It’s a bit hard for me to write this review. I noticed a long time ago that the more thrilled I am with a book (or a movie, for that matter), the less...moreIt’s a bit hard for me to write this review. I noticed a long time ago that the more thrilled I am with a book (or a movie, for that matter), the less likely it is that someone will listen to my recommendation. I’ll keep it short and simple and try not to sound overly enthusiastic.
The first book about Charlie really blew me away, therefore I expected a lot from the second one. It really was fun, fast-paced and emotional, but what ruined it a bit was the relationship between Charlie and Hank. I liked Hank better when he was a normal, fun, reliable and incredibly handsome (off-limits) partner. Now that he is all that + a love interest + an overconfident bastard, I like him considerably less. The whole thing that happens between them (and I won’t go into details) wasn’t believable. And it really should have been. Other than that, I was relieved that Emma wasn’t an active participant this time – I know it’s silly, but I’m someone’s mother, too. I can’t stand even fictional children being put in danger.
I should probably mention there’s a big red circle around August 30th on my calendar. I can’t wait to find out where Charlie will go next. I just hope Hank will go the other way.
I know I said I wouldn’t, but I have to write this: The truth mark on Charlie and Hank is just… stupid! They are bonded and they aren’t able to lie to each other, so they made a pact not to ask personal questions of any kind!? Please! My first question would be about the feelings they have for each other! Besides, the bond thing is so worn out. Charlaine Harris milked that cow long ago. (less)
Rating this book was a real challenge for me. There was literally nothing wrong with it, and yet I couldn't bring myself to give 4 or 5 stars. It's a...moreRating this book was a real challenge for me. There was literally nothing wrong with it, and yet I couldn't bring myself to give 4 or 5 stars. It's a real page turner, it has tattoos in it (view spoiler)[I have a thing for tattoos - I look like a damn easter egg (hide spoiler)], it didn't have inconsistencies, the characters were all very interesting, there are some pretty good moments and it certainly is different from every other UF I've ever read.
So when there's nothing objectively wrong with a novel, the only thing that remains to be said is whether I liked it or not. But that's a tough one too. I'm not the biggest fan of dark urban fantasy. Anything darker than Kate Daniels or Fever is probably more than I can take. And Anthony Francis writes really dark UF.
On the other (funnier) side, I just couldn't stop thinking about Sonya Tayeh. Dakota looks just like her. Well, except for the moving dragon tattoo. (view spoiler)[ And yes, I've seen every single episode of So you think you can dance. I love it. (hide spoiler)]
To be perfectly honest, the 3 star rating is really gnawing at my conscience. This is the first time I've disliked a book fully aware that the problem is just me. Objectively this book deserves more. It's simply a matter of taste. And as we all know: De gustibus non est disputandum.
It's very hard to write a helpful review of Graywalker. It simply didn’t leave any kind of impression on me – good or bad. The first half was far more...moreIt's very hard to write a helpful review of Graywalker. It simply didn’t leave any kind of impression on me – good or bad. The first half was far more interesting than the second. It had the tone of a hardboiled detective novel and it was quite refreshing, so I was more than a little disappointed when it all went straight to hell in the other half. Harper Blaine is a good, strong character, but some of her choices weren’t quite clear to me, and the love story (well, lust story, to be precise) was weird and unconvincing. And let me just say that I like my male characters tall, strong and dominant (don’t we all?), but Richardson gave us a love interest who is ordinary, not too handsome and very whiny at times. I meet guys like that every day. Why the hell would I want to read about them, too?!
The worldbuilding was unimaginative and colorless. I really wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone except avid urban fantasy readers (Ooooops, I’m alone on that island, and I’ve read it already, so no… I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone at all). There were some good moments, but all in all, it just wasn't good enough.(less)
The city of Scranton, Pennsylvania abounds with supernatural beings of all sorts – vampires, werewolves, ghouls, wizards and the occasional demon. Of...moreThe city of Scranton, Pennsylvania abounds with supernatural beings of all sorts – vampires, werewolves, ghouls, wizards and the occasional demon. Of course, with all this magic out in the open, the ‘live and let unlive’ policy the city is so proud of doesn’t always work out very well. There are witches who use black magic, a vampire is likely to bite an unwilling victim (especially if he thinks he can get away with it) and goblins have developed a liking for bank robberies and meth. The Occult Crime Unit, where only the best and the craziest detectives can find their place, was formed to deal with such cases.
My name is Markowski. I carry a badge.
When a wizard turned vampire gets killed in the most gruesome way, detective Stanley Markowski and his new partner are called to investigate. Normally Stan wouldn’t lose much sleep over a dead vampire or ten, but this case feels like the beginning of something much larger and far more dangerous. As it turns out, the vampire was the keeper of an incredibly dangerous book called Opus Mago. Here’s how the leader of the supernatural community explains it: Making use of the spells contained in the Opus Mago would be similar to what a friend of mine once said about studying the work of the philosopher Hegel: one must be highly intelligent in order to do such, and profoundly stupid to wish to. It would seem that one such person has arrived in Stranton and it’s now up to Stan and his partner Karl to stop him or her while there’s still time.
