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Currently Browsing: urban fantasy
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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Dec
9

Review: Right-Hand Magic

Review: Right-Hand Magic Right Hand Magic Author: Nancy A. Collins Release Date: December 7, 2010 Publisher: Roc A Novel of Golgotham Book #1 ISBN: #978-0451463661 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (304 pgs), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From Goodreads: Like most Manhattanites, aspiring artist Tate can’t resist a good rental deal-even if it’s in the city’s strangest neighborhood, Golgotham, where for centuries werewolves, centaurs, and countless other creatures have roamed the streets. Her new landlord is a sorcerer name Hexe, who is determined to build his reputation without using dark, left-hand magic. As Tate is drawn into Hexe’s fascinating world, they both find that the right hand does not always know what the left hand is doing-and avoiding darkness is no easy trick… GUEST REVIEW by Bells from Hanging with Bells: After being told that the neighbors in her apartment building are complaining about her making too much noise as she is working, Tate has to find a new place to live.  She is a sculpture artist living in New York and has just broken up with her boyfriend.  She is ready for a change and decides to move to Golgotham.  Golgotham is a city within New York that is inhabited by all kinds of non-humans.  Tate’s new landlord is an alien by the name of Hexe.  He is a Kymerian and is a pretty interesting character.  He has purple hair, cat eyed pupils, and 6 fingers on each hand.   Tate eventually realizes that Hexe is someone she can trust and values any advice and help he can give her.  Hexe and his family have very interesting history which is slowly revealed throughout the book.    He practices Right Hand magic, which is good magic.  And as you can guess, Left Hand magic is dark.  Tate has much to learn about this new world and Hexe becomes her tour guide.  It was interesting to learn about all the different members of many supernatural races throughout the book.  There is a lot of history between them and humans and most of it is not good.  Tate faces lots of challenges being human and living in their world.  We also get to see the flip side of that when Hexe and another friend Lukas come into the human world.  I’m giving Right Hand Magic *3* Bells! Although Right Hand Magic wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be, I’m interested enough...
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Dec
6

Review & Giveaway: Black Wings

Review & Giveaway: Black Wings Black Wings Author: Christina Henry  Release Date: November 30, 2010 Publisher: Ace Fantasy Madeline Black Series Book #1 ISBN: #978-0441019632 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (304 pgs), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From GoodReads:       As an Agent of Death, Madeline Black is responsible for escorting the souls of the dearly departed to the afterlife. It’s a 24/7 job with a lousy benefits package.        Maddy’s position may come with magical powers and an impressive wingspan, but it doesn’t pay the bills. And then there are her infuriating boss, tenant woes, and a cranky, popcorn-loving gargoyle to contend with.        Things start looking up, though, when tall, dark, and handsome Gabriel Angeloscuro agrees to rent the empty apartment in Maddy’s building. It’s probably just a coincidence that as soon as he moves in demons appear on the front lawn. But when an unholy monster is unleashed upon the streets of Chicago, Maddy discovers powers she never knew she possessed. Powers linked to a family legacy of tarnished halos.        Powers that place her directly between the light of Heaven and the fires of Hell… What I’m talking about:       Black Wings is an exciting new Urban Fantasy with a new twist on some familiar mythology. The story centers on a “who’s who” list of demons and angels – but adds several new faces to create a wonderful new world full of mystery, action and adventure.  Set in modern day Chicago, the story focuses on the life of Agent Madeline Black (Maddy).  Agents are humans with wings who born into their job helping souls of the departed cross through to the otherside.  But it’s not a romantic job – full of paperwork and schedules. Even Agents of Death have to deal with bureaucracy.       Maddy lives on her own, with only the companionship of a gargole named Beezle.  Her mom was killed when Maddy was a teen and her dad was never part of the picture.  She lives a solitary life and doesn’t do anything to shake it up.  So when a mysterious new tenant moves into her building and her best friend is killed by some unknown monster, Maddy’s life changes dramatically and drastically. She finds out that she is part of a much larger world that she never dared dream existed.    ...
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Nov
26

