       She’s tinkering with a VW bus at her mechanic shop that happens to belong to a vampire.       But then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly normal herself … and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble. What Gikany & Una are talking about:      In the first book of the series, Moon Called, we are introduced to Mercedes Thompson the Volkswagen mechanic who lives in the Tri-Cities area of Washington.  The irony is not lost on Mercy.  She has an alpha werewolf for a neighbor, a fae for a mentor, and a vampire for a repeat client.  Weird for Mercy is truly relative.  Living close to a werewolf is somewhat comforting but mostly exasperating to Mercy who grew up amongst the pack of the foremost alpha werewolf in North America.  This gives her not only a unique outlook in life, but a piercing insight into pack dynamics and werewolf psychology.  This leaves Mercy well situated to offer assistance to a lone, lost and very recently turned werewolf.      Mercy knows “Mac” could be trouble when he stumbles into her garage looking for work.  But she cannot turn her back on the kid, who obviously needs more than just a job.  By helping “Mac”, Mercy finds herself getting neck deep into paranormal politics and conflicts, which she had avoided (so she thought) since leaving home.  When “Mac’s” troubles spill over to include Mercy and her neighbor’s pack, she finds herself running home to find help.  While there, she discovers answers to questions she didn’t know she had.   After she returns to the Tri-Cities with a healing werewolf and an old-flame, Mercy realizes that “Mac’s” troubles were just the beginning.      Since this is our first book review, we are...
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Feb
23

Review: Play Dead

Review: Play Dead Play Dead Author: John Levitt   Release Date: January 25, 2011 Publisher: Penguin Group Dog Days Series Book 4 ISBN: # 978-0441019649 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: Mason used to be an enforcer, ensuring that those magic practitioners without a moral compass walked the straight and narrow. But now he just wants to keep his head down, play guitar, and maintain a low profile with Lou, his magical canine companion. But Mason is down on his luck, and when a job with a large payout comes along, he finds the offer hard to resist-not knowing it might mean sacrificing what both man and his best friend hold most dear. Jessica Alexander, a practitioner of dark magic, tasks Mason with finding a missing woman and supposed thief. But the case leads to a bigger mystery involving an ancient spell book that can open paths to different worlds—something most practitioners would kill to possess. Mason and Lou are determined to keep the spell book out of the wrong hands, but that could mean sacrificing what both man and his best friend hold most dear… What B is talking about: Mason is sort of an underachiever in the magical practitioner community of San Francisco. He plays Jazz guitar, works as an “enforcer” reigning in rogue black arts practitioners to help pay the rent, and has his best friend Lou (an Ifrit) by his side. Things could be worse. When he’s hired by Jessica Alexander, a black practitioner herself, to track down a young woman who’s stolen something important from her, things get substantially worse, and very quickly. Play Dead is the fourth novel in the Dog Days series, but it was fairly easy to jump into the story. Each novel appears to keep the same cast of characters, for the most part, and follow each particular conflict to its resolution. Levitt does a good job weaving necessary background information in with the action and introductions, making the novel a relatively successful stand-alone.  I really liked Mason. He’s smart, and gifted, but is in no way the golden boy of the novel. He makes a lot of mistakes, ones that cost his fellow practitioners a lot of trouble, and gets in more than a few difficult situations from which he himself requires rescuing on occasion. He faces black magic,...
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Feb
10

Review: Unseen

Review: Unseen Unseen Author: Rachel Caine Release Date: February 1, 2011 Publisher: ROC Outcast Season, Book 3 ISBN: #978-0451463838 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), ebook I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Cassiel has survived being thrown out of the supernatural Djinn community and learning how to live as a human … but now, her oldest, fiercest enemy is growing in power, and the end of the human race looms closer each day. Cassiel’s time is running out to stop the mad Djinn Pearl from killing all life on the planet, including the sentient Earth itself. What B is talking about: Cassiel, a former Djinn, and her Earth Warden partner, Luis Rocha, have just saved his niece, Isabel from a power-hungry Djinn named Pearl, who has been using her cult of followers to abduct child Wardens, like “Ibby,” in her bid for absolute power. After taking Ibby to a special “school” for these gifted children, Cassiel and Luis learn that, not only have these children been indoctrinated into Pearl’s blindly devoted faithful, she has triggered the manifestation of their powers long before they are equipped to control them, so that she can seize their vast power for herself. Racing to stop Pearl before she can destroy the entire world, Cassiel must reconcile what remains of her Djinn nature and the inner strength of her very human heart.  Even though this is the third book in the Outcast Season series, Unseen was pleasantly welcoming to me as a new reader. There were certainly details that I would have appreciated earlier in the story, but their absence didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the novel. Cassiel is an delightful heroine, in that she’s strong and constantly trying to balance the coolly logical inclinations of her Djinn heritage with the human emotions she once disdained, but now embraces.  The love between Cassiel and Luis only briefly takes center stage, but it still resonates throughout the story, propelling the two characters along the various arcs of the story, and ultimately, back to each other. By turns punishing and sweet, the romance between the two takes a back seat to their destinies and the battles they engage in along the way.  Although I had a difficult time grasping some of the nuances of the world Caine has created at first, Unseen was a satisfying read. Her heroine is complex...
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Jan
17

