MISTAKES WERE MADE, episode 3 of Bookburners Season 2 unfolded completely differently than I expected. TheReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
MISTAKES WERE MADE, episode 3 of Bookburners Season 2 unfolded completely differently than I expected. The idea of the team attending an academic conference dedicated to all things magical is amusing, to say the least. What they found there was a little creepy and definitely a bit surprising.
MISTAKES WERE MADE definitely followed the previous episodes in being a fun, quick, quirky read that offered an hour or so of enjoyment. I really liked the premise - just the idea of a conference about magic makes me smile. Plus, the scenes it led to, with the team split into different locations, were funny and a few spots even made me laugh out loud.
MISTAKES WERE MADE didn't lead to much in terms of the general overall plot advancing (though a few hints were dropped about Team Four), but this side quest was a fun diversion from the main story. I can't wait to see what the Bookburners are up to next!
Although not as enjoyable as CREEPY TOWN, WEBS did an excellent job of advancing the plot of team two's exReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
Although not as enjoyable as CREEPY TOWN, WEBS did an excellent job of advancing the plot of team two's explorations of magic, and offered a brief glimpse into the history of the Bookburners (or Societas Librorum Occultorum, as I suppose it's called).
In my opinion, WEBS just didn't have the laugh out loud funny moments as CREEPY TOWN did, but it was fun in its own way. As the team descended into the dissolved Team Four's headquarters, looking for something to help them fix their magical orb which was originally created by Team Four, they encountered magical creatures and obstacles, and watching them resolve those issues to get what they needed offered an interesting picture into each of their personalities.
I did have a bit of a hard time remembering who was who from episode one, but luckily, it was easy to flip back and catch up. WEBS is just a bit longer than CREEPY TOWN, but it's still a good length for somebody looking for something short and sweet to fill up an hour or so.
Check back next week for my review of episode three, MISTAKES WERE MADE!
Delightfully creepy and fun, episode one of Bookburners season two, CREEPY TOWN, is a perfect bite-sized rReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
Delightfully creepy and fun, episode one of Bookburners season two, CREEPY TOWN, is a perfect bite-sized read.
Short and quick, this "episode" of the serial is exactly what it advertises - an about TV show length read, episodic and stand alone. I really enjoyed CREEPY TOWN, from the opening scene of Sal arguing with the guard at the door to her office to the closing moments. It was humorous, but had it's serious moments as well. Obviously since this is a less than 50 page story, it doesn't nearly have all the depth of a novel or even novella, but it did a good job of establishing the world and the characters without being too obvious about giving backstory. It also managed to pack a lot of plot into those 50 pages. Since it is pretty self-contained, there are clearly larger plot threads that will carry on throughout the entire season, but this story clearly had an ending, and no cliffhanger.
All in all, I'm rather disappointed I didn't pick up Bookburners last season! However, CREEPY TOWN can be read without having knowledge of the first season, and if you're interested, Serial Box has a recap on their blog. Plus, keep an eye on our blog - we'll be bringing you reviews of the next few episodes as well!
LOTUS AND THORN is one of those rare stand-alone young adult books in a sea of trilogies and series, and iReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
LOTUS AND THORN is one of those rare stand-alone young adult books in a sea of trilogies and series, and it is so full of awesome and crazy that it left me almost speechless at the end. (Almost, because obviously I have to write this review.) LOTUS AND THORN has fascinating world-building, a wide variety of well-developed characters and did I mention the awesome and crazy?
Leica (yes, she's named for the camera), our heroine, is a girl you genuinely want to root for. Kicked out of her community in the prologue, she's a survivor, willing to do what it takes to stay alive. She's badass, and almost the too perfect to be true type of heroine, except that she's got flaws and she isn't all-knowing or smarter than everyone. She's emotional and the reader feels those emotions, and that is one of the strengths of the character building. Plus, not only is there Leica, but we're also introduced to Edison, the handsome Curadore, Marisol, another Kisaeng (basically a Curadore's concubine) and various other characters. I truly felt that there were no caricatures in LOTUS AND THORN, that all the characters had at least a little depth to them, even if they weren't part of the story very much.
LOTUS AND THORN is both action-filled and slow at times. Leica's introduction to the Dome and being a Kisaeng was a bit slow, but there were other parts that were full of fight scenes or just tense moments. This book had me on the edge of my seat multiple times, and it was one I really wanted to keep reading to find out the ending. The intricacies of the plot were awesome, with bits at the end that tied up bits from the beginning, and it all felt very satisfying when I finished.
Overall, I would recommend LOTUS AND THORN for somebody looking for an interesting world, well-developed characters, and really great plot twists and turns. It's a fun read, faster than its length suggests, and definitely enjoyable on multiple levels.
Sexual content: Kissing, brief mentions of sex, brief sex scenes ...more
Bringing swashbuckling, fantasy, and police procedurals together into a perfect adventure on the high seas, A DAUGHTER OF NO NATION is even better thaBringing swashbuckling, fantasy, and police procedurals together into a perfect adventure on the high seas, A DAUGHTER OF NO NATION is even better than it's predecessor. For anyone who enjoys a touch of real world risk in their magic, this is an adventure you won't want to miss.
Sophie's exploration of Stormwrack is the perfect balance of science, magic, and adventure. She is a scientist dropped into magical circumstances, and while she's well educated and dogged, her story is accessible in a way few "born special" urban fantasy heroines can be. From the first chapter where we see Sophie training and preparing, everyone in this story feels believably flawed and human. Sophie has to rely on her wits and "mundane" skills, making this magical setting feel utterly real and really dangerous.
