Where the previous books in the St. Croix Chronicles were fast paced with danger and dangerous people lurki...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Where the previous books in the St. Croix Chronicles were fast paced with danger and dangerous people lurking around every corner, TEMPERED deals with more internal battles and emotional trauma. Cherry has gone through so much externally dealing with the Veil and Society it felt fitting to have a story spend some time dealing with the internal effects of what happened to Cherry. A large portion of the book is dedicated to Cherry’s addiction to opium, how she became an addict, and what she goes through mentally as she detoxes. Being familiar with detox from movies like TRAINSPOTTING which depict detox and a harrowing and scary thing to go through I think TEMPERED did an excellent job of depicting the paranoia and sickness Cherry feels.
In the midst of dealing with Cherry’s addiction there is the mystery of her guardian and the large house she is trapped in. I loved the gothic horror aspect of TEMPERED where we have a dark, foreboding house with ghosts and dark secrets hidden within the walls. The house is almost its own character and it was thrilling to go exploring with Cherry as she opens doors in search of answers to just who her guardian, Ashmore really is and learn about her family’s twisted past. When Cherry finally learns about how Ashmore is related to her family the plot becomes a sort of dark soap opera filled with betrayal and obsession. Along with the revelations and internal struggle there are some pretty steamy scenes between Cherry and Ashmore that after we find out more about Ashmore had me questioning her choices in regards to suitors.
TEMPERED also deals with a lot of alchemy and metaphysics which was really confusing but actually seeing the alchemy in action was pretty cool. With this much needed rest from the outside world I am looking forward to see what is in store for Cherry as she goes back to London, her friends, and the ever mysterious Hawke who seems to grow more mysterious and confusing with every new fact we learn about him.
Along with a rollicking good and at times hilarious story WITCH INTERRUPTED puts a keen twist on werewolf a...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Along with a rollicking good and at times hilarious story WITCH INTERRUPTED puts a keen twist on werewolf and witch mythology that is so different from what I’m used to that I had to go back and re-read sections just to get it all straight. The fact that I had to go back is not a criticism so much as a comment on how attached to the storyline and characters I was by the first few chapters that I wanted to really get what was going on. I loved the way in which the two races (witches and werewolves) have common ground magically speaking and how intricate witch society is.
On the romance front I really liked getting a break from the classic ‘fated mates’ scenario that most werewolf stories have. Not having to hear the word ‘mate’ multiple times was refreshing and actually made the story actually more grounded in reality with two people who are just really attracted to each other due to hormones and not necessarily fate.
Katie and Marcus’ wonderfully amusing love-hate relationship is the highlight of WITCH INTERRUPTED. Their relationship has its typical ups and downs of a typical paranormal romance couple and hilarious situations that had me giggling at the oddity of these two having anything in common. Occasional giggling aside, I enjoyed learning about their sordid pasts and how they eventually learn to work together against a common enemy. They work well as a team when not trying to undermine or spontaneously kidnap each other. I adored that Marcus was a scientist, helping to make scientists and scientific experiments sexy. He is super smart, creative, and at times a touch clueless in terms of his relationship with Katie but makes up for it with some really creative bedroom techniques (most of which involve some sexy scientific method talk).
WITCH INTERRUPTED brings sexy back to science and plays around with the typical werewolf/witch mythology with a fast paced plot that will leave you smiling by the end of the book.(less)
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy LONG LIVE THE QUEEN was a wonderfully twisty, fun, and dark steampunk tale that held me with such rapt atte...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy LONG LIVE THE QUEEN was a wonderfully twisty, fun, and dark steampunk tale that held me with such rapt attention I didn’t want to put it down. The fact that I so enjoyed this third book in the series is pretty good considering it was my first foray into The Immortal Empire. The writing is superb and I adored the fact that past plot points and worldbuilding were so organically woven that they barely stopped the already fast paced plot.
With a book filled with goblins, werewolves, and vampires who consume human and animal flesh on a regular basis, LONG LIVE THE QUEEN makes for some macrabe moments but what surprised me was the fact that I didn’t mind. So many of the monsters are humanized to the extent that I cared more for them than the humans who were demonized into essentially a rampant monster hating mob. One of the parts of the plot I enjoyed was the focus on the very really issue of class warfare and the struggle for equal rights and security amongst a race/class of people. I wasn’t expecting such thought provoking topics to pop up here and done so well.
Xandra Vardan is an incredibly adaptable character especially after learning of her goblin heritage in the previous book and taking her new eating habits in good strides in LONG LIVE THE QUEEN. I also enjoyed the fact that Xandra could play both parts gentle peacemaker and investigator as well as very scary monster who can rip out your liver with a swipe of her claw. Another aspect I liked with Xandra is that she is a queen in her own right so seeing her verbally spare with Queen Victoria was great fun as it was an epic fight of passive aggressive snipping at times while trying to remain proper.
