Just finished Tempting Evil (Riley Jensen, #3) by Keri Arthur (★★★★). This is a borderline erotica urban fantasy series featuring half-werewolf, half-...moreJust finished Tempting Evil (Riley Jensen, #3) by Keri Arthur (★★★★). This is a borderline erotica urban fantasy series featuring half-werewolf, half-vampire, Aussie, Riley Jensen. Riley and her twin brother work for a paranormal policing agency known as The Directorate. Each book is a new piece of a larger mission for Riley and her friends.
This particular book has Riley infiltrating a large event at the home of the local mafia boss. The espionage/spy angle is exciting and well-done. There's not a ton of foreshadowing, so the mystery unravels for the reader pretty much as the same time it does for our protagonist (which I prefer b/c otherwise you spend half the book mentally yelling at the protagonist to stop being so stupid and get a clue!).
As with the other two books, there's quite a bit of sex and violence - definitely an "R" rated book, if not an "NR". Riley isn't in a monogamous relationship, either, so there's not only plenty of sex, but it's with quite a few different partners and not all of it is necessary to further the story. If this bothers you, then this probably isn't a series for you.
There are nine books in the Riley Jensen series (all of them currently available) with a spin-off series (of indeterminate length) planned. If the books continue to be as good as these first three were, I'll definitely be reading through the end. :-) (less)
This is an urban fantasy series, rather than a PNR, but there is at least some relationship pieces. I had been putting off reading this series for awh...moreThis is an urban fantasy series, rather than a PNR, but there is at least some relationship pieces. I had been putting off reading this series for awhile simply b/c it's written by a male author and I usually find their stories too technical on one hand and too emotionally dry on the other. Butcher's stories aren't like that at all. They're quite emotionally invested and if I hadn't already known they were written by a man, I wouldn't have been able to guess except for perhaps the male protagonist. They're a darn good read!
The series is about a professional wizard, Harry Dresden. It takes place in Chicago - a slightly alternate Chicago where not only wizards, but vampires, werewolves, and the fae exist.
In this third book of the series, Harry and his sometimes-cohort, Michael (a Knight of the Cross) are trying to figure out what has stirred up all the areas ghosts - and to prevent them from causing to much damage (the first ghost scene is particularly unsettling). Their effort is complicated by interference from Harry's fae god-mother, as well as the local vampire ruler and her cohorts.
I really enjoyed this book, and it leaves on an interesting cliff-hanger, so I'm looking forward to the next one to see how the new problem is resolved. :-) There are currently TWELVE full-length books out in this series, as well as a book of short stories. The thirteenth book is scheduled for release July 26, 2011. Even better for fans of the series - Butcher is writing 23 books!! The first twenty of them will be "case" books followed by "a three-book apocalyptic trilogy". Sounds like I'll be reading these for awhile yet. :-) (less)
This is a paranormal mystery series with a bit of a romantic element. The series features M.J. Holliday, a medium & ghost-hunter and her...more4.5 stars
This is a paranormal mystery series with a bit of a romantic element. The series features M.J. Holliday, a medium & ghost-hunter and her friend/business partner/side-kick, Gilly. Each book has them up against some sort of ghostly problem and they seem to get more interesting & dangerous with each book. The books could stand alone, but they're better in order as there is a progression in the "missions" as well as the lives of the characters.
This particular book has M.J., Gilly, and friends filming a ghost-hunting TV show at a haunted castle in Ireland. However, things take a decidedly creepy turn when the producer of the show goes missing and a strong phantom tries to drive them over a cliff - literally! M.J. and her friend have to figure out a way past the phantom to save their producer and their lives.
In general, I really like this series, but this book might have even been the best so far! The storyline was by far the most interesting, I thought. The only downside is that Gilly, who is usually a comedic relief character was just sorta annoying & whiney this time around. His character just felt unbalanced in this story. I'm still looking forward to reading the next one, Ghoul Interrupted, which is due out December, 2011. (less)
This is definitely a PNR series of the lighter chick-lit variety.
The series premise is that in Salem, MA, there's an employment agency, Works Like Ma...moreThis is definitely a PNR series of the lighter chick-lit variety.
The series premise is that in Salem, MA, there's an employment agency, Works Like Magick, where the owner has a special gift for perfectly - and magically - matching clients & temps.
This book is about McKenna Greylock, a woman who will lose her family heritage - a large Victorian home that she's trying to turn into a Bed & Breakfast. She only has 90 days to meet the inspector's approval or the house will be repossessed and purchased by a smarmy developer. She goes to Works Like Magic to find a handyman to help her with this task, but finds the gorgeous Bastian Dragonelli, who coincidentally is a REAL dragon, instead.