It was a delight watching Sophie balance her skepticism about alchemy and primitive sciences against the very real evidence of magic in Stormwrack. Her own perspective means the reader can be surprised as well, finding unexpected truths hidden amongst the superstitions and traditions. A DAUGHTER OF NO NATION was a joyful adventure and I can't wait to set sail with Sophie again.
Sexual Content: Kissing, discussions about sex and rape. ...more
BLACK CITY SAINT is a dense urban fantasy that's got a lot going for it. It's fairly original, being set iReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
BLACK CITY SAINT is a dense urban fantasy that's got a lot going for it. It's fairly original, being set in the 1920s instead of modern day, and the juxtaposition of the Christian tradition with the fae mythology is interesting, to say the least. However, BLACK CITY SAINT was difficult to get through at times and where the world-building succeeded, the character development failed.
If you know me at all, you know I can't pass up any book set in Chicago. So when BLACK CITY SAINT came along, I knew I had to give it a try. And I wasn't disappointed - BLACK CITY SAINT uses Chicago scenery and history to its advantage, giving a reader familiar with Chicago the ability to place various scenes in the book.
Nick, as the main character, read like an old-school detective, only missing the typical office with his name on the door. And honestly, had the book been about Nick and his travails throughout Chicago banishing creatures of fairy, the book might have been better. The unfortunate addition was the wholly boring female love interest (I'm avoiding names to avoid spoilers). Mostly she was clingy and had little to no personality, with the only explanation of Nick's feelings for her that she was the reincarnation of his past love, Cleolinda. I could definitely have done without her.
BLACK CITY SAINT meanders along, managing to both have action and feel like nothing is happening at the same time, until about the last tenth of the book. I'll be honest, it did take me three months to read, but it held my interest and every time I picked it up it was easy to slip back into Nick's world. The thing that bothered me most about BLACK CITY SAINT was that I felt like it was trying to do and be too much. Urban fantasy is genre fiction, and BLACK CITY SAINT almost seemed like it was trying to be literary fiction (though I really have no evidence to suggest this, other than what I felt when I read the book).
I would suggest BLACK CITY SAINT to those who like their urban fantasy a bit more upscale, who value originality of world-building over character development, and who are looking for something a bit different in the crowded urban fantasy field. While I'll likely be sucked in to book two, (Chicago does it for me every time) it's not something I'm particularly waiting with bated breath for. ...more
RUINED was a fun young adult book, that while enjoyable, fell a little flat for me. With some interestingReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
RUINED was a fun young adult book, that while enjoyable, fell a little flat for me. With some interesting aspects, and the beginnings of a sweet romance, I think that RUINED could have been a better read for me with some more details and fleshed out characters.
So much happened in RUINED that it felt like there wasn't time for the characters to develop, and thus some seemed rather one-dimensional. Then, when certain events happened to the characters, there really wasn't the emotional punch I think the author was going for, since I hadn't really had a chance to get a feel for that character, or that character's relationships with others. Despite my dislike of cliff-hangers, I almost feel like this book could have ended sooner than it did, even on a cliff-hanger, and had the events and characters more well-rounded. The world was generally loosely defined at best, and I didn't really understand all the history that put the events of the book into motion.
However, despite my complaints, I did have a good time reading RUINED. Em is a lively character, though impulsive and sometimes frustratingly young-feeling. Casimir was a nice love interest, if a little bland, and any sparks between them felt almost forced, but he was sweet and I did like him. The world was interesting, what was developed, and I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book with the way that RUINED ended. The little twist at the very end was well done and though I felt like I should have seen it coming, I didn't.
All in all, RUINED wouldn't top my lists as best young adult fantasy, but it's enjoyable and fun, and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex ...more
When I picked up HER SECRET SPY, with its typically suspense-romance cover, I wasn't expecting to be revieReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
When I picked up HER SECRET SPY, with its typically suspense-romance cover, I wasn't expecting to be reviewing it for All Things Urban Fantasy; but it turns out that the main character, Lissa, has psychic powers and runs an occult curio shop. Suddenly, it was surprisingly up my alley! It also helps that the writing was better than the average Harlequin monthly.
I really enjoyed how her psychic gift was used throughout the book. Although it was used to advance/accelerate their plot, it was also used to realistically discredit Lissa for the first part of the story. Max believes she is a fraud, an excellent cold-reader, and then even potentially his enemy, as she reveals things she shouldn't know. Lissa has worked with the FBI before, and although she has been successful at finding bodies and killers, no one ever respected her for it. Starting over in New Orleans, after inheriting her deceased aunts curio shop seemed like a good idea at the time.
Max was another winning character for me: he was tough and mysterious, but was also an art dealer with an eye for remodeling. He wasn't the typical Alpha-hole a lot of these books tend to feature, possessive and aggressive. His reaction to Lissa's accidental probing into his secrets was also refreshing. He didn't believe her right away, but he run either.
This novel does follow the conventional suspense novel format, where as girl and a boy will meet, get in trouble and need to call local the SEAL/FBI/werewolves/whatever team (that manages to include the characters from the previous and future books in the series) in to help. Still, it was well done, with developed characters and no superfluous name-dropping.