Review: Hellforged

Review: Hellforged Hellforged Release Date: December 28, 2010 Author: Nancy Holzner  Publisher: ACE Fantasy Deadtown Series Book #2 ISBN: #978-0441019809 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (352 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:       After Vicky banished her demon nemesis to the fiery depths of Hell, she thought life would return to normal. But considering she has a werewolf lawyer boyfriend, a zombie apprentice who’s angling to become a pop star, and an eccentric vampire roommate, what is normal, anyway?       Then the supposedly banished Hellion starts to trespass in Vicky’s dreams—just as several of Deadtown’s zombies are viciously attacked and become really dead. When Vicky realizes she’s the only connection between the victims, she suspects that the demon is somehow working through her dreams to become Deadtown’s living nightmare.       What she doesn’t know is that her old enemy brings with it a force more terrifying—and deadly—than anything she’s battled before. What I’m talking about:       Hellforged opens with demon hunter, Victory Vaughn and her zombie teen apprentice, Tina, attempting to rid MIT computer labs of a nasty Glitch demon. Of course things don’t go smoothly, but Vicki manages to make the best of the situation. And that is how Vicki rolls.       Soon Vicki’s life takes a turn for the dangerous. Her roommate is seen with mysterious creatures (but denies it), a Hellion is using her dreams to kill zombies, and her Aunt Mab summons her to Wales overnight, telling her of an evil prophesy that involves Vicki.  Once in Wales, Vicki meets her “cousin” Pryce who is bent on becoming the king of the demons. With time running out and Pryce freeing evil spirits that kill the zombies, Mab trains Vicki to become a better demon-slayer.       Although I did not read Deadtown, the first book in Ms. Holzner’s series, I did not feel as if I missed a beat (but I hear the book is wonderful). The author does a great job with world-building – making the zombie-infested streets of Boston seem normal.  Hellforged  builds upon the world created in Deadtown, but does not rely on the actions of the first book when telling the tale of the second book.       I really enjoyed reading Hellforged. Vicki is reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the “chosen...
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Jan
13

Review: Mercy Blade

Review: Mercy Blade Mercy Blade Author: Faith Hunter Release Date: January, 2011 Publisher: ROC/Penguin Group Jane Yellowrock Series, Book 3 ISBN: #978-0451463722 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (320), ebook I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From Goodreads: Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker − and a vampire killer for hire. But lately she’s found herself taking blood money from the very vampires she used to hunt…  Things are heating up in the Big Easy. Weres have announced their existence tot he world, and revived the bitter tensions that run between them and their old enemies: vampires. As a trusted employee of Leo Pellissier, Blood Master of the City, Jane finds herself caught in the cross fire.  When Jane is attacked by a pack of marauding were-wolves, she is thankful for the help of a mysterious stranger named Girrard. He explains that he used to be Leo’s “Mercy Blade,” a sacred position charged with killing vampires who have gone insane. What Jane doesn’t know is why this powerful assassin left New Orleans − or, more troubling, why he’s now returned. It’s definitely not to make Jane’s life easier… What B is talking about: Jane Yellowrock is a “Skinwalker,” and the last of her kind. At the beginning of the book, she and her boyfriend have packed up her belongings from her home in the Appalachian Mountains and are preparing to move her back to New Orleans where she will continue in the employ of Leo Pellissier, Master Vampire of the City. Were cats and wolves have announced their presence to the world, and some of them are looking for revenge. Throw in a new, mysterious player with abilities Jane’s never encountered before, and things quickly become more complicated and dangerous than Jane could possibly be prepared for.  Mercy Blade is the third in the Jane Yellowrock series, but the first in the series that I’ve read. It’s also decidedly not a romance. Hunter does a good job introducing all the key players, as well as providing adequate background, early in the story so I felt invested in the novel fairly quickly.  Hunter also uses the first person narrative form to full advantage, and kept me right with Jane as she navigates her way through what turns out to be a very intriguing whodunit. I was stumped most of the way through the narrative, but I’m not sure if I’d have been quite...
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Dec
23

Review: Demon Underground

Review: Demon Underground Dear Readers: I would like to take a quick moment to introduce to you B., my dear friend and new team member here at That’s What I’m Talking About. B. is a freelance copyeditor, writer, and graphic designer based in Austin, Texas. She is happily married to a very tolerant man and has two children who are too smart for their own good…or hers, for that matter. B. will be helping me with book reviews and other fun stuff.  Please say hello to B., and give her a warm welcome!   Demon Underground Author: S. L. Wright Release Date: December 7, 2010 Publisher: Roc Fantasy Allay Series Book #2 ISBN: #978-0451463678 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (352 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: Half-human and half-demon, Allay has finally warmed up to her new life feeding off the customers at her downtown bar when she finds herself brokering a truce between New York City’s most powerful demons. But when she senses assassins around every corner, Allay hides out of sight and underground-until combatants in the growing war tempt her back above the surface. Her choice is clear: live in fear or change the world as everyone knows it. What B is talking about: Allay is a demon hybrid who owns a bar on the lower east side in New York City and has just obtained independence from her demon progenitor by contributing to his death. Now, she just wants to take care of the human regulars at the bar while she drinks from their emotions, as all demons must do in order to feed. With her only friend, Shock, and offspring, Bliss, by her side, she hopes to stay out of the politics that consume the powerful demon factions vying for power in the city. As the only half-human, half-demon in existence, however, she’s unable to avoid all those who want to use her for their own machinations, and discovers that standing on her own may be the only way to find out who her true friends are and hold onto what’s left of her humanity.  Demon Underground is full of vivid characters and Wright does an excellent job keeping the action moving, while flatteringly trusting her readers to keep track of all the players, major and minor alike. She occasionally spends too much time on the details of individual settings, but...
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