Fun and quirky, THE BIG FIX wasn't exactly what I expected it was going to be. This urban fantasy series iReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
Fun and quirky, THE BIG FIX wasn't exactly what I expected it was going to be. This urban fantasy series is so different than any other out there right now that I would read it solely for that reason. Luckily, it's got a good story and characters to root for, making it a fresh, worthwhile read in a sea of books that start to feel similar after a while.
Having read IN A FIX, but skipped QUICK FIX, I was concerned I wouldn't be up to date enough on the series, and it wouldn't be enjoyable. Luckily, THE BIG FIX is readable without having any background in the series. If anything, the only confusion I had on occasion was over the numerous secondary characters. Otherwise, it's easy to jump right in with this one.
At times, THE BIG FIX felt like a mystery with some urban fantasy aspects tacked on. This is definitely one to recommend to your mystery reader friends who insist they want nothing to do with your werewolves or vampires. No paranormal creatures in sight here - just some aura adapters who stay solidly human the whole time. I personally loved the mystery aspects, despite not being a mystery reader myself- I thought it was balanced nicely with the personal relationship issues of Ciel, making neither too much the focus of the story. Since there aren't any werewolf packs to fight or demons to dispatch, the problems Ciel faces are totally human in nature, which is another way this book is unique.
With such different cover art than the first two books, it's clear Tor is looking for the right readership for THE BIG FIX. Since it's got a little bit of everything - a little romance, a little mystery, a little urban fantasy, I do believe this book has something for everyone. Hopefully we'll get to see Ciel again in the future - I'd love to see what trouble she gets into next!
CITY OF FAE is both a predictable and unpredictable new adult urban fantasy. Predictable, because it usesReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
CITY OF FAE is both a predictable and unpredictable new adult urban fantasy. Predictable, because it uses typical UF tropes-like the girl who is more than she knows and the mysterious, protective, hot love interest. But unpredictable because it takes those tropes and uses them in a completely unexpected way.
Dark and devious, CITY OF FAE features Alina, your typical UF heroine who believes she's normal until she finds out she's not. The best part about Alina is the mystery surrounding who she is, and how DaCosta teases the reader until the big reveal. Otherwise, she's a bit dull, and like most other heroines, immediately starts to fall for Reign, the over-protective fae she meets in the subway. Reign is clever and interesting, and I wish there had been more about his background.
The mythology of CITY OF FAE is really interesting, and I liked the idea of the fae getting kicked out of their world, only to live underground (literally, for some of them) in ours, until they come out to humans. These fae are dangerous and a little evil, thinking of humans only as food. I liked how they're drawn as superstars, because that makes sense - these beautiful creatures suddenly appear among us, and what would humans do? They'd definitely send the paparazzi after them and turn them into tabloid fodder. It's a brilliant twist on many other UF "reveals" where the creatures are sometimes just feared and humans don't seem to display any kind of fascination.
All in all, CITY OF FAE was an interesting read, and I liked how it was able to surprise me at points. Though it has a definitive ending, I could see it becoming a series, and I'd read it to see what happens to Alina next, after the events in the climax of the book. Check this one out if you're looking for some new adult urban fantasy with a side of creepy fae creatures and magic.
Looking back at my review of THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING, I was surprised that I had any reservations, becauReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
Looking back at my review of THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING, I was surprised that I had any reservations, because I only remember how much I thoroughly enjoyed the book. When I received a copy of THE INVASION OF THE TEARLING, it is pretty safe to say that I was ecstatic, so eager to follow Kelsea's story and find out what happened to her.
THE INVASION OF THE TEARLING answers so many questions that I didn't know I had about Kelsea's world and how it came to be the way it was. The backstory was fascinating, and the switches to the viewpoint of Lily, pre-Crossing, were interesting interludes. However, now I'm left with more questions than I had before - why does Kelsea start to look like Lily, for one? Plus, a few others, but I won't spoil any details for you now.
Johanson does a number on the reader in THE INVASION OF THE TEARLING, with one revelation after another, and constant plot twists and turns. The action is well paced, though, and I never felt like it was too much.
One disappointment was the near disappearance of the Fetch - he only showed up once in the novel, and I was hoping for more from his relationship with Kelsea. Otherwise, all the characters we got to know in THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING were there, and we learn more about them, as well.
With all new facets to the story that we learn, THE INVASION OF THE TEARLING never feels like a sophomore slump of a novel. It's an amazing ride with so many surprises for the reader that make it worth the nearly 500 page bulk. This is one that flew by despite its length, and I am waiting on pins and needles for book three.
Though the beginning is a bit rocky, THE EXILE is a fast-paced race of a book, full of twists and turns anReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
Though the beginning is a bit rocky, THE EXILE is a fast-paced race of a book, full of twists and turns and a great new world to explore. From the great cover which drew me in to the last chapter, I delighted in this book and am so thrilled it's a new series I get to follow.
