This short story was incredibly cute and extremely hilarious. Hailey Derry has the type of superpower I would loveAll Things Urban Fantasy
This short story was incredibly cute and extremely hilarious. Hailey Derry has the type of superpower I would love to have where anything I eat can be transformed into super powered energy to fight crime with. I loved how she went about her daily routine trying to poorly hide the fact that she was “It Girl”; a name she despises as much as she does many other superhero cliches that are mentioned throughout this story. I wish there were more stories (full length or novella!) with Haliey as this was my favorite story in this book.
Sexual Content: very mild short sex scene
UNDEAD AND UNDERWATER
This story brings together two of MaryJanice Davidson’s characters from her Undead and Fred the Mermaid series and since I was not familiar with either character I was very happy to have the character summaries in the Forward to better understand the histories of Betsy and Fred. UNDEAD AND UNDERWATER continues with the absurd humor and quirkiness of SUPER, GIRL! Helpful Forward aside, I was still confused about who was who and even what was happening for the first three chapters which in a short story is a little worrying. While the story peaked my interest in picking up one of the Fred the Mermaid books, I found the plot to be a little too convoluted and I had to re-read sections just to understand what was happening.
Sexual Content: N/A
This is a short story from Davidson’s Wyndham Werewolves series set twenty-five years in the future. I liked the worldbuilding and loved that they had an alpha of a pack just peacefully decide to retire instead of be killed in a dominance fight like so many other werewolf novels I’ve read. I was not a huge fan of the narrative leaps from character to character and into the past. I understand that they explained character motivations and relationships, but to me they brought the plot and story momentum to a screeching halt. Narrative leaps aside, INCOMER was a fun introduction to the Wyndham Werewolves series and I would have to say it has one of the most messy and funny sex scenes I’ve ever read.
The conclusion to Jaye Wells’ Sabina Kane urban fantasy series; BLUE BLOODED VAMP was in a word; epic. This book was jam packed with complex characterThe conclusion to Jaye Wells’ Sabina Kane urban fantasy series; BLUE BLOODED VAMP was in a word; epic. This book was jam packed with complex characters, thrilling action, and startling realizations about Sabina and her heritage. I think just about every character from past books got at least a mention if not a small cameo which was nice as it felt like a kind of final curtain call. What I really enjoyed most about this book was that it constantly moved (we even begin the book on a moving train) towards a huge finale involving an intense confrontation with Cain, the father of vampires.
While I enjoyed the finale and all of the action that led up to it; I felt that the story did grind to a halt every time Asclepius (god of healing) showed up and literally put everyone on pause (save for him and Sabina) to tell Sabina she had to do a favor for him. This favor does link to the main plot but I felt it was unnecessary in an already busy and intense book.
I liked BLUE BLOODED VAMP as the conclusion to this series as it brings every thread and character storyline to a satisfying end. Sabina has really evolved over this series and her happy ending was well earned. ...more
I enjoyed the general concept of INNOCENT DARKNESS where a young girl is rescued from a dire situation, is spirited away to a magical land (the OtherwI enjoyed the general concept of INNOCENT DARKNESS where a young girl is rescued from a dire situation, is spirited away to a magical land (the Otherworld in this case), and finds out she not simply an ordinary girl. Where the story lost me was in the dangerous situations Noli was put in because once we get settled into one scenario Noli is spirited away to somewhere else. I never got a chance to get used to the setting or really understand character motivations. As a “dark fairytale”, I expected the creepy and abusive subject matter, but I felt like the danger was only surface deep in order to prevent Noli’s situations from going too deep.
In addition to pulling back on the dark fairytale aspects, the steampunk elements started out with some interesting gadgets and flying machines but once Noli goes into the Otherworld the story becomes purely about fairies and magic with little to no hint of anything ‘steampunk’. I don’t mind mixing genres but this segregated split makes for a book that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be.
