Right off the bat, UNDER HIS SKIN hit all the right paranormal romance notes for me: easy to relate to chaReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
Right off the bat, UNDER HIS SKIN hit all the right paranormal romance notes for me: easy to relate to characters, two people who are crazy about each other but are kept apart by outside forces/their own will, and sexy protagonists from outer space. What more can you ask for? Well for one, it could have used a bit more science-fiction "science", but it didn't ruin the book for me.
Kaden and his brothers are refugees from a destroyed planet, Superman-style, who have an uneasy truce with the FBI who has placed them in a type of Witness Protection Program here on Earth. There are rules that go along with this protection, and one of the big ones is that they are not supposed to form romantic relationships with humans. Although Kaden tries his best, Annabelle and him quickly form a friendship that turns into something more. It was sweet to watch the relationship develop, even when Kaden was being a giant tool and trying to "keep her safe" by pushing her away.
There are multiple funny moments in the book, as Kaden tries to woo Annabelle, or as the brothers use their powers for purely selfish reasons.
I did roll my eyes at one point when the heroine thought back to her less than (inter)stellar sexual history, wondering "if any man could ever make her achieve orgasm..." We get it, we get it.
As previously said, sci-fi-wise, there were a few more plot holes than I would have wanted; there were multiple unanswered questions about the alien physiology before they came to earth, about the destruction of their planet, and mostly about the uneasy truce they have with the FBI (let's just say they haven't told them quite everything). The brothers have a few hidden powers that actually caused a huge plot hole for me by the end of the book - if they have this power, why in the world didn't they use it earlier?
Still, UNDER HIS SKIN was a fun romp, and as is the case with many paranormal romances, the story sets up the next book of the Alien Encounters series starring Kaden's brother Cam. I will be looking forward to discovering more about his powers and hopefully learning more about the technology and physiology of these aliens....more
There are a lot of things that don't quite work in THE DEVIL IS A WEREWOLF; the general setting, the gabilReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
There are a lot of things that don't quite work in THE DEVIL IS A WEREWOLF; the general setting, the gabillion characters (and this is just book two...), the massive breaks in the story, the gaps in the mythology, and the easy resolution at the end that I felt could have come months and months beforehand.
Still, there are things that worked for me. It's true that Dax and Jules, two daredevil, strong characters, have instant chemistry, and their romance is truly wet and wild. Dax has a crippling "curse" that causes him physical pain whenever he touches anyone skin to skin... Anyone but Jules that is.
This leads to the first of many strange waiting games the two of them play; Dax initially doesn't want to get involved with Jules in case his curse decides to include her later on. They get over it, but then split up again for 7 months, and then for another 7 later on in the book, each time because they need to "sort stuff out". It really felt like these characters, who love thrills and spills, were giant weenies when it came to dealing with their feelings. It got old after a while.
On top of that, I had trouble keeping track of where people were working (does she work in a dinner, or as a social worker, or both??), where they were living (in a mansion with the rest of the family? and how many other people are living here?) and who exactly was a shifter and who wasn't.
I felt like there was too much being crammed into this short book. I enjoyed the cyber-bullying plot, but there were so many other little stories and asides going that I lost interest.The ending, with it's super quick resolution of all the issues, just got on my nerves.
Overall, the second book in the Seven Brides for Seven Shifters series is not quite my cup of tea....more
BREAKING OUT PART 1 was a fantastic short from the ENTANGLED anthology, quickly establishing charming characters and a compelling world. But as much aBREAKING OUT PART 1 was a fantastic short from the ENTANGLED anthology, quickly establishing charming characters and a compelling world. But as much as I wanted a continuation of this world, BREAKING OUT PART 2 is too short to fulfill the promise of that first, explosive meet-cute.
The first short in this duo introduces Kelli and Nate as love interests, and Giles as the charming best friend. PART 2 flashes forward to a few weeks after their escape, with Giles taking center stage. Giles is witty and interesting, with a supernatural power that can be as much of a handicap as a benefit, and has no problem filling the spot light. Kelli and Nate, however, have never really gotten the chance to develop their own story. What page time they get in PART 2 isn't enough to satisfy my interest in their romance (I want to see everyone one of Nate's tentative attempts to hug a gunshy Kelli, not just hear about them after the fact!).
Ultimately, the strengths of the BREAKING OUT series is its greatest weakness, too much potential and not enough page time. Worth picking up for the price, I won't come back to this series until we get a full length feature.
Sexual Content: Kissing, references to sex....more
Perhaps because it didn't involve jetting around the globe, FAIR WEATHER felt shorter than the first two eReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
Perhaps because it didn't involve jetting around the globe, FAIR WEATHER felt shorter than the first two episodes of the BookBurners. Still, it packs a few fun surprises that nearly had me cheering.
Readers were introduced to quite a few new characters in this episode, including the leader of Team 1 (Sal is on Team 3). Team 1 are the ones who will terminate people infected with the evil magic that can leak out of the books. They clean up the messes is Team 3 doesn't recover the artifacts in time, so there is obviously some tension between the two teams. You definitely get the feeling that there is a lot more going on than what Sal's team is doing, and that not all of it is very nice.