THE EXILE is one of those types of books that takes a little effort to really get into, but once you're in, you're sucked into the world completely. Told from quite a few points of view, it takes a little time to really start to feel the rhythm of the book, but once familiar with the characters, it isn't hard to follow along and really start to experience the story with them. Brianna is a great main character, with her handy gargoyle protector and half-human/half-fae heritage that causes her all sorts of trouble. She's one of those characters that you can't decide if you want to root for what she wants, or for what you think she could become, if she stopped denying her power.
Twisty and turny, THE EXILE has a few moments that felt like a punch to the stomach, but it never felt like anything was being done for pure shock value. The twists still propelled the plot forward and made sense in the story. I loved the intrigue and the mystery of the fae court, and how the reader is given just enough information about certain aspects to leave them wanting more.
All in all, a very well written, fun book, THE EXILE is a great start to a series, one that I hope follows up on the promises made in this first book. I know I am looking forward to see where Adams takes Brianna and all the other characters next in their journey, and can't wait for book two of The Fae to come out!
THERE WILL BE LIES isn't the typical book you'd find here on All Things Urban Fantasy, but I felt it was oReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
THERE WILL BE LIES isn't the typical book you'd find here on All Things Urban Fantasy, but I felt it was one worth sharing. With this thriller, Nick Lake has written a book that is really difficult to review without spoilers, but I'll do my best.
I was lucky enough to see Lake in person on his book tour, and he talked a bit about stories and lies, and what the difference is. Stories, he believes, bring us together, and lies don't. In THERE WILL BE LIES there are definitely lies, but it is an excellent story.
THERE WILL BE LIES has a strong-willed, brilliant protagonist in Shelby, and her voice was amazingly authentic. I could tell when she was being sarcastic, when she was scared or when she was being serious. In thanks part to the strong narrative voice, the book flowed really well, too. This is a book I sat down and read all within a day, because I couldn't put it down.
The fantastical portions of THERE WILL BE LIES were focused on Native American culture, featuring Coyote, but also had aspects of other fairy tales woven in, which was very interesting. Shelby's travels through The Dreaming in the book offer an interesting counterpoint to the travels she is having in real life. In my opinion, one of the main focuses of THERE WILL BE LIES was Shelby's coming of age. At the cusp of 18, she is almost an adult, a point which becomes important in The Dreaming. It is especially fascinating how Lake tied in the lessons that Shelby learned in The Dreaming to the decisions she had to make in her real life.
Overall, THERE WILL BE LIES was a fascinating book with fantastical elements that any reader would enjoy. It definitely surprised me with how much I like it - give it a chance to see if it will surprise you, too.
When there is a significant wait between two related books, such as the wait (almost three years!) betweenReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
When there is a significant wait between two related books, such as the wait (almost three years!) between SERAPHINA and SHADOW SCALE, I begin to doubt my impressions of the first book. This was the case here, as I began to worry that I had imagined how wonderful I thought SERAPHINA was and how there was no way that SHADOW SCALE could live up to the expectations I'd set up in my head. Luckily, SHADOW SCALE delivered on all my expectations and more.
Hartman's writing is amazingly smooth and almost lyrical, making the reading experience very enjoyable, despite the length of the book. There were some parts I felt could have been cut down a bit, but all in all, everything contributed to the plot and I loved all the detail we got into Seraphina's world. Though I would love to compare SHADOW SCALE to some other young adult fantasy to help you decide whether or not you'll like it, I feel that it almost defies comparisons, standing in a class of its own.
It's hard to go into too much detail without ruining any key points of the story, but needless to say, SHADOW SCALE made me laugh, with the wry humor of the dragons and it made me cry, with the losses that Seraphina endured. There were twists I never saw coming, that were amazing and surprising, including one which warmed my heart. The fullness of the world and writing allowed me to feel all those emotions when I was reading, and it was spectacular to be allowed to spend the time with the characters and be welcomed into their world.
With amazing world building, excellent characterization of a multitude of characters (no cliches or 2D characters here) and beautiful writing, SHADOW SCALE is a book for readers of all ages. With its coming of age story and heroine journey, there is enough to keep even the most reluctant reader occupied. As wondering and fascinating as SERAPHINA and SHADOW SCALE are, I wish there were move books in this series, but I've only my imagination to guess what may happen next.
COLD BURN OF MAGIC is exactly what one would expect from an author like Estep - excellent and fun. SimilarReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
COLD BURN OF MAGIC is exactly what one would expect from an author like Estep - excellent and fun. Similar to her Elemental Assassin series, COLD BURN OF MAGIC is a new world filled with interesting characters, creative mythology, and a little touch of romance.