Worse than being afraid to commit to one genre, INNOCENT DARKNESS also failed at getting me to connect with the characters. Noli started out as this fun rebellious girl who liked creating gadgets but we only see this side of her for the first few chapters before the plot bounds away to a completely different genre. On the love triangle aspect I couldn’t really root for Noli to be with either of the two boys considering they had little to no redeeming qualities.
INNOCENT DARKNESS started off with some promise but switched genres and changed character perspectives so randomly that I was left confused as what was supposed to be happening in the plot. In the end, Noli didn’t grow or learn anything and the story didn’t convince me on an authentic romance. Everything from character development to the plot felt like it was skimming the surface of what could have been a really good story with unique characters. Hopefully the next book in The Aether Chronicles, which is due out in 2013, will fare better. ...more
The seventh book in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series, WIDOWS WEB is filled with such emotional and physical intensity that it leaves you hapThe seventh book in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series, WIDOWS WEB is filled with such emotional and physical intensity that it leaves you happily exhausted by the end. There are so many complex emotions and difficult choices for Gin since the plot focuses heavily on Owen’s past relationships. Throughout the series we’ve gotten hints about Owen’s interesting “rags to riches” history as he became a more integral part of Gin’s life. I was amazed at just how much was revealed about Owen and his motivations.
One thing Estep excels at is creating unique and sadistic villains and Salina Dubois is no exception. I would describe Salina as a black widow spider innocently luring her victims (especially Owen and Gin) into her web and springing on them at the last minute. Salina’s not just Owen’s jealous ex who wants to steal him back, she’s evil, vengeful, and crazy manipulative in her dangerous scheme to wreak havoc in Ashland.
WIDOWS WEB offered held a bittersweet end to a story fraught with emotional punches to both Gin and Owen. I loved seeing how Gin has gone from being a (mostly) lone assassin to semi retired surrounded by friends and family willing to stand up for and protect her. I can’t wait to see what happens to Gin in DEADLY STING coming out March 26, 2013. ...more
Amy Carol Reeves’s RIPPER brings a supernatural twist to one of the most famous serial killers to come out of London. A lot of the story takes place iAmy Carol Reeves’s RIPPER brings a supernatural twist to one of the most famous serial killers to come out of London. A lot of the story takes place in the Whitechapel Hospital and here we see allusions to the murders before they happen in the story with a lot of historical details from the original Ripper cases including victim names, body discovery, and even authentic recounting of the dismemberment. This foreshadowing combined with the fact that one of the real theories is that Ripper was a doctor helped to increase the sense of foreboding and dread I felt while reading. I was suspicious of any doctor in Whitechapel Hospital which ended up being at least half of the secondary characters which wonderfully amped up the suspense and mystery.
While I enjoyed the unique story surrounding the Ripper murders I had issues with the paranormal aspects. Abbie has visions of the murders before they happen. We are given little reasoning for why Abbie has these visions besides a possible genetic link, and they didn’t do much to help that couldn’t have been done through non supernatural means. I felt RIPPER could have been just fine without the supernatural elements and been categorized as historical fiction instead of anything paranormal.
Visions aside, Abbie is a smart, resourceful, determined character but even knowing that she grew up on the mean streets of Dublin, I was baffled at her ability to fight. She seemed to be able to brutally fend off multiple grown men which, unless there was some hidden supernatural strength that came with her visions, didn’t make logical sense.
Overall, RIPPER did a good job exploring one of the most heinous unsolved crime sprees in history. It was creepy and suspenseful and kept me on my toes especially when Abbie got closer to discovering the true identity of Jack the Ripper. I really liked the focus on the horror and the mystery to identify the Ripper but felt the story could have been better without the supernatural elements. ...more
If you think urban fantasy should be more like a big budget action movie with explosions, gore, and a tough as nails hero then the Deacon Chalk: OcculIf you think urban fantasy should be more like a big budget action movie with explosions, gore, and a tough as nails hero then the Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter series is for you. BLOOD AND MAGICK continues the fast paced action surrounding the monster filled world Deacon Chalk lives in. As no one is safe in this series I was waiting with dreaded anticipation in every fight for some main character to die or be gruesomely disfigured. The group of witches wreaking havoc are some of the most horrible bad guys I’ve ever read and I was overjoyed whenever Deacon and his friends finally got the upperhand.
