Dead Witch Walking introduces us to the different, but not so different world that is The Hollows. Half of the human population has been wiped out due...moreDead Witch Walking introduces us to the different, but not so different world that is The Hollows. Half of the human population has been wiped out due to a genetically altered tomato epidemic (known as The Turn), and the Inderlander species--comprised of witches, vampires, werewolves, pixies, fairies, demons, and more--come out of hiding to help rebuild society.
This book is the first person perspective of one of those species, Rachel Morgan. Not surprisingly based on the title, she is a witch who is a bounty hunter for a law enforcement-like agency known as the I.S. (Inderlander Security). Unhappy, she strikes out on her own to start her own runner business and is joined by vampire Ivy Tamwood, and her pixie partner, Jenks. The I.S. is none too happy about Rachel taking the vampire with her, so now she's got a bounty on her own head.
While overall this series is my favorite, this book is actually one of my least favorites. Sure, like with every Hollows book I've read, there is something or another that I love, but I actually put this book down before I could get to that part. I read it for a bit, put it down for a while, and then my best friend (who was farther along than me at the time) had to bug me to keep reading since supposedly the future books got better. Well, I was so glad to have heeded her advice. One day I picked it back up, we got to Kalamack's office and that was all she wrote. I am now an avid Hollows enthusiast since 2005.
I love Rachel's character. She is so likable, fun, and funny, simply trying the make the best of the situation she was given. Jenks is such an amazing side kick and it's always amusing imagining him cracking some sort of vulgar joke. Ivy's pretty kick-ass too.
So I warn you that if you have problems finishing this book, please keep it up. It gets so much better (especially by book 3 which is hands-down my favorite until the more recent book 9) and it's really one of the best urban fantasy series you're going to find. I've been reading up a storm lately, so I know. Very few have such an amazing amount of world building, dynamic characters, and an unpredictable plot. It also probably helps that my personal preference tends to be lighter urban fantasy instead of dark urban fantasy.
This book is a 3/5, but I rate the series as a whole like Rachel rates Trent's backside, a 9.5/10. (less)
This book is the best thus far in the series. You can tell it's starting the hit its stride. The characters are becoming more established and the line...moreThis book is the best thus far in the series. You can tell it's starting the hit its stride. The characters are becoming more established and the lines between protagonists and antagonists are thinning a bit.
Rachel strikes a deal with Algaliarept, a demon, to testify against Piscary. To do it she'll have to become his familiar. From there she meets his old familiar, Ceri, who happens to be an elf. She turns out to be a very mysterious, interesting, and powerful character. Does Rachel want to make her existence known to Trent Kalamack?
Her relationship with Nick is strained from the second installment after she makes him her familiar. In the meantime, there's Kisten. Their chemistry from the end of the second book certainly doesn't go ignored here. All I have to say there is WOWZA!! Her scenes with Nick were pretty boring (he's human, what can he do?), so adding the vamp was a welcome change.
She ends up going to an event with Trent Kalamack, elf tycoon and brimstone dealer. No, they aren't chummy. Quen, Trent's head of security, cannot accompany him due to his vulnerability to his vamp scar, so he begs Rachel to go in his place. This gives the elves a bit more development and we learn more about Rachel's past and her father. While there's definitely some heat with Kisten, there is surprisingly a good deal of chemistry between her and the elf, too. He's got a few surprises of his own, but I found their adventure together quite fun. Man, I can't help but like the bad boys!
If that's your thing, you'll want to read this series.
Many people loved this book, but this was actually among my least favorite.
Nick, Rachel's ex-boyfriend is a conniving little snot. He adds nothing to...moreMany people loved this book, but this was actually among my least favorite.
Nick, Rachel's ex-boyfriend is a conniving little snot. He adds nothing to this series, except my hate for him. He ends up partnering with Jax (Jenks' son) and they get themselves in trouble with the weres after their attempt to steal the Focus.
The gang take a road trip to save him and Jax, but Jenks needs to be a bit more powerful. Soooo Rachel makes him big! While this particular book wasn't my favorite, that one scene is probably one of my favorites of all of the series.
Rache's starting to tap into darker powers to get the job done. Can she still save her soul? How will the battle of vamps vs. weres turn out?
I am not that big on werewolves, so that probably contributed to this not being my favorite series. There was also too little (as in NO) Trent Kalamack. The bastard elf has become a character that I really look forward to seeing, so with him missing, it just wasn't quite the same for me. Big Jenks makes up for that a lot, but it still didn't completely fill the void for me. Even still, there's no way I'd miss a Hollows installment and I am eager as ever to see what Book 5 has in store.
Well, every series going for this long is bound to have that one book that just isn't up to par with the rest. I'm a huge fan of The Hollows, but this...moreWell, every series going for this long is bound to have that one book that just isn't up to par with the rest. I'm a huge fan of The Hollows, but this was definitely the weakest installment.
Rachel's shunned, cast aside as a black which in her community. She's also focused on figuring out who killed Kisten a couple of books back. All the while, she takes on a banshee that feeds herself and child by stealing auras from people.
The resolution to Kisten's death was anti-climatic at best. I am not sure how I feel that we needed to wait two years to reach that conclusion.
There also isn't much Trent here, which was another downer for me, kind of like the 4th book where he wasn't there at all. That we get a smidgen of him helps a little. It also helped that Harrison alluded to Book 9 being a book with a lot of focus on Trent.
