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Currently Browsing: urban fantasy
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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Aug
23

Why I love Fantasy (aka Paranormal Romance)

Why I love Fantasy (aka Paranormal Romance) I have always gravitated towards all things fantasy and sci-fi. I started watching the original Star Trek with my dad at a very young age. We also loved Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, and later Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Stargate SG-1. I watched movies like The Last Starfighter, Tron, and Enemy Mine.  I saw the original Star Wars movie when I was 7. We saw it in the theater 3 times and that’s a lot for “back then.”  My reading tastes have also followed suit. Books that I love include Dune, Jurassic Park, and all stories by Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.  My mom and most of my friends never understood how I could enjoy something that “isn’t real.” But I argue that life is too hard and “real” at times not to enjoy some reverie.  What I love about fantasy: Anything goes and it’s believable. Take a look at one of my all time favorite books, Dune.  There are giant worms that live on a desert planet. Their waste is the drug of choice in the entire known universe. It’s an absurd idea when I say it like that, but in the book, it’s so real and exciting.  Social issues can be addressed in sometimes sneaky ways. The science fiction film genre has long served as a useful vehicle for “safely” discussing controversial topical issues and often providing thoughtful social commentary on potential unforeseen future issues. Presentation of issues that are difficult or disturbing for an audience, can be made more acceptable when they are explored in a future setting or on a different, earth-like world. (taken from Wikipedia) Take a look at Pixar’s hit Wall-E… A seemingly simple futuristic cartoon for kids. But the adults all know what’s going on – it’s a commentary on obesity, laziness and pollution. There are even underlying themes of over-mechanization (and echo’s of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey).  Escapism.  Come on! There are so many great places you can go and don’t have to deal with real life. Science fiction and fantasy films can take us far away: Aliens, Star Trek(s), Avatar.  They can thrill us at home either now or in the future: Independence Day, The Fifth Element, Mad Max. They can be very serious: Children of Men, V for Vendetta, I am Legend. And they can make us laugh: Running Man, Galaxy Quest, Men in Black. So how does this translate into my love of Paranormal Romance...
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Aug
18

Review: Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between

Review: Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between Author: J.A. Saare  Release Date: available now Publisher: Eternal Press Rhiannon’s Laws Series Book #1 ISBN: #1770650229 Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal From the author’s website: One bad corpse can ruin your whole day. No one knows that better than Rhiannon Murphy. She’s left behind the flash and sass of Miami for the no-nonsense groove of New York City, eager for a clean slate and a fresh start. A bartender by trade, a loud mouth by choice, and a necromancer by chance; she’s managed to keep her nifty talent hidden from those around her – until now. The deliciously good-looking vampire Disco knows her secret, and when he strolls into her bar to solicit help investigating the mysterious disappearances of his kind from the city, she discovers he’s not the kind of person that appreciates the significance of the word no. But in a world where vampires peddle their blood as the latest and greatest drug of choice, it’s only a matter of time before the next big thing hits the market. Someone or something is killing vampires to steal their hearts, and unlike Rhiannon, this isn’t their first stroll around the undead block. What I’m talking about: The story opens with our heroine, Rhiannon, working as a bartender in an exotic dancer bar. She knows the ropes and keeps the place running smoothly. Unfortunately, she is being pursued by not only Disco, but other vampire families because of her ability to see the twice undead (dead vampires) – a very rare gift. The only way to protect herself from the undesirables is to “join” a vampire family… but which one? And after a rough childhood, Rhiannon doesn’t want to be “owned” by anyone ever again. Rhiannon is a heroine that I can get behind! She is smart, tough, looks out for herself, but doesn’t say no to help and helping others.  I was worried that she would hem and haw in her decision making about joining a family, but she is smart and makes a great decision. She weighs pros and cons at each step of the way, knows how to compromise, but stays true to herself. She is a joy to read.  The beginning of the book was a bit tough for me to understand. The first chapter especially was chaotic and thoughts seem to jump all over the place. I wasn’t sure who was who, and I stumbled a bit. While...
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Jun
10

Magic Bleeds – Book Review

Magic Bleeds – Book Review Magic Bleeds Author: Ilona Andrews Release Date: May 25, 2010 Publisher: ACE Fantasy Kate Daniels Series Book # 4 ISBN: #0441018521 Genre: Urban Fantasy From the author’s website:      Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic. When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it rose.      Kate Daniels works for the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, officially as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle—especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community.      When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar midway between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years—and rode to war at the side of Kate’s father.      This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family… What I’m talking about:      This is one of those books that as soon as you’re finished reading you want to go back and re-read it all over again — you are sad that the experience is over and just want to make it last and last — ESPECIALLY for those that have followed the Kate Daniels series from the first book. Once again, the husband and wife team that is Ilona Andrews does a remarkable job weaving a tale of magic, love, action and mystery.      This book picks up shortly after Book 3: Magic Strikes and the novella (Book 3.5), “Magic Mourns,” end. We quickly find out how bet/date between Beast Lord Curran and Kate goes. But this story is much more than the budding romance and love between these two powerful people. There is a new baddy in town. One that can spread disease with a touch and infect even the Shifters. He also appears to be able to control a group of undead mages. Not a fun day for Kate or Atlanta.      I don’t want to give ANYTHING away, so I’ll make my comment generic and brief. But know this: Magic Bleeds is the best Kate book yet! Kate...
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Feb
12

Succubi Have All The Luck!

Succubi Have All The Luck! Are you looking for something sexy and fun to read? Well, let me point you in the right direction… Meet new author, Jill Myles and her wonderful males: Noah and Zane. Together, they make my ideal book boyfriend! Jill Myles is the author of a great new series, The Succubus Diaries. The first book is Gentlemen Prefer Succubi. From Jill’s website: Jackie Brighton woke up in a dumpster this morning, and her day has only gotten weirder. Her breasts grew overnight, her sex drive is insatiable, and apparently she had her first one-night stand ever . . . with a fallen angel.Of course, she only remembers gorgeous Noah’s enormous, er, package. And their steamy shower sex. Hmm . . . and the dark stranger whose bite transformed her into an immortal siren with a seductive Itch. With help from Noah and fellow succubus Remy Summore, Jackie adapts to her new lifestyle—until she accidentally strikes a deal that sends her lover into the deadly clutches of the vampire queen and lands Jackie, Remy, and the queen’s wickedly hot right-hand man into the middle of a fierce battle for an ancient halo. But how’s a girl supposed to save the world when the enemy’s so hard to resist? Her second book is Succubi Like It Hot. From Jill’s website: With a flirtatious new figure, her dream job as an archaeologist, and two gorgeous boyfriends to scratch her seductive Itch—an angel and a vampire—Jackie Brighton is totally getting the hang of life as a succubus.Then her need for sex spirals out of control, and she accidentally knocks the pizza guy unconscious with her touch. Great, she’s cursed. Unfortunately, neither of her jealous lovers is exactly talking to her right now. So after Jackie strikes a deal with a crafty demon, she and her best friend Remy take a cross-country road trip to deliver a cryptic message to the nation’s oldest succubus (who doesn’t look a day over eighteen.) Their journey gets weirder with every mile—demonic possession, a charming stalker, a deadly hotel room warning—but when they get to New Orleans, Jackie discovers a dangerous catch to her supernatural bargain. Someone wants her dead (again), but has she been sleeping with the enemy? Or do the forces of evil think they’re some kind of match for a vixen in a miniskirt? So, where to start? First… Look at Noah’s hip dents!! Who can resist a man with gorgeous hip dents? Both males are...
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