Fans of Estep's Elemental Assassin series will feel right at home here in the Black Blade series. The parallels are more common than not - Lila's mother, like Gin's, was brutally murdered, Mo, the guy who finds her jobs is a bit more sketchy than Fletcher, but still similar, Lila seems to get the same sense of comfort from fingering her throwing stars in her belt that Gin gets from feeling her knives strapped on, and both are more deadly than they seem. However, that all being said, Lila manages to hold her own. While in the beginning, the comparisons briefly overwhelmed me, as I got more into the story, I was able to lose myself in the world of Cloudburst Falls and its unique brand of magic and politics, along with Lila's relationships.
Lila is a pretty awesome character, which is great, since there are so many secondary characters in COLD BURN OF MAGIC it's hard to get a feel for all of them. This is clearly a book of set-up, with flash-backs to establish Lila's history, and introductions to bunches of characters- even if some of them don't play big parts in this book, you can tell they'll be stepping up later. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and the storyline of this book has a clear beginning and ending, but it is obviously part of a bigger plot arc that we'll see completely revealed in future installments.
All in all, COLD BURN OF MAGIC is definitely a fun read. And while I'm hoping for certain things to happen, I'm also looking forward to the ride that Estep will take us on in DARK HEART OF MAGIC, the second installment in the Black Blade series, due out in October.
SILVER IN THE BLOOD was a book I was very much looking forward to reading. The beautiful cover and authorReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
SILVER IN THE BLOOD was a book I was very much looking forward to reading. The beautiful cover and author alone (I loved DRAGON SLIPPERS) was enough to intrigue me, and I didn't even bother reading the description. So going in a bit blind, I was very happy when SILVER IN THE BLOOD lived up to my expectations.
It's hard for me to encapsulate exactly what I liked so much about SILVER IN THE BLOOD. The two main characters, cousins Dacia and Louisa, or Lou, were perfect, and I loved their letters, telegrams and diary entries between the chapters. Both had their moments of spunk and they were lots of fun to read about. They also felt very real and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite.
The setting, Romania, is a bit different than most paranormal historical novels. But it was done beautifully. You could tell the author was a bit in love with the countryside and the people, based on the descriptions of clothing, and country estates.
The one bone I have to pick with SILVER IN THE BLOOD is the absence of development of any romantic relationship. Though at the end, one of the cousins is in a relationship, the reader doesn't get to see its growth, and in my opinion, that would have rounded out the book wonderfully.
With an excellent story, fun main characters, and wonderful world building, SILVER IN THE BLOOD is a unique young adult novel, without your typical girl falls in love with vampire or werewolf story, about two girls coming into their own and learning what it means to grow up and make your own decisions. This is one I'd recommend any teenager, and adults will definitely find something to like as well. Though you may want to read the book description first!
I'll admit to being a bit wary of a book based on a comic. In fact, I had very low expectations for HEXED:Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
I'll admit to being a bit wary of a book based on a comic. In fact, I had very low expectations for HEXED: THE SISTERS OF WITCHDOWN. And while it didn't blow my mind, HEXED was still an enjoyable young adult read with some fun characters and creative mythology.
Lucifer, the heroine of HEXED, is pretty badass. She survives on her own, stealing supernatural objects to keep them out of the hands of the bad guys. She's got mad skills, in my opinion, and is somebody I'd want at my back during a fight. Her backstory is released in bits and pieces, and not having read the graphic novel, I can't say how much comes from that, but I can say that it isn't necessary to understand the full story of HEXED. I would have liked to learned more, but again, maybe that's in the graphic novel!
HEXED has some really great emotional moments in it, which was another thing I wasn't expecting. What happens to Lucifer at the end is very sad and I totally felt that along with her. Lucifer's willingness to keep going, to save Gina, despite the fact that she was falling in love with David, Gina's boyfriend, shows that she has a strong moral code, even if she did question her actions a few times - it only made her seem more like a real teenager.
I would say that it felt like the ending was a bit rushed, and the pacing in other parts wasn't the greatest. There were some things that were focused on that I felt maybe didn't add that much to the book, and some scenes seemed put in because they needed an answer to a question later.
HEXED is a bit of a thrill ride from start to finish. From the prologue, where Gina is literally grabbed through a mirror, the book grabbed me in a similar fashion, and I didn't want to put it down. If you're looking for something fun and action-filled, HEXED is the book for you.
THE SHATTERED COURT was one of those books that drew me in with a gorgeous cover, and was left to live upReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
THE SHATTERED COURT was one of those books that drew me in with a gorgeous cover, and was left to live up to expectations. Luckily, though not without issues, THE SHATTERED COURT was an enjoyable fantasy novel, set in a world very similar to historical England with the twist of magic to make it more interesting.