LONG LIVE THE QUEEN puts the dark in dark steampunk and has so many twists it will keep you on your toes wondering when the next one is coming. This was an excellent final installment of The Immortal Empire and I will definitely go back to read the first two books now.(less)
FOUR WEDDINGS AND A WEREWOLF is delightfully sweet, funny, and entertaining which is what I expected from a title that is a play off the sweet and funny romantic comedy, FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL. Aside from being a nice fluffy romance there is actually a nice underlining of a mystery and danger to make the really story interesting. While I guessed at who the stalker was almost immediately the way in which his technique becomes increasingly invasive and scary over the course of the book made me wonder just how far this guy would go. The final confrontation with the stalker and Veronica proved that as crazy as stalkers can be, this one brings crazy to a new level.
The romance between Logan and Veronica is the classic love/hate relationship which is my favorite kind in a romance novel. The banter between these two is at times sweet and touching and sometimes weird and hilarious. I especially loved Logan’s reactions to various situations while joining Veronica on her trips to wedding venues and stores. Along with the entertaining conversations there is a nice amount of emotional depth and enough character development that I felt I could relate to Veronica and Logan on some level.
The chemistry between Veronica and Logan is hot and while they click on a physical level they also click on an emotional level with their own individual relationship hangups. It was nice to see them grow closer and work through their hangups together. While I adored these two together I was baffled at Veronica’s blind hatred and lack of knowledge of all thing werewolf especially since her close sister is one. Logan is super patient in both putting up with Veronica’s slight bigotry and in his wooing of her. I found his patience to be super charming and really enjoyed seeing him try to hold back on his frustration and attraction to Veronica.
FOUR WEDDINGS AND A WEREWOLF has a delicious blend of sweetness and danger. I am definitely looking forward to the next book of the Seattle Wolf Pack.(less)
While I enjoyed WEREWOLF IN LAS VEGAS for the main character’s adorable relationship, most of the plot and...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
While I enjoyed WEREWOLF IN LAS VEGAS for the main character’s adorable relationship, most of the plot and characterization involved some serious suspension of disbelief in regards to business dealings and maturity level of 20somethings. The fact that someone could lose a business off of one poker game is pure fantasy even for a book where werewolves exist. I would think that with boards of directors and numerous checks and balances usually in place this sort of thing would be near impossible to do. Were it possible I would love to challenge Bill Gates to a game of Go Fish.
On the character front I liked Giselle and Luke. They worked well together and they had noble if not completely correct intentions for their siblings. They helped each other out looking for their wayward siblings and in doing so learned from each other in regards to their expectations of their family members. They have a fun buildup to their romance which culminates in a sex scene in which they commit delicious crimes against chocolate. While doing unforgivable things to my favorite dessert I adored the absolute messiness and fun of their escapade.
In regards to Giselle and Luke’s wayward siblings I was pretty dissatisfied. Luke’s 22 year old sister came off as unreasonable and immature especially after the numerous childish pranks she pulls to essentially convince Luke to let her follow her showgirl dreams. Granted Luke is reasonably apprehensive about it but couldn’t this have been solved with a talk, some compromise and not the pages of wild goose chases and silly pranks Luke is force to go on just to talk to her? Giselle’s brother who is on the lam and skirting his duties as a future Alpha of his pack comes off as kind of immature too especially in his going along with the overly elaborate pranks. Neither of these characters were very likeable and came off as spoiled brats.
WEREWOLF IN LAS VEGAS is fluffy and cute with an adorable romance the likes of which I’ve come to look forward to with the Wild About You series but I had some serious issues with some of the characters and storyline logic that left me wanting. Hopefully the next book in the ever charming Wild About You series will be better.(less)
With Halloween coming I decided to read NIGHTLIFE since based on its description it seemed like just the ri...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
With Halloween coming I decided to read NIGHTLIFE since based on its description it seemed like just the right scary suspenseful story to read in October on a dark rainy night. I was not disappointed and was met with an incredibly riveting, edge of your seat plot that was equal parts spooky mystery and gruesomely tragic horror novel. Horror works well when there are slow, quiet moments yet there is an underlining panic for what unknown evil is coming. NIGHTLIFE does this type of suspense very well as the beginning of the story takes its time setting up the world then the creepiness slowly seeps and then it hits you with the full extent of its horror. The monsters are what really makes this a truly great horror story.
The vampire like creatures in NIGHTLIFE are less suave and sexy and more primal, inhuman parasites who use their powers to ensnare their prey in devious ways. They seemed like a combination of vampires from different cultures and it was nice to have the characters acknowledge those myths as well as the movie vampires in their discussions on what the characters were dealing with.