I don't know about anybody else, but I sort of started to like Al a bit in this book, and not in a "he's a cool villain" kind of way. There is this one scene where Kim gives the reader a bit of a reality check, and I thought it was well-placed. It keeps you grounded in understanding that while he can be plenty entertaining, he's indeed a demon.
Rachel meets up (again?) with what looks to be shaping up to be boyfriend #...Oh I've lost count now. He seems to be a figure from her past and an invisible one of her present. She's definitely plowing through them though. Failed relationship after failed relationship. Yawn. I'm not sure if I have the highest hopes for this guy, but we'll see.
Funny enough, this is the hardcover with the most pages, yet in this book there's the least amount of plot progression. Many have likened this installment to filler and I have to agree. The Hollows as a whole is my favorite series, but I definitely don't recommend starting with this book. This is really a series where you need to start from the top anyway because of the evolving plot. Unfortunately, this one isn't the best first impression because it doesn't showcase the top notch quality that this series is capable of. Though actually, this book is sort of with the first book, ranked in my bottom 3, but the first book is better than this one.
I am definitely hoping for the next book to be a bit better. I have faith that it will be.
I thought it was amazing to read Big Al and Ceri's back story. Oh how far he's come since then!
Loved learning about how Ceri became Al's...moreI thought it was amazing to read Big Al and Ceri's back story. Oh how far he's come since then!
Loved learning about how Ceri became Al's familiar. I think this is my favorite of the short stories.
Still reeling from the shocking end of For a Few Demons More (Book 5), one has to wonder if the series can bounce back. I can certainly say that it does. About the only way to do it is with more action and twists, and we definitely get it in this book.
Everything you thought you knew about this series and these characters starts to change. Trent is more prominent in this book as well and needs Rachel to travel with him to the Ever-After to obtain an ancient elven sample that could cure his race.
With Piscary out of the picture, we learn more about the new master vampire, Rynn Cormel. While he's not as downright evil as Piscary, he's far from a push-over.
After the end of the previous book where Ceri is finally introduced to her elf kin, we learn that she's pregnant. That's the least of the surprises when it comes to potential for children in this series.
The highlights of this book for me were her interactions with Trent as well as their trip into the ever-after. While he's still a murdering bastard, we do see his walls crumbling a little bit, which only really happens around Rachel for those not in his immediate trusted group of friends and guardians.
The plot surrounding the Ever-After was fantastic as well. We meet a new sidekick for Rachel, a young gargoyle named Bis. He's so ugly, he's almost cute! I also really enjoyed learning about the demon society a bit more. As I've said in previous reviews for this series, it makes the villains so much more dynamic when we can see these parts to them. Demons have their own rules and laws in the Ever-After. While they are ruthless, it's within their own civilization.
To add to that, Kim likes to make Trent really experienced at random activities. We learn that he can drive a stick at the end of Book 2. We learn that he can swim very well in Book 3. Here we learn that he can (view spoiler)[roller skate of all things. (hide spoiler)] It's just some of the qualities that add to the richness of this series as a whole.
This is my favorite urban fantasy series by far, so I highly recommend reading it. While not every book is as good as the next, this one is one of the best ones.
The second installment of the Rachel Morgan/Hollows series takes place a few months where Dead Witch Walking left off.
Rachel's settling into her free...moreThe second installment of the Rachel Morgan/Hollows series takes place a few months where Dead Witch Walking left off.
Rachel's settling into her freelance career, her roommate situation with Ivy, and her Pixie sidekick, Jenks. She accepts a contract to investigate a wave of witch murders and she goes undercover to spy on her former professor. Rachel suspects Trent Kalamack--murdering drug lord and businessman extraordinaire--of the murders. She's still none to keen on when he trapped her in his office as a mink.
We learn a bit more about Trent in this book, answering a good deal of questions from the first book. I thought this book overall was a little more gruesome than the first book in its description of the bodies. It reminded me a bit more of other dark urban fantasy and horror books. The action and wit are definitely on par, keeping the series from being overly dark.
Personally, I was bored out of my skull with her relationship with Nick. It's sort of hard to trust someone you meet in the rat pits, but what can you do? The romance in this book is sort of blah, at least until the end when things get...interesting to say the least.
Overall, I liked this book tons more than Dead Witch Walking. I originally put that book down until I was badgered to finish it and keep reading by a friend. I didn't have the same issue with book 2. I read it fairly quickly and by the end I wanted to get my hands on Book 3 ASAP!! As a long time Hollows fan, it's really fun to think back on how I felt about each of these books, which eventually led to this becoming my favorite series.
While the scenery has shifted a bit from Malibu, California to Houston, Texas, Cynthia Leighton brings some of her problems there with her. After her falling out with Raphael, to keep herself focused Cyn heads to the lone star state to help yet another Vampire Lord. Except this time her client is the purely evil and sadistic Jabril Karim, who needs Cyn’s P.I. skills to track down the most important acquisition–an heiress who has escaped his clutches before her 18th birthday. Like her sister who he already controls, once she turns 18 she is to become a vampire so that he can acquire her family’s fortune as her guardian.
Of course word spreads fast and Jabril has summoned Cyn all because of her connections to Raphael. Forbidden fruit is always the most tempting and he wants a piece. He is all about ruffling feathers and doing whatever it takes to get ahead. As Cyn soon realizes this, she is in too deep and has to do all she can to save the very two sisters that he wants to keep under his thumb. It takes her back to Cali, showing that she can’t run away from her problems like she wants. And she certainly can’t do it alone, facing Raphael once again since it takes a Lord to defeat a Lord.