Though Sophie was an interesting character, what I would have liked to see if more agency on her part in the beginning of the book. As it progressed, she started making more decisions, but in the beginning, I felt like her path was decided by those around her and she was just letting things happen to her. Plus, one of the main conflicts of the book, who attacked the castle, is never resolved, and doesn't feel like anything more than a device to get Cam and Sophie alone together.
Otherwise, I did enjoy the fantastical aspects of the story, the four different kinds of magics, and the beginning of the world-building by Scott. Sophie and Cam together were sweet and even though their relationship was forced, you could tell that they were on their way to caring deeply for each other. Plus, there was all the typical palace intrigue that you get in this type of historical-esque fantasy.
Unfortunately, I felt like THE SHATTERED COURT ended just as it was getting good, but that just gives me all the more reason to continue on with the series. I've got a lot of questions that I'd like to see answered in the next installment, and I feel that with a lot of the set up out of the way, Scott can get to the meat of the story. Hopefully, I won't have too long to wait.
After I called CRUEL BEAUTY my top YA read of 2014, I wasn't sure that CRIMSON BOUND could live up to theReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
After I called CRUEL BEAUTY my top YA read of 2014, I wasn't sure that CRIMSON BOUND could live up to the mightily high expectations I had for it. I mean, this is a book that I requested before there was even a description to go with the lovely cover. And, while I'm afraid that for me, CRIMSON BOUND doesn't top CRUEL BEAUTY, it is still a magnificent story, well written with some great characters. Plus, I'd like to give a shout-out to stand alone novels that aren't part of series! They feel so few and far between, but this great little gem stands by itself and doesn't need a series to be spectacular.
CRIMSON BOUND takes the "Little Red Riding Hood" aspects of the story and gets them out of the way right at the beginning, with a girl, and a forest and the dangers therein. Then, Hodge takes those well-known components, and mixes them up and turns them upside down, and we get CRIMSON BOUND. Hodge's writing is lush and beautiful, making you feel like you're sailing along the pages, going so smoothly you barely notice where they've gone. And the places you go! The city, the palace, the woods - all settings that felt so real to me, so easily pictured in my mind because of Hodge's skill at description.
One of my favorite things about Hodge's two books so far is her ability to write a strong and amazing female protagonist who is also flawed. And despite those flaws, they are still sympathetic characters. Rachelle lives with a lot of guilt about her past, and seeing her having to come to terms with that guilt is a fascinating struggle to watch.
My only complaint would be that the romantic aspects of the story felt a bit like an afterthought- whereas with CRUEL BEAUTY the relationship between the main characters practically was the story, I felt like Rachelle could have held CRIMSON BOUND up all on her own. Though Armand was an interesting enigma, their relationship didn't feel very fleshed out or real to me, and it didn't hold up to the other aspects of the book.
CRIMSON BOUND definitely cements Hodge on my auto-buy author list. With its great story, awesome characters and fascinating ability to twist around a fairy tale that I would guess isn't most people's favorite, CRIMSON BOUND is a brilliant young adult fantasy well worth the read.
Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex ...more
BLACK DOG, book one in the Hellhound Chronicles, had some aspects I definitely was not a fan of. However,Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
BLACK DOG, book one in the Hellhound Chronicles, had some aspects I definitely was not a fan of. However, for the most part, BLACK DOG is a dark urban fantasy, packed to the brim with characters, plot lines and action, and is a wild ride through a new world Kittredge has created.
I had a few problems with BLACK DOG. First off, and I've mentioned my dislike of scenes like this before, but there was a torture scene. I understand the logic behind it, but it also turns my stomach, and the fact that the characters maintained an association after the scene was bothersome to me. I feel like there should have been some other way of doing it that didn't involve one intentionally harming the other. My other issue was that there was a lot of plot smushed into the novel. There were multiple different story lines, and at times it felt like a bit too much. Ava's interactions with Lillith could have been enough. Instead, we also have Leo (the human necromancer) and his fight with his father, plus Clint's drama...it all got to be somewhat confusing. Any one of those stories alone would have made for a great book, but trying to shove as much as possible made it feel a little all over the place.
That being said, BLACK DOG did a lot well. It was intriguing, and very creative. The glimpses of creatures other than the hellhounds, like the shifters, leads me to believe that there's a lot more Kittredge can do with the world, and there's a lot of room for growth. Ava is a great character. She is both vulnerable and strong, and the fact that she's a hellhound makes her even more interesting. The secondary characters also were all really fun to try to unpack. You could never be sure of motives, and it left this on edge feeling that spilled over from Ava to me as I read. The combination of the world and the action kept me turning pages late into the night with this one.
I am curious to see where Kittredge goes with the Hellhound Chronicles next. While not every storyline was 100% tied up, there was some significant resolution at the end of BLACK DOG that although it opened the way for further adventures of Ava, it seems they'll be taking a totally different direction than the previous book. I, for one, can't wait to see what she comes up with!