Jack Jackson has dedicated his life to vampire hunting and while I’ve seen this solitary male fighting against an impossible threat many times I liked him. He’s funny, has some great ideas for how to kill the vampires, and came off like an all around decent guy who I would want to have with me during a vampire attack. Beth, who ends up embroiled in all of Jack’s monster hunting, took a bit more time to warm up to as I was in the mindset that she was going to be the ‘damsel in distress’ for this horror story. Luckily she wasn’t for the most part and she turns out to be very resourceful and maybe just as kickass as Jack by the end of the book.
NIGHTLIFE is a perfect blend of suspense and creepy horror mixed with a dash of paranormal. With the way this book ended I think there could be plenty of story left for a series and I hope there is.(less)
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy When I saw the blurb for COLD IRON promising Celtic mythology and of course Fae I jumped at the chance to r...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy When I saw the blurb for COLD IRON promising Celtic mythology and of course Fae I jumped at the chance to read it. I really wanted to read about the fae and see an interpretation of Celtic folklore and COLD IRON gives you that in wonderful detail. I enjoyed the solid world building and how the Fae and Druid connection in this book was expertly woven around the actual historical facts (in respect to the Druids that is) of these two Irish legends and people. In most of the books I’ve read faeries tend to be mischievous, cruel, and down right naughty. COLD IRON goes one step further in this description and makes them almost inhuman or alien in their emotions and interactions with humans. I enjoyed this more evil and dangerous take as there is always an element of danger present when ever a faerie is around in COLD IRON. Even the ‘good guy’ Fae are wicked and multiple shades of grey.
In regards to the main characters; Beth comes off as a well rounded character with a backstory that had me feeling really, really bad for her in regards to her choices of a husband. In regards to Conn I wasn’t to excited by him especially considering he is one of the ‘evil sadistic’ fae who has had villages in Ireland trembling for eons. Just the thought that this guy has essentially raped countless women and wanted to essentially rape Beth kind of put a damper on my reading of his and Beth’s relationship growth. Everytime Beth began to consent to sex it just seemed akward as she’s consenting to a guy who is a serial rapist and this is after she leaves her ex-husband who is basically an all around horrible person who used and abused her both in their marriage and after.
COLD IRON has some great ideas and twists in regards to Celtic mythology but unfortunately the romance is too dreary and fraught with such sad past and violent pasts in regards to Beth and Conn that I was left feeling cold in regards to feeling anything positive about them as a couple.(less)
HOW TO KILL A VAMPIRE: FANGS IN FOLKLORE, FILM AND FICTION is an excellent compilation and analysis of the vampire myth and its evolution from historical folklore to present day pop culture. This book had the folklore nerd in me very happy and I loved reading theories on how the present day vampire became what he/she/it is today. There were tons of morbid stories and details on what people did to stop vampires that had me shocked at the creativity and sometimes savageness of some traditions.
While I already knew quite a bit about vampire folkloric origins before I started this book, I was surprised at what I didn’t know. For instance, vampires being killed by sunlight was never really a part of any folklore or early vampire fiction. The death by sun part of the myth came from film for a more dramatic death scene in the newly visual medium. What I found even more amazing than the origin of vampire ‘death by sun’ was the fact that Ladouceur goes on to explain a scientific reason sunlight being harmful to the undead.
Continuing her in depth analysis of the vampire myth Ladouceur also contemplates the meaning of life and death for our ancestors and how our changing approach to death and disease has affected the narrative of the vampire in fiction. Her thoughtful analysis really gave me a new perspective on vampires as they relate to our culture and the stories we pass on to eachother.
HOW TO KILL A VAMPIRE: FANGS IN FOLKLORE, FILM AND FICTION is a thought provoking look at the evolution of the vampire through the ages from folklore to film. After reading this book I found myself adding to the list of older vampire movies and books I should pick up and some I want to revisit.(less)
With many anthologies it tends to be hit or miss depending on which short story I am reading in it. DARK D...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
With many anthologies it tends to be hit or miss depending on which short story I am reading in it. DARK DUETS has an excellent idea with authors pairing up to write some seriously dark urban fantasy tales. This anthology is mostly mediocre with stories that ranged from pretty good to unreadable. My top favorites included TRIP TRAP which was a cute story about a troll living under a bridge which has an cool idea for why this troll and any troll in stories lives under bridges. It wasn’t that dark compared to the rest of the stories which made it a nice introduction into the general dark theme of this anthology. DARK WITNESS, T. RHYMER, and SHE, DOOMED GIRL were the types of stories I expected in this anthology with their dark, haunting tone and compelling plots. T. RHYMER was especially enjoyable with a really interesting elf mythology. I would love to read a full length novel version of this story. Unfortunately there were some stories that weren’t just not good but over the top gross and at times offensive. REPLACING MAX was absolutely disgusting and creepy. Eventually I ended up skimming through it to get to the end. Unfortunately there were a few in this anthology that like REPLACING MAX I either didn’t get due to the writing style or couldn’t finish due to the grossness.(less)
Between the constant action, romantic entanglements, and complex death threats CURSED BY DESTINY doesn’t gi...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Between the constant action, romantic entanglements, and complex death threats CURSED BY DESTINY doesn’t give poor Celia a break after the events of A CURSED EMBRACE. I love how strong Celia is in spite of all the horrible issues she has and yet is able to still be the loving and protective big sister to her family. Basically this whole book is one long emotional roller coaster of highs and lows which had me desperately wanting Celia to get a break somewhere but she doesn’t. Along with the emotional roller coaster ride and the perilous plot to kill Celia makes CURSED BY DESTINY a wonderfully exciting story. The fight scenes seemed to be ramped up to 11 which was a great way to highlight Cecy and her sisters’ abilities during fights. I still am perplexed by the odd combination of powers they each have due to being cursed which are made even more complicated in this book through a series of interesting events.