The descriptions of the demonic manifestation was super gross this time, and there were some excellent bits of humour and good pacing as they were trying to deal with the black sludge that is slowly filling the cruise ship they find themselves trapped on.
We also get a glimpse at a potential villain for the series, although it's absolutely not what you think it was at the end. A good addition to the series....more
First, a bit more about the format: each weekly episode is meant to take about 45 minutes to read or listeReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
First, a bit more about the format: each weekly episode is meant to take about 45 minutes to read or listen to in the audio format. The audio format is also released weekly in conjunction with the regular version. I am a pretty quick reader, and it took me -- minutes to read ANYWHERE BUT HERE, the second installment.
This episode introduces the main home of the Bookburners, in Rome, in a secret basement library of the Vatican where magical books go to be stored, safely tucked away from anyone who would read them and release the evil inside. Sal has also moved her brother here, hoping that the specialised teams at the Vatican can save him after his disastrous encounter with magic in the first episode.
I really enjoyed the small glimpses at the other characters we got this time. Liam, Gloria and Menchu, Sal's coworkers, are quite secretive about their origins and why they fight magic. I also loved the description of the magic, of the things it did to the world as it tried to get more and more power over a poor loner in Madrid - and the two little girls who live upstairs. Although I wasn't sure about having multiple authors, I didn't feel any disconnect from the first episode and am confident that it'll work.
Bookburners is turning out to be extremely readable and entertaining, perfect for a night in or a long bus ride into work. I'm not sure yet on whether they could be read out of order, but I think that it would be entertaining anyway....more
The first episode of Bookburners, BADGE, BOOK AND CANDLE, sure packs a punch for only forty one pages.
The introduction gets you into the brain of the main character quickly and effectively, and unlike many female police characters, I didn't get the feeling she had a massive chip on her shoulders or something to prove that made her cold and distant. Sal is a relatively normal woman who has seen some crazy shit and who loves her brother, faults and all. Even if those faults involves chasing forbidden knowledge and getting tangled up with dark forces from beyond our world.
Although the origin of the Book Burners themselves is relatively vague, they do try to explain the great evil they are facing to Sal. Using gorgeous analogies, readers quickly understand not only the situation with Sal's brother, but also get a scope of how serious of a threat these invasive forces could be, neatly setting us up for further episodes.
Short as BADGE, BOOK AND CANDLE was, I devoured it quickly and was left with excitement for the next episode. It felt like I had watched a hot new pilot for a show along the lines of Warehouse 13 or Buffy. I'm super excited for the next one, and luckily, new chapters or episodes will be coming out weekly through a new service called Serial Box.
I've read a few serial novels in the past few years, but they've always been by a single author. It will be interesting to see if the voice and quality can be maintained for 16 episodes of Bookburners with various authors, but I'm looking forward to finding out....more
When I closed this book I had to take some time to process my feeling on it before writing down my thoughtsReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
When I closed this book I had to take some time to process my feeling on it before writing down my thoughts. I enjoy shifter romances and am typically able to reason with the aggressive and violent nature of the heroes due to their being half-animal. Sometimes the attitudes of the heroes can be a bit much and the sex a bit too domineering for my tastes but usually that's balanced out with the heroine's ability to stand up for herself and the hero's ability to know when to calm down or back off. WILD CAT really pushed my limit of just how much douche I can take in my alpha heroes.
Siena's situation really shows just what a disadvantage she starts at in entering into a relationship with Elijah. She doesn't know she is a shifter until an unfortunate or fortunate-depending on how you look at-it meeting with Elijah which involves some a heated and sexy sex scene. That sex scene I was okay with but the aftermath was disastrous as it was intended to be in the book though what you see in that aftermath seems to reflect the power-dynamic between these two throughout the book. We have Siena, essentially naive about the shifter world, being yanked into a violent sexual relationship where she has little to no say or control. Yes, part of her attraction is due to the whole 'mating bond' trope which I accept in these types of books but even that should have it's limits especially when the hero is super possessive to the point of not wanting Siena to move with out his say so.
For so much of the book I felt like Siena was a prisoner of Elijah's just sitting there waiting for him to have sex with her. I kept wanting her to escape to someplace safe and that was probably not the feeling I was supposed to be getting out of this relationship. Elijah is violent and dangerous. He is scary and scary towards Siena most of the time. He his controlling and uses sex as a punishment which can be kinky and fun but here it reflected a deeper issue with their relationship. Siena laughs at his 'punishment' but that doesn't really do much to make me think they are on equal footing in their relationship. Siena does get some control and say but it seems so small and no real progress in her own independence in this relationship is made to make me think she shouldn't run to a batter womans' shelter.