This second installment of D.B. Reynolds’s wonderful PNR series is even better than the first. It continues the storyline from the first book, unlike a number of books in this genre that present new heroes and heroines from book to book. Having an overarching couple allows the reader to become more attached to the characters, so I’m glad she took this approach. We get to see them deal with the aftermath of their decision to not be together, which builds a lot of tension and makes their dynamic more interesting.
The villain is fantastic. I love that we got do see a good deal of the horror he revels in inflicting. There were actually a number of bone chilling scenes for me which was a welcome surprise and is another quality that helps separate this series from your typical cookie-cutter story.
I liked how the victims were portrayed as well. Sometimes they were very naive and they embodied the attitude of your typical frustrating and irrational teenager a number of times. Even though they had an enormous hardships losing their parents and falling into Jabril’s clutches, they still managed to be innocent in a lot of ways.
The cover still leaves a lot to be desired for me and I think Jabril looks a bit cockeyed, so I try not to use that picture as a reference when I imagine him. I still think the lack of a good cover doesn’t do this series any favors. That said, I’m past judging a book by its cover when it comes to this series, though I’ll comment on the covers until they start to look better. I don’t know if anybody else does this, but I know it didn’t help to make me want to read these books right away.
The story resolves itself in this book, but the author leaves breadcrumbs that will build up to the following book. And because of that I went right into the following book right away. This book only strengthens my opinion that this series is worth the investment.
I had no idea of what to expect when it came to a world book. I’d surely never read one before, so I was anticipating something fairly close to a textbook, which generally = boring. This was certainly information rich, but boring is was not. In fact, it’s fantastic.
The theme is genius. It kicks off with the Hollows humor we all know and love, instantly drawing you in. It’s basically told from the POV of an innocent bystander of one of Rachel’s spells gone hilariously wrong in her early days as an I.S. Intern. He takes his grudge to the next level and spends time spying and collecting information on our favorite itchy witch and the supporting Hollows characters. He works for the local Inderlander paper and his goal is to expose Rachel. He’s not having an easy time of it which makes things all the more entertaining, so in turn this is how we learn about everything from species facts, character profiles, maps, magic spells, demon curses, recipes, music lyrics and more.
Normally when I crack open a Hollows book I want a new story, but reading about the Hollows world is quite fascinating and surprisingly enough while I already knew some of the facts, I did learn a couple of new things when it came to character insights and spells. It repeats some lines a couple of times depending on the sections, but I didn’t find it annoying. You can tell Harrison really did her homework. She references the smallest things from the previous novels, even Rachel and Ivy’s mistakenly suggestive Yellow Page ad from Book 3. I also liked the clarification of the different magic types between ley line, earth, and demon magic. I wish there was a little more explanation about “wild” magic that the elves typically use, but that didn’t stop my enjoyment one bit.
You can skim or skip sections if you want, or you can take your time and truly absorb the information. It’s definitely an adjustment to have that option for The Hollows.
You pick it up and you really don’t want to put it down. The layout and graphics are very nice to look at which helps a lot. Reluctantly, I couldn’t read it in one sitting being the busy bee that I am, but it was on my mind until I could get back to finishing it. Heck, I want to read it TWICE and you will NEVER hear me say that about a text book!
If you’re an ebook reader, don’t despair. It’s not available in ebook format due to numerous graphics and font variations. I cannot imagine this looking remotely appealing on my kindle, or even on a color e-reader. It’s a reference text and I always find reading those on an ereader to be an awful experience because I often flip back and forth between pages; ebooks just don’t hold up to that for me.
So yes, I found this to be a satisfying read and it no doubt sets the bar extremely high for any other world books I come across. This is highly recommended if you’re a fan of The Hollows, though you will want to be caught up through Pale Demon because there are major spoilers. (less)
I am first and foremost an Urban Fantasy fan, so while I read PNR series on occasion they don’t really grip me. Heck, I’m only through book 2 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series myself after starting that series months ago, though I do plan to read them all eventually. That said, D.B. Reynolds has done a great job at keeping me engaged all throughout. I have read these books back to back, so I will write a review per day for each one. Not since the Fever series have I been motivated to read this many books all together. Though, I read that whole series in 6 days so it’s still distinguished for me. But I digress…
Raphael is the the first book in the Vampire Empire series, taking us to present day Malibu, California. The title character, Raphael, is the Vampire Lord of his territory with legions of loyal vampire and human underlings, but the strength of this loyalty is tested after a female vampire who’s dear to him is abducted. Since this happens during the day (while vampires sleeps), humans are the likely culprits, so he needs to recruit a human to solve this mystery.
Cue Cynthia Leighton, a successful P.I. and former cop who takes the job on to give herself a good challenge. But she may have bitten off more than she can chew (pun intended?) as she agrees to work for Raphael, who is proving himself to be irresistible for all of the wrong reasons. Begrudgingly she has to work with him to find his special vampire, and that’s where things get dangerous…and complicated.
The story deserves a better cover than this. It’s not the worst cover, but the quality doesn’t really correlate with the writing, which is on a greater level. I loved that this book drew me in pretty easily. It’s not too heavy on the magic and world building which may have helped, but the mystery aspect was still pretty interesting as well as the author’s personal take on vampire lore. I liked that the heroine was smart, even though Raphael becomes a growing weakness for her over time. I thought the characters were introduced nicely and I could see signs of personalities that will only develop as the series continues.