Obviously I loved Celia as a main heroine for her strength but I also loved the hilarious shape shifting situations she gets in especially one involving an unfortunate incident with a dog. I enjoyed the sisters a little bit more in CURSED BY DESTINY as they seemed more fleshed out with more complex personalities though I do have some concern for Celia’s sister Emme who is in a constant state of blushing. On the relationship front for Celia I understand the need for a ‘love triangle’ but its coming off as kind not a choice even for Celia especially considering the fact that Misha consistently creeped me out 100x more than Aric. Aric seems to be the better choice especially with the whole being Celia’s mate thing and them actually being in love. I am still perplexed by Aric and the shifters’ situation in this book with trying to keep shifters from becoming extinct by forced marriages. It seems that artificial insemination would be a much more effective way to keep the species alive…
Aside from my musings on ways to keep shifters from being extinct without delving into forced marriages CURSED BY DESTINY was a very enjoyable continuation o f the Weird Girls series. There is something for everyone in this series with action and mystery as well as magic and romance.(less)
Not having read the previous two books in the Grimnoir Chronicles, I hesitated continuing with WARBOUND as...moreReview Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Not having read the previous two books in the Grimnoir Chronicles, I hesitated continuing with WARBOUND as I found myself neck deep in a highly complex and almost confusing story but the story was interesting enough for me to carry on just to figure out what happening. I had a hard time placing this book into a genre and with interdimensional battles and magic I simply settled for mash up of sci-fi, urban fantasy, alternate history, and steampunk. Luckily, after making my way through the fascinating prologue and first chapter, I was met with a rich, violent, complex, action packed story that I was glad to have finished.
The action is set to eleven in epicness and it there are no lulls in WARBOUND. With so much action there are options for many awesome machines and magically augmented technologies like zeppelins with awesome fire power and magical armor. The magic and its rules in WARBOUND is just as intricate as the technology and the magic evolves over the course of this story as if it had its own character arc. This story isn’t just fight after fight but it’s intelligent and thought provoking with characters making calculated moves as if on a massive chessboard.
The diverse cast of characters have a wonderful array of magical abilities and backgrounds that I thirsted for more time with each one of them. Their struggles for acceptance along with their abilities were very reminicent of X-Men with abilities such as weather manipulation, controlling fire, teleportation and telekinesis. The great thing is that they aren’t all soldiers or even fighters. There are scientists, doctors, diplomats, detectives, serial killers, and engineers present making for a fun clash of personalities and abilities. There is even a samurai to round out the badassness of this group.
WARBOUND is a deeply complex action packed mash up of genres that had me relishing every moment of this epic story. Sadly WARBOUND is the last book in the Grimnoir Chronicles and I need to go back and read the previous two to revel in this amazing world and figure out how this story began.(less)
love to see it when authors take already well know stories and remake them by adding their own unique touc...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
love to see it when authors take already well know stories and remake them by adding their own unique touches. I didn’t read the previous book, THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER, which pays homage to THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU luckily HER DARK CURIOSITY can easily stand alone as we are told enough of what happened previously to get what is happening. HER DARK CURIOSITY gives us a different take on THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE and its is a very dark tale filled with strange experiments, rocky romances, and murder. Overall the story is dark and twisty and psychologically creepy. The problems I had with this story are more character based as I never really connected with anyone nor did I really ‘get’ the love triangle as it was presented.
Juliet was fascinating to watch as she traverses London society hiding the fact that she is a product of her father Dr. Moreau’s animal-human experiments. I wish the story focused more on her dealing with her dual life as a high society lady and the daughter of a ‘madman’ but we only get a taste of her internal conflicts. Seeing her deal with her ‘madness’ was really fascinating and I would have loved for the story to have delved more into her dealing with her darker side. Juliet comes off as very smart and resourceful in the beginning of the story but when her two love interests come on the scene I began to question her decision making abilities in regards to her love life and life decisions.