While not exactly what I expected, FLIGHT FROM DEATH is an interesting, mysterious urban fantasy with ghosReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
While not exactly what I expected, FLIGHT FROM DEATH is an interesting, mysterious urban fantasy with ghosts and spooky creatures galore! With creative mythology and great characters, FLIGHT FROM DEATH is a good start to what seems to be a promising series.
My biggest complaint is that though this is the first in the Fly by Night series, I kept feeling that I missed some crucial action before this book started. The characters made repeated references to situations before the book, and it felt as if the author expected the reader to already know about these situations. Now, they may be in the Otherworld series, as this is a spin-off, but since this is a new series I was hoping to come in fresh. The other aspect that bothered me was the relationship between Shimmer and her boss, Alex. Alex has just broken up with his girlfriend as the book starts, and yet jumps into bed with Shimmer not three days later. While there was clearly sexual tension between the two, it bothers me that it developed so fast.
What I especially enjoyed about FLIGHT FROM DEATH was learning about Shimmer's backstory, and how she came to be where she was. It was interesting to learn about the dragon mythology that Galenorn has created, and I enjoyed the flashbacks. I also very much enjoyed the creatures that Galenorn created - creepy and fascinating at the same time, this gang isn't fighting your typical paranormal bad guy. And what a gang it is! A dragon, two vampires, a werewolf who faints at the sight of blood, a djinn, and a witch all make up this crew. They were super fun to get to know, all with their own unique personalities and quirks.
I know that I'm excited to learn about the next case that Shimmer and Alex take on, and despite my complaints, I'll be around for book two in this series. Worth the time, FLIGHT FROM DEATH is a great urban fantasy mystery combo that has action, humor and some sexual tension, basically, something for everyone!
SEALED IN SIN is really a great urban fantasy. It's got it all, action, romance and plot twists, with someReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
SEALED IN SIN is really a great urban fantasy. It's got it all, action, romance and plot twists, with some creative mythology included. Though SEALED IN SIN plays off of a lot of typical urban fantasy tropes - the girl who doesn't know she's special all of a sudden developing powers, the dark and mysterious protector guy, the possible love triangle- Cross really manages to take them and spin them her own way.
SEALED IN SIN introduces the reader to more of Cross's world full of angels and demons, and learning more about the demon hunters and how they come to be is very interesting. Plus, we get more background on the various characters and their stories are all fascinating, even more interesting than Gen's, in my opinion. She actually tends to be the most boring character in my opinion, not that she isn't well written, but that her inclusion in this world is solely by virtue of magically inheriting powers, as opposed to having a rich backstory that may or may not include various traumas.
The pacing was very well done, with action and romance equally sharing page time, and with the constant secrets and betrayals, my attention was held from start to finish. However, my one complaint is that the book ended on a massive cliff-hanger, which I generally dislike, even if I'm already clicking "Preorder" before I've digitally flipped the final page. Luckily, I don't have too long to wait, since BOUND IN BLACK, the final book in the trilogy, comes out in July.
ALL IN, the third Sin City Collector novella from Amanda Carlson, delivers just what I was looking for: aReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
ALL IN, the third Sin City Collector novella from Amanda Carlson, delivers just what I was looking for: a sizzling romance, some magical action, and a hint of mystery to keep things even more interesting. With two super badass leads, the relationship is fun to watch - Ginger being as stubborn as Luke makes for some interesting clashes. Ginger is my kind of heroine, strong and successful, but just vulnerable enough to not have a huge problem letting a guy into her defenses. Luke is also spectacular, a clearly caring individual (we know from previous stories he cares for his brother on full moon nights) and someone who I ended up rooting for almost immediately.
Though the Sin City Collectors novels can be read individually, I would suggest reading all of Carlson's as a "series." If you don't, it isn't as if you'll be confused while reading ALL IN, but knowing the backstory between the characters is helpful and makes the short novella feel richer. Plus, you'll have more context around the Collectors and what they do, so that can be helpful.
One thing that is great about these novellas is that despite the fact they're self-published, you can't tell. They're written and edited just as well as Carlson's Jessica McClain series, which is traditionally published. From what I've read of the Sin City Collectors novellas, these are those self-published diamonds in the rough - the story flows nicely, dialogue isn't choppy or awkward, and there weren't any noticeable spelling or grammar issues at all.
Overall, ALL IN is a quick, enjoyable read, a great continuation of the Sin City Collectors series. It's a fun paranormal world that you'll want to dive completely in to! If anything, ALL IN is too short - I would definitely have kept on reading if I could have.