Now, I enjoy a book with sex in it but in WILD CAT it was so pervasive that I just wanted them to sit down and eat or read a book for once. They couldn't get through a meal with out sex much less a conversation or argument. Every argument ended in sex. Even in the middle of planning a strategy to stop Siena from being kidnapped they stop to have three page sex scenes. The plot was interesting enough about Siena's inheritance and her finding her way in the shifter world but it was overwhelmed by the rampant misogyny and aggressiveness on Elijah's part and the constant and hazy consent-wise sex....more
I tend to like reading mysteries and ones with an infusion of magic are even better. Unfortunately, I feltReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
I tend to like reading mysteries and ones with an infusion of magic are even better. Unfortunately, I felt like I was forcing myself to finish LOOK BOTH WAYS. It had a lot of good elements to it including a murder to solve, hidden diamonds, and lots of suspects to choose from to make it a fun whodunit. The story seemed to focus so much on the mundane day to day tasks that I started to lose interest. There were so many small elements and odd conversations that distracted from the actual murder mystery. Also, there was a ton of repetition of events. A character would do something and them explain what happened to two other people and have two separate discussions about said same event. Since there was so much repetition I felt like nothing happened until maybe the last few chapters.
On the magic front...well there wasn't too much. Lee is a scryer and sees visions, her friend reads tarot cards, there's a coven, and her cat is mysteriously smarter than the average cat. Now that would seem like a pretty nice set up for a witch who solves mysteries using her visions with the help of her friends. Except there wasn't too much magic and the visions Lee did have were really boring and so vague I was amazed at how she could figure it all out. There were long stretches of times where I almost forgot that this series had 'witch' in the title.
The ending did get some more magic once the bad guy being caught which was good and I wish we got more of that earlier in the book. LOOK BOTH WAYS had potential to be a light magical mystery story and in the end it felt like work to get through it....more
While DANCE WITH THE DEVIL is the first in a series, there was so much backstory as to how the warring packReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
While DANCE WITH THE DEVIL is the first in a series, there was so much backstory as to how the warring packs got to where they are at the start of the story that I think there should be some sort of short story to go before this book. What we get told about the past is fascinating and complex and this conflict between the packs is what the main plot of DANCE WITH THE DEVIL revolves around. What we get in the present is a complex and dangerous political game over who will replace the alphas of each pack and debates over half-breed shifter rights, you know your typical political thriller story except with claws. I enjoyed the complex web of shifter politics and seeing how Jillian and Carrick find a way to beat the system in a sense and bring peace to the packs.
The romance was pretty steamy and I enjoyed how well Jillian and Carrick worked well together even when they were at odds. I enjoyed learning about the uniqueness of Jillian's 'half-shifter form. She is quite tough and bad ass, a good quality for an alpha. I liked that Carrick was persistent in having a relationship with Jillian without being to douche or stalker-ish. He gave her space when she needed it and showed some sexy finesse in seducing Jillian. The side characters were amusing and I hope we get Jillian's friends' story in a future book because they have some backstories that I would love to see fleshed out.
One issue I had with the story was the big Claiming or massive pack sanctioned orgy. They do this orgy to find a mate and what goes on during this time was a bit confusing as I had to re-read the explanation a few times to really 'get' it. The fact that the pack was forced to participate in this and it's a tradition didn't sit right with me. There was also the claustrophobic location of said orgy being held underground. Being underground helped with building up the tension of the story as the characters had limited space to move and really no escape. Issues with massive forced orgies aside DANCE WITH THE DEVIL is an excellent start to the Soul's Harbor Pride series....more
THE CASQUETTE GIRLS is a fascinating and haunting paranormal YA novel. The plot starts off a tad slow thougReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
THE CASQUETTE GIRLS is a fascinating and haunting paranormal YA novel. The plot starts off a tad slow though once it gets started it really moves. It's a tale that takes some of New Orleans' more famous ghost and vampire stories and gives them an even more sinister bent. I loved the setting as its a city so entrenched in mystery and has its own very colorful history. The description of the French Quarter and its ghost stories were so vivid I could smell the beignets at Cafe du Monde and recalled the creepy feeling of walking around the Quarter during a vampire tour I took last year.The story switches between a city still reeling from the after effects of Hurricane Katrina and the early days of New Orleans. I could really feel the devastation of the characters trying to pick up after Hurricane Katrina cleaning out their homes and starting their lives over again in a city they love. The connection between these two times was cleverly interwoven into the fabric of a haunting tale of murder, betrayal, magic, and family.
At the center of this story is Adele who comes into her powers by accident which unravels the plot. She spends a bit of time denying that she has powers which is understandable but once she becomes comfortable with it and tries to find out about where her powers come she really shines and shows off just how brave and clever she is. I loved getting glimpses of the past through a diary Adele reads about some of the Casquette Girls who came to New Orleans in the 1700s. I would have loved to spend more time with the 1700s characters but since the stories of the past and present are so connected it didn't really matter what time period the book was being written from in the end. The vampires were evil and with so many good reformed vampires out there in fiction it was kind of nice to have vampires be the monsters they were meant to be. I enjoyed the vampire plot and seeing how Adele and her friends are able to foil them...sort of...
