Every small glimpse each episode of Bookburners gives us into the past of the various characters is like aReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
Every small glimpse each episode of Bookburners gives us into the past of the various characters is like a little treat for me, and in this episode, after getting a bit of Liam's past in the previous episode, focused on Asanti, who easily is my favorite character.
DEBTOR'S PRISON fits the typical bill of a Bookburners episode, offering a bit of fun, a bit of mystery, and even a bit of politics. Though this episode wrapped up in a rather strange, rather quick, way, the lead up to the climax was just as interesting as the actual fight at the end.
DEBTOR'S PRISON was funny, so much so that I laughed out loud at certain moments, and I was happy to be back in the Bookburners world. Every episode seems to open another door to possibilities, but without leaving the reader hanging. All of the options to explore just make the world seem that much richer.
I am super behind on my reviews of Season 2 so far, but that means you could go ahead and binge read up to episode 10! Let me tell you, it's totally worth it!
A fun mixing of magic and technology, GHOSTS is one of the more interesting episodes of this season of BooReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
A fun mixing of magic and technology, GHOSTS is one of the more interesting episodes of this season of Bookburners yet.
There's a lot packed into this episode, and I enjoyed the way that doors were opened for further future discoveries about the team members' pasts, especially Liam's. Though this episode seemed to reference some events of the previous season, I wasn't ever lost or confused, I was always able to keep track of what was going on.
The mixing of the magical and the technological is something that was very interesting, and I'd love to see more of that in future episodes. The magic in the Bookburners world is fascinating, and I enjoy it's evolution and learning about it as the team learns about it.
If any complaints, this episode was, to me, not as witty as previous episodes, but that did not detract from my enjoyment of it.
All in all, this was, as always, an enjoyable jaunt through the Bookburners universe.
I fell in love with Jemm, the main characters, from the first few pages of the book. She’s strong, she’s worried about her family and she wants a better life for them. She wants to follow her dreams, but the same sport that is putting food on their table is the one their mother claims killed her father. Oh, and girls aren’t allowed to play bahja, a kind of sensory-deprived fencing/martial art/yoga. Oops.
The story of the girl dressed as a boy, updated, in space! I also appreciated that unlike many of these stories, the other main character, Klark, catches on early in the book, making it their secret to protect rather than her versus him. It was a pleasant change of pace and really helped raise the stakes: he was not another victim of her deceit, he was her co-conspirator. He wasn’t just training a hot new talent, he was training a woman he was learning to love.
One of the best things about this book was the way the three planets the action took place on we're so different. The cramped, dirty, dome-covered planet of Barésh felt claustrophobic and dangerous. We could understand why Jemm would do anything to escape it. There are dirty children everywhere, crime and corruption are constant, and the poor die of things the rich get cured in an instant. Still, Klark’s world is no less dangerous, if more comfortable; every move is being watched and calculated, women have less power than on Barésh, and your mistakes are not only your own, they shame your whole family. The tropical planet where Jemm and Klark train was lush and felt like a perfect hideaway, one they knew was only a reprieve from the real world of competition and backstabbing.
THE CHAMPION OF BARÉSH is related to other books in the previous series, but is isolated enough that you don’t need to have read them. Even without knowing the full story, I knew that Earth was a new player, that the in-fighting of the noble families was serious business and that the universe can be a harsh, unfair world.
The romance between the two characters evolves slowly, at first confusingly because he thinks she’s a boy, then hesitantly because he’s the team’s owner and he trains them as well. They almost tumble into it, and as a reader you’re just cheering for them to just get it sorted!
Susan Grant’s books always make me happy when I read them. The worldbuilding is top notch, the characters feel alive and real, and I always end up thinking about them for days after I finish them. I have re-read MOONSTRUCK and CONTACT so many times, I nearly know them by heart, and I still enjoy them fully every time. I’m adding THE CHAMPION OF BARÉSH to my short list of science-fiction romance favourites!...more
THE GRACES pulled me in with its intriguing description and lovely cover, but ultimately didn't deliver. TReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
THE GRACES pulled me in with its intriguing description and lovely cover, but ultimately didn't deliver. Though the writing was lovely, the plot wasn't as good as it could have been and the ending was, to me, a complete let down.