Review: Firewalker by Allyson James

Review: Firewalker by Allyson James Firewalker Author: Allyson James  Release Date: November 2, 2010 Publisher: Berkley Sensation Stormwalker Series Book #2 ISBN: #978-0425237823 Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (352 pgs), e-book I won an ARC copy of this book from the author. From the author’s website: Mick must face the dragon council for breaking their laws, and while he doesn’t seem too worried about his upcoming trial, but Janet will do anything to keep him safe. She’ll need a little help from her friends, old and new: Nash and Coyote; Cassandra, a powerful witch turned hotel manager; Colby a sort-of-trustworthy dragon. But now a new, dark power is stirring in Magellan that Janet must face, but even more frightening, one is stirring within herself.  What I’m talking about: **This review contains minor spoilers from the first book, Stormwalker. Firewalker is the second book in Ms. James’ Stormwalker series, and it starts a short time after the end of the first book.  Janet Begay, a Native American stormwalker, with the power of Beneath magic from her goddess mother, has settled down in Megellan and opened up the hotel she was renovating throughout all of book one.  She’s hired a witch, Cassandra, to manager her place and business is good. Mick’s been missing for three weeks, and although he has been more open with Janet since she found out he is a dragon, it still isn’t completely odd for him to be gone without notice.  But when a shifter comes into the hotel demanding to speak with her, Janet realizes that Mick is in trouble. Mick is guilty of breaking Dragon law when he allowed Janet to live (backstory in Stormwalker). Dragons are honorable, and he intends to stand trial – even when the verdict is already known.  But before he can get there, a new evil finds its way into Megellan – one with a familiarity that reminds Janet of her evil mother.  Now Janet, Mick, Nash and their new friends must figure out who is responsible for the gruesome death of an unknown hiker before more innocent people are killed – and in time to save Mick from the dragons and his own honor. Once again, Ms. James weaves together an amazing Paranormal Romance/Mystery-Suspense story. At the core of her work is a complex “whodunit,” full of twists and turns, that keeps the reader engaged until the conclusion. But what makes the book truly superb is the cast of characters that inhabit this...
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Nov
23

Review: Stormwalker by Allyson James

Review: Stormwalker by Allyson James Stormwalker Author: Allyson James  Release Date: May 4, 2010 Publisher: Berkley Sensation Stormwalker Series Book #1 ISBN: #978-0425234693 Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (352 pgs), e-book From the author’s website: Half-Navajo Janet Begay possesses extraordinary power which is tied to the storms that waft across the desert. The only person who can control her when she’s caught in the storm’s evocative power is Mick, a dark-haired, blue-eyed biker Janet can’t seem to touch with her powers. He can wield fire and not get burned, and Janet’s never sure where he goes when they’re not together. Together they investigate mysterious disappearances, which Janet fears are tied to her mother’s people, the mythical gods from below the earth. They are helped along the way by Coyote and Crow, but these shapeshifting gods have their own agendas. What I’m talking about: Janet Begay is a stormwalker: she can utilize the power of a storm, bending and controlling it to meet her desires.  But this magic comes at a price – it leaves her physically drained and sick. Only her mysterious ex-boyfriend, Mick, can absorb the excess magic and help Janet stay sane.  But Mick isn’t always around and Janet has learned to stand on her own.  So when Mick rides into town wanting to pick up where their relationship left off 5 years ago, Janet doesn’t know what to do. She misses him. She wants him. But he broke her heart. Janet is sexy and a strong heroine-just the kind I like. She’s tough – renovating a hotel in a town full of folks that don’t necessarily accept her.  Oh, and she is willing to stay in town to face off against the dark forces from Beneath, controlled by her evil goddess of a mother.  She takes hit after hit, but doesn’t give up.  Yet Janet is also vulnerable – she wants to run away with Mick, but knows she can’t. She wants to take the easy road, but won’t. It is these two sides of Janet that make her such a compelling character. She is a super hero and a normal gal all rolled into one. Janet isn’t the only great character in Stormwalker.  Mick, her on-again, off-again lover/boyfriend is an enigma. He’s sexy, and his love for Janet is sweet. Even though he is a valiant protecter and seems to know everything, there are somethings he just doesn’t understand when it comes to Janet. Or he may get it,...
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Nov
9