What I like about the characters surrounding Deacon is that no one has been untouched by the violence in their lives. I appreciated this ‘realism’ as fighting dangerous supernatural creatures is bound to leave a few drastic physical and emotional scars for those who survive. I really liked Deacon’s girlfriend Tiff as she wasn’t the simpering damsel in distress/eye candy and knew how to handle a gun. Another character I found fascinating and hope gets more time in a future book was one of Deacon’s dancers at his strip club who is psychically linked to supernatural ghost spiders who eventually give her some very unique powers.
I had one minor quibble in that I felt like I was being heavily sold the idea that Deacon had the only non-seedy strip club in town filled with dancers that he rescued from various monsters. The explanation of how his strip club was so different from the other clubs and how Deacon was so noble and good got a little tedious after awhile.
BLOOD AND MAGICK is a game changer in the Deacon Chalk series as some huge revelations happen and situations change that will make the next book very very interesting. Currently there is no set date or title but I’ll be checking it out when it comes....more
TALL DARK AND DIVINE seemed like it would be a fun story about Greek gods living in the modern world with wReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
TALL DARK AND DIVINE seemed like it would be a fun story about Greek gods living in the modern world with witty dialogue and some amusing romantic hijinks. Aside from the at times witty dialogue and quirky characters this story just fell flat for me. The characters–whose names were cleverly modernized–came off as one dimensional and very shallow. They all acted like teenagers who pretty much only talked about sex and relationships throughout the whole book. There was really nothing motivating me to care too much about who was going to end up with who.
The relationship between Annie and Eros was kind of cute to start with, but I was put off by their first sex scene which kind of borders on date rape for me. Granted, Greek mythology is filled with gods taking advantage of mortals but in this modern context I was put off. The sex scenes and other methods of persuasion the gods used to mess with relationships didn’t come off so much as cute and silly but kind of weird and manipulative.
TALL DARK AND DIVINE could have been a fun romp but I was left dissatisfied and bored with all of the vapid relationship talk and lack of real character development....more
Where NIGHTSHIFTED, the first book in the Edie Spence series setup Edie’s crazy life and hospital job, MOONReview Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Where NIGHTSHIFTED, the first book in the Edie Spence series setup Edie’s crazy life and hospital job, MOONSHIFTED expanded on the danger and supernatural consequences of Edie’s actions as a nurse in the Y4 wing of her hospital. The first book focused heavily on vampires and, while they are featured in MOONSHIFTED I was excited to see my favorite supernatural creatures, werewolves, be the focus of this book. Their introduction and the plot surrounding the issues of werewolf pack leadership really helped increase the scope and detail of the world Edie exists in.
The pacing in MOONSHIFTED is quick and the writing is sharp. I especially appreciated the balance maintained between humor and horror as too much of one could have soured the book. There were instances where the gory descriptions of characters needed some levity to maintain the lighter tone of this series.
Edie really feels relatable as she consistently makes mistakes and errors in judgement and has to face the consequences of her decisions with intelligence, wit, and some help from her friends. Its almost ridiculously amusing how she tries to stay out of trouble yet every attempt she makes to stay safe brings more supernatural problems to her door…
MOONSHIFTED is an excellent continuation of what is fast becoming one of my must read series and it ends on a huge cliffhanger that has me waiting impatiently for the next book in the Edie Spence series, SHAPESHIFTED, coming out June 4, 2013. ...more
FATED brings another contender for the top of my favorite male urban fantasy hero list. Reading this book IReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
FATED brings another contender for the top of my favorite male urban fantasy hero list. Reading this book I got a very Dresden Files vibe which I loved as I gladly welcome more grizzled hardcore mages/wizards in my urban fantasy.