Thankfully, a number of books are already out because this one ends on a slight cliffhanger. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting from other reviews, but you definitely become motivated to want to pick up the next book. Raphael and Cyn have great chemistry and it’s only strengthened through the author allowing it to build within the plot. It keeps things a little more organic than what you find in the everyday run-of-the-mill PNR title. That said, I still have a problem with centuries old vampires falling for human women who aren’t that extraordinary. I have a hard time believing that Raphael never came across a independent, smart, and capable woman like Cyn before. But that didn’t keep me from wanting to continue reading the novels.
I think this series is a really good blend of everything, making it a great middle-ground for PNR/UF fans.
Deanna and Jade live to see another day from the original Wrong Number story. In this chilling sequel, it's a year later and the two girls receive a s...moreDeanna and Jade live to see another day from the original Wrong Number story. In this chilling sequel, it's a year later and the two girls receive a special phone call, promising revenge. Conveniently, the murderer they put away in the first book is now out of jail. Could it be him that's out for their blood?
Like the first book, this horror/thriller/murder mystery keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. Who is really after them? Though they lived through the first book, will they make it through this one?
Fans of movies like Scream, and I Know What You Did Last Summer would probably find this book entertaining. It is geared towards the young adult crowd, but this series isn't afraid to take risks. People die, and there is a surprise death at the end of this book. Of course, you have to read to find out.
Like Book 1, I recommend the sequel as well. In some ways it is better because you are familiar with the characters and even more attached since it's two books instead of just one.
Sometimes when you've read a fantastic book it can be a hard act to follow, so perhaps that why I wasn't immediately pulled into this book. Grave Witch is the start of the Alex Craft series by Kalayna Price. Alex is a low rent "Magic eye" (a derogatory term for a witch private investigator), but her abilities are anything but.
She can to speak to the dead---even to the point of befriending Death himself---making her a valuable asset for the police. And her skills are needed now more than ever for a high profile murder case that puts her life and the lives of those close to her on the line. Even with the aid of the mysterious detective Falin Andrews, the powers that be in the supernatural and human world may be more of a challenge than she can handle.
The book isn't a difficult read at all, so even though I didn't find myself invested in the plot until the half-way point, it was certainly bearable. I think Alex has relatable qualities. She doesn't really carry that "too stupid to live" attitude like a number of other heroines. There were scenes where I could imagine other heroines taking a more self-righteous route, but Alex is young, poor, and struggling, and her reactions to adversity are more realistic as a result of this. It was refreshing.
Thankfully, I was prepared for a love triangle ahead of time. Sometimes that helps my mindset, but I am still not a fan of the idea. At this point in this series it isn't too annoying, but this is only the introduction to the series so I am expecting a lot of development in the following books. So far I don't have a preference because I have enjoyed the screentime with both Death and Falin. But it's also a little too familiar. It's not the only series where the heroine's guardian angel (of sorts) develops feelings for her while carrying disdain for her current otherworldly boy toy.
While I don't give the series many points for originality, it doesn't quite feel like a throwaway. It's a solid read, there's room to grow, and I will read the next book just to see where things go.
Nearly Departed in Deadwood (Book 1 in the Deadwood Mysteries Series) by Ann Charles introduces us to Violet Parker. She’s a single mother of twins trying to make it on her own as a real estate agent. We learn early on that this isn’t quite her forte, but she really wants to be successful so that she can continue live and raise her children in the town of Deadwood, South Dakota, which she loves. But on top of tough sales, young girls have gone missing in this small town, and they all eerily resemble Violet’s daughter. With police baffled and ineffective, she enlists the help of a few friends and it’s up to Violet to try to get to the bottom of it.
The books are currently free for Amazon Prime members (which I am and I would have taken advantage of it had I known to hold out), but I didn’t break the bank too badly on it so I’m not that upset.
I think Ms. Charles provided very witty dialogue and the jokes were fresh and frequent. That’s difficult to accomplish so I really give her credit. It did get a bit slow at times, but this a mystery so there’s not always a lot of opportunity for action. Besides, the protagonist is an ordinary mother of two in her mid-thirties. Her priorities are elsewhere. She’s actually a pretty relatable character too.
I actually liked how the romantic angle developed even though I’m not very attached to the characters yet. I just enjoyed the dynamic and the approach because it wasn’t always predictable what would happen during their encounters.
I figured out the killer before the half way mark but I still think it built suspense fairly well with the climax at the end. I was going into this expecting a LOT more paranormal than I got. This is a mystery first and foremost followed by an equal dose of romance and comedy. There is only a dash of paranormal activity which was a bit of a let down, but that’s just my personal preference. I think the series has potential so I will read the next one since I already have it. That will determine if I’m willing to read Book 3 which comes out soon.(less)
The pieces are all there for Laura Anne Gilman’s Tricks of the Trade. Your enjoyment will simply depend on your tastes as a reader. If you want mystery, there is tons of it. If you want mythical creatures, you get that too with a little comedy along the way. Basically, it delivers what it promises. Our protagonists are detectives of the PUPI (Private, Unaffiliated, Paranormal Investigations) organization. It’s supposed to be pronounced as “puppy”, but my Kindle’s text-to-speech doesn’t seem to understand that. I’ll let you guess what it sounds like instead, but I can say that I got in a few immature chuckles at first. Anyway, these detectives have magical powers which allow them to solve paranormal cases. Interestingly enough, electronics interfere with their magic use, so they can’t use them. There are two cases: one is a murder mystery surrounding a murder/break-in, while the other looks to be an even bigger issue with an ancient creature targeting them.