HER SECRET SPY was a surprisingly fun, suspenseful quick read with just enough paranormal twist to spice things up. Definitely a lighter read, but still a hoot....more
If you're already a fan of Amanda Carlson's writing a la the Jessica McClain series, then STRUCK will be rReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
If you're already a fan of Amanda Carlson's writing a la the Jessica McClain series, then STRUCK will be right up your alley. If you're not familiar, then hold on to your hat, because you're about to go for a crazy ride!
STUCK is full of action and adventure. Our heroine has no idea she's a valkyrie until she gets struck by lightening - and it all gets crazier from there. Bouncing back and forth between different realms, she fights demons, elves and witches, until it seems that everybody is out to get her (maybe because they pretty much are). Luckily, she manages to gather several allies along the way, or she probably wouldn't have made it past the second chapter.
STRUCK felt SO much like the Jessica McClain series. The non-stop action, the crazy villains, and the almost instant connection between heroine and hero are all aspects found in both books. Obviously, STUCK has a different mythology, which gives it its own flavor. The Norse mythology, with Odin, Loki, Fenrir, and the Norns, is not commonly found in urban fantasy, and I like when an author steps outside the normal werewolf/vampire mythology. The one major difference between the Jessica McClain series and this one is that in this series, Phoebe had no idea the world she was from existed until the events of the book started, whereas Jessica knew all about the supernatural. This gives Phoebe a super innocent feel, and really makes you feel for her nearly immediately.
All in all, STUCK was a rush from start to finish, a book I managed to read in almost one sitting, and one where I am looking forward to reading the next in the series. I am curious to see what happens with Phoebe next!
Sexual content: Sex scenes, references to rape ...more
EVERY HEART A DOORWAY was one of the most charming, unsettling books I have read in a long time. It's gentReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
EVERY HEART A DOORWAY was one of the most charming, unsettling books I have read in a long time. It's gentle and brutal at the same time and kept me off-kilter for the entire 176 pages of this novella. I loved it, and just wish it had been a bit longer.
All of the characters are fabulous. Nancy, the main character, has just come back from a trip to the Halls of the Dead, and her parents just don't get it. They don't understand why she no longer wears colours, or dyes her hair white (she doesn't) or barely eats anything anymore. So they send her to a special school where they think she'll be "fixed". Luckily for Nancy, she's not there to be fixed, she's there to be helped. They'll even remind her to eat when she forgets.
The school was enchanting, an odd mix of the amazing and mundane, with cliques of mean girls, and boys blowing bubbles into their chocolate milk. That mundane-ness made it that much more shocking when terrible things started happening. It was thrilling and terrifying.
The pace of the story is the only thing that bugged me. The violence and especially the resolution were so quick that I had to re-read a few times to make sure I had not missed anything. I understand why it had to end so abruptly, theme-wise, but it still irked me that it was over so quickly. Still, I wouldn't have done it any other way.
I think it's fabulous that Seanan McGuire is publishing shorter fiction like this. I have thoroughly enjoyed most of her series, which tend to feature extensive scientific or mythological worlds and explanations. This story is less an exploration, and more of a slap in the face; it's refreshing, abrupt, and you'll remember it for a long time....more
HIS RUTHLESS BITE is just as delicious as the previous books in the Scandals With Bite series. With romantReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
HIS RUTHLESS BITE is just as delicious as the previous books in the Scandals With Bite series. With romantic moments balanced out by suspenseful situations, HIS RUTHLESS BITE offers readers the rare combination of historical and paranormal romance, and does it very well.
One of the great things about a series of romance books is that it a reader usually does not have to have read the previous books in the series to jump in the middle. This is definitely the case with HIS RUTHLESS BITE. Though previous books' characters are mentioned, it is generally in passing, and the details of their stories are unnecessary. Instead, we get an entirely new cast of characters. The world-building is sparse, but it doesn't need to be extremely detailed, as their vampiric society isn't super complex, and the rules that govern it are easily mentioned in passing. The main focus in HIS RUTHLESS BITE is the romance between Gavin and Lenore, and that was where the story shone.
Though there were many tangential plots woven into HIS RUTHLESS BITE, and at times I felt like there was almost too much going on. Between Lenore overcoming her past, along with Gavin's supposed ruthlessness (and thus the need for demonstrations thereof), there was the mortal doctor that was a friend of Lenore's and the rogue vampires that were plaguing Gavin's lands. Add in a few deaths, a courtship, some mortal meddling mothers, and HIS RUTHLESS BITE covered all the bases of a vampiric historical romance.
In my opinion, all the other side stories seemed to melt away when Gavin and Lenore were together. Gavin's sweet and tender side was a delight to see, and the way he treated Lenore was a delightful contrast to what we knew of him from previous books. His overwhelming love for Lenore was adorable and though a bit like insta-love, as he got to know her, it got stronger and was more convincing. Lenore is spunky and brave, a true heroine who has some weaknesses to overcome, but does an admirable job of growing and evolving throughout the book. She is a perfect partner for Gavin, and I love how the two of them come together and realize that.
All in all, HIS RUTHLESS BITE is an excellent, engaging read. With a bit of suspense to keep the reader interested, and a good romantic plot line to make them swoon, it has something for everybody. Brooklyn Ann just keeps upping the bar with her Scandals With Bite series, and HIS RUTHLESS BITE is no exception!
Sexual content: Several sex scenes, references to rape ...more
Action-packed and fun, HEROINE COMPLEX is the superheroine story that I've been waiting for. Full of fun aReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
Action-packed and fun, HEROINE COMPLEX is the superheroine story that I've been waiting for. Full of fun and action, HEROINE COMPLEX has it all - demon fighting, a dramatic superhero, and a dab of romance to top it off!