I tend to be extremely picky about YA novels and as a result don't read that many due to my dislike of some of the tropes that show up constantly. THE CASQUETTE GIRLS was one of those YA books that piqued my interest enough with its setting and interesting story that I just had to see what it was about. I'm so very glad I did not skip past it! It drew me in and I was enamored with the story from start to finish. It's not only masterfully written with a compelling paranormal mystery but it really brings out the haunting history and character of New Orleans both in the present and in the past. There are some loose ends which I assume means more books and that is a very good thing as I'd like to return to this world....more
DRAGON ON TOP was the perfect blend of fun and sexy, with tons of new mythology and interesting insights iReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
DRAGON ON TOP was the perfect blend of fun and sexy, with tons of new mythology and interesting insights into the series; I adored it!
The main Dragon Kin storyline takes place a few hundred years (at least) after the events of DRAGON ON TOP, which is great since the story has gotten a bit heavy in the last books and it's fabulous to read about the Southlands without the baggage (although I am looking forward to the next book in the series, FEEL THE BURN). Bram the Merciful and Ghleanna the Decimator have always been an odd pair, and you don't often get to see them interact in the main storyline, so it's lovely to see them falling for each other in this novella.
We get lots of action as Bram attempts to forge alliances and truces, and Ghleanna grudge-fully protects him... but it turns out that he doesn't need as much protection as she thought he would. The interaction between the book-smart peacemaker and the battle-hungry army captain are fun and witty, and things get quite sexy as they slowly realise the attraction is mutual.
As with all of Aiken's books, you can expect bloody battles, meddling family members and traitorous political machinations. You can also expect lots of laughs.
I really loved the introduction to the "Fins", the underwater dragons who developed gills and live in massive underwater caves. They have never been properly introduced in the previous stories, and they are super fun and interesting.
Overall, this novella is a fabulous addition to the Dragon Kin lore, really fleshing out some of the older, side characters that you have read about in the other books. It is easily approachable by new readers as well, while having plenty of quirks, battles and nods for those who have enjoyed the Dragon Kin series from the start....more
POISONED APPLES opens by warning its readers, "You can lose your way anywhere," and for anyone underestimaReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
POISONED APPLES opens by warning its readers, "You can lose your way anywhere," and for anyone underestimating this slim volume of YA fairy tale poetry, consider yourself fairly warned. It's a solid little book, some offerings packing more of an emotional punch than others, some fitting the fairy tale theme better than others. But taken as a whole, it delivers raw and sometimes brutal commentary on what it means to be a teenage girl today.
As a lifelong lover of fairy tales and a student of various types of mythology, I got the biggest enjoyment from the poems that reimagined specific fairy tales. I also found that those were, on the whole, more successful and better written than the ones that dealt more in vague magical or mythological imagery. Heppermann twists these well-known stories (some deftly, some more clumsily) to frame the adolescent girl's experience, by turns macabre, joyful, angry, wry, and sad. Several of the poems discuss eating disorders using the fairy tale obsession with eating, food, and hunger; female friendships and the pitfalls of teenage love are also common topics.
The feminist in me was delighted by Heppermann calling out the strictures of these roles girls are expected to fulfill. Why should we care who's the fairest? Why should we fight over Prince Charming? Why shouldn't we save ourselves for once? However, the photographic illustrations were more miss than hit when it came to complementing the content. For a book that talked so much about the pressure to conform to the standard of thin white prettiness, the photos were mostly pictures of thin white girls. The abstract / surreal ones were definitely the best, often fattening up-- so to speak-- the creepy atmosphere of the poems they accompanied.
Overall, POISONED APPLES is a good, quick, fun read with a bunch of unexpected serious notes that gave the book an extra punch. If you like YA and fairy tales, it's worth the read, even (or especially) if you don't think you like poetry.
ICE MOON is a fun paranormal romance with an interesting central story and conflict. While I was a bit annoReview courtesy ofAll Things Urban Fantasy
ICE MOON is a fun paranormal romance with an interesting central story and conflict. While I was a bit annoyed/sad that Taryn wouldn't even touch her son which probably isn't going to be good for his emotional development in the future (in reality, I'm sure he'll be fine in this series!), I liked seeing the reason behind her 'no touching' rule unravel as the story progressed. It made sense and what Taryn went through to get to her 'not touching' persona was pretty horrible. I enjoyed seeing Jared work his way into Taryn's life and see him help her make some progress and deal with her trauma. Her relationship with Jared was sweet despite the rather fiery start and I enjoyed the fact that there was at least a short period of them getting to know each other before jumping into bed. I've gotten tired of the insta-love and meant for each other forever tropes in stories so even with their very short 'courtship' for lack of a better word I was happy they took their time.
The plot expands the over arching series story line and it's explained well enough in this book that you can just jump right in with this book and not be too lost. There are some big revelations about Nero, the big, evil corporation going after shifters and magic users that will most likely spell some bigger things happening in the next book. ICE MOON was action packed and thrilling to follow especially when Nero inevitably shows up for the big final fight. While there are big revelations I am enjoying the fact that there is so much I don't know. Typically this would frustrate me and I'd grumble about wanting to be just told already. But we are given just enough information about Nero to make it fun to follow and attempt to put the puzzle pieces together.