One thing THE GRACES has going for it was that it was a compelling read. I had a hard time putting the book down. Unfortunately, the ending didn't live up to the rest of the book. The last quarter or so was frustrating and a little confusing. Part of this is due to the fact that River is an unreliable narrator, in that she clearly isn't always telling the truth, or the whole truth. Sometimes that works, and sometimes that doesn't. In this case, I don't feel it worked very well.
Though compelling, for a large portion of the book, I didn't feel like lots happened. It flowed well, and was easy to read quickly, but the events of the book didn't inspire many feelings in me. Mostly, I just wanted to know what was going on. I was mainly curious to find out what the ending was, because I wanted to know how the author was going to tie everything up. Part of the reason is that I never felt like I was fully immersed in the world, more like I was watching everything going from afar. I think this was because River was never completely divulging all the information the reader would need to make sense of some things, always leaving the reader wanting.
Though THE GRACES might work for another reader, for me I just felt "meh" after I finished it. I was disappointed by the ending and I don't think I would pick up the next book in this series.
Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex ...more
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!
CITY OF WOLVES is an enjoyable novella. I loved the main character, the sense of humor, and the world builReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
CITY OF WOLVES is an enjoyable novella. I loved the main character, the sense of humor, and the world building, but I felt there were some aspects that were unnecessary and distracting, something which is all the more obvious in a novella length piece, where every word counts.
CITY OF WOLVES is described by Tor.com as "gaslamp, fantasy noir" and it definitely fits those genres.The world that Alexander Drake inhabits in CITY OF WOLVES comes off as rather dark and dingy. Drake is an excellent narrator, and the whole thing reads a bit as a hardboiled detective novel would. Except with werewolves!
There was one major scene that was a bit out of place for me though. It introduced a character who didn't actually appear to move the plot along, and instead I was left a bit confused as to why the scene was included. Especially because to me, the ending felt a bit rushed.
CITY OF WOLVES introduced me to a new, interesting world, and Alexander Drake is definitely a character I would be interested in reading more about. However, CITY OF WOLVES makes an excellent stand alone novella, and is a nice, short, entertaining read.
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
Although the back blurb says Vikings are the new Vampires, I’m not sure that’s true. I’ve seen quite a fewReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
Although the back blurb says Vikings are the new Vampires, I’m not sure that’s true. I’ve seen quite a few viking books in the last year, but whereas vampires are easy to incorporate into stories (you can make up your mythology as you go if you need to), vikings are more confined by their link to specific geographical locations and religious backgrounds.
The mythology really didn’t work for me. The vikings and valkyries are fighting injustice and evil probably sent by Loki. That part isn’t super clear, and instead of getting direct help from the gods, the warriors are forced to search the “darknet” for rumors of nefarious new developements, like this was a 1998 hacker direct to tv movie. It’s 2016 - are people still using “the deep web” as a term? Do they mean anonymous boards? And how do they get high speed internet in a secret compound in the middle of the forest that is so off the beaten track that it’s not even supposed to be there?
The mythology and the plot were a bit flaky, which is unfortunate because the characters were extremely solid and interesting: Astrid and Luke are both great and I loved all the hoops their relationship had to jump through in order to get realized.
I am not usually a fan of relationships that are wholly built on lies, but there are good reasons for the things Astrid and Luke are not telling each other. They don’t even know if they are on the same team for part of the book; Luke is the owner of a shady nightclub that may or may not have ties to people who traffick sex slaves. That would make any girl think twice about telling their truth about her origin and her true age (which is up there in the hundreds).
The other warriors are worried about Astrid, whose “berserker” lies closer to the surface than the others’; she is less predictable, less of a team player than the other (mostly) men, but she is no less of a warrior. She has been training as hard and long as them, and she knows she can take them. Her semi-tragic background only adds to the character, and felt like a real origin story and not a sob story added in for pity points.
This was a difficult book to rate; I didn’t care about the overarching plot or the specific rescue that takes place, but I desperately wanted to learn more about the main characters, and even the secondary characters were appealing. I’d love to learn more about them, but I’m not sure I want to have to read about more gods arguing in the background to do it....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
With a violent killer on the loose who targets young shifter girls, Lindi Parker has to accept help from aReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
With a violent killer on the loose who targets young shifter girls, Lindi Parker has to accept help from all sides, even if that means sharing her deepest secret with the very shifters who are tasked with killing her kind. Lindi is a truly different heroine, one who battles her cold, scaly side with the human side her adoptive parents have taught her to emulate; it’s a daily battle between nature and nurture, and it’s a battle she can’t afford to lose even for a second.