To get to the bottom of everything they of course hit snags along the way, both professionally and personally. The POV switches between the main character, Bonnie, and her boss and reluctant love-interest, Venec. I usually don’t read a lot of books that switch between POVs and I found it a little confusing at times. It may have been because the ARC I received was not formatted. The only way I could signal the change was the switch from first person (for Bonnie) to third person (for Venec).
This series is supposedly standalone. They are all from Bonnie’s POV, though you get references to the cases in previous books. So on one hand you don’t necessarily have to start with the first book, but on the other hand that means you may not be able to rely on a lot of development for supporting chracters (aside from the slow going romantic development with Venec of course). Instead you will have to rely on the author’s good story-telling abilities to make the cases interesting.
All in all, it’s a solid read. I think I was personally in the mood for more of the world-building fantasy elements, which is why it wasn’t that enjoyable for me. But as I said before, it just depends on your tastes. It’s definitely worth giving it a try to see if it’s your cup of tea.
This Haunted World is creepy! It kicks off with a wounded soldier explaining what happened on the battlefield. He descr...more*ARC Provided by Sea Lion Books
This Haunted World is creepy! It kicks off with a wounded soldier explaining what happened on the battlefield. He describes a mysterious tribe who completely annihilates his troop. Nobody believes him, but from the looks of it, they will soon wish they had. There is a good deal of disturbing imagery, suspense, and paranormal elements. The art is well done and several stills capture the characters expressions really well. It's certainly an interesting start to this series, leaving you wondering what's in store for the characters. (less)
There IS naked Curran, but there’s always more to say when it comes to a Kate Daniels story. I initially didn’t even read the synopsis because Kate gets an insta-click. The cover is really cool, making me wonder if covers for future novels are in for a style change.
This story takes place after Magic Slays (Book 5) and runs simultaneously with Andrea’s upcoming novel, Gunmetal Magic. Kate and Curran just can’t seem to catch a break as their dinner date goes horribly wrong. I swear this is probably the most quotable series. Kate sums it up perfectly:
“Best date ever. Well, until people died and vampires showed up. But before that it was awesome.”
It turns out the source of the trouble is a magical necklace that kills whoever wears it. The first victim was a navigator. The second potential victim is her kid brother. Well, he will be unless Kate and Curran can figure out how to get it off without killing him. This of course segues into a fast-paced, action heavy adventure for our favorite duo.
It’s fun to see Kate and Curran working as a team. They bicker, but you know the love is there. Aside from that, there are plenty of laughs along the way, a couple of sad moments, and one HUGE development! I was expecting all filler, but there is a major spoiler within this story, making me want to read Gunmetal Magic ASAP. While Magic Gifts is a novella, it is very substantive, resulting in a satisfying Kate Daniels fix for me. I’m up for Kate and Curran anytime, but I’m a fan of Andrea too so I’m really looking forward to reading her novel.
This story was a wonderful surprise and holiday treat from the Andrews team, so I’m just another fan expressing my thanks!(less)
So I recently decided to give Secret McQueen’s world a spin. This fairly new series by author Sierra Dean focuses on Secret (yes, that’s her real name), as she takes on the supernatural underworld. She herself is a vampire/werewolf hybrid bounty hunter, giving her the best of both worlds, though neither side realizes her other half. They just know she’s a little different, and she’d like to keep it that way.
Everything is thrown upside down when a former vampire foe returns to exact revenge upon her and destroy the supernatural underworld’s secret existence as we know it. To make matters even more complicated, she meets a potential werewolf suitor…or two and her knowledge of her werewolf heritage is awakened, among other things.
There’s really not much else to it besides that if I’m being honest. The beginning started off really promising but it just didn’t sustain for me. I thought it read like fan fiction a lot of the time and the writing was on an amateur level. With such a short page count I was expecting a story that shouldn’t really drag, but I felt that it did. I can’t really put my finger on it, but the lack of originality made it a little boring for me. I also had a big problem with how her heritage is supposedly a secret from the other half. Vampires have interacted with werewolves and vice versa, so how could they not suspect that she could be a hybrid? They should know better than to buy that her job as an assassin is the reason why she “smells of death.” She takes showers and her enemies are alive when she kills them, so I just couldn’t buy that reasoning.
The characters are all pretty cookie cutter. Nobody stands out as particularly interesting or eccentric. It doesn’t help that we know right away that her love life is going to be complicated. A triangle is bad enough all its own, but there is an allusion to even more suitors being on the way and nothing turns me off more than that.
The book is a short read, but it took me quite a while to get through it. Maybe it’s because I lost my kindle and have been reading on the tablet, which I really don’t like because it makes nauseous (I read on a moving train), maybe it was my personal family issues that slowed down my motivation, maybe it just wasn’t the right time to read this book, but all I can really say is that it just didn’t do it for me.
To my knowledge, Barely Human is the first Urban Fantasy novel by Trace Riles. We're introduced to Jessie, a police detective with a strange ability to teleport or "flicker" practically anywhere at any time. She can't control this ability and it's getting worse day by day, making it impossible to keep it a secret any longer. While it also seemingly affects her murder investigation for a high school student, it actually turns out that this murder is key to her finally realizing what she is and what else is out there. The high school student is just the first victim of a serial killing maniacal demon, and Jessie and her partner have to team up with other unsuspecting supernaturals to stop his rampage. From there we're introduced to a world of demons, vampires, werewolves, necromancers, witches and more.