I'M DREAMING OF AN UNDEAD CHRISTMAS lives up to its billing as a prequel novella to THE DANGERS OF DATINGReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
I'M DREAMING OF AN UNDEAD CHRISTMAS lives up to its billing as a prequel novella to THE DANGERS OF DATING A REBOUND VAMPIRE. Unfortunately, I must have missed that part before I read it, and as such, was expecting a complete romance story, like the other novellas in the Half Moon Hollow series.
If you're a fan of Half Moon Hollow and Molly Harper, there's no way you won't get at least some enjoyment out of I'M DREAMING OF AN UNDEAD CHRISTMAS. All our favorite Half Moon Hollow residents are there, complete with inside jokes and the usual antics we've come to expect from this crew. It's zany and funny and a glimpse at a moment in time in the lives of the Half Moon Hollow residents, so in that regard, it was a lot of fun.
However, I was disappointed because I really was expecting a full story, and I'M DREAMING OF AN UNDEAD CHRISTMAS is definitely not that. The beginnings of the romance doesn't start until nearly three-quarters of the way through the story, and most of it is focused on how Gigi is going to break up with her boyfriend - most decidedly not romantic.
I'd definitely recommend this as a prequel, but do yourself a favor, and buy it now when it's cheap, and read it right before THE DANGERS OF DATING A REBOUND VAMPIRE comes out in March - luckily that's only almost four months you have to wait.
OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS is a wonderfully smart, action-filled journey of a novel. Though I had some isReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS is a wonderfully smart, action-filled journey of a novel. Though I had some issues with the book, I still enjoyed the creative setting, the various side characters, and the fun storyline.
One thing that was really great about OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS was Owl and her friend Nadya’s relationship. Nadya is smart and stubborn, but I like how she sticks by Owl and is a full character in her own right. She’s just as crucial as Owl is to solving the mystery in the end, and I like how there isn’t the feeling of Owl being this miracle worker, but rather it’s clear she relies on her friends for assistance, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Owl tends toward the opposite of a Mary Sue character, pissing off nearly everyone she encounters, but the few friends she does have are great, and it’s only a little coincidental that they’re all really awesome and have great powers or smarts of their own.
One issue I had with OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS was the feeling that it was dragging near the middle. There was plenty of action, but it felt almost slow at times (I think those times for me were when Owl was playing video games). My other problem was with Owl herself. She fit the typical Urban Fantasy heroine mold, jumping into the fray without a second thought, except for the fact that unlike the typical UF heroine, she doesn’t have any special powers. She’s smart, sure, and confident, but she doesn’t have any magic or shape-changing abilities to back up her bravado. You’d think she’d be a little more cautious when approaching potentially dangerous situations.
Despite my issues, there is enough intrigue and drama to make me want to come back for more. I’m curious about the relationships and about the contact Owl takes at the end of the book, and the last sentence delivers a great cliffhanger without being too frustrating. I’m definitely curious about OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS, the next book in the Adventures of Owl series, due out later this year.
WITCH UPON A STAR, the third book in the Midnight Magic Mystery series, is really tough for me to write aReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
WITCH UPON A STAR, the third book in the Midnight Magic Mystery series, is really tough for me to write a review for. I have seriously conflicting feelings about the events of the book and while it was not poorly written, I think the content is a bit off-putting and not what one would expect from this author.
Having read nearly everything Jennifer Harlow has written, I requested this book on the cover and series alone. I'm not even sure the book description was up when I requested it. However, WITCH UPON A STAR has none of the levity of the earlier books in the series, or any of Harlow's other books. In fact, I'm pretty sure I did not laugh a single time - though I felt many other emotions while reading.
Touching on some really dark themes, like child abuse, WITCH UPON A STAR was engrossing and a very serious read. Unfortunately, it was not what I expected. And even had I been more aware, I think there are still aspects of the story that would have disturbed me regardless. Anna's all encompassing love for and her attempts to seduce her guardian, Asher, even at age 13, before she really knew what she was doing, despite the fact that we were in Anna's head, were still difficult to digest.
While the quality of WITCH UPON A STAR matches the quality of Harlow's other books, the content was vastly different and really dimmed my enjoyment of the book. This is obviously a personal preference, and if you're aware of what you're getting going in, I think that this book could be enjoyable to some readers - with its mystery, the sweet romance between Anna and her husband, and the emotional moments, it definitely has things going for it. So, while it may not have been for me, if you enjoy Harlow's writing, and are aware of the content, you may want to give it a try.
Sexual content: Non-explicit sex scenes and rape scene, allusions to sexual assault of a child ...more
FORGED IN FIRE sounded intriguing from the first time I heard of it, so I was delighted to be able to reviReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
FORGED IN FIRE sounded intriguing from the first time I heard of it, so I was delighted to be able to review it here for All Things Urban Fantasy. Unexpectedly, FORGED IN FIRE felt similar to other books I've read, with a girl coming into special powers that make her completely unique, and all the men subsequently want her. Luckily, the New Adult tone and the mythology manage to set the story apart from other similar stories.