Review: Immortal Awakenings

Review: Immortal Awakenings Immortal Awakenings Author: KC Randall  Release Date: August 2010 Publisher: Omnific Publishing ISBN: #978-1936305353 Genre: Paranormal Romance* Format(s): paperback (260 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: Gregory has lost interest in being alive. He’s been doing it for far too long. But dying is too much trouble, so he simply continues to exist in all his jaded, apathetic, eternal glory. In a hopeless attempt to find a diversion, he takes a night class at the local community college where he meets Nikki Christian. She seems to be everything he is not—young, open, honest, hopeful, charitable… the nauseating list goes on. However, Nikki is also overtly intuitive. She can see through lies and secrets in ways no human should, and Gregory has lots of secrets. Obviously, he should just eliminate her and be done with it. But there is something beguiling about a woman whose countenance shines like the sun in a world that’s gone dark. While Gregory struggles to understand this woman’s mind and the disturbing effect she seems to have on him, he realizes that he’s not the only one with an interest in Nikki Christian. There’s a jealous ex-boyfriend, the other suspicious Immortals, and now a mysterious assassin has turned up. Despite Gregory’s best efforts to keep this mortal girl alive, it seems Fate has other ideas. Is it possible for even a devil to find Happily Ever After? What I’m talking about: The first thing that popped out at me when reading Immortal Awakenings is that the story is told from the first person POV of the lead MALE character, Greg. This is highly unusual (for the books I read) and a refreshing change. I enjoyed learning of Greg’s serious issues with humanity and his views about the world he lives in. And although he really doesn’t enjoy any sort of life, he still interacts with the world. During times prior to the current one, Gregory became an establish and famous author not once, but two times.  So, in order to occupy some of his time, he audits a literature class at the local college – one that is actually comparing the very same two authors that Gregory created. In comes Nikki. She is one of those girls that is always positive, helps out everywhere and is adored by most everyone. She has a sixth sense and no concept...
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Nov
5

Review: Magic at the Gate

Review: Magic at the Gate Magic at the Gate Author:Devon Monk  Release Date: November 2, 2010 Publisher: ROC Fantasy Allie Beckstrom Series Book #5  ISBN: #978-0451463623 Genre: Urban Fantacy Format(s): paperback (368 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:       Allie Beckstrom’s lover, Zayvion Jones, is a Guardian of the Gate, imbued with both light and dark magic and responsible for ensuring that those energies don’t mix. But Zayvion lies in a coma, his soul trapped in death’s realm. To rescue him, Allie must follow the specter of her deceitful late sorcerer father, Daniel Beckstrom, who is more than familiar with death’s domain. And when Allie discovers that the only way to save Zayvion is to sacrifice her very own magical essence, she makes a decision that may have grave consequences for the entire world. What I’m talking about: NOTE: I have not read the first four books in this series.       At the end of the fourth Allie Beckstrom book, Magic on the Storm, the soul of Allie’s true love, Zay, is sent to Death, while is body lies in a coma.  At the start of Magic at the Gate, Allie crosses through a gate and into Death to find Zay’s soul and return it to his body. Her dead father (who also possesses her from time to time) acts as her guide and helps her locate Zay. Unfortunately, he also made a deal on behalf of Allie in order to get her and Zay out of Death. This deal involves Allie giving up the small magic with which she was born (she still has a large amount of magic that was placed in her earlier in the series).  She is also marked by death when she completes this deal.       After getting back to the land of the living and returning Zay’s soul (he remains in a coma), we find out that there has been a lot going on while she was in Death and the magical users find themselves in a war. There are unusual things going on and the Authority (good guys) are trying to keep up with it all. With Zay out of commission, it’s up to Allie and friends to find out how and why Veiled (think ghosts of former magic users) are becoming “solid and living.”       At first, not having read the...
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