The book is pretty good. The cover is kind of cheesy and leaves a lot of be desired from a few design aspects (though my pickiness could just be due to my graphic design experience), but the story itself is overall fairly interesting. Based on the pace of the book, I was actually expecting it to be the start of a series, but for now it seems to be a standalone.
A lot of elements felt like your typical Urban Fantasy fanfare without a twist that was unique or fresh enough. While Jessie is the central character, this book does reflect POVs of other characters in every chapter. I usually don’t like this approach, but I didn’t mind it here because I felt like it helped the main storyline progress for the most part. So overall, I think Riles handled that part well. Though without follow up books I think a good deal of the development will be wasted, so it will be interesting to see if that happens.
Some perspectives were more interesting than others, but honestly the character that stood out to me most was the villain, Karl. I think it was a gutsy move to use his perspective because we really got into the mind of a maniac. The scariest thing about a psychotic individual is that the person believes he or she is normal. Jessie proves that you can be a monster without being an evil monster if you know what I mean.
So while I'm not sure if there's a lot more in store for Jessie's world, I must say that for a first novel I definitely think Riles shows a lot of potential. I didn't really fall in love with the characters so I wouldn't mind if she moved onto something else, but I feel as if Riles has creativity that can evolve.
Kenya Wright's Fire Baptized pleasantly surprised me! Just when I start to wonder if I'm just reading too much Urban Fantasy, I run into a fantastic story like this one.
There are no secret supernaturals here. Since the '70s humans have isolated these species to live in restricted areas. Think District 9 with a little less slum...in some parts of town. They identify all of the different species with brands on their foreheads. Of course there is a class system within their kind, with mixbreeds being on the bottom. Our main character, Lanore, is one of these mixbreeds. Armed with the power of fire, she is far from helpless, but she doesn't really look for trouble either; it merely finds her.
She ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time when she witnesses a grisly murder, eventually making herself a target for this satanic killer. The biggest fear is of the unknown. And to stop this killer she has to team up with a couple of hunky--but helpful--friends as she investigates the murder herself and tries to stay alive.
The world building is fantastic, intriguing, and easy to follow. Some of the characters and the monsters are awesome too, if not a bit sympathetic at times. The story is a shorter read than most, but it still qualifies as a novel and I felt that it was the perfect length. Because of this, I can honestly say that I wasn't bored for a second. I would say that it's a lighter Urban Fantasy with some dark elements to it because I did find myself laughing a good deal of the time.
Lanore is an African American character so I thought it was awesome to change it up from what we usually see (not that I don't love that too). It's just great to see diversity in this genre. I also really liked the descriptions of how she uses her fire power.
I don't like love triangles and this one didn't change my mind. That is pretty much the only harp I have with this book, so I grinned and beared it. Though there is interracial romance, the racism and discrimination is a species-based issue and it gets pretty ugly, making you really question "humanity" or the lack thereof.
Overall I am truly impressed, especially considering that this is Wright's debut novel. It kicks off strong and never lets up. It was a very imaginative world and I am eager to read the next book. While this book solves the mystery, there is definitely a larger overarching plot that is developing, so we have a lot more to look forward to.
And on one last note, I must say that I love love love the subtlety of the cover. I think it looks great!
The saga continues. Though the third book felt like it could have been a fitting end to the series, Stacia Kane got an extension and rolled with it. Chess and Terrible are back and things aren't as happily ever after as one would hope. I mean, really, how much of that can you really expect in this series?
Chess is ordered to help out Bump, her dealer and drug lord extraordinaire, to solve a set of murders caused by dark magic. Being a witch, this is her specialty and only she can get to the bottom of it. She's also got a day job as a ghost hunter for her Church where she must figure out what's behind a haunting on the other side of town, the rival side. The dead are being summoned and that's always a problem in the Downside world. They are super lethal and one must be super prepared to effectively take them on. So she has to put herself at risk once again to help everyone, including the one most important to her.
Overall, I really kind of struggle with this series. I'm not a Chess fan, and it's honestly not because she's a drug user. I just don't find her particularly interesting most of the time, but she is a very layered and flawed character, the product of too many tragedies suffered early on in life. I think in this novel we see the most introspection when it comes to Chess, and I actually laughed a couple of times. I'm honestly not a huge fan of Terrible either, and yet for some reason I like reading about their relationship. It's super raw and out of the ordinary, which makes it the most intriguing part of these novels. Though in this book there were a few instances where their situation became pretty off-putting for me by how destructive it was. It makes me hope that their personal drama won't be present in future books. I feel like once they've gotten past these issues we shouldn't go there again. So I'm wondering whether or not we'll see that pattern later on.
Kane is a very talented writer, if not a bit prolific at times. I've read a couple of her blog posts and I really respect her attitude toward the craft. She's created a distinct world, described very vividly; I get a great sense of the place. I just personally don't like to be in it for very long. I like my worlds to have some color to it. This feels way too drab, and it's not really because of the dystopian/post-apocolyptic style. I just can't put my finger on it. I would probably enjoy this series more if she shaved off 100 pages of non-Chess/Terrible content. This is probably why I enjoyed her short story, Home, a bit more than the books. It was short enough to keep me engaged, but it was still well done and included a satisfying dose of Chess and Terrible.
That said, the last 15% of this book is excellent and it had my complete attention. That's a stark contrast to a book I read before this one where the last 10% really dragged, so I give my kudos there.