Fun plot movements and sweet romance aside, I always enjoy a good pet character. Jared's pet dog is adorable and his interactions with Taryn are equally adorable. Taryn's son has some interesting quirks about himself that I wont spoil but they sort of make sense once Jared puts two and two together about him and his mom's past. ICE MOON is a powerful story about love and trust and I'm looking forward to what the next book in this series will bring....more
If I had to pick one word to describe WHEN AN ALPHA PURRS, it would be fun. Tons of fun, with humour, actiReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
If I had to pick one word to describe WHEN AN ALPHA PURRS, it would be fun. Tons of fun, with humour, action, really hot sex and characters you can't help but root for. And lions.
The characters really sell this story: Arik, the alpha male of this modern, city pride, is proud and ridiculous. He has a huge revenge planned to get back at Kira, who chopped his precious mane off (he deserved it), but once he gets to know Kira, all thoughts of revenge go out the window. Kira is feisty, doesn't take any of his bullshit, and when they click, they go up in flames.
The book is filled with delightful banter, peppered with cat and lion references, giving sly winks to readers as Kira calls him a "pussy", without knowing that he is actually quite a big kitty. The relationship between the two is actually quite sweet as it develops, and when Kira becomes a target, he does everything in his power to save her.
Part of the fun in this book are the lionesses; the condo where the pride is based is filled with catty (snort) women who love to get into each other’s business. It’s actually quite charming to see them work together and I can’t wait to read the other stories to learn more about them.
There are four stories planned in the A Lion’s Pride series, and while they are all pretty short (around 200 pages each), they are coming out in quick succession. At the time of this review, the first three are already out.
My favourite thing about this book is how purely entertaining it was. And being nice and quick, I feel I’ll be re-reading it again soon....more
Illegal shifter fight clubs, ancient native magic, and evil corporations oh my. HARVEST MOON is filled withReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Illegal shifter fight clubs, ancient native magic, and evil corporations oh my. HARVEST MOON is filled with tons of fun ideas and riveting plot. I really enjoyed the idea of an evil shifter corporation with typical evil corporate plans to rule over all shifters and kill anyone in the way. Nero, the aforementioned evil corporation is fleshed out in the previous installments of this series but it's explained enough in HARVEST MOON that I could catch on decently. Also, a section of the book takes place on Hawai'i which is awesome because it's Hawai'i and I loved learning a little bit about native Hawaiian culture.
Both Jason and Kilani were pretty cool characters in their own right. Jason has some serious anger and guilt issues and the self-destructive way he copes with them is pretty realistic and interesting considering he is a doctor. While shifter fight clubs are a pretty common go to in urban fantasy I liked seeing a main character using one to work out some serious issues. Kilani was pretty cool as she is Hawaiian which mean some fun ties into Hawaiian magic and culture. She's a tough competent character who I loved seeing grow into not only her psychic powers but also her Kahuna powers. In regards to secondary characters, I loved Kilani's Hawaiian grandma and wished we could have spent more time with her learning all about Kahuna powers. I kind of felt that Kilani's lessons on how to use her magic were a tad rushed and would have liked to see more of her learning how to use her powers.
Considering their personal issues, Jason and Kilani have some work to do throughout this book on the road of their romance and while there are some tender moments, a sex scene or two, there is a bit more mystery and suspense than romance. I loved HARVEST MOON and am definitely going to check out the previous books and the next installments!...more
Like with many anthologies, DEMONS, IMPS, AND INCUBI hosts an array of different stories, some I liked a lReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Like with many anthologies, DEMONS, IMPS, AND INCUBI hosts an array of different stories, some I liked a lot and some I was kind of bored with or didn't 'get'. They all share stories of people encountering demons, imps, and incubi who end up in various sorts of intense, hot moments.
One of the ones I enjoyed was CIRCLES WITHIN CIRCLES where Mary summons a demon to protect her twin brother who is on the front lines in WWI. While I felt bad for the other soldiers who were not protected by the demon I liked Mary's determination to do anything to protect her brother even if it means some seriously hot sex with a centuries old demon. POMEGRANATE CUPCAKES was a clever, fun take on the Demeter/Persephone/Hades Greek myth. I liked seeing how Demeter or Demi as she is called react to seeing her daughter with Hades and her protectiveness of Persephone. Demi ends up finding her own sweet romance and I kind of wished this story was longer as I wanted to see more of her and Nick together. THE BURNING EDGE OF DAWN was my favorite as it had its own unique mythology of a demon world and a very romantic concept of demon mates relying on each other for strength. It's a story of a girl who finds out she is more than she seems and finds eternal love with a long lost demon lover. This was beautifully written and a really good stand alone story.