I really enjoyed this book with it's very witty scene descriptions and banter between the lead characters. Readers who enjoyed Blair's previous two connected series will also love this one. There's even a cameo by the Kitchen Witch, herself. :-)
I'll definitely continue reading this series. Book #2, Bedeviled Angel is out now, with Book #3, Vampire Dragon coming April 2011.(less)
This is a PNR series featuring mostly vampires, but with additions from werewolves, demons, dragons, werecats, ghosts and numerous other supe...more4.5 STARS
This is a PNR series featuring mostly vampires, but with additions from werewolves, demons, dragons, werecats, ghosts and numerous other supernatural creatures. The first book sets up the scenario - in the teeny town of Broken Heart, Oklahoma - a town with an extraordinarily high rate of divorced single-parents - Lorcan, a master vampire striken by a disease known as "the taint" attacks & kills 12 single parents before he is captured. The conglomeration of vampires tracking Lorcan find the 12 parents and turn them into vampires before it's too late and they're gone forever. Each of the books is then a story about one of the twelve "turn-bloods" - their history, how they - and their family - are adapting to vampiric life, and of course, their romantic interest.
This particular book features Elizabeth Bretton. Though heiress to the Silverstone mansion, Elizabeth had never lived in Broken Heart. She was visiting town to handle some administrative issues with the estate when she was attacked. After being turned, she decided to stay and eventually sold the mansion to the queen of the vampires. During a renovation of the mansion, the queen & her family discover a hidden room containing some old personal belongings. One of these, a jewelry box has Elizabeth's name on it and is assumed to be hers. However, as soon as Elizabeth receives the jewelry box, very strange things begin to happen: a shadow figure tries to murder Elizabeth and some of the other normally happy couples in town start acting very strange. It's up to Elizabeth and the handsome ex-homicide detective were-cat, "Tez" Jones, to unravel the mystery.
I've liked the witty repartee in this series from the very beginning, but have to admit that the last few have been a little less interesting than the first couple. However, this most recent one was fantastic! I really enjoyed learning more about the history of the town and the mystery around the naming. The whole instant attraction between Elizabeth & Tez wasn't explained very well, IMO, but since the rest of the story was so interesting, I suppose I can forgive it this time.
I am a little disappointed that this is the last story of the "turn-bloods," but not the last of the series. It looks like the next book, Must Love Lycans, features Damian, a werewolf and head of security in town - a character you meet early in the series who makes appearances in all the books. Still, I LIKE the character, and the preview that was in the back of this book looked interesting so I'll definitely be picking it up when it releases on September 6, 2011.
A ninth book, tentatively titled Only Lycans Need Apply, is also in progress and due out Sept 2012. (less)
This is a UF series that takes place in a steampunk-ish alternate reality Regency era England where vampires & werewolves have been integrated int...moreThis is a UF series that takes place in a steampunk-ish alternate reality Regency era England where vampires & werewolves have been integrated into society. The protagonist is Alexia Tarabotti, a young woman who discovers she is "soulless," a super-natural being who negates the powers of other super-naturals when she touches them.
In this particular book, Alexia is the focus of a shocking scandal and flees London for Italy with a small band of friends & protectors. Her goal is to seek out answers about her own nature - that of other Soulless ones. But danger befalls her everywhere she turns as the vampires are after her and in Italy, super-naturals are put to death upon their discovery.
I love this series and this book was just as good as the first two. Though, thank goodness, it doesn't end on as much of a cliff-hanger as the second one did! I'll definitely be reading this series through it's end!
Speaking of which, there are a total of five books in this series: #1 Soulless, #2 Changeless, #3 Blameless, #4 Heartless (out July 2011), #5 Timeless (release date unknown). This author is also writing a four-book YA series set in this world, but approx 25 years earlier. It is currently known as "The Finishing School" series and the first book is due out sometime in 2012.(less)
This book isn't typical PNR - it's more of a mystery, but it does have a paranormal element.
With just a few weeks until Christmas, Maggie's job at En...moreThis book isn't typical PNR - it's more of a mystery, but it does have a paranormal element.
With just a few weeks until Christmas, Maggie's job at Enchantments gift shop is as hectic as it is exciting. But when she witnesses a teenage goth girl getting brutally picked on by a trio of mean classmates, her intuition warns her that something very bad is about to happen. When one of the assailants turns up dead a few days later, Maggie's curiosity gets the best of her and she investigates -- only to uncover a secret sex blog that implicates some of Stony Mill's most respected residents.
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. Part of it is the girl-next-door type heroine, part of it is the small-town atmosphere that I grew up in. But most of it is just the tone of Alt's writing! Yes, the plot contains enough foreshadowing to give you a good idea who the killer is long before the book reveals it, but you have fun along the way, so I don't mind. I'm looking forward to the next one, especially since this book hinted at some exciting romantic action in the future! :-)
I'd recommend this book to fans of Victoria Laurie's Ghosthunter Mystery series.(less)
This series is a UF/PNR mix. The character gets her man at the end of book 1 and is still with him in book 2, but the same characters are in trouble y...moreThis series is a UF/PNR mix. The character gets her man at the end of book 1 and is still with him in book 2, but the same characters are in trouble yet again rather than being relegated to minor characters.
The series is about Francesca Marinelli, a vampire who was buried for over 200 years and only recently dug up. She's still in the process of discovering her powers, but mostly just wants to live a normal (un)life in her home in St. Augustine, Florida.