Alex Verus is a diviner mage with the ability to foresee the near future which is considered a ‘weak’ ability amongst all of the fire, death, air mages with more active powers like throwing fire balls or flying. Diviner mages are considered pretty rare which is a good thing since I would have questioned the surplus of thickheaded mages not knowing how to fight someone who can see all possible outcomes of a battle (unless there are no good ways to fight a diviner...).
What I like about Alex is that while he doesn’t rely too much on magic aside from some select magical items, he uses his wits and creativity to defeat other mages. I kept on thinking of him as the nerdy kid in class who gets picked on by the bigger, stronger kids but in the end he comes out more successful in life due to his knowledge and ability to think on his feet.
Benedict Jacka gives us a new, gritty hero in FATED which is an excellent start to what looks like a thrilling new urban fantasy series. I can’t wait for the next Alex Verus book, CURSED, coming out June 2012. ...more
I thought BY THE BLOOD OF HEROES was going to be a simple ‘killing the undead horde of zombies with very laReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
I thought BY THE BLOOD OF HEROES was going to be a simple ‘killing the undead horde of zombies with very large guns’ tale but it ended up being a much larger war story with very serious implications not only for the heroes but for the world if the wrong side won. The zombies, or shamblers as they are called, are used as weapons of war by the Germans against the Allied forces during WWI. Learning about the advancements in the corpse gas technology was very creepy as it went beyond just raising the dead. The experiments (done on both the dead and living) with the corpse gas elevated the horror to a frightening new level that was all too reminiscent of the Holocaust experiments carried out by the Nazis.
One thing that I didn’t like about this book was the overly technical aspects thrown into the action scenes. While it was interesting to have a dogfight (aka: fighter jet fight) scene, I had a hard time grasping what was happening as I am not familiar with planes and military terminology.
Frustration over the technical jargon aside, the story connected well between the three character narrations as Burke goes on his mission to save Major Jack Freeman. Richthofen’s narration was especially enjoyable as I liked being let in on the antagonist’s thoughts and ideas just to see if I could understand his motives at all or if he is just plain crazy. Richthofen’s motives were definitely on the crazy side but understanding his brand of crazy helped to truly immerse me in the story from all sides. Of the three narrations, I was the least interested in Freeman’s because his story was basically static as a POW with absolutely no means of escape until Burke’s team came. I did like learning more about shamblers along with Freeman but was impatient to get to Burke’s action or Richthofen’s plotting bad guy narrations.
Overall, I enjoyed seeing an alternate history in regards to WWI with not only shambler-making-technology but steampunk elements including mechanical prosthetic arms, dirigibles, and Tesla inspired weapons and technology. BY THE BLOOD OF HEROES mixes a creepy zombie apocalypse scenario with a dash of steampunk to make an action packed story full of heroism from a bygone era. ...more
The Iron Druid Chronicles has been one of the wittiest and clever series to break into the urban fantasy laReview Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
The Iron Druid Chronicles has been one of the wittiest and clever series to break into the urban fantasy landscape over the past year. The prolific Hearne has released five titles in this series since 2011, helping to keep rabid fans satiated. In TRAPPED, however, he does more than deliver another hilariously smart tale, he lets twelve years pass between TRICKED and TRAPPED.
When a series is as fun as this one, skipping even one year is painful, so I was a little miffed at the twelve year time jump in TRAPPED as we missed all of Granuaile’s training, but the thrilling and hilarious journey involved just to get her bound to the earth went a long way towards making up for the missed years. It was nice to see Granuaile be able to fight and defend herself better, and I enjoyed seeing her relationship with Atticus finally move forward past the apprentice/master role…It also helped that Atticus was forced to pull out every trick in his considerable arsenal to stop the numerous attempts on his life since everyone from gods to vampires are after him. One of my favorite out of many exciting fight sequences involved killer clowns in a most unusual setting.
Oberon is once again incredibly sassy and funny. So many of the hilarious comments came from his ramblings, pop culture references, and running commentary on the plot. Another aspect of this book and series that I love is the details we learn about Ragnarok, Greek and Roman Olympians, and the Faerie realm. The mixing of mythologies is awesome here and the glossary that is included helps keep the confusion with so many unfamiliar names to a minimum.