One of the best things about HEROINE COMPLEX is its portrayal of female relationships. There's Evie and Aveda's relationship, that of boss and employee as well as best friends for years, there's Evie and Bea's relationship, that of sisters, as well as many others. This book definitely does a good job of showing females interacting without having to talk about guys (though the guys are sometimes the subject of conversation as well). What I liked best about it was that they all felt realistic, and it is nice to see, because even though there are a lot of strong female protagonists in urban fantasy, they are not frequently surrounded by women, like Evie is.
The other aspect of characterization that shone was the fact that the characters were all multi-faceted. Aveda was sometimes a bit of a drama queen, but she had her positives as well. She's kind of like that friend who you know has your back, even if sometimes they drive you up a wall. Kuhn did such a good job of giving those nuances to Aveda that it was totally believable.
Also, I just wanted to note: Evie's inner monologue while drunk was hysterical. That's all.
The overall plot arc, of fighting off the demons about to invade San Francisco, came off a bit thin. The big reveal at the end was somewhat ridiculous, but it still surprised me. In this case, it almost felt like the author was trying to make the book stretch longer, since the more dramatic climax had happened a chapter or so earlier. The sense of urgency was lost by the end and overall I was a little dissatisfied.
However, despite my complaints, overall I felt HEROINE COMPLEX is a great start to a series, and I can't wait to see who or what Evie and Aveda take on next!
Sexual content: Several mildly explicit sex scenes ...more
While I was reading Just One Damned Thing After Another, I couldn’t stop thinking of another writer: TerryReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
While I was reading Just One Damned Thing After Another, I couldn’t stop thinking of another writer: Terry Pratchett. That has to be one of the highest praise I can give a book, and that was when I was only a few chapters in. It pressed all the right geeky buttons, while still managing to keep up the suspense and danger inherent in travelling back in time to observe critical moments in history.
Max is a brilliant character, the kind of character you root for, faults and all. She’s incredibly bright, very observant, and can be, when it comes to guys, totally clueless. It’s so lovely to have a main character with “darker” bits in her past, who is able to mostly overcome it and be a fantastically fun person to follow. She has some brilliant ah-ha! moments that me almost cheering out loud.
I loved the concept of History (with a capital H) as something that fights back. Early on in the book, on what is supposed to be a simple hop back in time, Max almost accosts someone in the street, History will take care of anything that might disrupt the status quo, with violent efficiency. This is why all the historians do is observe, although they do take videos and eventually make holograms of the places they visit, rebranding them as very precise, very clever computer simulations for the public. The description of the dinosaur hologram, as they show it to researchers and scientists, was a fantastic bit of writing.
The writing was witty and fun, and kept making me smile page after page:
Even as I opened my mouth to ask, there was a small bang from the second floor and the windows rattled.
“Hold on,” said Chief Farell. “I’m duty officer this week and I want to see if the fire alarms fo off.”
“That’s good, isn’t it?” I said.
He sighed. “No, it just means they’ve taken the batteries out again.”
This really was my sort of place.
There were a few moments in the book where things truly took a dark turn, and they were that much more powerful for being contrasted with the funny bits. I did feel there were some very dark bits that weren’t strictly necessary, they didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book.
This is a reprinting of a book from 2013, which means there are another six (!!) books in the series already, which is super exciting. I hope things go smoother in the next book, but like the blurb says, historians, and Max especially, seem to be disaster magnets. I wonder if they were disaster magnets to begin with, or if messing with History makes you more prone to random dinosaur attacks and budget cuts?...more
BLOOD LUST is another excellent, bold, action-packed installment of The Sentinels series. I love when we are given the opportuAll Things Urban Fantasy
BLOOD LUST is another excellent, bold, action-packed installment of The Sentinels series. I love when we are given the opportunity to see interesting side characters from previous books get their own book. For BLOOD LUST we get Bas, a mysterious assassin who caught my eye earlier in this series. I liked how there was a role reversal of sorts with the man being left with a baby and the woman leaving only to return some years later. Bas comes off as a very dedicated and protective father which is an interesting contrast to his assassin career. Myst, the mother of Bas's daughter Molly, is a puzzle who's backstory is central to the riveting plot.
The conflict the had to overcome in their relationship was obvious. Who wouldn't be upset if the mother/father of your kid suddenly reappears after leaving for years without reasons. Luckily they do sit down and talk out the reasons for their emotions and actions which seemed pretty realistic. And as Myst actually explained her reasons for being essentially a 'dead-beat mom' I warmed up to her a lot and took back my 'dead-beat mom' thoughts!
Now, the book wasn't talking a dispensing of feelings. The plot revolves around a prophecy involving a humans-only cult who fear the powered individuals. As Bas and Myst try to rekindle their feelings they are thrown head first into a world ending plot full of close calls, twists, and tons of wonderfully tense moments that had me wondering if they'd make it in the end. In the midst of this plot Bas and Myst are able to rekindle their romance which was a touch too much of the insta-love trope. But they fit so well together that I didn't really mind.
BLOOD LUST was a very enjoyable read filled with action, suspense, and romance....more
AMBER FIRE, by Lisa Renee Jones, has left me with some really troubling questions, some of which I will trReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
AMBER FIRE, by Lisa Renee Jones, has left me with some really troubling questions, some of which I will try to answer for you.