Whenever I discover an exciting new urban fantasy series, I feel like a child on Christmas morning. Thanks to Justin Gustainis, I’ve opened my presents early this year! I have to be honest here: I was a little skeptical when I requested Hard Spell. I thought it might be ok at best, but I never even considered the possibility that it would be this good. A male author and a male protagonist are very uncommon in urban fantasy – that’s why the quality of this book makes me even happier. Gustainis did everything right: his world is just dark enough to make you worry about the characters, there are enough funny moments to break the tension, and the plot doesn’t drag for a second!
"Chalice is a modern-day knight descended from an order of female knights that existed int he Middle Ages and actually used hatchets to defend their h...more"Chalice is a modern-day knight descended from an order of female knights that existed int he Middle Ages and actually used hatchets to defend their homes when the men went off to fight. In Chalice’s twenty-first century world, that order still exist, but the female knights are the progeny of angels. The abilities they inherit are their most powerful weapons…"
Chalice has no idea why she’s different: she’d lost her mother when she was just a baby and she never knew anything about her father so her heightened senses (smell, hearing and sight) were never explained to her. Her senses are so strong that she’s forced to wear ear plugs and contacts to protect herself from sensory overload. Because of her abilities, Chalice was taken from the monastery where she was peacefully growing up by a man claiming to be her father. To keep Chalice from running away, the organization that took her, Vyantara, tied her to a gargoyle. She is now forced to steal rare artifacts for Vyantara and keep pretending that the man who took her truly is her father. If she fails to do so, she will turn into a gargoyle herself.
Because of the way she was taken and treated, Chalice is convinced that all magic is bad. But then she meets Aydin, a guy who’s in a very similar situation, tied to a gargoyle and working for Vyantara. He introduces her to a hidden world of good magic and benevolent magical creatures.
I must admit that I liked the way the story developed and, what’s more important, I was genuinely surprised by the ending. On the other hand, the world Duvall created just wasn’t colorful enough and, as much as I tried, I couldn’t picture all the necessary details in my head. I can’t say I liked Chalice much either, and Aydin was creepy at times.
I have many friends who are primarily urban fantasy fans, just like I am. I think most of them might enjoy Knight's Curse. I will definitely read the next book in this series. (less)
I always find it especially hard to review urban fantasy books. I read them, I usually enjoy them, I spend a total of three minutes thinking about the...moreI always find it especially hard to review urban fantasy books. I read them, I usually enjoy them, I spend a total of three minutes thinking about them, and after that, there’s really not much to say. But this book and its author Rachel Caine, who in all honesty hasn’t failed me yet, deserve my best effort.
This isn’t my first book by Rachel Caine. I loved her Weather Warden series (at least the first three books that I’ve read so far) and I still moderately enjoy her Morganville Vampires. My expectations for this were pretty high to begin with and after reading the first book, I'm pretty confident that this will become one of my favorites. Working Stiff is full of small surprises. I can’t really say that it’s unpredictable because, you know, urban fantasy never is, but there were times when the plot went in the opposite direction from what I expected.
After spending four years in Iraq, Bryn Davis understands well the importance of taking care of the dead. As odd as her career choice may seem, she is perfectly happy with her decision to become a funeral director. That is, until she discovers that her new employer is using the funeral home as a cover for some pretty serious and pretty disgusting illegal activities.
Bryn is an amazing character, beautiful, strong, silent and incredibly stubborn. She is caught in an impossible situation, and while she does get overwhelmed by fear and acts foolishly from time to time, she never whines. At least not in a way that would bother me. She also knows how to be funny without being overly sarcastic.
I can’t really reveal the name of Bryn’s love interest because that would ruin one of the small surprises I’ve mentioned. I can, however, say that he’s one of the hottest and most attractive male characters in urban fantasy. I should know, I’ve read them all. He is 100% human which means that he doesn’t have any supernatural powers to hide behind, but he is still more amazing than any vampire, were or mage I can think of. I kid you not. Silent, serious ex-marine type with a tenderness he shows only rarely, he reminded me of Benton Wesley from the Kay Scarpetta series. (I always had a thing for smooth, smart, suit and tie guys like Benton.) He alone would be reason enough to read this book.
If you like urban fantasy, you are going to love Working Stiff. I can’t wait for the next book to come out. (less)
How far would you go to save your best friend? If you’re anything like Corine Solomon, you would take a one-way ticket to hell without a second thoug...moreHow far would you go to save your best friend? If you’re anything like Corine Solomon, you would take a one-way ticket to hell without a second thought.
This is my tenth book by Ann Aguirre, and she has yet to write a single sentence that I won’t like. From her restrained writing style to her astonishing worlds, everything she does demonstrates calmness, precision and experience not many authors have.