MEASURE OF GREED was one of the stories I had trouble getting into as I was not a big fan of the writing style. It was set up like excerpts from a Demon Index and thus came off as choppy and hard to get comfortable with. SOUL MATES was really odd and didn't feel complete. Perhaps if it were longer and the characters fleshed out a bit more I would have liked it....more
CODE BLACK had a lot of things going for it, and luckily by the end it came together; it just took a whileReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
CODE BLACK had a lot of things going for it, and luckily by the end it came together; it just took a while. When the story finally hit it's stride though, it was a pretty wild ride.
In this world, everyone knows about the supernatural, and the PCD (Paranormal Crime Division) is in charge of policing it. Agents who are shifters (interesting beings who can shift into ANY animal), vampires and fey work together to stop the more rogue elements of the supernatural world, like the phage, a vampire-zombie-like group with a hive-mind and a hunger for flesh. They were cool, with jaws that open and unhinge from their heads, and they were pretty evil too.
A few things bugged me about the characters, though. I was at least a third of the way through, and no one had told the truth about anything to anyone else. I know miscommunication is a staple in romance novels, but this is a bit ridiculous. Sera lies to everyone about her powers and the scary voice in her head, her father lies to the PCD about protecting her, Talon, the shifter leader of the local PCD branch, lies about his feelings for Sera (over and over) and so on. It became repetitive and I was glad when things finally started coming out in the open and the plot could move along.
Some of the writing was a awkward at times. Scenes happenned at the same time, so that readers are being dragged back a few minutes as different members catch up to the rest of the team. Still, with the team being quite large, it was nice to have them split up, giving readers a chance to meet them in a more intimate setting.
Overall, I enjoyed the phage and the interesting take on shifters, and the book sets up the series quite well. I think I'll pick up the next one to see if they get to the bottom of the phage threat and to find out what happens to a few interesting secondary characters (Drake, a smartass vampire with interesting connections, was tons of fun!)....more
OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS lives up to the promise that OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS gave us. Full of actioReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS lives up to the promise that OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS gave us. Full of action, archeology and smart-ass comments, The Adventures of Owl series continues to entertain. While not perfect, the characters and relationships tend to make up for some of the aspects that I could have done without, such as the excessive plights that Owl finds herself in.
Owl, as a character who annoyed me a bit in the previous book, has begun to mature slightly. She still tends to make some "look before you leap" decisions (and thus got on my nerves a few times), but she also starts to take into account (on occasion) her boyfriend and best friend's advice. She's as sarcastic and dry as ever, and the only character trait that overshadows that is her smarts. That is one aspect of The Adventures of Owl that I really appreciate, and that is how smart Owl is, and how she actually gets to use her brain in the course of her adventures.
OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS is definitely more of an urban fantasy, with less focus on the romance between Owl and her incubus boyfriend, Rynn, but there still is a little heat and definitely some amusing conversations between the two of them. The relationship between Owl and her best friend, Nadya, is also another great aspect to the story. Nadya is just as smart (if not smarter) than Owl, definitely more level-headed, and her voice of reason is often necessary when Owl gets a half-cocked idea in her head that she wants to act on without planning.
While the action aspects of the book almost get a little over-the-top, it's believable when you take into account Owl's penchant for getting into trouble. Though there were a few plot twists I could have done without, THE ADVENTURES OF OWL definitely has the advertised "Indiana Jones" feel to it, and is sure to amuse readers who like their urban fantasy with a bit of real world history thrown in, and smart, sarcastic main female leads.
I adored the first two books in the SWAT series, but IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES might be my favourite yet. JReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
I adored the first two books in the SWAT series, but IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES might be my favourite yet. Jayna is an amazing character, and the action and danger barely ever let up. I devoured this book in one sitting.
Jayna, who ran away from home at seventeen after horrific events, steals the show. She is not the leader of her pack of Betas, but she is the heart and soul of her group. Their Alpha leads them into some pretty shady situations, eventually exposing them to Albanian mobsters who use them to do their dirty work. As their Alpha begins to act less and less in the interest of the pack, she steps up and protects her family, growing as a leader but also growing in power as an Alpha herself. Her character was a joy to read and watch evolve.
Even though this series does use the trope of fated mates, it's never used as an excuse for the Jayna and Eric to be together, just as an reason as to why they fit so well. Jayna has a lot of trouble deciding where her loyalties lie - with Eric, whom she loves, or with her packmates whom she loves perhaps even more. Just because he is the One doesn't mean that she throws logic and responsibility out the window.
The distinctions are made between alphas, betas and omegas in this book, which is interesting. All of the SWAT werewolves are relatively new turns who have never experienced true pack life - it's unusual for 16 alphas to live and work together as they do at the SWAT compound. The differences in control, strength and outlook round out the werewolf mythology and add a great dimension to a series with an already cool version of this often used theme.
Content warning: there is a somewhat explicit attempted rape right at the beginning of the book, and although the rest of the book has it's share of violence, the first few pages may be difficult to read for some people. Still, it shows Jayna's strength and is really well written.
