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Currently Browsing: urban fantasy
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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May
25

Review: Magic Slays

Review: Magic Slays Magic Slays Author: Ilona Andrews Release Date: May 31, 2011 Publisher: Ace Kate Daniels Book #5 ISBN: #978-0441020423 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (320 pgs), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website:      Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.      Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.      So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price . . . What I’m talking about:      The fifth Kate Daniels book opens with Kate and Curran in post-mating bliss, being as domestic as one of the most powerful magic wielders and the Beast Lord of Atlanta can be. Taking place shortly after the end of the fourth story, Magic Bleeds (review HERE), we find Kate trying to make a go of her new business. Kate’s best friend Andrea comes home (she took off after the climax of the fourth book), and her “ward” Julie has run away from school, again. Kate is learning her place as the alpha female and Curran’s consort, and things seem to be going okay. And that’s about as calm as it gets in this book. Right away, things go crazy. It starts with a renegade vampire that threatens innocents and doesn’t slow down until you close the book after the last page.      WOW – I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this series! Each book just gets better than the last. And I want to stress to you that if you have not picked up the Kate Daniels Series, you really need to add it to your TBR list –...
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May
2

Review & Giveaway: Hard Bitten

Review & Giveaway: Hard Bitten Dear Readers: Please help me welcome my friend Wendy, a big fan of the Chicagoland Vampire series. She brings you today’s review of… Hard Bitten Author: Chloe Neill  Release Date: May 3, 2011 Publisher: NAL Publishing Chicagoland Vampire Series Book 4 ISBN: #978-0451233325 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (368 pgs), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals–and they’re camping outside of Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Inside its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan are … tense. But then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: get your House in order. Or else. Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it doesn’t help that she can’t tell who’s on her side. So she secretly calls in a favor from someone who’s tall, dark, and part of underground vamp group that may have some deep intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in the heady, dark heart of Chicago’s supernatural society–a world full of vampires who seem to ready to fulfill the protesting human’s worst fears, and a place where she’ll learn that you can’t be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands…. What Wendy is talking about: I love it when I know there’s a new Chloe Neill novel coming out. She writes excellent urban fantasy with plenty of action, humor and just enough romance to draw me in. Hard Bitten is the fourth novel in her Chicagoland Vampires series and I was ready for number five before I hit the last chapter!  As Sentinel of Cadogan House, Merit is a newly-made but completely bad-ass vampire who was very recently a “nerdy graduate student.” Neill has a real talent for writing very regular people into her supernatural world. Merit loves shoes and baseball, and like most girls (the girls that I know, at least) she over-indulges in chocolate when she’s feeling sorry for herself. And she has a fair amount of things to be bummed about this time around. Her boss, Ethan, has changed his mind (again!)...
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Apr
26

Review: The Cold Kiss of Death

Review: The Cold Kiss of Death The Cold Kiss of Death Author: Suzanne McLeod  Release Date: April 26, 2011 Publisher: Ace Books Spellcrackers Novels Book #2  ISBN: #978-0441020393 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (336 pages), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Genny Taylor works for Spellcrackers.com ± Making Magic Safe. But her own life is anything but safe! ‘The ghost grasped her shift and ripped it open. The three interlacing crescents carved red-raw and bleeding into her thin chest didn’t look any better than the last dozen times I’d seen them. The wounds weren’t lethal – they weren’t even recent; she’d been dead for at least a hundred and fifty years – but my gut still twisted with anger that someone would do that to a child.’ Being haunted by a ghost is the least of Genny’s problems: she’s also trying to deal with the witch neighbour who wants her evicted. Finn, her sort-of-Ex – and now her new boss – can’t quite decide whether he wants their relationship to be business or pleasure. And then there’s the queue of vamps inviting her to paint the town red; how long before they stop taking no for an answer? Just when it seems things can’t get any worse a human friend is murdered using sidhe magic. Determined to hunt down the killer and needing help, she turns to one of London’s most capricious wylde fae and the seductive vampire Malik al-Khan.  But all too soon she realises she doesn’t know who she can trust – and now Genny’s the one being hunted, not just by the police, but by some of London’s most powerful and dangerous supernaturals. What Gikany & Una are talking about: Well, where do we begin?  Let’s start by saying that overall we enjoyed The Cold Kiss of Death.  The premise, world and characters were engaging and interesting.  Spellcrackers is the type of series where you do feel dropped into the middle of a puzzle and will have to slowly fill in the missing pieces.  The main character, Genny, tends to be a little bratty, showing herself as the princess she was raised to be.  However, for someone that is supposed to be quite powerful, we could not understand why she is unable to figure out how to use that power now that she is an adult and finally surrounded by those who could teach her.  Genny is...
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Apr
21

Review: Uncertain Allies

Review: Uncertain Allies Uncertain Allies Author: Mark Del Franco Release Date: April 26, 2011 Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Connor Grey Series, Book 5 ISBN: #9780441020409 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), ebook I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: After a night of riots and fires, the Boston neighborhood known as the Weird lies in ruins. When a body is found drained of its essence, ex- Guild investigator Connor Grey fears one of the most dangerous fey is still loose in the city. But things are not what they seem. As he is drawn deeper into the case, shades of the past threaten the present as an explosive secret tears apart the city–and brings the world to the brink of war. What B is talking about: Connor Grey is a druid without his powers and a lot of enemies. When he’s asked to investigate a series of unexplained disappearances, he stumbles across a murdered dwarf and the beginning of a mystery he feels obligated to solve. Connor has a lot more questions than answers, and it seems that each success he achieves in the case only leads to even more questions. With rival factions on the brink of war, and an old enemy back and wreaking havoc, he’ll have to learn to place his trust in others if he wants to win and keep those he cares about alive. Del Franco has created a vivid world filled with new takes on some familiar creatures, as well as a few original creatures I’d never seen before. Against the familiar landscape of Boston, the Weird is home to all manner of the unfamiliar, operating under its own laws and unwilling to change anytime soon. His characters are seldom flat and uninteresting, but tend to rely on healthy doses of snarky cynicism throughout their dialogues, which I always appreciate.  Uncertain Allies is an intriguing read with more than a few unexpected turns. As is usual when reading a later book in an unfamiliar series, there was a bit of a learning curve, but once I became familiar with the key players, the story itself drew me in handily. Del Franco is a talented and descriptive author, and I enjoyed feeling a part of the novel and seeing the pieces fall into place as the story progressed. I think Uncertain Allies is a good story on its own, and I am...
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