Though hot, FORGED IN FIRE had that troublesome attraction between a centuries old guy and a young female. There was not much explanation for this, and it felt a little like insta-lust. This does not mean the interactions between Gen and Jude were not scorching, just that if you like a little backstory with your romance, this may not be the place to find it.
Gen was a fascinating character, and really managed to be very sympathetic. She finds out early on that all of a sudden she's special, and all the demons are after her, and she manages to do some really dumb things before she wises up to what that means for her life, but I never felt like her behavior fell in the "too stupid to live" category of heroine. I liked that she was spunky, and that she was easily jealous. Her personality was believable and likable. Plus, I really liked learning about the demons and the demon hunters in this world. It was a really interesting mythology that Cross built up, and I very much enjoyed it, especially the backstories of the various demon hunters that Gen encounters.
One thing I especially appreciated was the ending - the build-up implied a typical fall from grace scenario, but Gen manages to "sully" (for the purposes of the demon who wants her) herself in an entirely unexpected way. I'm curious to see where Cross takes this trilogy, but lucky for me, the next book, SEALED IN SIN comes out in April, so I don't have to wait long!
Sexual content: Kissing, intimacy, references to sex and rape...more
Not realizing until I picked up THE GARDEN OF DREAMS AND DESIRES that it was the final book in the CrescenReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
Not realizing until I picked up THE GARDEN OF DREAMS AND DESIRES that it was the final book in the Crescent City Trilogy, I was mildly disappointed to be done with the world. While I felt like THE GARDEN OF DREAMS AND DESIRES did a good job of wrapping up a lot of the unsolved questions in the trilogy, I still wish there could be more books in this fun and action-packed series.
THE GARDEN OF DREAMS AND DESIRES deals mostly with Harlow trying to get her body back from her evil twin who is inhabiting it, and with the witches plot against the fae. While the book could almost have had just one of those mysteries as the central plot, it didn't feel too crowded with both. The way they were tied together was done very well, and while we didn't get as much time with some characters as we previously did, the rest of the characters acted in expected ways and didn't do anything weird simply for the plot's sake. It was all clearly plotted out very well.
Part of my disappointment is that there wasn't ever much screen time with Augustine and Harlow together, and though it is easy to tell there is a relationship blossoming between them, the reader doesn't get to see much of it, just the very beginning stages. I wouldn't have minded a little more romance between the two, even though I recognize that it is hard, when Harlow wasn't the main "spirit" in her body for most of the book.
All in all, I really enjoyed the Crescent City Trilogy. Painter kept up the action throughout, there were great characters, and mysteries to keep the readers guessing at every turn. Plus, I very much appreciate that the loose ends were tied up at the end of this installment, instead of leaving things open. This is a perfect trilogy for somebody not looking to invest in a ten book long series, but still wants the world development and action, just in a smaller package. If you haven't had a chance to, now that it's finished, it's a perfect time to start reading!
INFINITY BELL, the second book in the House Immortal series, shows that Devon Monk just doesn't know whenReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
INFINITY BELL, the second book in the House Immortal series, shows that Devon Monk just doesn't know when to let up - in a good way! INFINITY BELL really takes the reader on a wild ride, throwing them from one conflict to the next, with smooth writing allowing for an excellent reading experience.
My main complaint about HOUSE IMMORTAL was the truncated romantic story line. This time around, we get to see much more growth in the relationship between Matilda and Abraham, which was enjoyable. Abraham is a fascinating character, as is Matilda, and watching their tentative movements around each other, each for different reasons, is sweet. The rest of the characters continue to delight, as well, as we get to know Matilda's brother better, and more about the Neds as the group takes their clandestine journey across the world.
Monk really excels at pacing, in my opinion, something that shines in INFINITY BELL. The book flows from one conflict to the next, with surprises around every corner. The main storyline progresses sufficiently, as well, ensuring that this second book in the House Immortal series doesn't feel like filler but instead has sufficient substance to move the story along.
HOUSE IMMORTAL is one you definitely need to set aside a block of time to read, since you won't want to put it down once you pick it up. A super fun read, HOUSE IMMORTAL went in directions I never would have imagined, and was an awesome adventure that I'm glad I got to take part in. Luckily, there's less than six months until CRUCIBLE ZERO, book three in the series, comes out!
Sexual content: Kissing, non-explicit sex scenes ...more
GRAVE MATTERS is an excellent follow up to NIGHT OWLS. Full of the same action, snark, and mystery as NIGHReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
GRAVE MATTERS is an excellent follow up to NIGHT OWLS. Full of the same action, snark, and mystery as NIGHT OWLS, GRAVE MATTERS marks the Night Owls series as one to keep an eye on.