It's not clear yet wether there is another book coming in the series, but I am hoping there is and will be following what Paige Tyler does next regardless....more
After my disappointment with THE SINGLE UNDEAD MOMS CLUB, I was really looking for some sign that Molly HaReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
After my disappointment with THE SINGLE UNDEAD MOMS CLUB, I was really looking for some sign that Molly Harper's books were still for me. Luckily, FANGS FOR THE MEMORIES pulled through, with its cute little romance, snappy dialogue and characters we already love.
Though it could be read stand-alone, FANGS FOR THE MEMORIES would be best enjoyed with the background on Andrea and Dick Cheney (not that Dick Cheney!). Since the novella is so short, I think the context from the greater novels would help a reader get more into it. Really, my only complaint was the length - I think this novella could easily have been longer, with more of Andrea and Dick dating and such.
I did really enjoy learning the backstory about Andrea and Dick, since it is one of the series mysteries - how could she be with him? But we get to see a new side of Dick in FANGS FOR THE MEMORIES, and it's a little sappy and romantic!
Despite its length, it manages to pack in the things I love about Harper's writing - amusing dialogue, fun situations, and romance! Obviously, at less than 100 pages, you're not getting a whole lot here, but what is there is enjoyable and fun and a good way to spend an hour or so.
So I'm a bit biased, as I tend to love books with robots and artificial intelligence, but THE SCORPION RULReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
So I'm a bit biased, as I tend to love books with robots and artificial intelligence, but THE SCORPION RULES was spectacular. Full of intrigue, plot twists, drama and robots, it felt intense from beginning to end, keeping me on the edge of my seat as I breathlessly rushed to finish it.
While THE SCORPION RULES wasn't perfect, by any means, it had quite a few elements that I loved. One thing I really loved was the unexpected romance between Greta and one of the other characters. Bow didn't take the easy route there, and I really appreciated what she did. Greta was a wonderful teenage heroine, almost sure of herself, but not quite. Growing up the way she did was rough, and that was shown in her character. She was simultaneously wise beyond her years and very young and innocent seeming.
Those things said, a few of the more graphic scenes were a little much for me. Greta basically being on TV while about to be tortured was very Hunger Games-esque, but very disturbing at the same time. The way the students in the school were shocked by robots when they misbehaved was also a little difficult for me to swallow. However, those are my opinions and somebody with a stronger stomach may handle those scenes just fine.
While I would honestly enjoy THE SCORPION RULES as a stand-alone, I can see how it can easily be a series, but I'm very curious as to where Bow is going to take it. Based on the events at the end of the book, it could go in many directions. I will be very interested to read book two when it comes out.
Biker witches, sassy dialogue, and demon slaying are the key ingredients for fun antics in Angie Fox's DemReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
Biker witches, sassy dialogue, and demon slaying are the key ingredients for fun antics in Angie Fox's Demon Slayer series. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEMON SLAYER, adds a dash of voodoo alligator zombies to this already perfect recipe of a series, and the result is more awesomeness. The fact that there is an alligator voodoo zombie alone should inform you of the absolute quirkiness of this series. It's silly without being unreasonably so and still maintains a balance with the darker elements. All of the lovably quirky characters from the previous six books are back making for a fun story and non stop banter in a book that is non stop action and peril for Lizzie Brown, Demon Slayer extraordinaire.
I love Lizzie on her own as she continues to keep learning about her demon slaying powers and seems to be such a kind caring person. The fact that she even entertains the idea to trek down to New Orleans to fight some unknown force says a lot about her character. One small problem I had was that there was simply not enough of Lizzie's shapshifter husband, Griffin. Lizzie and Griffin are adorable together and I so wanted more of him. There are some very unique characters in this series such as Pirate, Lizzie's talking dog, and the biker witches who could so easily become annoying side characters but they all come off as loveable, fun, and super competent in their abilities.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEMON SLAYER lets the good times roll with some badass zombie slaying, strong family ties, and hilarity. I'd recommend this book and series to anyone wanting a bit of quirky humor in their urban fantasy/paranormal romance.
This is a fabulous story with fabulous characters. Molly, the “Wicked Witch” who comes to Castle Hangnail tReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
This is a fabulous story with fabulous characters. Molly, the “Wicked Witch” who comes to Castle Hangnail to govern it, is smart and ready to face the difficult tasks ahead - most important of which is getting the minions on her side!
Whether it’s the minotaur cook in the kitchen who hates anything to do with the letter Q, a stitched together (more than once) majordomo or the pin cushion doll with a hypochondriac goldfish, Vernon makes every secondary character interesting. She hints at just enough backstory to flesh out the magical beings of the castle (and the human beings living in the nearby village) without taking away from Molly’s story.
Molly is the kind of character you can look up to, who isn’t perfect (she has told a mighty big lie to get where she is) but who tries very hard to be kind to her new friends, all while being very, very wicked.
It’s actually great fun when the real world interrupts the fantasy in CASTLE HANGNAIL; the book takes place in this day and age, and they have real world issues, like massive plumbing bills and herb gardens grown too wild. The people in the village are also all human, but they are mostly very accepting of the stitched man who comes to pick up mail once a week and the special deliveries needed to keep a magical castle running. It made for a fun setting that had me grinning throughout.
