Linda Grimes' debut Urban Fantasy novel, In a Fix, hit me like a breath of fresh air. It's filled with in...moreReview from my blog: The Word Fiend
Linda Grimes' debut Urban Fantasy novel, In a Fix, hit me like a breath of fresh air. It's filled with innovative ideas, engaging characters and effortless humour. I was completely charmed by In a Fix.
Urban Fantasy is one of my favourite genres to read. I love the interplay of the supernatural with the modern world that we are all so familiar with. But, truth be told, I do find that the usual suspects – the vampires, werewolves and demons – can feel stale after a while. But Grimes has taken the path less travelled and created a new and interesting supernatural group – aura adaptors. They're human, but they have the ability to borrow and use other people's auras – taking on the physical appearance and traits of that person. I think it's a fantastic idea and Grimes uses it with skill and humour in her novel.
In a Fix is a well-paced read and balances action, humour and even some romance to leave the reader wanting more. Grimes drags you into the world she has created from the first word and you will find yourself emerging hours later with a smile on your face and the desire to dive straight back in again.
The characters in In a Fix are a real treat – each has their own distinct personality; complete with quirks, habits and a solid backstory. Ciel Halligan is In a Fix's narrator and main character and I immediately liked her. She's unsure of herself, but has an underlying feistiness that is delicious to see when it does break through. Unlike many Urban Fantasy protagonists Ciel does not have amazing fighting skills or deadly magic, but she still manages to be a strong, independent heroine. Then there are the men in Ciel's life – Mark, her long-term crush, and Billy, her best friend. Ciel's interactions with Billy are easy and full of the sort of banter that comes from knowing someone for a long time. But there is an attraction bubbling beneath the surface which presents interesting possibilities. I really liked Billy – he's irreverent and fun, but there is a more serious, protective side to him which I felt gave the character more depth. Mark is a harder character to get a handle on – largely because he plays his cards close to his chest and is more circumspect with his emotions. It's obvious he cares for Ciel and I enjoyed watching him come out from behind his walls through the book. Ciel's ongoing crush on him also makes for an interesting, charged dynamic between the two.
In a Fix is an entertaining, addictive Urban Fantasy debut and I am dying to get my hands on the next book in the series. Linda Grimes has definitely earned herself a fan. (less)
Review: I knew I had to read this book the second I saw the title. I loved the idea of a nerd as the heroin...moreReview from my blog: The Word Fiend
Review: I knew I had to read this book the second I saw the title. I loved the idea of a nerd as the heroine in a romance novel and the play on the famous Marilyn Monroe movie is a nice touch. Gentlemen Prefer Nerds lived up to the promise of its title and I was thoroughly charmed by this light-hearted adventure into the world of jewel thieves and cons.
The bright blue and yellow used for Gentlemen Prefer Nerds' cover compliment each other nicely and serve to effectively draw the readers attention. If I was browsing in my local bookshop I would definitely stop to pick it up. The male model has a taunting half-smile on his face, as if he knows more than he's letting on and is a perfect fit for how I pictured Fabian. The female model isn't quite how I imagined Maddie, but with her glasses, hair pulled back into a sensible ponytail and shy stance she does capture some of Maddie's nerd-factor. The pink heart-shaped diamond glittering next to the title is the valuable gem that puts the whole story in motion. This is a fun and effective cover and I must compliment the design team at Carina Press.
Gentlemen Prefer Nerds was a delight to read. Joan Kilby writes well, bringing her characters to immediate life on the pages. The story progresses at an entertaining pace with action and drama interspersed with humour to keep the story in balance. One great example of this humour is when, during a dramatic helicopter escape from the police, Maddie stops and stubbornly refuses to abandon her cat, forcing Fabian to perform an impressive feline rescue. Kilby skilfully uses these moments to give us a better understanding of the characters' histories and personalities.
Maddie is a fabulous heroine. Brilliant and passionate about jewels she lives a rather boring life where she lives vicariously through her books – picturing herself as the daring heroine who saves the day. It was interesting to see how she reacts when she is forced into new and dangerous situations in real life. Maddie really blossoms in the book. Fabian is a mystery when we first meet him, but we slowly learn more about the gorgeous Englishman as the story unfolds. I liked the respect he has for Maddie and her abilities and the quiet strength coiled in him. The chemistry between Maddie and Fabian sizzles through the pages of Gentlemen Prefer Nerds. In fact my only problem with the book was that when they finally made love it wasn't the exciting event that all of the chemistry and tension had been building towards. It felt like a bit of a let down.
Gentlemen Prefer Nerds is a fun, entertaining read that will have you glued to the pages. Definitely worth reading. (less)
The moment I read the blurb for Hellsbane I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy – here was a book promising me...moreReview from my blog: The Word Fiend
The moment I read the blurb for Hellsbane I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy – here was a book promising me something different from the usual stories involving half-angels. Sadly, I didn’t feel that Hellsbane lived up to its potential.
Hellsbane’s cover art is great. The statue of the angel holding the sword is a very effective way of linking in Emma Jane’s job as Heaven’s bounty hunter. I also love the figure’s pose, it screams sassiness and attitude and both are most definitely elements that Emma Jane has in spades.
Paige Cuccaro has created an interesting Urban Fantasy world with a fresh spin on Fallen angels and half-angels. Once a half-angel is chosen as a warrior in the fight against the Fallen their only hope of escaping the constant threat from demons and their masters is to find and kill the Fallen who sired them. I really like this premise and the possibilities it opens up for the story world and characters. But I couldn’t help but feel that Cuccaro let her great story idea down with an erratically paced plot. The action in Hellsbane hits you from page one and immediately draws you into the story, but Cuccaro doesn’t capitalise on this. I also felt that there were elements of the plot that could have been explored further, such as the growing attraction between Emma Jane and Tommy. There were moments of stunning description where I felt myself completely gripped by the images on the pages, but they never lasted for more than a few sentences and although Cuccaro writes well, the rest of the book suffered in comparison. I would have liked to have seen more consistency in Hellsbane’s plotting and the level of writing.
Emma Jane is a sarcastic and sassy young lady and it was entertaining following her as she comes to terms with the new world she suddenly finds herself immersed in. She’s a strong character and able to carry the story. Tommy and Eli are the other two main characters in Hellsbane. Tommy is a half-angel as well and I enjoyed the growing relationship between the two of them and felt that it could have been used to better advantage in the story. Eli is an angel sent to Earth to observe and train the chosen half-angels. We’re given a glimpse into his backstory which helped to add depth to his character.
Hellsbane is an action packed Urban Fantasy, but I felt that more could have been done with this original story idea.