Were-snakes are a rare breed in shapeshifter fiction, and UNDER HER SKIN takes advantage of that to make their powers truly unique, even within the world of the book. Were-snakes, or lamia, are so feared because they are incredibly powerful, able to shift in ways no other type of shifter can. That, combined with their cold-blooded violence and their difficulty living in groups, has contributed to being hunted nearly to extinction by the other shapeshifters, especially the were-mongeese.
That’s right, this book has were-mongeese too, as if were-snakes were not awesome enough. Love it! Dr. Kade is part of the Council, is a trusted member of the shifter community, and his romance with Lindi is smoking hot. They aren’t always on the same page, but with conflicts of interest and more and more young shifters being taken from their homes, they work together through it. As he shows her more and more what she has been missing by growing up without a shifter family, they get closer and it is great to see their relationship develop.
These are homespun kind of shapeshifters. Their Council meets in a regular houses, and their leader is a retired school teacher/were-badger. They have a team of protectors who police and guard the shapeshifters, but most of the clans protect their own.
Lindi never had a clan, and being around so many shapeshifters is difficult and strange for her. She’s never been able to share her shifter side with anyone but her adoptive mother and father (who luckily is a herpetologist who knew how to care for her when she was in snake form). There is a touching scene where Lindi curls up in a tank with an albino boa called Suzy, which shows how lonely - but not unhappy - her life has been up to now.
I truly hope this is the beginning of a series. There are so many interesting things that happen by the end of the book that it’s left me wanting more. I didn’t feel like there were loose ends that weren’t resolved, but there was so much more for Lindi to learn about her new world, and so much more good she could do, both as a shifter and a children’s counsellor, that I want more....more
Process nerds will find much to love and hate in the latest Anita Blake installment. While readers may tune in to solve a crime spree, that promised pProcess nerds will find much to love and hate in the latest Anita Blake installment. While readers may tune in to solve a crime spree, that promised police procedure never materializes. Rather, CRIMSON DEATH offers an unexpected love song to therapy, to the rewards of the hard work required to maintain relationships both romantic and otherwise. For the first time in a long, long time, it is the relationship side of Anita's story that offers progress and hope.
As with many of the later Anita Blake books, CRIMSON DEATH proves that it is possible to have too much of a good thing. All the care once lavished on which color Nike swoosh graced the side of Anita's shoes now makes every chance conversation a social lesson, each walk down the hallway a roll call of body guards, lovers, and bystanders, each lavishly described regardless of their importance. By this point in the series, I'm used to tuning out when someone becomes the "voice of intolerance", or when a soliloquy on relationship hygiene is on the horizon. Anita and her honeys have grown a lot, however, which means their interactions have become less needlessly fraught. The Circus and police stations are always filled with someone who has issues, though, so don't expect to escape without a half dozen jealous outbursts or sexist confrontations.
Damian and Nathaniel's interactions were legitimately interesting, but the central police plot of CRIMSON DEATH never resolved to a meaningful payoff. Much of this book is sifting through chaff, but the core character interactions leave me with hope. Anita and her significant others have happily ever afters on the horizon, hard won and well deserved. I like peeking in to the series to see how my favorite characters have grown and changed, but I wish I didn't have to tune out so much noise to get to the meaningful heart of the story.
Sexual Content: Sex scenes, references to rape....more
These stories ranged from cute and fun to kind of okay. This is the last anthology for The Otherworld Stories andReviewed by All Things Urban Fantasy
These stories ranged from cute and fun to kind of okay. This is the last anthology for The Otherworld Stories and I liked seeing one last glimpse into these characters lives.
This is Nick's story and takes place after Women of the Otherworld's THIRTEEN. I liked being in Nick's POV as he is a wonderfully beta werewolf and a real ladies man. By ladies man I mean sex seems to just happen to him which I find hilarious. The actual story,beyond Nick's life being a porno, is about Malcolm being an ever present threat as they try to catch him. While there were some fights and chasing there was a bit too much telling rather than showing and exposition. The romance between Nick and Vanessa was not that interesting and kind of bland. Malcolm continues to be absolutely terrifying which is why I didn't completely write of this story because just the sheer knowledge that he exists in this story is what kept the tension up.