The 5th book is due out very soon. It's a good series. I'm sure fans are glad the books have got an extension but I'm still not in love with it. I just can't seem to overcome my lack of love for darker urban fantasies. Different strokes, but it does keep me interested in what happens next for Chess and Terrible. I may give book 5 a read. If only my favorite series could release its next full novel only 3 months later. Downside fans are lucky!
*ARC Provided by NetGalley *Review also posted to Amazon(less)
I read the first novel of Keri Arthur's series, Darkness Unbound, finding that the pieces of a good Urban Fantasy series were there...moreNow we're talkin'
I read the first novel of Keri Arthur's series, Darkness Unbound, finding that the pieces of a good Urban Fantasy series were there, but it didn't really come together to carve out its own unique spot in this genre. Well, Darkness Rising is definitely putting this series on the right track to do that and I'm glad that it didn't take very long. Many books suffer from FBS (first book syndrome), even some of the best series. So that's why I decided to give the Dark Angels saga another shot and I'm happy I did.
After the heart-wrenching ending of the prior book, Risa Jones, the Aedh/werewolf hybrid, is out for blood and desperately searching for her mother's killer. She's even willing to work for Madeline Hunter, the evil leader of the vampire council, doing her bidding in exchange for information to help her get to the bottom of the murder.
Part of that includes Risa finding the culprit responsible for spelling elder vampire council members to rapidly age and die. As if those two pesky tasks weren't enough on her plate, Risa's Aedh father also has plans for her, practically demanding she thrust herself into danger to locate the keys to heaven and hell--to what purpose we still don't quite know, but if she fails it will be her friends who pay the price. All of this while trying to figure out the growing powers within herself.
This book still wasn't perfect, but I felt like I was finally becoming familiar with the world and the characters. I wasn't hooked during the first book until the very end, but the momentum flows into this book so it ended up being quite an entertaining ride. I'm still not totally in love with the characters yet, but I think it has potential to grow over time. I particularly see a lot of potential with Risa's own personal "guardian angel" of sorts, Azriel. Some of their interactions are a bit predictable and I think I have a sense of where the relationship is going, but I appreciate that the author isn't rushing it. I was concerned this could be the case considering how Risa rationalizes her whoring ways as "celebrating sexuality." Still not buying it and I still think it's a lame attempt by the author to seem edgy, but it doesn't detract overall from the story.
After reading the first novel I wasn't really sure I would be interested in reading the original 9 novels from the Riley Jenson books. But after this book my interest has piqued a bit more. Unfortunately, I know how those books will end up so that may take away a bit of the suspense, but it could be worth it regardless of that. I'm still not in a rush to read them though and I doubt I will get to them this year.
All in all, for anyone that may have had a hard time getting into the first book, I urge you to give the second book a try because the series has potential to be really great.
It took me a little while to get around to reading the second and final volume for the Moon Called graphic novel. What with no bookstores nearby, I wasn't totally sure if I wanted to pay for a comic that I couldn't see. The first volume was beautifully illustrated, but I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy the story. For me the Mercy Thompson series definitely suffers from FBS (first book syndrome), but seeing the story illustrated mitigated the experience immensely.
Volume 2 picks up directly after Volume 1. Adam's daughter, Jesse, has been kidnapped and Mercy tries to help track her down. She has to enlist help from her vampire friend, Stefan, whose camarilla may have information on where to find her. She has to manage this on top of figuring out whose been experimenting on weres. Facing a lot of danger, Mercy has to work with vampires, werewolves and faeries while she tests her own boundaries to see where she fits into it all.
The comments from my first review remain steady when it comes to the artwork. If anything I think it's even better than the first volume. The story is the weakest part of this entry, but I can't say if it's because I was never really interested when it came to the written novels or if it was because it's difficult to grasp the whole story when you're limited to speech bubbles. Sometimes it was hard to follow and I noticed a couple of continuity issues from frame to frame. Even still, the art exceeded my expectations when it comes to this series. I have a new way to imagine the characters. I was really happy to see Stefan this time around and he has a significant presence. I feel like the illustrator probably liked drawing him. He's quite the looker! I like Mercy and Adam together, but I honestly wouldn't have minded seeing her with Stefan in the books, and the graphic novel only makes it worse now, haha!
So all in all, I do recommend this if only to admire the beautiful illustrations, but you will definitely need Volume 1 as a companion to know everything that's happened.
Oh the shock. I must confess that I'd never before read a novel by Kelley Armstrong. Though I'd heard about her often and saw...moreSmall town, big problems
Oh the shock. I must confess that I'd never before read a novel by Kelley Armstrong. Though I'd heard about her often and saw her books on the shelves, I just never got around to her stuff. But now I understand what I was missing.
Waking the Witch is my first foray into the Women of the Otherworld series. The central character is Savannah Levine, an orphaned but proud and skilled dark witch. She must put her abilities to the test as a Private Investigator, looking into a string of peculiar murders in the small town of Columbus, Washington. Only to the supernaturally trained eye can we see that there's a little more than foul play involved. And it will take a member of the otherworld to catch this serial killer. But Savannah must watch her back as she makes herself a target as well as those whom she holds dear.
One of the qualities I enjoyed about this was how easy to is to become immersed in the book. I thought the balance of mystery and magic was handled well. If you removed the magic elements, it would make for a pretty fascinating mystery and suspense novel. But because I love all things paranormal, the magic makes it even more interesting. Though I hadn't read a prior novel, it wasn't necessary to enjoy this particular story; yet I do want to go back and read the prior novels at some point. I get OCD like that sometimes, but I really like Armstrong's writing.
