Six months ago, twenty-six-year-old Abby Sinclair was struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, she has an enchanted iPod and a minSix months ago, twenty-six-year-old Abby Sinclair was struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, she has an enchanted iPod and a miniature unicorn living in her underwear drawer. With her lack of OtherWorldly knowledge, Abby needs all the help she can get. So when her Faery employer and some of her friends go missing, she must team up with the sexy and mysterious incubus who’s been haunting her dreams. As Abby’s sucked deeper and deeper into this dangerous world she barely knows – filled with daemons, angels, and faeries – she finds herself trapped at the center of it all. And she might not be able to escape . . .
I’ve had a hard time finding good urban fantasy lately, and I think it’s because the female characters are so strong and independent that they are completely incapable of asking for or accepting help from others. It’s one thing to be strong, but it’s another thing entirely to be so stubborn that you end up shooting yourself in the foot by thinking that any offer of help means that people think you’re not capable of doing whatever it is you need to do. Thankfully, A Brush of Darkness helped to pull me out of my urban fantasy rut. Abby Sinclair is a strong character, but, though certainly not without attitude, she is also intelligent enough to recognize that she can’t do everything on her own. Her character is a lovely change of pace from typical urban fantasy heroines, and I can't wait to read more about her in book two.
Another great aspect of this book is that there is not a love triangle. When they're well-done, it works, but at this point they're so over-played that it was refreshing to watch two people fall in love without the added complication of a second love interest. Abby and Brystion have enough on their plate that throwing in a love triangle really would have been over the top. Though their relationship is certainly not perfect, these two characters fit each other well, and I hope that their relationship only blossoms over the course of the series.
The secondary characters in A Brush of Darkness are fantastic. I would have liked them to be a bit more well-developed, but they did not play as big of a role in this book as I expect they will in book two. I loved Brandon, Robert, Melanie, Charlie, and the others, but Phineas, the miniature unicorn, was probably my favorite of all of them. I don't want to give anything away, but he is definitely one cheeky little bugger!
The whole concept of TouchStones is not thoroughly explained, which is my only real complaint. This is probably because Abby does not know much about her part in OtherWorld society rather than an intentional omission on the author's part. The ending leaves room for a more in-depth exploration of OtherWorld society in the next book, and I sincerely hope this happens.
A Brush of Darkness is a fantastic, highly-charged urban fantasy debut novel. Allison Pang has earned herself a place on my highly selective auto-buy author list.
Atlanta has become the battlefield between human and demon.
All her life, Evalle Kincaid has walked the line between the two. Her origins unknown, she’Atlanta has become the battlefield between human and demon.
All her life, Evalle Kincaid has walked the line between the two. Her origins unknown, she’s on a quest to learn more about her past . . . and her future.When a demon claims a young woman in a terrifying attack and there’s no one else to blame, Evalle comes under suspicion. Now she’s on a deadly quest for her own survival. Through the sordid underground of an alternate Atlanta where nothing is as it seems to the front lines of the city, where her former allies have joined forces to hunt her, Evalle must prove her innocence or pay the ultimate price.But saving herself is the least of her problems if she doesn’t stop the coming apocalypse. The clock is ticking and Atlanta is about to catch fire . . .
I have been waiting for this series for months! Kenyon and Love are a fantastic writing duo, and Blood Trinity is their first foray into the urban fantasy market. Wow, was it fantastic! After reading Love's short story ("Midnight Kiss Goodbye") in the Dead After Dark anthology, I was expecting a little more romance, but this book featured a different character, and they handled it very well. I was sucked in by this book and stayed up until about three in the morning to finish it. Evalle was a bit darker than the heroines that fans of Kenyon and Love have come to expect, but she was perfectly written. I am so glad that the authors went for the urban fantasy aspect instead of wrapping up her storyline with a bow and moving on to the next character. She really does deserve her own series, and we will definitely be digging deeper into the mythology in the next installment. I can't wait to read more of this amazing series!
Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love are also co-authors of the B.A.D. contemporary romance series.
Dante Valentine's working relationship with the Devil wasn't her choice - but you don't turn down a contract with Lucifer and live.
Hired to kill fugiDante Valentine's working relationship with the Devil wasn't her choice - but you don't turn down a contract with Lucifer and live.
Hired to kill fugitive Vardimal Santino, Dante can count as allies only a demon familiar she doesn't trust and a small band of psychics. The thing is, Dante doesn't need friends, she needs a miracle. Because the first time Dante Valentine met Santino, she almost died.
Danny Valentine is dead. At least, she will be soon, since she's now working for the Devil. (And you thought your boss was bad!) Her mission: to track down a demon named Santino, aka the serial killer who murdered her best friend while she was powerless to help. She will be working with Japhrimel, a demon who Lucifer bound to her as a familiar, a couple of old friends, and her ex, who disappeared without a trace a few years ago. With treachery and deception lurking around every corner, Danny has to find away to avenge her friend's death that won't get her killed in the process. Not that Lucifer expects her to survive.
Everything I had heard about Working for the Devil before reading it indicated that it is an dark urban fantasy novel. It certainly has it's dark points; however, it has a much stronger science fiction feel. Perhaps it's being marketed as urban fantasy because Danny Valentine is a strong female protagonist, but my understanding of the UF genre is that the story takes place in a modern city. None of Saintcrow's world felt particularly modern.
Danny Valentine comes off as Buffy - everyone's favorite TV vampire slayer - when she gets in the zone. She's hotheaded and never loses a shot for a clever quip, even when it's not necessarily appropriate. She doesn't seem terribly multi-dimensional either. In fact, Japhrimel was the only character in the book who seemed to have significant development, and that was mostly because he was an unknown factor in the beginning.
Working for the Devil certainly has its strong points. It just would have been nice to have certain details in Danny's quest explained earlier in the story, or to have Danny actually listen to Jaf instead of constantly putting him off. The end of the book was devastating - I didn't see it coming, and I wish it had ended differently. One can only hope that there is some twist in book two that changes the situation for the better!
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 beneAs 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 abilities and an impressive windspan, 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 dicectly between the light of Heaven and the fires of Hell...
Black Wings is easily one of the best debut urban fantasy novels of the year. Henry has created an easily believable alternate-Chicago universe. Madeline Black is an Agent of Death with a paperwork-obsessed boss, a gargoyle for a best friend, and an apartment building in desperate need of a tenant. Being an Agent of Death is more of a fate-appointed position than a paying job, holding down a traditional 9 to 5 isn't exactly possible when you have to run out on a regular basis to help guide souls to the afterlife. When Gabriel Angeloscuro shows up, Maddy thinks that things may finally be looking up. But when a demon shows up and people start dying with no record of where their soul goes after death, Maddy starts getting suspicious. She must uncover some long-buried family secrets before she can discover the truth.
Maddy is a fantastically snarky character. She lives alone in an apartment building she inherited from her mother at the tender age of 13. Her best friend and protector is an adorable gargoyle named Beetle. Her boss is J.B., a paperwork hound and general jerk. And Gabriel is, well, gorgeous. Mysterious. Potentially dangerous. Of course Maddy is drawn to him. Family secrets, intrigue, and death seem to follow Maddy wherever she goes. It's just a great story.
If you enjoyed Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series, you will enjoy Black Wings.
Grab a box of tissues before you sit down to read Alpha, folks. This one's a doozy.
If you've followed the Shifter series this far, then you know FaythGrab a box of tissues before you sit down to read Alpha, folks. This one's a doozy.
If you've followed the Shifter series this far, then you know Faythe. You know she's brash, impulsive, impossible to put up with, and utterly true to herself and her ideals. You also know everything she's been through in the last year - attacks, murder charges, kidnapping, attempted rape, a run-in with the Thunderbirds, etc. All of that comes to a head in Alpha.