This is half-demon Hope and werewolf Karl's story of how the met. It's a heist story in a museum and I thought it was pretty cute how they eventually worked together. I really enjoyed seeing into Hope's chaos visions and how the visions help her and Karl get out of and into certain situations.
This is necromancer Jamie's story with Jeremy coming by to support and help her during reality show taking place in a haunted house. I love her relationship with Jeremy as its very mature and playful. The story involves ghosts, weird sets, and a who-dun-it sort of mystery. This was one of my favorite stories as it was not only kind of creepy but charming and fun.
SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD
This was a surprise to me as it is about vampires Cassandra and Zoe who were characters who never got a full story in the Women of the Otherworld series. They were always side characters or featured in other short stories so there was no real excitement or connection to them like any of the other characters in these stories. It was a nice way to get to know Cassandra a bit better but the story was not that interesting and very, very short.
This is Eve Levine's (the witch/ghost/angel/demon of the series) story. I loved seeing the after-life realm Eve exists in and how it functions. It's basically all about Eve being bored and how Kristoff find her something fun and a bit dangerous to do. I've always liked Eve as she is kind of a wild card in this series. The plot for this story was a nice little adventure with some fascinating creatures and turns.
THE PUPPY PLAN
This was a sweet, adorable story from the POV of Logan, one of Elena and Clay's twins. Logan is trying to get his sister a Christmas gift and get around his parents saying they can't have a puppy. I enjoyed seeing Elena and Clay from the perspective of being mom and dad. The story was fun and including a cute puppy is always going to make me like it even more.
This is Paige's story and ties up some loose ends in regards to how the cabal will function in the future and gives us a glance at what Savannah is doing. The plot is all about pregnancy and the different perspectives on it and babies. I did not enjoy the outcome of this one as it essentially involved Paige being forced into a situation she didn't particularly want or have a choice in. I felt like it was a violation of her agency and a happily ever after doesn't have to end in babies all the time....more
THE MASKED CITY is an excellent follow-up to THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY, if a bit different. Whereas I would haReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
THE MASKED CITY is an excellent follow-up to THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY, if a bit different. Whereas I would have described THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY as a mystery, THE MASKED CITY skips the mystery part and goes straight into spy thriller-esque action.
Almost immediately, Irene figures out who's behind Kai's abduction and manages to rally the forces, as it were, to rescue him. She knows where he is, and she has a way of getting to that place. After that, THE MASKED CITY introduces us to a new world in the Invisible Library universe, and leaves us holding our breath and hoping Irene doesn't run into any danger in her quest. But what fun would a book be without a little danger?
Obviously, one knows the protagonists are going to come out ahead in the end. How much ahead is the question. In THE MASKED CITY I genuinely feared for Irene - I wondered what the outcome would be. There were several ways her plan could diverge and the options offered the tense, sitting on the edge of my seat type reading experience. Irene continues to be a strong lead, flawed, but still loyal to her friends and to the library, despite all of the circumstances she is placed in. Her small shows of emotion are an interesting contrast to her mostly stoic demeanor, and I appreciated the glimpse into deeper into her personality. We don't see much of Kai in this book, and that was a bit sad, and I hope he plays a larger part in the next book.
The world of the Invisible Library series continues to grow and fascinate. The fae chaos versus the dragon order in the various worlds, with the Library a neutral actor in between them both is an interesting set-up, and we get to learn more about it in THE MASKED CITY, especially about some specific dragons and fae.
All in all, I definitely recommend THE MASKED CITY. While I would say you could probably read it without reading THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY, I also loved THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY and recommend that one as well, so give them both a try!
Sexual content: Very vague references to sex...more
I will admit it: I started reading DEJA WHO solely because it is set in Chicago. But I continued reading iReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
I will admit it: I started reading DEJA WHO solely because it is set in Chicago. But I continued reading it for the originality, the wit, and the mystery. First in a new series, DEJA WHO is a huge departure for Davidson after the 15 book Undead series. Focusing on the prickly Leah, an Insighter, somebody who can see people's past lives, the world is creative and original, the romance is sweet, and the mystery is nothing too scary.