The illustrations throughout the book are simple but do a brilliant job illustrating the strange things Molly encounters. Dragon donkeys and mechanical bees are beautifully illustrated in Vernon’s detailed cartoon style.
As an adult recommending this book to a childm I would mention a dramatic fight with an enchantress, pacts with bats and moles, and how great Molly is at getting out of all the sticky situations she finds herself in. I wouldn't necessarily mention how story encourages self-esteem, finding out who your real friends are, and not being afraid of being different. It does all those things in spades, without being preachy.
CASTLE HANGNAIL is great for younger readers, but just as fun as a quick read for older teens and adults....more
If you are looking for the ultimate bad-boy wizard, Laytham Ballard, the "hero" of NIGHTWISE will be rightReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
If you are looking for the ultimate bad-boy wizard, Laytham Ballard, the "hero" of NIGHTWISE will be right up your alley. Unfortunately, you'll have to swamp through the first third of the book to get to the really interesting stuff.
As a rock-star-famous wizard, Laytham waltzes in and out of the scene, spending money and getting laid wherever he goes. He's done some dark things, and the first third of the book is devoted to proving that to the reader. I nearly gave up on this book when it tried to prove how edgy the magic scene was by showing how closely magic can be linked to kinky sex. Seen it! I sometimes felt like the author was trying too hard to prove how hardcore his characters were, like a goth thirteen year old covered in mascara and wearing a Black Sabbath shirt; it was hard to take him seriously.
I know Lantham is supposed to be an anti-hero; it just took me a really long time to even begin to enjoy hearing him tell his story.
There are quite a few references that dated the book. I kept being reminded that this book was set in the immediate present, with references to things like 140 character Twitter spells, and the like. It felt a bit like pandering to me.
On the flip side, I have rarely seen such a variety of magical theory so well explained and illustrated. There are wizards who need LSD to interact with the framework of life, wizards who perform Australian-inspired walkabouts through time and space, demon summoners, and literal techno-wizards who can write computer viruses that you could conceivably catch, if they wanted you to.
NIGHTWISE was like a really long rollercoaster, with a few good surprises along the way and an excellent final ride. The clever magic lingo and theories will entertain long enough to get you to warm up to the characters, and the denouement is worth it....more
BEAUTY AND THE WEREWOLF is a charming paranormal romance filled with much romantic and family angst. It isReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
BEAUTY AND THE WEREWOLF is a charming paranormal romance filled with much romantic and family angst. It is an even paced story and I enjoyed the werewolf mythos set up in this story. One issue I did have was the fact that Isabelle's dad seems to be intent on her marrying someone from her pack regardless of the fact that the mythos sets up that if you don't find your mate you will die after 300 years. So he is sentencing is daughter to a shortened life due to his bitterness over who her mate ends up being? That's some serious grudge! This apparent grudge against Jack's family led me to really not like Isabelle's family since they are not only giving her a death sentence but also Jack; a person they don't know at all.
I liked the relationship between Jack and Isabelle especially their banter and inner thoughts during the art auctions. It's both sweet and funny. Though I was baffled over the sheer amount of money each of them are able to spend! I swear they each spend a small country's yearly GDP throughout this book. I liked Jack as he was an interesting character being so close to death yet is caring enough to be able to still contribute some good to the art world. Isabelle is equally likable and a good foil to Jack. I was a little confused at Isabelle's ability to create such a masterpiece of artwork in an evening but I am no artist so I guess it's possible?
This is the second installment of the San Francisco Wolf Pack series, and it is filled with a lot of heavy emotions and conflict for the number of pages it has. I was not a fan of many of the secondary characters as they consisted mostly of Isabelle's obsessive grudge holding family. Aside from that issue BEAUTY AND THE WEREWOLF is a good quick read....more
TAMING HER WOLF is a pretty decent shifter paranormal romance with an interesting take on the werewolf mythology where werewolves have three aspects: human, wolf, and beast. These three aspects seem to be in a constant battle for balance and power. At times the beast can come close to being the dominate aspect which spells bad news for the shifter and those around him. I found the mythology pretty unique and liked how they built up the mystery of who was attacking the teens around this beast form. The story dragged a little bit at the beginning but about halfway through the pace picks up pretty nicely.
I was not a huge fan of Kim's backstory. She comes to town to be a doctor after having her license revoked due to a vague medical mistake. Once that mistake becomes clear (sort of) it didn't seem like a big enough issue to warrant having to go into hiding in some small town where medical malpractice isn't a issue and no one does background checks. I did enjoy Kim and Brick's chemistry and interactions with eachother. They fit together well and has some pretty steamy scenes together. Brick has some issues controlling his beast and is on the list of suspects for the murdered teens for a half a second. I liked the conflict and tension this brought to Brick and his concern for any sort of relationship with Kim.
Overall TAMING HER WOLF is a fun paranormal romance with an interesting werewolf mythology and worldbuilding. The story is not resolved in the end which I assume is purposeful as there are more books coming in this series....more