My one complaint is the extensive cast of characters makes for some confusion. Switching the focus of the story every chapter or so is a bit disorienting, and also makes it hard to keep track of the timeframe everything is happening in - sometimes the same time period is repeated from different points of view if the characters aren’t together. For me, this meant GRAVE MATTERS was a book that was hard to put down and pick right back up, I sometimes had to go back a few pages to see who was the focus at the moment and what was going on. GRAVE MATTERS may also be a bit difficult to pick up if you haven’t read NIGHT OWLS, as well, since there are some details that aren’t explained very well and may not make sense to a new reader.
On the flip side, the great ensemble of characters offers a lot in the way of character development and also a fascinating look at the various relationships between the characters. I loved seeing the characters interact with each other, knowing that even if sometimes they were a bit prickly with each other, they still all had each other’s backs. I also enjoyed how the mystery of GRAVE MATTERS was so different than the mystery of NIGHT OWLS. It opens up more of the world to the reader without any kind of info dumps. The view the reader gets into the Night Owls world grows organically, and it is a joy to uncover the different creatures, paranormal aspects, and mythology Roy has created.
With Roy’s engaging style of writing, and the great characters and setting, GRAVE MATTERS is one not to be missed. Far from a sophomore slump, GRAVE MATTERS will definitely please readers of NIGHT OWLS and leave them wanting more.
I’m at a loss for words here, since I have no idea how to fully convey how much I loved THE DRAGON CONSPIRReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
I’m at a loss for words here, since I have no idea how to fully convey how much I loved THE DRAGON CONSPIRACY. This is a book I read in its entirety in one sitting, and though Shearin has long been on my auto-buy list, if she hadn’t been, this book would have made me add her. It was basically perfect for me, in every way - with sarcastic Makenna, her delicious partner Ian, constant action that starts in the first chapter, and a little unresolved sexual tension to keep everybody on their toes.
First off, I would strongly recommend reading Shearin’s contribution to the NIGHT SHIFT anthology before reading THE DRAGON CONSPIRACY, since it’s a prelude to the whole series, and offers some interesting back-story, but it’s also not crucial. This is a book where a reader could pick it up and not need to know anything about the first book in the series to understand what was going on. Makenna, as a narrator, manages to recap previous events without being annoying about it, and it doesn’t bother a reader who is familiar with the series.
Plotwise, THE DRAGON CONSPIRACY was a little like THE GRENDEL AFFAIR, but better, in my opinion. They felt similar in that they both had the big bad dragons coming into the SPI territory, and in both books, there was a time limit to solve the case, which gives the storyline a breathless quality that makes you keep flipping pages to see what’s next. However, in THE DRAGON CONSPIRACY, the potential fallout of them not solving the case had a much more personal feel to it - this time, I actually cared what would happen to the characters, whereas in THE GRENDEL AFFAIR it didn’t seem as dire.
With Makenna’s typical sarcastic narration, nearly non-stop action, and plot twists which completely surprised me, THE DRAGON CONSPIRACY left me aching for more. I know I am going to have the hardest time waiting for the next book in the SPI Files series, THE BRIMSTONE DECEPTION, coming out later this year.
ARMAGEDDON RULES follows in FREE AGENT's footsteps as an action-packed, roller-coaster ride of a novel, fuReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
ARMAGEDDON RULES follows in FREE AGENT's footsteps as an action-packed, roller-coaster ride of a novel, full of drama and never letting the reader catch a breath. While sometimes this works, in this case, the entire novel became a bit difficult to follow, with multiple plotlines and many similarly named characters offering the opportunity for confusion.
Marissa, our main character, started to grate on my nerves. She has grown up a little since the previous book, but she still tends to have the act first, question later method of dealing with problems. I don't always get the impression that she thinks things through before she does them and that is frustrating in a character who is supposedly mature enough to take over the Agency in Grimm's absence.
On the upside, ARMAGEDDON RULES was definitely not as gory as FREE AGENT, which was an improvement. Though violent, it was usually pretty sparsely described, instead of going into tons of detail. There was also less of people throwing up in this installment, as well. And though there were quite a few main characters, they were enjoyable to get to know, I just wish that there had been more time to focus on them. I feel like any one of the difficulties that Marissa was facing would have been enough for a book, but instead she got almost every problem that could have been thrown in her direction.
ARMAGEDDON RULES certainly doesn't let the reader take a break and definitely doesn't suffer from any slow development that some second books tend to have problems with. Nelson keeps up the pace and drags the reader along for a rough and tumble ride that is enjoyable, if a bit much. I definitely will give book three in the Grimm Agency series a try, WISH BOUND, when it comes out in August.
Sexual content: Kissing, sexual situations implied ...more