Leah grabbed me from the beginning. She's snarky, a bit dark, and she sees people's past lives! In a world where knowing about your past lives is common, she's an in-demand commodity. But she's also trying to break the cycle of being murdered she has in every life. That's how she comes across Archer, the PI. Archer is sweet, and sensitive, almost Leah's opposite, and they make a wonderful couple. Another stand-out character is Cat, Leah's pretty much only friend, who has such a hysterical back-story I was laughing out loud reading it.
In terms of mystery, DEJA WHO isn't the most suspenseful or thrilling, but as urban fantasy with romantic undertones, it works very well. And honestly, the mystery was just at the right level for me, since I wasn't going into this looking for romantic suspense. The world is like nothing I've read before, since the idea of everybody having past lives and recalling them is super different than most urban fantasy. DEJA WHO, for me, is a keeper.
One thing about DEJA WHO that some readers may not like is the slightly strange writing style. There are frequent parenthetical asides, italicized, meant to tell the reader what the character is thinking. They are split off into separate paragraphs. It's an interesting way of writing the character's thoughts, because it's sometimes almost like the character is thinking one thing and then interrupts their own thoughts. It took a little while to get used to, but I definitely didn't mind it once I was used to it.
All in all, the first book in the Insighter series is a fun, worthwhile, read. I would definitely recommend DEJA WHO, and I know I will be desperately waiting for book two in the series!
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
CURIODDITY starts a bit slowly, like a strange roller coaster. It's a sluggish start, if well written, higReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
CURIODDITY starts a bit slowly, like a strange roller coaster. It's a sluggish start, if well written, highlighting just how boring Wil’s life is at the beginning of the book. Luckily, we quickly nosedive into the action when it starts. I read the first thirty percent of the book in a few days, and the rest in a frenzied seventy-five minutes of madness.
Wil’s life has been a predictable, dull, and slightly mushroom-flavoured. He lives in a small, dull apartment, walks to a small, dull office, and he can barely afford either of them. Since the death of his eccentric mother, his father has smothered all imaginative thoughts and Wil has now fully embraced that he will never do anything exciting ever.
Until a Monday morning when it all changes.
Mad characters start popping into his life, as well as multiple cranial injuries.
The nonsense is fabulous in this book because it isn't just nonsense for the sake of making the world wacky: each and every little thing is sorted or important, or at least explained a little bit by the end. Readers still don't know how the box of levity or the lightning catcher work, although I imagine not even the director of the Museum of Curriodity knows that. When the nonsense really hits the fan, it all comes together beautifully.
The writing is what brought it up to a four bat book. When Wil stumbles into a bazaar, I could almost smell the pastries and spices. There a lots of humorous little jabs at modern life, and as Wil’s dull, drab life crumbles around him, the descriptions and humour get more and more fun. By the end, you don’t know what to expect and it’s fabulous.
Add to that a legitimately charming romance, a larger than life super-villain, time-traveling electronics and a wonderful sense of whimsy,and CURIODDITY is a fun scifi/fantasy romp by an author I’ll be checking up on....more
The best part of MYTHIC, VOLUME 1 was the prologue; the rest of the book didn’t quite keep up with the actReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
The best part of MYTHIC, VOLUME 1 was the prologue; the rest of the book didn’t quite keep up with the action and tone. Still, it had some bright moments where it twisted mythology and religion into new and surprising shapes.
In a world where scientists can refuse to die (and turn into ghosts because they don’t believe in anything enough to move on) and demons can possess peaceful rock creatures, it’s a good thing Mythic is there there to police things.
The art style, ink-heavy and a bit faded, fit the story perfectly and McCrea's drawings do a great job conveying the tone and action throughout.
The pacing of this story felt a bit off, like the authors had so many cool asides to show us that they spent tons of time on them and didn’t concentrate on the main story line enough. The world is ending, but let’s go tickle cow udders (that part was hilarious, but felt a bit badly timed). The minor occurrences and the asides were my favourite parts. They were funny and provided glimpses into mythology from around the world. In contrast, the main story line felt like a jumble of mythology quickly smashed together.