On one end of the love triangle is Edward or HER DARK CURIOSITY’s Jekyll/Hyde. Edward is a creation of Dr. Moreau; a combination of many animals with a human. I loved seeing him deal with his dual nature which mirrors the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde story in that Edward’s Mr. Hyde aspect slowly grows more powerful and bleeds into Edward’s personality more and more. There are a lot of questions of whether Edward is the separate from his more Hyde-like beast nature or the beast is merely a part of his personality which I loved reading about in this story. Juliet and Edward are both products of her father’s experiments and they both seem similar in personality which makes their attractions somewhat understandable. But there is one scene that had me mentally shouting at Juliet for her stupidity in regards to Edward/beast’s actions. I slowly started to lose some respect for Juliet as her interactions with a clearly violent and unstable man continued.
The other end of the love triangle has Montgomery who met and fell in love with Juliet in THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER while her father’s island. I got the Juliet/Edward romance as their relationship is pretty well developed in the story and they are dealing with similar issues regardless of Juliet’s insistence on staying close to a clearly unstable individual but Juliet/Montgomery made no sense. He comes into the story without having seen Juliet for a year and we are barely given any real reasons to like him. Montgomery comes off as manipulative and a touch dominerring to the point that I wanted Juliet to just forget both men and find some other worthy suitor. I loved the story when it focused on the plot rather than the love triangle.
Aside from my annoyance with multiple characters and the main love triangle, HER DARK CURIOSITY is able to take the already dark story of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE and make it even darker with spurts of action and murder filled with gore.(less)
BORN IN BLOOD is the start of what looks to be a thrilling, dark series and while people with powers having...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
BORN IN BLOOD is the start of what looks to be a thrilling, dark series and while people with powers having to hide is nothing new in fiction there are some touches that make this world unique and exciting. One one of the small touches was the safe zone where ‘high-bloods’ or immortal people with powers can learn and live in peace being named ‘Valhalla’ and the ‘high-blood’ culture was fascinating also. The story starts right off with what looks like a run of the mill murder which quickly turns into a more sinister story of power and corruption. I enjoyed the slow unraveling of the twists which not only made the story fun to read but helped me start to want to learn more about this world.
Aside from the murder, mystery, and mayhem the love story between Callie and Duncan is sweet and I really enjoyed how right from the start we see how unrequited their attraction has been in their light teasing and side long glances. I felt that Duncan was a little pushy and arrogant at times though a lot of the pushiness can be attributed to being a darn good policeman and human being for wanting to stop a crazed killer. Arrogance aside I liked that he had such a strong moral center and that unlike a lot of mortals he is not particularly prejudice against high bloods. Along with enjoying Callie and Duncan’s relationship blossom, the secondary characters were all excellent and I can’t wait for them to have their own stories featured.
For the first book in The Sentinels series BORN IN BLOOD was a pretty good introduction though I would have loved to have more fleshing out of the world which will probably happen in later books. There is no information about the next book in this series but I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next one.(less)
The plot in RED HOT DRAGON felt rushed with more focus on the sex scenes than the romantic development or...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
The plot in RED HOT DRAGON felt rushed with more focus on the sex scenes than the romantic development or the plot. I felt left out of the exciting and very fun sounding kidnapping story happening somewhere else especially when its resolution appeared to be an afterthought to the next sex scene. Perhaps there are some readers who just want sex in their books and that’s fine but with such an interesting series plot line involving a group of knights and dragons embroiled in a centuries long war I was anticipating more time to be spent on that and also some time spent getting to know Griffin and Avani better in RED HOT DRAGON.
I enjoyed the romance between Griffin and Avani and how it progressed smoothly throughout the story. Both Griffin and Avani are smart, complex characters who’s backstories are equally compelling and I would have loved to spend more time learning about their respective lives.They both approach the relationship as a sort of business arrangement but eventually it becomes something more. The arrangement for Griffin to be her ‘baby daddy’ is a really unique idea and it was fun to see them hash out the details of their plan knowing that they were going to end up together in the end. While the developing relationship felt rushed it made sense in how it developed and I enjoyed seeing them come to the realization that they wanted to be together beyond the terms of their arrangement.