If you like your heroines a bit more like the girl next door with a little something special then you'd love Cesca. It's not her fault she keeps getting embroiled in murders and strange vampire plots of domination. In that way she reminds me a bit of Sookie Stackhouse or Georgina Kincaid. A great character!
Book #3, Always the Vampire, will be in stores in May 2011 and I'll definitely be in like to pick it up! (less)
This series is not quite either paranormal romance or urban fantasy, but is more pure fantasy with romance/sexual tension/love triangle. It takes plac...moreThis series is not quite either paranormal romance or urban fantasy, but is more pure fantasy with romance/sexual tension/love triangle. It takes place in the fantasy land of Rheskilia, with this particular book exclusively on the Isle of Mid, which is essentially a university for mages.
Our protagonist is Raine Benares, an elf who has left her family of pirates to become a Seeker, which is basically just a thief-for-hire. In the first book, Raine is hired to steal a necklace, but gets a surprise when that necklace turns out to be the Saghred - a magical artifact of unimaginable power. The Saghred metaphysically attaches itself to Raine and, of course, all hell breaks loose.
In this book, Raine is tracking down the spectres of six evil mages who escaped The Saghred. They're murdering high-level officials in an effort to gain more power.
The premise sounds a bit boring, but the storyline is anything but. It's a fairly quick-paced book, but there's just enough time for Raine to (finally!) get a little action with one of the guys. You'll just have to read it to find out if it was Tam, Mycheal or someone else. :-)
The elf/goblin politics backstory does start to get a bit more involved, but in a good way, not a boring way. I'll be sure to pick up the fifth book, Con & Conjure, to be released March 2011. A sixth book, All Spell Breaks Loose has been announced on the author's blog, but doesn't yet have a release date (that I can tell).
Similar series are: The Retriever series by Laura Anne Gilman (though more of a UF), the Hero series by Moira M. Moore, Lynn Kurland's "The Nine Kingdom Series, the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews (also more UF), and the Elantra series by Michelle Sagara. (less)
The series is a UF trilogy - the trilogy part being somewhat rare these days as series often last a minimum of 6 books and as many as 20+ (hello, LKH!...moreThe series is a UF trilogy - the trilogy part being somewhat rare these days as series often last a minimum of 6 books and as many as 20+ (hello, LKH!).
They take place in NYC and are about a lawyer named Margrit Knight who stumbles across paranormal creatures existing right among all the humans - djinn, Selkies, dragons, vampires, and gargoyles. She quickly finds herself embroiled in the politics of these "old races" and not much more than her brain, a touch of bravery and a ton of "grit" will get her out of it alive.
I'm not sure why this book sat on my TBR shelf for so long. I remember LOVING the first one, so the second one must have disappointed me somewhat. This one was quite good, but left a few too many loose ends to feel like the story is truly over, which sadly, it is.
The author has written some short stories that take place in this universe, though - those are rumored to be out in the second half of 2011. But it doesn't sound like any additional full-length stories are planned at this time.(less)
The Greywalker series is an urban fantasy series set in Seattle featuring a private investigator named Harper Blaine. Awhile ago, Harper died - but ju...moreThe Greywalker series is an urban fantasy series set in Seattle featuring a private investigator named Harper Blaine. Awhile ago, Harper died - but just for two minutes - and when she came back, she was a Greywalker, a person able to walk the "grey" between the worlds of the living and the paranormal.
In this book, Harper's friend, Quinton, asks her for help investigating a series of strange murders among the homeless people in Pioneer Square, Seattle's oldest neighborhood.
I loved this book! It's very rich with local color, and if you live in the Seattle area (as I do) you'll particularly love it! The book is loaded with Seattle history & folklore, including local Native American mythology. I would also strongly recommend this to readers who like Jim Butcher's, Dresden Files, as I feel the authors have a somewhat similar writing style and the stories have a similar "feel" to them.(less)
This is a UF series featuring a clairvoyant named Cassandra Palmer. Cassie was raised by vampires and throughout the series quickly becomes...more4 1/2 stars
This is a UF series featuring a clairvoyant named Cassandra Palmer. Cassie was raised by vampires and throughout the series quickly becomes embroiled in the paranormal politics of a world containing not just vamps, but mages, demons, god-like entities, ghosts and more.
In this particular book, most of the supernatural power players want Cassie dead. Of course, the few allies Cassie has are trying to keep her alive, but Cassie's own independence & strong will is getting in the way. That and the demi-god who is out to get not only Cassie, but also to destroy the world.
I think this was my favorite of the Cassie books so far. Yes, it's been sitting on my shelf for over a year now and I probably should have picked it up before now. But, what gets in my way in this series is the pace of the story. It's just about the fastest in the genre these days. Poor Cassie doesn't get even a moment to rest before she's on the run again! This book seemed to give her more of a chance to rest than the previous three did, which may be why I liked it more. I like an exciting storyline, but it's just too much, too frantic. Still, this one was better, so I'll probably pick up #5, Hunt the Moon, when it comes out in June 2011.
Oh, and for those wondering: the Dorina Basarab series does take place in this world, but the storylines don't really connect. You can read them entirely independently of each other.(less)