Wouldn't a tribe of were-Jaguars do better settling in a place where wild jaguars actually lived, so that seeing a pride of them wouldn't be too weird?
Yeah that would be more subtle. I also think you should avoid living near the fabled origin place of your tribe, in case the secret cabal who murders your race without questions comes looking for you.
If half a dozen wild Jaguars had been spotted in the area, would a sane woman leave her group, drop her tranq gun and go skinny dipping in a pool... And then have sex with a stranger who doesn't even like her?
Maybe she's an idiot? No, she is leading an archaeological research team, so she has to be somewhat clever.
Wouldn't you find out if someone was part of an evil cabal hunting your kind before sleeping with them?
Likewise, if our hero thinks that she might kill him (especially if she sees his obvious "jaguar print" birth mark), why would he get naked with her under a waterfall? Wouldn’t that muddle things a bit?
Is a man questioning a woman's motives while having sex and gripping her throat not too rape-y?
Yeah, it’s way too rape-y and I was extremely uncomfortable with how OK she was with his method of questioning her.
Could this short story have had more than two pages before the mystery was ruined, and more than thirty pages before the first sex scene?
I read the Knights of White series by Lisa Renee Jones a few years ago, and it was fun, guilty-pleasure paranormal romance fluff. I’ve re-read that short series once or twice since then. This short story had nothing of the playfulness or even common sense of the Knights of White. This feels like a first draft with about 100 pages missing and some serious revision of both mythology and characters. AMBER FIRE was an utter disaster with predictable twists and a cop-out ending....more
There is a delicate balance that short stories need to strike, where readers need to know the characters eReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
There is a delicate balance that short stories need to strike, where readers need to know the characters enough to be invested in them, and need a decent conclusion to either the action or the romance (or both!) in order to work. That’s a lot to cram into a small format, and NIGHT SINS only manages to make you care about the characters. There were so many loose ends that I was frankly surprised by the last page turn.
I found Kayla a bit difficult to get to know, but by the end I liked her. As a Watcher, a concept which is kinda explained in the prologue, she is charged with protecting Las Vegas from the things that go bump in the night. She answers to a Council, who send her on miscellaneous assignments, but who don’t seem to offer her much in the way of support. Kayla does have some magic powers, but she seems to have little control over them and she gets completely short-circuited when she’s around Ethan, the vampire leader of Las Vegas, who owns many bars, clubs and casinos.
I liked Kayla and Ethan, but man, did they ever do some stupid, stupid things sometimes. Like Kayla walking into a strip club when her powers are empathy based, and then getting a bit too drunk and feeling so horny she had to be saved by Ethan; or Ethan and Kayla both receiving an address to investigate from each of their governing bodies, and still going in without checking it out first.
The writing wasn’t amazing; the characters’ flirtatious behaviour was called a “cat and mouse game” twice in three pages. The end of the book came so quick that if this had been a real paper book, I would’ve sworn someone had torn the final chapter out of the book. It just felt like nothing was resolved other than solving a relatively minor mystery and agreeing that they do like each other. If you mind a story with loose ends, maybe give this short story a pass....more
Extremely compelling, ROSES AND ROT is a book that grabbed me from the first few pages and didn't let go.Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
Extremely compelling, ROSES AND ROT is a book that grabbed me from the first few pages and didn't let go. This is a book that kept me up late, that I read in one sitting. It simultaneously drags the reader to keep turning the pages but also manages to feel like a languid, meandering walk that you wish could last forever.
A lot goes on in ROSES AND ROT. Howard manages to weave together multiple storylines without missing a beat in any of them. Relationships are key, and toxic mother-daughter relationships reign supreme. Despite the sometimes awful subject matter, Howard has a writing style that makes the whole book flow like a song. This is a book that manages to be both beautiful and terrifying at the same time - and sometimes the beauty is all the more lovely for the terror.
Writing this review has been extremely difficult, because to go into any details would spoil the reveal for the reader, and I wouldn't want to do that. Nevertheless, ROSES AND ROT is a wonderful standalone (so rare these days!) novel, with echoes of fairy tales, difficult choices, sisterly love, and spectacular writing.
Sexual content: References to sex, very brief, abstract sex scenes ...more
THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY was nothing like what I expected it to be. Fun and quirky, Cogman has created an intReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY was nothing like what I expected it to be. Fun and quirky, Cogman has created an interesting universe full of drama and excitement. With multiple alternate worlds, book-stealing spies, and dragons, there's really something here for everyone!
THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY stars Irene and Kai, a Librarian and studying to be Librarian, who are sent to an alternate London with vampires, werewolves, and a very steampunk feel to steal a book of Grimm's fairy tales. Needless to say, this isn't an easy operation. There's a detective story feel to it, what with the mystery of the missing book, and Irene and Kai almost immediately meet a private investigator who they work with.
I really enjoyed Irene and Kai, and their interactions with the people around them. Kai especially is fun to decipher, and I never would have guessed the twist that came with his storyline. Irene is interesting, but one thing that bothered me was the fact that it seemed that sometimes she was having certain revelations about the Library for the first time. Since she grew up around the Library and has been working for it for a while, I would have hoped she'd already have had some of the thoughts she had in this book. But she did grow and learn, so that was satisfying to watch.
THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY really is a book that encompasses multiple genres (mystery, urban fantasy, steampunk) and is a very enjoyable read. There's lots of twists and turns, and the world-building is very well done. I recommend this one to anybody who likes a good action-packed romp that revolves around books!