RED HOT DRAGON is sexy erotic fun for those that are looking for a light-on-plot romance with two very sexy,red hot dragons. Unfortunately it was so short of a book it felt rushed and I didn’t feel any solid connection to the interesting characters or the compelling story lines. Currently there is no information about another book but there is definitely room for more stories in the Dragon Heat series.(less)
With most paranormal romances there are certain things I expect: a relatively good story, compelling charac...moreReview Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
With most paranormal romances there are certain things I expect: a relatively good story, compelling characters who I can relate to in some way, and of course a steamy romance. Unfortunately DEAD SEXY DRAGON did not really deliver on any of these. I enjoyed the underlying premise of this book with different species of dragons in an age long fight with knights bent on their destruction. This fascinating set up is sadly not a large part of DEAD SEXY DRAGON’s plot save for the very end which is frankly too little too late. And the plot…was pretty boring with barely a hint of danger or action aside from the steamy sex scenes. When imminent danger and chase scenes do come by in the guise of the vaguely hinted at thugs coming for Cora, I was given whiplash at the quickness of it all. There was really no good build up or sense of looming danger for Cora and Stig to make me excited for the culminating fight with the bad guys.
The couples in paranormal romances need to have something beyond a mutual attraction to each other and engaging in lots of sex hold my interest in their relationship. Cora really didn’t have a personality that I could click with and I never felt like I knew her. She has no real moments that show off her life without Stig to give a sense of who she is as an individual. Stig was more developed with his backstory as a dragon shifter but there needed to be more about his history with Cora to really believe in his attraction to her. I also admit that I really love some good banter between love interests and probably unfairly anticipate it in romances since that’s really the best way to highlight their connection beyond sex. Cora and Stig have some history but they lacked that banter; that connection to make their relationship believable.
Perhaps DEAD SEXY DRAGON could have benefited from being longer as this story falls around the 100 page mark. I so wanted to like this book and enjoyed the dragon lore premise but in the end DEAD SEXY DRAGON left me feeling cold and unsatisfied. Hopefully the next book in the Dragon Heat series, RED HOT DRAGON coming out October 1, 2013 will be better.
CORRODED continues to move a beautifully written story forward with amazing revelations and new challenges...moreReview Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
CORRODED continues to move a beautifully written story forward with amazing revelations and new challenges for Cherry St. Croix. Like the previous two books in the The St. Croix Chronicles. CORRODED feels like a dark nightmare with danger lurking around every corner. I enjoyed the progressive darkening of the story as it ramps up the tension and conflict for Cherry. Unfortunately the first part of the story moves too slowly for my taste and at times I felt like I was forcing myself get to the next plot point or chapter. Luckily the story speeds up and gets really exciting and action packed towards the last part of CORRODED which made the slogging first half worth it.
One of the unique ideas in the The St. Croix Chronicles is the fact that our heroine, Cherry is addicted to opium. In CORRODED we get to see her yo yo between withdrawals and drug induced hazes as she seeks revenge on ‘Jack the Ripper’. Her downward spiral into opium and other dangers helps shows that Cherry is very flawed which is how I tend to like my protagonists because it makes their struggles from rock bottom to a ‘happy ending of sorts’ all the more satisfying. While I like Cherry as a main character I wasn’t to thrilled by her relationship with Hawke, the ringmaster of the Menagerie.
Cherry’s relationship with Hawke continues to be very baffling. I just don’t know what I am supposed to think about him. He comes to Cherry’s rescue plenty of times and I enjoyed seeing more of him as that meant the possibility of figuring him out. But I still don’t get his purpose in the story aside from a sort of love interest and a way to get Cherry out of a bind. I assume his identity and background is supposed to be shrouded in mystery but he really doesn’t say or do much to really make him a full character.
CORRODED is an excellent dark steampunk story with a lot wonderful horror elements and a very troubled heroine who I gladly continue to root for as this dark, twisted story continues. I am looking forward to seeing where this story goes in the next The St. Croix Chronicles book which as of now has no release date.(less)
As I settled down for some high seas adventure time with my favorite fictional nurse, Edie Spence I hoped s...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
As I settled down for some high seas adventure time with my favorite fictional nurse, Edie Spence I hoped she’d get at least a second to enjoy some peace and quiet with Asher in DEADSHIFTED. In reality Edie sunbathing on the cruise ship’s deck and getting manicures would be a pretty boring book and luckily for us the action and danger starts off pretty much right away. I had wondered how the story would feel with Edie outside of the Y4 level of the hospital where she started getting involved with the supernatural world. DEADSHIFTED does a nice job of creating a whole new little world on the ship with a unique cast of characters while keeping the same dark tone of the previous books. The plot is exciting and is part medical mystery, survival story, and part waking nightmare of mine involving everything that can go wrong on a cruise ship.
DEADSHIFTED presents Edie and Asher with something more dangerous than they experienced in this series. With more danger come more bloody gore and squirm inducing descriptions which are the result of the author being quite familiar gore and blood in her day job as a nurse. Usually I can manage the gore but DEADSHIFTED really tested my resolve and I was squirming and hurriedly flipping pages to get past the disgusting creatures that pop up during some very gross moments. While the gore is excessive at times it isn’t shocking as its presented in a very matter of fact/realistic way and that realism is amplified by seeing the psychological effect of the death and gore on the ship’s passengers.