After a few issues they realise there is a traitor at Mythic; unfortunately, I had an idea of who it was right away. I was proven right a few pages later. In a book with lots of little surprises, it was disappointing to have the main villain be so obvious.
This book will inevitably be compared to BPRD by Mike Mignola, and not necessarily to it’s advantage. MYTHIC may be a graphic novel that is worth picking up in individual comic form. As a compilation, it shows off the storytelling flaws too much....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
With it's strong hero and sweet heroine, SHADOW RIDER checks off many of the boxes that I love in a romancReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
With it's strong hero and sweet heroine, SHADOW RIDER checks off many of the boxes that I love in a romance, plus, it takes place in Chicago! Though not the focus, Feehan has created an interesting mythology, and given the reader side characters' stories to look forward to as well!
Dark and brutal, SHADOW RIDER has aspects to it that may turn some readers off to the story. With its supremely alpha male hero, and the slightly submissive heroine, I can see how some readers could take issue with the characterization. Stefano frequently was a bit over the top, insisting on getting his way and making it happen when he didn't - whether or not you see that as sexy is really up to your preferences. Francesca was a sweetheart, though most of the convincing of this was done by Stefano telling her how sweet and lovely she was. Together, though, I really enjoyed them as a couple, and I liked how she would stand up to him and show him she wasn't a total pushover. I personally enjoyed the dynamic between the two of them, and didn't mind when Stefano insisted on certain things for Francesca's safety, as it made sense within the world Feehan created.
The shadow rider mythology is really creative, and it seems clear by the setup that the series will follow the other members of Stefano's family as they find their own happily ever afters. If that is the case, Feehan did a marvelous job of getting me invested in the side characters - I am curious about their backstories and lives now, and can't wait to read more!
One issue some readers may have is the violence in the book. It's not shied away from, and if this weren't paranormal romance I would almost categorize it as romantic suspense, since it has that kind of feel to it. However, it's not over the top or gratuitous, generally making sense in the circumstances of the world that Feehan has created.
All in all, though SHADOW RIDER has some issues, it is a really good first book in a series, and an interesting romance. The main characters are easy to root for, and I'm looking forward to the next book in the Shadow series!
Sexual content: Explicit sex scenes, references to rape
The Fly By Night series is quickly becoming one series I know I don't want to miss. Though categorized asReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
The Fly By Night series is quickly becoming one series I know I don't want to miss. Though categorized as paranormal romance, FLIGHT FROM MAYHEM reads more like an urban fantasy with a romantic subplot, with the mystery taking center stage. The characters are really what shine, making FLIGHT FROM MAYHEM a super enjoyable read.
Look, even though this book is technically shelved under paranormal romance, you wouldn't know it by reading it. And this is not a criticism! I LOVED FLIGHT FROM MAYHEM. Galenorn pulls out all the creepy stops (were-spiders, anybody?) and had me thoroughly engaged. So there was a little sex, and a bit of romance talk between Alex and Shimmer. It was by no means the focus of the book, and I loved it regardless. So, I suppose what I'm saying here is don't go in expecting a straight-up paranormal romance, and you'll have a great time.
Shimmer remains an enigmatic character. As we hear more about her childhood, and she relates how old she is, we also get to see her coming to terms with living on Earth, which is way different from the Dragon Reaches, where she's from. The rest of the characters make wonderful additions to the cast, each bringing something to the table, and none of them feeling like a caricature or one-dimensional. I love Chai, the djinn, and Ralph, the werewolf who's scared of blood, and Bette, the snake shapeshifter with secrets of her own.
Galenorn does a good job of balancing reminding the reader of information from book one, and knowing what to leave out. This is a book that could easily be picked up without having read the first in the series, FLIGHT FROM DEATH. However, a lot of things are brought into this book that are likely to come up in future books, but no cliffhangers here! There's a nicely tied up storyline.
All in all, FLIGHT FROM MAYHEM is a wonderful urban fantasy, paranormal romance, mystery read. Unfortunately I'll have to wait a bit for the next book, but in the meantime, Galenorn has some other series I've been meaning to pick up!