THE QUEEN'S DANCE is wonderfully funny and craftily written paranormal romance involving my fourth favorite paranormal animal,All Things Urban Fantasy
THE QUEEN'S DANCE is wonderfully funny and craftily written paranormal romance involving my fourth favorite paranormal animal, dragons. I really enjoyed this book and the world building is fascinating. I loved how dragons live with humans as rock stars and and other highly visible occupations and their society with dragon queens and studs is pretty unique (and oh so very political). Each book in this series involves a new queen emerging and each dragon has a unique ability. I loved how the dragons are all pulled from various dragon mythologies from Celtic to Chinese and various sea serpents.
With Margery we get her story of dealing with being a queen on top of her investigation of some shady dealings involving drugs and dragons and her romance with Remy. There are some interesting twists in the drug plot that were pretty great though I was a little confused about the players at times. I liked that we are introduced to Margery a few years after she 'emerges' and finds out she is a queen dragon. By doing this we get a person who isn't completely panicked about having scales and wings but is still new enough to be a bit naive about dragon politics. Margery is a pretty tough character and I really admired that she wanted to continue being a reporter despite her dragon complications. Remy is such a sweet dragon and I kept wanting to give him a hug each time he felt bad about not being a winged dragon. Their relationship was a really sweet one especially after they figured out the whole mating between a sea serpent and sky dragon...
I adore having some humor and quirky characters in books and this was right up my alley. I always have difficulty imagining just how dragons talk in dragon form but it's fun to imagine what they look. THE QUEEN'S DANCE has it all; humor, action, suspense, romance and I can't wait to discover the new emerging queens in future books....more
BORDERLINE, by Mishell Baker, is a strange book, and I was never quite sure what it was trying to be; seriReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
BORDERLINE, by Mishell Baker, is a strange book, and I was never quite sure what it was trying to be; serious exploration of mental health disorders in a fantasy setting, a love letter to Hollywood, a dark fantasy world occasionally peppered with clever observation? The main character was super engaging (if not always particularly likeable), but the urban fantasy part left me wanting more.
This book feature an excellent portrayal of someone with borderline personality disorder. As someone who has been in therapy following her failed suicide attempt, Millie is equipped with all the right words to describe what she is feeling, and can often identify, if not stop, when she reacts in ways that don’t quite fit the “normal” standards. For example, she tends to see everything in black and white: things are great, or they are a disaster; someone is an angel, or the worst person in the world.
Unfortunately, all of the other characters’ mental health issues were much less well defined, and most of them came across as unnecessarily aggressive. If I was moving into a shared house with them, I would move out the next day. There was also the unbelievable fact that no one told Millie any of the rules of the house before she broke them, but then held her accountable for breaking them. I could have let this issue go the first time, but when they make her feel bad about taking a painkiller on her first night in the house, before they had told her she couldn’t keep “addicting substances in the house”, I just had to shake my head.
The fairy lore was interesting, and Millie’s special circumstances (all the metal bits holding her together post-accident) make her a powerful player, but I was always waiting for the fairy stuff to tie into the mental health stuff. Fairies and fairy magic is heavily tied to creative genius and mental well being, and I thought perhaps chemical imbalances were a way to see past fairy glamour or something. When the reason for only hiring people with mental health issues was revealed, it was a major let down.
I found that the “wacky set of characters living in a shared house doing something secret in order to safeguard the world” stuff was predictable, as were the bad guys and the resolution. I really liked reading about the daily struggles of someone with BPD, but the unoriginal urban fantasy plot left me unimpressed. I am curious to see how Millie gets on in the next book, but will only pick it up if the synopsis promises a whole new set of secondary characters....more
MUCH OF MADNESS wraps you up in a magical world full of mystery and suspense. I really enjoyed this story although my one issAll Things Urban Fantasy
MUCH OF MADNESS wraps you up in a magical world full of mystery and suspense. I really enjoyed this story although my one issue was that I kept feeling like I was missing some key information that was covered in a previous book which is odd since this is the first book in a series. I understand why certain plot points were kept hidden to keep up the suspense, it just made for a confusing read for a section of the story until everything was revealed.
Aside from that confusion the story really kept me entertained and captivated with interesting supernatural characters including a sin-eater, curse breaker, spell caster, and djinn. They all felt pretty repeatable and were pretty funny together. I enjoyed seeing the story of how Seraphina and Finn became cursed and how that curse connected to the rest of the cast of characters in some way. It was a really clever way the story threads were brought together so slowly leading up to a surprising reveal. I also really enjoyed how the relationship between Seraphina, Finn, and Marceau did not turn into some sort of love triangle. Finn is her Seraphina's dear friend who really cares for her and does have some issues with Marceau not due to some unrequited love but do to his platonic love for her. The budding romance between Seraphina and Marceau is sweet and very chaste.
MUCH OF MADNESS is a wonderfully slow burn with magic, strong friendships, curses, and even a touch of time travel. The ending of the book includes some fascinating paranormal changes for our characters that I am interested in seeing evolve in the next book....more
I probably would have enjoyed BOUND much more had I read GUARDED, as it took awhile for me to finally getReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
I probably would have enjoyed BOUND much more had I read GUARDED, as it took awhile for me to finally get comfortable with who is who and what was happening and why. Absolute confusion slowly turned into a somewhat comfortable read as we start to follow Florian, a vampire connected to a werewolf pack. I liked the dynamics between Florian and his pack. They seemed like a fun group of people to hang out with and they definitely know how to party.