Colin Dean is gunning for her - dead or alive, he doesn't really care. And Calvin Malone wants her to give up and lay down so he can use her for his own political gain. Faythe, Marc, and Jace stand in the way of his plan for consolidated power and racial purity. After Malone locks them up on trumped-up charges, Faythe knows that she's going to have to man up to get them out of there alive.
Alpha was easily one of my most anticipated releases of 2010. I read books one through four last fall, then Shift as soon as it came out in February. Alpha's release date just couldn't come soon enough. The end of a series is always a bittersweet moment, but I knew Vincent wouldn't let us down with a cop-out ending. I can't imagine a better ending for Faythe and the Pride.
Justine Jones has a secret. A hardcore hypochondriac, she's convinced a blood vessel is about to bursJustine knows she's going to die. Any second now.
Justine Jones has a secret. A hardcore hypochondriac, she's convinced a blood vessel is about to burst in her brain. Then, out of the blue, a startlingly handsome man named Packard peers into Justine's soul and invites her to join his private crime-fighting team. It's a once-in-a-lifetime deal. With a little of Packard's hands-on training, Justine can weaponize her neurosis, turning it outward on Midcity's worst criminals, and finally get the freedom from the fear she's always craved. End of problem.
Or is it? In Midcity, a dashing police chief is fighting a unique breed of outlaw with more than human powers. And while Justine's first missions, including one against a nymphomaniac husband-killer, are thrilling successes, there is more to Packard than meets the eye. Soon, while battling her attraction to two very different men, Justine is plunging deeper into a world of wizardry, eroticism, and cosmic secrets. With Packard's help, Justine has freed herself from her madness - only to discover a reality more frightening than anyone's worst fears.
Justine is out to dinner with her boyfriend, Cubby, when she sees the man who fleeced her father out of his life savings. Going over to warn his latest victims takes a lot out of her, and she knows that this is going to set off her vein star syndrome. She goes back to her table to say a few last words to Cubby... only to be on the receiving end brushoff. As it turns out, Justine is a hardcore hypochondriac. The dinner was fortuitous, however; Justine meets a man at the restaurant named Packard who says he can help her with her problem, turn it outward so that, instead of being ruled by it, she can use it to help bring criminals to heel. Justine takes it with a grain of salt, but eventually gives in after she just can't deal with her hypochondria anymore. Mind Games is the story of Justine's exploits on the Disillusionists team and how she melds her new self with her current life.
I received this book curtesy of the author herself! (Well, I won a giveaway she hosted. But that still makes her awesome in my book. :] ) It was very exciting to finally win a contest. Since the book was signed - and I didn't want to crack the spine - it took a while to read. But that worked, because once I got into it I didn't want the story to end.
I had a bit of a hard time getting into this book initially - it was difficult to get into the hypochondriac mindset. Once I got over that, though, it was smooth sailing. Justine is a strong character - she just doesn't realize it. Her hypochondria is her weakness, and dealing with a case as extreme as her own has given her a core of steel. She still chases her ideals, however. I agree with Packard's assessment that Cubby is a representation of what Justine wants in life but can never have, someone safe, and that he is only with her because she is his way of walking on the wild side. He's mostly nice in the beginning (aren't they all?) but devolves into a jerk pretty quickly. Packard is a nice guy stuck in a bad situation but trying to make the best of it. Not all of his actions are completely forgivable, but they are understandable. Crane manages to maintain Justine's character without entirely compromising her principles - something that is very difficult to do. Mind Games is a great story, and I hope you all get to read it soon!
The second book in the trilogy, Double Cross, was just released on September 28th. Go out and grab it!
Also, Carolyn Crane has a great guest post over at A Buckeye Girl Reads about book reviews and the relationship between author and reader. It's definitely worth a look....more