Aside from the multiple gross out moments I was surprised at just how much is thrown at Edie as the twists just keep coming and not in her favor. This series does not shy away from the darkness and Cassie Alexander does not give her heroine any breaks. At times I wish Edie could get something to go her way and what keeps me coming back to this series aside from the writing and loveable characters is the realism of the danger and the hope that there is a light at the end of the bleak yet mesmerizing adventures of Edie Spence.
The Edie Spence series is the epitome of dark, creepy, urban fantasy with its realistic gore, grit, and danger that keeps me coming back for more every time. DEADSHIFTED ends with a major cliffhanger and before you go looking at the description for the next book BLOODSHIFTED (available July 1, 2014 from St. Martin’s Paperback) be warned that it and the cover have huge spoilers.(less)
Every time I open up a Monster Haven book I fall in love again with these quirky, loveable characters and t...moreReview Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Every time I open up a Monster Haven book I fall in love again with these quirky, loveable characters and this exciting crazy world. FAIRIES IN MY FIREPLACE comes with more fast paced action, humorous dialogue and dangerous new bad guys. Zoey continues to be a brilliant and hilarious heroine with a very questionable dress sense. Basically, she’s someone I would become fast friends with if she were real.
In FAIRIES IN MY FIRERPLACE, Zoey has a lot more on her plate with more mythological creatures coming to her house for her Aegis protection. This creates a more frenetically paced story that had me feeling just as tired as Zoey at times. I liked that there was no lull in the action or character antics as it really helped to amp up the tension and keep the story from getting too stale.
Along with more characters helping to deepen the worldbuilding, is the expansion of the overarching storyline which has slowly become even more dire and serious for everyone. FAIRIES IN MY FIREPLACE definately adds some creepiness to the plot with the revelation of the antagonist’s methods for capturing and using monsters. While the plot has gotten a little darker there is an excellent balance of lightness and darkness in FAIRIES IN MY FIREPLACE that I was found myself laughing and then tearing up a few pages later. Yes, there is some heartbreak in this story and I was shocked at what happened and kept on hoping against hope it wasn’t true.
Aside from the roller coaster of emotions I felt reading this book there is a lot of hope and great adventure awaiting Zoey and her friends in the future. I continue to absolutely unabashedly gush over the Monster Haven series and impatiently look forward to GOLEM IN MY GLOVEBOX coming out in 2014 by Carina Press.
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy I adore the Naked Werewolf series for its light, fun and sexy adventures and HOW TO RUN WITH A NAKED WEREWO...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy I adore the Naked Werewolf series for its light, fun and sexy adventures and HOW TO RUN WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF continues with the sexy and snarky I’ve come to love in this series. Its hilarious, has tons of action and I fell in love with both Anna and Caleb right away. The plot was pretty interesting with Anna’s background being somewhat of a mystery to Caleb and the way in which her past linked to his bounty hunting job was an excellent way to get them to end up ‘on the run’ together. I also adore the descriptions of Alaska’s landscape and the small towns.
One of my favorite aspects of this book is the banter and one liners that come from Anna and Caleb butting heads and a series of misunderstandings that lead them into yet more hilarious situations. While they seemed to be at odds with each other for a large part of the book I knew these two crazy kids would get together in the classically quirky yet sexy way Molly Harper excels at. Caleb is one of those types of characters that’s tough on the outside but a big loyal softy on the inside which is what I love in a male lead. While Caleb does an excellent job at protecting Anna, I liked that she was pretty darn brave herself for being a mere human with the knowledge that there are things out there that can kill her oh so easily.
Aside from the adorable romance and funny lines I enjoyed that there was an underlying message about domestic abuse and how a woman who is a victim of such violence can leave and be a survivor. There are some serious reflections on the effects of the relationship on Anna and shows that however trapped Anna may feel as a result of her horrible ex she (like many domestic abuse victims) is not really alone. Luckily for Anna she has a werewolf or two on her side to help and I enjoyed how they resolved her relationship with her abusive ex.
HOW TO RUN WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF is a sexy, fun, adventure all tied up with a wonderful bow of snark that has been a welcome staple of Molly Harper’s writing. Currently there are no details on the next book but I can’t wait for the next Alaskan adventure in the Naked Werewolf series.(less)
WHO WAS DRACULA?: BRAM STROKER’S TRAIL OF BLOOD brings depth and intrigue to not only the creation of Dracu...moreReview Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
WHO WAS DRACULA?: BRAM STROKER’S TRAIL OF BLOOD brings depth and intrigue to not only the creation of Dracula but also the life of his creator, Bram Stroker. There were some fascinating revelations about the various inspirations for Dracula as well a very interesting look at life in the Victorian era theater where Stroker worked while he wrote DRACULA. I loved how Steinmeyer created stories out of Stroker’s letters throughout the book which made it feel like a novel. While the people surrounding Stroker had amazingly rich and complex lives, their stories went on for so long that at times they overshadowed Dracula himself.