Florian has a lot on his plate in this story dealing with his loyalty to his new pack and the whole being a vampire thing and all that entails. I liked watching him deal with his darker urges and figuring out just where he stands in his relationships. As is to be expected of a story involving bloodsucking vampires there is a lot of blood and violence. His relationship to his pack and his sire become even more complicated with the burgeoning feelings for Keely, a female alpha wolf he meets in an attempt to get their packs to merge.
BOUND is a fun, sexy urban fantasy with lots of violence, a dash of humor, and some romance which are the exact ingredients for a pretty darn good urban fantasy story. Again, I'd recommend reading the first book as it would probably make the beginning of BOUND less confusing and hard to get through....more
A solid ghost story with a fun mystery, GOTHAM ACADEMY VOL 2: CALAMITY is a fun read, building upon GOTHAMReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
A solid ghost story with a fun mystery, GOTHAM ACADEMY VOL 2: CALAMITY is a fun read, building upon GOTHAM ACADEMY VOL 1: WELCOME TO GOTHAM ACADEMY. This is a comic I'm going to follow for as long as its around - the art is great, the writing is clever, and the characters are all ones I want to get to know.
With the death of Olive's mother, there's a new mystery for the gang to solve. While it wouldn't be difficult to jump in to this series at this volume, I'd definitely recommend WELCOME TO GOTHAM ACADEMY for the back story. But with the secret passages, Olive's memory gaps, and the possible werewolf around campus, plus the field trip to discover more about Calamity, a villain with possible ties to Olive's family, there's plenty to keep a new reader occupied. I know I couldn't stop myself from reading the entire volume in one sitting, as it had me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know what would happen next!
Full of action and fun, this is a perfect young adult graphic novel, and fun for adults too - with the subtle Batman references sure to delight any comic book lover. Definitely worth the time, it's a delight to read and enjoy!
Marie Brennan has created a literary banquet in the Lady Trent series, with IN THE LABYRINTH OF DRAKES as the piece de resistance. A delicate blend ofMarie Brennan has created a literary banquet in the Lady Trent series, with IN THE LABYRINTH OF DRAKES as the piece de resistance. A delicate blend of science, romance, and adventure, this is a book readers will sigh, smile, and clasp to their chests when they're done.
A love song to scientific discovery, personal fortitude, and the romance of discovering an unknown world, IN THE LABYRINTH OF DRAKES brought back all of the excitement of our own world's "ancient history" with a dollop of magic to make things interesting. Alongside a familiar layer of pseudo-British history, culture, and prejudices is the very real mystery of draconic biology. Fans of the series will find long hoped for personal and professional milestones for Isabella, as well as the familiar physical graces that make these books a must have on the shelf (gorgeous illustrations and presentation).
I finished book three in this series, THE VOYAGE OF THE BASILISK, thinking it was my favorite Lady Trent book to date, and now I find myself saying the same about IN THE LABYRINTH OF DRAKES. This is a series that just gets better and better, and hopefully with no end in sight.
CONSPIRACY BOY is not the most amazing, most original young adult paranormal novel you'll ever read. HowevReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
CONSPIRACY BOY is not the most amazing, most original young adult paranormal novel you'll ever read. However, if you don't go in expecting the next big thing, you're going to be extremely satisfied. It's a fun, action-filled read. And while White doesn't break any molds, she definitely makes things interesting.
With the nearly three year gap in between when the first Angel Academy book, PROPHECY GIRL, was published and now, it was almost as if I had never read the first book in the series. While I remembered enjoying it, the details were definitely fuzzy. I do know that CONSPIRACY BOY felt like PROPHECY GIRL though, with lots of action right from the start, and plot twists galore. Though I sometimes felt as if I was missing some nuances to the story because of my lack of recollection of the first book, for the most part White did a pretty good job of reminding the reader who the various characters were.
Though there wasn't as much of the romantic aspect to this book as there was in PROPHECY GIRL, there was still some elements, and I enjoyed the twists that White threw into Jackson and Amelie's relationship. In fact, her relationships and the changes they went through with the various other characters in the book were some of the most interesting aspects to the plot. Fight scenes are fight scenes, but relationships are harder to convey, and White does a good job of communicating the relationships Amelie has with the other characters, despite us only knowing what's going on in Amelie's head.
At the end of the day, CONSPIRACY BOY is, in my opinion, fluff. Great, fun, exciting fluff, but fluff nonetheless. Learning about Amelie and her various exploits is certainly enjoyable, and I definitely don't regret the few hours I spent reading this book. It has all the elements you'd expect from a paranormal young adult novel, with the super-powered kick-ass heroine, her sexy boyfriend, a prophecy that needs to be fulfilled, and plenty of fight scenes. I do plan on continuing this series, and I sincerely hope that it doesn't take another three years to get the next installment!!
Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex ...more
After ALL SPELLS BREAK LOOSE, I fully expected never to read another Raine Benares book again. Lucky for uReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
After ALL SPELLS BREAK LOOSE, I fully expected never to read another Raine Benares book again. Lucky for us, Shearin decided to self-publish more in the series! WEDDING BELLS, MAGIC SPELLS follows almost immediately after the events in ALL SPELLS BREAK LOOSE, and follows the same formula as other books in the series - successfully, I might add.