For a long time Savannah's been carrying a torch for her friend Adam, but her feelings have gone unreciprocated. I really liked their moments as friends, and found this to be an interesting approach to build a love story. The only potential problem is that really do feel like friends to me aside from her internal monologue desiring more. I think they need a little more romantic chemistry for me to buy them as a couple, but I want to see how this is resolved.
Serving as an introduction to bigger problems, this book isn't necessarily a cliff hanger, but the story ends making it very obvious that there is more in store for the next one. And I will certainly read it right after this.
Young Adult paranormal fans, specifically those who love ghosts, may want to consider checking out K.D. McEntire's debut effort, Lightbringer. Wendy is a not-so-everyday teen with a peculiar six sense; she can see ghosts--ghosts of the Never to be exact--which consist of children who've died too young. Not only can she see them, but they know she can and so they seek her out routinely for help. Only she can bring them to the other side, setting their souls free. However, evil is universal and her efforts put a target on her back from darker forces, so she may have to watch out to make sure she doesn't end up in the Never herself, or worse...
Overall I thought the idea of the book was pretty solid. There are many mythological references which were actually quite nice to read about. McEntire appears to have done some homework. It definitely encompasses the YA coming of age element, but it's not too focused on high school drama which just doesn't interest me whatsoever and often turns me off from picking up YA titles these days. While it was a solid read, I think I was expecting a little more tension than I felt as I actually read the book. It starts off really well, but I think it becomes more character driven as opposed to action packed. It sort of slowed down for me toward the middle and then picks up again towards the end.
I love great villains and I must say that this villain, the White Lady, kept me fairly enthralled. It's not quite as easy to predict what her plans and motives are, so I found myself looking most forward to those scenes.
This is the start of the series, so there are a number of roads the subsequent books can take as Wendy realizes her heritage and her destiny. Though YA, this series has a darker air about it, so tragedy could become a mainstay. Death is pretty much the center of this story after all.
The Vampire Council just won’t leave poor Risa Jones alone. This time she is forced to investigate a string of murders involving blood-whore addicted vampires. Sure, she’s got her own problems to deal with, but with an execution order on her life she’ll have to shift priorities and solve this case in order to get it lifted. She begrudgingly enlists the help of her ex-boyfriend journalist; this only serves to stir the pot even more, bringing up old feelings and nuggets of her past.
Not a lot of progress is made toward the overarching plot of the series, which involves Risa confiscating keys for her father that could potentially open the gates the hell. But I found the mystery to be satisfying enough to keep my interest. I love vamps so if we were going to get a side plot, I’m glad it was this one. That said, I hope that the next book is heavier on the main plot so that there can be steady advancement of the plot.
I am enjoying the continued development of her dark angel partner in crime, Azriel. There is progress on the relationship front with Risa as well, but it’s fragile at best and I have feeling that there will be a hitch. Not to mention, her current lover Lucian is not quite out of the picture yet, though this relationship hits its own rocky waters. I’m surprised it’s taken this long honestly. Lucian practically has a red flag stamped to his forehead when it comes to trust. It’s so obvious that he’s hiding something that I question if this is a red herring; otherwise, we’re in for a grossly underwhelming revelation of his true intentions.
When I first started reading Keri Arthur’s Dark Angel series, I wasn’t sure if it would be my cup of tea. I wasn’t really feeling Risa much as the lead and sometimes that can make or break a series for me. While she’s still not necessarily my favorite, I’m growing more attached to the supporting characters (namely Azriel), so for now I will continue reading.
Usually by book 3 I'm able to determine whether or not I love a series. Well, I'm now fully into the world of Alex Craft and while good, I still don't feel as invested in the long haul.
There are some interesting developments in Nekros City; a string of suicides leaves Alex with many questions and few answers as she investigates these occurrences. The shades of these bodies all possess no memory of their final days, meaning that there's a big chance these people are actually murder victims. Facing magical adversaries she has never encountered before is always risky, especially as she navigates through her own evolution into her fae heritage, but this time the stakes may be too high.
While I am not totally in love with this series, in terms of the overall actual story, I thought this was the most interesting. I mean, suicide that may not be suicide? What a mindf*ck! I was quite invested in how Alex would solve the crime this time. My favorite scene for this series is still probably the last quarter of the second novel, Grave Dance, where she is fully immersed into the world of Faerie, but the overarching mystery was more compelling here.
All of everyone's favorite supporting characters are back and just as involved as ever. I do like that her problems strike close enough to home to put her friends in real danger, not just the fodder characters. It makes me wonder how far Kalayna Price is willing to go. I'm most interested in learning more about her Faerie roots and her destiny. It seems all but certain that she will be a huge player when it comes to its future.
One can't talk about this series without bringing up the love triangle. I was all but expecting to pull a switcheroo and get on the Team Death bandwagon, but after reading it I still prefer Falin. I'm not anti-Death and he gets more points here, but I was hoping for more substantial screentime with him this time around. Price still spends more time telling us about him and Alex than showing us like we get to see with Falin and Alex. There is undoubtedly more movement for them (I'm coining it Dalex if nobody has yet); I know he loves her and will sacrifice for her, I get it. But to keep this triangle going it's becoming formulaic, so I wonder why I should still care at all. I can certainly say this isn't changing my mind about love-triangles. They still blow.
Book 4 is due out next year, so maybe I will have some time to miss this world and it will be refreshing to see it again. Things are certainly about to get REALLY interesting based on the semi-cliffhanger ending...