My relationship with Corine Solomon got off to a rocky start. Just like Sirantha Jax, she was insufferable at first, mildly infuriating later and a role model by the end. Not that we got to see much of Corine this time around, as she was sharing her body with a vicious demon queen. She was mostly in the background, a helpless spectator in her own life, and even when she found the strength to push the queen down, she was rarely the Corine I know and love. She and the queen started out as complete opposites, one gentle and mellow, the other evil incarnate, but the lines started blurring pretty soon and suddenly I had no idea where one ends and the other begins. Just like Chance, I was unsure about her actions, constantly wondering which part was Corine, and which the demon queen. If that isn’t proof enough of superior writing skills, I don’t know what is.
I adore that Aguirre toys with the genre, stepping in and out as she sees fit and abandoning it altogether when the need arises. Hell Fire, book two in the series, was really a small-town horror story, compelling, utterly creepy and so much better than the small town horror story that won 2011 GoodReads choice award. That’s when it became clear that the author refuses to be confined by the genre and it was around that time that I started worshiping the ground she walks on… with much dignity, of course. ;) She took a step back with the third book, Shady Lady, which was a real urban fantasy if I ever read one. It was, at that moment, the best one of the series. I loved an impossible man together with Corine, I suffered with her, I fought right alongside her and I cried when she lost the things she valued most. I thought it would be a hard one to top, and it was, but I might have underestimated Aguirre’s ability to surprise her readers. She wrote a book so unlike Shady Lady, or any of her books for that matter, that it’s simply impossible to compare them.
Flirting with high fantasy did wonders for this series. The second Corine and Chance jumped (literally, they jumped) into the demon realm, my jaw dropped and that’s where it stayed. From the gate and the sacrifice the crossing required to Xibalba, a huge demon city they ended up in, every single detail was in its place. The demon queen’s palace was as real to me as my own back yard, and the creatures that gathered there will feature in my nightmares for a long time to come. I’ve said this before, but it deems repeating: nobody builds worlds like Ann Aguirre. Each one is a work of art, but when the time comes to destroy them, she shows no mercy. I think that’s what I appreciate the most.
She had more signum than just what was on her hands, feet and face. The lacy gold mapped her entire body. A finely wrought filigree of stars, vines, flowers, butterflies, ancient symbols, and words ran from her feet, up her legs, over her narrow waist, spanned her chest, and finished down her arms to the tips of her fingers. Gilded, head to toe. No wonder she glittered like lost treasure.
Not just a pretty cover after all. I didn’t even wait to finish Blood Rights before ordering the second and the third book from The Book Depository. I only needed to read the first 20% to know, without a doubt, that this is a series I’ll love.
Chrysabelle is not an ordinary human. Her whole body is covered in gold tattoos and at 115, she looks no more than 20 years old. She’s a comarré, a human hybrid born and bred for one sole purpose: to feed a noble vampire. A comarré’s body produces more blood than it needs, so every comarré needs to be fed from regularly or they develop hypervolemia. Their blood rights are sold to a noble and nobody else gets to feed from them as long as their Master lives. In return, vampire saliva gives the comarré super-human strength and eternal youth. But Chrysabelle is special even among her own kind. Her blood rights were sold to Lord Algernon, Dominus of the House of Tepes, for 22 million Euro, the highest price any comarré has ever achieved. She spent almost a hundred years in Algernon’s house, until one day her Master got killed by a weapon only a comarré can wield. Instead of enjoying her freedom after 100 years of servitude, Chrysabelle must leave Corvinestri and travel to Paradise City in order to try and clear her name.
Even in Paradise City, Chrysabelle has no one to turn to but Mal, the only vampire in the world who wants nothing to do with her. Mal used to be a noble vampire of great power, one of the strongest in the House of Tepes, but he became anathema after being cursed for the second time. Because of his curse, every person he sinks his fangs into must die, and those he kills end up living inside his head, haunting him forever. His body is covered with names of his victims. To avoid adding another voice to the constant noise in his head, he wants to stay as far away from Chrysabelle as possible, no matter how hungry he is or how good her blood smells to him. However, Chrysabelle offers to help him lift his curse, and that’s the only thing Mal cannot refuse.
You judge me while you have no idea what it's like. My head is never quiet. Never. You try spending just twenty-four hours without a moment's privacy and see if it doesn't make you a little crazy. I live that every day and night.
Some described Blood Rights as being halfway between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, but I have to disagree. This is urban fantasy in its purest form. Sure, we have a strong heroine and a strong hero and they DO work together, but the focus is not on will-they-won’t-they at all, at least I didn’t see it that way. The worldbuilding is far too good for paranormal romance: I loved the combination of old vampire traditions and the technology one could expect in the year 2067. Supporting characters are also fantastic. Tatiana is one of the best villains in urban fantasy as far as I’m concerned, and Mal’s companions, Fi and Doc, are so interesting that they deserve their own trilogy.