I'll be honest - it has been a few years since I last visited Raine's world, and my details on what happened the first six books were kind of sketchy. Luckily, Shearin did manage to fit in recaps of previous events and quick rundowns on who everybody was, which worked out well for my failing memory. They would also help a reader who didn't read the first six books be able to jump into this series. Since this is mostly a brand new story arc, I think WEDDING BELLS, MAGIC SPELLS would be a good place for a new reader to start (though I recommend reading the first books if you have the time).
That being said, there was quite a bit of recap, and not as much action as previous Shearin books. I'm not sure if one was a result of the other, but even though I felt Raine was in danger some of the time, the danger didn't feel as immediate as it had in previous books in the series. This book is clearly setting up a bigger conflict to come - and ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. One other disappointing thing was the small amount of time we got to spend with some of the characters, like Raine's father and Tam (gah do I love me some Tam!).
Overall, WEDDING BELLS, MAGIC SPELLS is a satisfying continuation of the Raine Benares series, and I loved being able to jump back into that world. With all the humor and wit that we're used to, Raine continues to be a charismatic heroine who is easy to love and read about. The plot twists and turns are unexpected, and we get to see almost all the Raine's group of friends we've come to know over the course of the series. I can't wait to see where Shearin takes the series next!
I initially really liked the main characters in PHOENIX RISING, a short story in the Alpha Pack series. UnReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
I initially really liked the main characters in PHOENIX RISING, a short story in the Alpha Pack series. Unfortunately, I disliked almost everything else about the story: pacing, foreshadowing, the villain, the mythology, the stereotypical homophobia...
Phoenix "Nix" is one of the enforcers in Alpha Pack, a group that protects the world from demons, and miscellaneous evils. He is a lean, mean, lupine killing machine with a seriously messed up background. So messed up, actually, that it was ridiculously gimmicky when his past caught up with him. The timing was so forced I just had to roll my eyes aggressively.
Noah, a human nurse from the hospital who cares for injured shifters and magical beings, is a likable, fun characters. He is upset because although Nix has acknowledges that he is his mate, Nix refuses to be seen in public with, and much less mate with him. Noah interested me at first, being vulnerable but determined to prove himself to his pack, but then his actions at the end were so out of place that I lost all love for the character.
The villain was one-dimensional, and the fight with him advanced nothing, plot-wise. Readers knew he wasn't going to be defeated in the events of this short story, and especially when characters can teleport at will, it was clear that he was going to escape as soon as the going got too tough. The big battle was totally anti-climactic.
Other characters' powers were just as annoying and we're just cop outs to override the need for proper foreshadowing and storytelling. One character in particular can see the future but can't alter it, and spouts off warnings to the main characters: dark times are coming for you, you will have to believe in him and his abilities, bla bla bla. To make matters worse, Nix also mentions when he visited a voodoo witch who told him about his special powers, which were ridiculous. Psychics have their place, but spoiling the story is not the point.
Overall this was a book with good erotic scenes, okay romantic scenes and very little else gluing this ridiculously short story together....more
LOVE THE ONE YOU'RE WITCH is a clever witchy mystery centered around a rather complicated romance that almReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
LOVE THE ONE YOU'RE WITCH is a clever witchy mystery centered around a rather complicated romance that almost took on soap opera like proportions in its dramatic reveals and complex relationship issues. The story is light and an easy read with its fast pacing and amusing plot revolving around a love spell gone wrong. I loved the romantic comedy element of the plot with the love spell and the relationship development between Anastasia and Lucas which felt like it actually hit a few beats I've seen in so many romantic comedies.
Anastasia is a sassy, smart witch and I enjoyed her dry sense of humor especially in regards to the vampires she is forced to deal with. Lucas is the typical dark, brooding vampire hero. There is the classic insta-love that goes on and it was funny to see Anastasia try to deny her attraction to *gasp* a vampire. I enjoyed their dynamic and again this book is high on the humor level so there are tons of snarky quips between these two throughout the story.
When the villain was finally revealed it was sort of an obvious choice and I commend the book on not having me guess it right off the bat. I was probably distracted by the humor and the interactions of the characters. Since this is the first in a series I assume more of the secondary characters will be fleshed out as so many of them are very interesting and I want to learn more about them.
The world of Rhiannon Held's Silver series is seen through its characters, the shift of point of view is wReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
The world of Rhiannon Held's Silver series is seen through its characters, the shift of point of view is what paints mythology and plot. This means the story has to do more than follow our Urban Fantasy heroine, and Silver shares the stage with various likable and unlikable characters.
While I have always had issues when the POV changes from Silver to some of my less favorite characters, WOLFSBANE adds a new twist to the usual intertwining perspectives. The main story is split into several concurrent dreams, each following an alternate timeline. So not only does the story shift from character to character, but multiple "versions" of the characters exist in the dreams. As per usual, it is Silver's perspective that I wanted to read the most, with Dare a distant second, making each shift between narrative threads an annoyance at first. WOLFSBANE also firmly establishes bisexuality as a prevalent and accepted part of werewolf culture, even if their mating practices vary from pack to pack.
The Silver series contains many familiar Urban Fantasy tropes, but always with a twist. Rather than putting a spotlight on Silver's unique, magical snowflake life the narrative follows a full palette of characters, each with strengths and weaknesses that kept me guessing. Though this writing style can be bumpy for me, this series is one I'll always be excited to return to.
Sexual content: References to sex and non-explicit sex scenes ...more