What Steinmeyer found as he researched the author’s world was the surprising way Stroker mashed up the characteristics and quirks from those around him including his former boss Henry Irving, Oscar Wilde, and Walt Whitman. One surprising influence was Jack the Ripper who Stroker could have met! The chapter on Jack was really interesting and gave some new insights into one of the suspects in the Ripper case.
Reading WHO WAS DRACULA? really made me think more about the character of Dracula and how such a character has lasted and evolved over the years. The reason for Dracula’s everlasting success well into the 21st century can be summed up by Steinmeyer’s last line:
“A truly great nightmare is once experienced, never forgotten. It is summoned again when we simply close our eyes. It needs nothing but imagination.it is never very far away.”
While WHO WAS DRACULA? felt repetitious at times, though the rewards outweigh that minor quibble. It’s filled with fascinating information on Victorian life, Bram Stroker, and new insights on just who Dracula in fact was.
I was really excited to see Neil Gaiman’s name attached to THE SILVER DREAM, and very surprised to see it l...moreReview Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
I was really excited to see Neil Gaiman’s name attached to THE SILVER DREAM, and very surprised to see it lean more towards science fiction than the fantasy I’m used to reading in Gaiman’s work. Aside from that small shock THE SILVER DREAM is a quick read with fast paced action and an incredibly complex world. Even though this is the second book of the Interworld series new readers can pretty much jump right into the story without feeling too lost.
THE SILVER DREAM is somewhat reminiscent of ENDER’S GAME with children fighting a war against a deadly alien enemy bent on destroying the world. What makes THE SILVER DREAM really different from ENDER’S GAME is the addition of mind bending time travel, inter-dimensional worlds, and an odd mixture of science and magic. A surprising and at times confusing concept introduced in the Interworld series involves Joey having hundreds of alternative ‘Joeys’ from various worlds who not only look slightly like Joey but think like him as well. The idea of living with multiple versions of yourself is both a fascinating and horrifying concept to think about.
Aside from the amazing world building and intense action scenes, there is a definite lack of character development. Everyone except for Joey is one dimensional which is disappointing especially for a character like Acacia who sounds like a really cool girl who has to have an amazingly complex and fun back story from the little we can suss out from the the story. Unfortunately, she sweeps in to help Joey, introduces some really interesting ideas on time travel, and disappears before we can get a good grasp on just who this person even is. Other characters introduced come off as so paper thin that I was amazed at the ‘closeness’ Joey had to them.
While there is a lack of good character development, THE SILVER DREAM is a fascinating YA sci-fi novel filled with great concepts, lots of cool technology, and riveting action. I tend to shy away from the sci-fi genre with its overabundance of complex technology talk so I was happy to see that THE SILVER DREAM was surprisingly light on that aspect. THE SILVER DREAM ends on a major cliffhanger which will make the next book in the Interworld series (which has no release date) hard to wait for.
THE DEAD RUN was an exhilarating thriller with a blend of horror and supernatural qualities, though I was l...moreReview Courtesy of All Things Urban FAntasy
THE DEAD RUN was an exhilarating thriller with a blend of horror and supernatural qualities, though I was left wondering whether I was reading a straight up horror novel as much of the super intricate and magical plot line doesn’t seem to start until a few chapters in. Aside from expecting more paranormal qualities earlier in the story THE DEAD RUN was a pretty enjoyable read and the plot was set to eleven in terms of speed which is how thrillers should be. I am typically not a fan of gore which tends to be synonymous with horror so I was pleased that while THE DEAD RUN does have a fair amount of gore it wasn’t excessive enough for me to stop reading it.
Another aspect of THE DEAD RUN I enjoyed was the very bloody fight sequences that showed no one is safe from death or horrible injury. So much goes on in these battles with supernatural creatures that I had to re-read parts to figure out what happened to who and where exactly. Also, Most of the supernatural creatures and human characters exist in a grey zone of morality to the point that I could almost understand why a character would randomly decide to do something absolutely crazy in a dire situation.
While I enjoyed the horror story and creepy mythology involving the main bad guy, one of the big issues I had with this THE DEAD RUN is the lack of character development. I could tell that these characters were generally not all good or all bad but they came off more as generalizations of characters. I didn’t know or like anyone enough to really care about them, even Galvan. He’s very flawed which I only figured out from the vague mentions of his troubled past in the first chapter. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a character except that is all we are given about him which isn’t enough for me to really care about what happens to him.
Basically, I enjoyed the overall story but was left wanting more character development and less time with plot development. THE DEAD RUN was tough to get through but it is a decent read for those wanting a thriller with a large helping of the supernatural thrown in for good measure.(less)