I tend to be a bit of a dork about puns and double-entendres, and WAKING THE BEAR definitely had funny momeReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
I tend to be a bit of a dork about puns and double-entendres, and WAKING THE BEAR definitely had funny moments that were a welcome respite from some of the dark characters. It was a bit short, and the main villain was one-dimensional to the point of being annoying, but the main characters were fun and their interactions were the glowing part of the novel.
Amy and Griff are tons of fun. Amy is an artist who has come to the forest in the hope of painting some of the scenery and wildlife. Griff is a park ranger who has just woken up from his winter sleep, and who agrees to rent his cabin to her. He does it while still kinda groggy, before realising that she is a) probably his mate and b) not going to listen to his warnings about the dangerous wildlife around the cabin. Never mind that he IS part of the dangerous wildlife.
There were lots of funny little winks in this book. The rangers know the park so well because they roam is as bears half the time. They all drink massive amounts of coffee in the first part of the book as they struggle to wake up. The shower in the cabin breaks and Amy and Griff need together to fix it in a wet, innuendo-laden scene. It’s tons of fun, and their romance is both touching and cheeky throughout the book.
One aspect of the story that I really didn't enjoy is the reason behind the war in the first place. Deep in the forest is a magical cave, with a magical pool that heals injuries and can show you your future. That's cool, but it only heals the clan that controls it... What? So if bears hold the cave, the lions can's use the powers of the cave, which obviously leads to the cave changing hands every few generations admits bloodshed and tears. Is this a ploy to get the shifters to cull themselves every few generations? I am really hoping that this gets sorted out or explained in the next few books.
Still, WAKING THE BEAR made me smile, had endearing characters who had a realistic reaction to the weird stuff going on around them (not being instantly cool with their landlord turning into a bear), and set up a world that I could see growing into a satisfying series. There are enough different characters, settings and ideas that I will be looking out for the next book to see if it keeps up. If it's even a bit funny, I'm in....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
This book was almost entertaining, but between the blatant use of romance tropes and the saccharine qualitReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
This book was almost entertaining, but between the blatant use of romance tropes and the saccharine quality of the plot with made my stomach turn, I was annoyed with it by the time I put it down. If this was the first paranormal romance book I’d ever read, I would have never picked up another.
Werewolves not necessary to this story, and it would have probably been an okay suspense romance without it - in fact, it probably would have been better for me. The key mythology issue was so badly introduced that I didn’t really understand any of the characters’ motivations for the first half of the book. The mating and shifting rules were also odd. It felt to me like the author was trying to be original, but original doesn’t always mean it makes any sense.
There were so many tropes that you could see coming that it made reading predictable and really hurt the experience. Introduction of 4 other charming bachelor werewolf millionaires? I get it, it’s a series, they’ll all fall in love in the next books. They all love the little boy instantly? I get it, kids are adorable. Does he cause trouble that could seriously injure everyone he lives with and get himself killed? Oh, he thought he was helping, how cute, let’s not shout at him.
The author tries to convince us that Rafe is a normal guy despite all his money, but the second half of the book is devoted to Rafe buying all sorts of super expensive things for Jade and her son, He takes them to Disneyland and to zoos while there is active threat on the child’s life. It was honestly distracting after the third or fourth shopping trip; oh, is Jade is arguing that she doesn’t need it but he buys two of them again? Of course. Is she going to decide that he was right, it’s gorgeous and she should keep it? Of course.
They set up her son’s room with a crazy bunk bed, and buy him all the toys he wants, in a way that would create a spoiled terror. The other guys, all bachelors who overnight became the most awesome babysitting uncles ever, kept plying him with promises of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoons and ice cream to keep him busy while his mom went and got busy.
Writing children’s dialogue that is believable isn’t easy, and writing a toddler must be even harder. The really jarring and annoying about Jade’s son was that his voice wasn’t consistent. He sometimes sounded like a real three year old, but more of the time he just gave me the impression of a whiny six or seven year old.
BILLIONAIRE IN WOLF’S CLOTHING was basically a single mom werewolf fantasy: she finds a guy who loves her almost instantly, who marries her, who accepts and loves her son, and then he buys them all sorts of stuff and takes them on fancy trips. In the space of a couple weeks. Oh, and he’s a werewolf with hot werewolf friends. Only worth reading if you have a few hours to kill on the beach. It won’t be something you think about the next day....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