The twelve year jump does sting, as I hate to miss a minute with this series (I need to pick up TWO RAVENS AND ONE CROW, the novella that takes place during the twelve year gap), but TRAPPED is jam packed with petty, cruel gods, and a tough as iron Druid who can more than handle anything they throw at him. Hopefully HUNTED, the sixth and projected final book in the Iron Druid Chronicles, will pick up right after TRAPPED when it comes out in 2013....more
After the first few sentences involving a plunger being used as a weapon, I knew I was going to love MONSTER IN MY CLOSET complete with all of its cheAfter the first few sentences involving a plunger being used as a weapon, I knew I was going to love MONSTER IN MY CLOSET complete with all of its cheekiness and quirky characters. I liked how fast Zoey accepted the fact that all of these creatures she is discovering are real and she has empathic powers. Since she discovers all of this in pretty rapid succession her acceptance was pretty much out of exasperation at the constant barrage of more strangeness in her life.
Zoey’s closet monster (called Maurice) from her childhood who happens to be an amazing cook is the first in a line of creatures that start popping up around her house. I loved the fact that the author actually created a species of monster that dwells in closets. R.L. Naquin added a lot of interesting takes on well known fantasy creatures including miniature dragons, a Sasquatch-like creature, and brownies. I also really enjoyed Riley, Zoe’s hot paramedic boyfriend with his own secret supernatural occupation. Riley comes off as sweet and funny and is a great compliment to Zoe’s quirky personality.
The main conflict with an evil incubus draining people’s emotions was fun especially since his powers were the opposite of Zoey’s. Zoey helps others and brings about positive emotional changes, whereas the incubus just sucks the emotions up leaving behind a dry husk of a person. The climatic battle was a touch confusing with how Zoe figures out how to defeat the incubus and what exactly she does with her powers in that battle.
I will definately be looking forward to POOKA IN MY PANTRY, book two in the Monster Haven series, for another cheeky humor filled story and to figure out more about Zoe’s past and her powers when it comes out in March 2013....more
I am very late in the game with this review. You see I was busy reading other books that seemed to just take priority over this one. Well...I finishedI am very late in the game with this review. You see I was busy reading other books that seemed to just take priority over this one. Well...I finished it and wow. First of all I really should not have seen "Spank! The Musical Parody of Fifty Shades of Grey" before reading Fifty Shades as I was struck with fits of the giggles throughout much of this poorly written book. Since this is not a "Spank!" review I will try to focus on the book I just finished. Although they did have a nice song about Christian's torture room that was to the tune of Willy Wonka's 'Pure Imagination' called 'Pure Domination'. Good song that one.
Anyway, Christian. I have so many horrible words to say about him. Yes, the bad guy in a story can be hot but typically he's still a bad guy and this is what I perceived Christian as with his seriously pricky and abusive attitude. I don't know much about BDSM relationships but I am not sure his behavior appropriate. Actually strike that. Who in their right mind would be attracted to some guy they just met that acts like a jerk.
Oh right. Ana. I have nothing to say about her because she is like every other review I've read of this series. A placeholder for the reader. Well not this reader. I like my placeholders to be strong, independent, and not constantly biting their lips! Their constant stream of email conversations was pretty lame and came off as filler with pointless conversations. Wouldn't texting be quicker?
Now that I've review the horrible main characters how was the writing you may ask. Don't ask. How was the plot? Well, paper thin but then again I am used to books that have more substance and an actual plot aside from people having sex and emailing. I enjoy light romance books where the characters meet, fall quickly in love, and have lots of sex. But those books tend to have engaging characters who seem to have some personality and complexity to them beyond "I'm a place holder for the reader" and "I'm a troubled, abousive, jerk". Some of those books also have had paper thin plots but what kept reading was the dialogue and the characters.
Now if you'll excuse me I need to rinse my mind out with some good paranormal romance story that has likeable characters and a plot with substance.