Verity Price is enjoying her relative freedom working as a strip club waitress in Manhattan, while conducting her survey on the cryptids of the area for the family biz, when she meets up with a member of a very old family enemy, the Covenant, who believe that all non-human entities should be summarily wiped off the face of the planet, no questions asked. This infuriates the Price family, who has created a tenuous trust with a large part of the cryptid population by offering support and assistance as well as keeping things safe for humans. The Price family certainly asks questions first, then only kills when necessary, so when Dominic DeLuca appears on Very’s rooftops, setting traps and killing indiscriminately, Very knows there’s going to be a real problem on her hands. Question is, how to handle it? Then there’s that pesky rumor of the dragon underneath Manhattan.
Discount Armageddon is one of the coolest books I’ve ever read. Hands down. I am a huge fan of the author’s October Daye series, so of course I was eager to see what she had in store for us in the new one. Turns out, quite a lot! Her Manhattan setting is mined for all it’s worth, with numerous trips into the underground tunnel systems (not to mention some kick ass fight scenes). Verity’s family is fascinating, as are her co-workers and friends. Speaking of co-workers: to supplement her first love (which is ballroom dancing), and to keep from relying completely on her family, Very works at a strip club owned by a bogeyman named Dave. Very’s a waitress, not a stripper, but you’ll find yourself charmed in various ways by her dancer (and cryptid) coworkers, and Dave is just…ugh. She has a cousin that’s a Cuckoo (so cool), and does her best to protect the city’s cryptids. Too bad Dominic DeLuca’s arrival puts a huge dent in her agenda. During the first half of the book, you’ll want to smack Dominic, hard (so does Very). He’s old fashioned, and has been indoctrinated with just the sort of agenda that the Price family has been trying so hard to destroy. Too bad he’s so darn cute. Unfortunately, they’ll have to work together to investigate the cryptid disappearances and find out just want is lurking in the sewers. You can’t go wrong with anything by Seanan McGuire. Her worldbuilding, characters, everything is superb, and if you’re already a fan of her books, you’ll love this one! If you haven’t discovered her books yet, Discount Armageddon is a great place to start!...more
Ashley Parker is attending college in the small town of Redwood Grove and dating a pleasant enough guy. Life isn’t too bad, so when she and her boyfriend are attacked by shambling, rotting corpses one night while on a date, and said boyfriend runs away and leaves her for dead, things suddenly take a turn for the worse. That’s an understatement. Ashley is bitten, but instead of turning into one of the zombie horde, she fights off the virus, and comes out of it stronger, faster, and…immune. After being nursed back to health by a super-secret military organization, they ask her to join an elite group of fighters called the Wild Cards, which are made up of civilians that are immune to the virus, just like Ashley. She knows something has to be done to save as many survivors as necessary, so agrees to join the group. Little does she know how terrifying things are about to become…
Author Dana Fredsti has a background that folks like me will totally geek out about. We’re talking stuff like sword-fighting on the set of Army of Darkness, guys, and it shows in Plague Town. The lady knows her weapons (especially those of the bladed variety), and isn’t afraid to take Ashley to new heights of ass-kicking. Plus, she gave her heroine a name that can be shortened to Ash…yeah, you know you like it. Ashley Parker is a pretty normal chick with a smart mouth that just won’t quit. She’s a lot smarter than your average girl, though, and the pop culture references come hard and fast. More geeking out, of the awesome kind. The author does a wonderful job of balancing the serious, the funny, and the downright grotesque, creating a zom novel that will please fans of Jonathan Maberry’s Dead of Night, etc.
Ashley takes on her new role with chutzpah and more than an ounce of bravery and her attraction to her handsome and enigmatic instructor Gabriel isn’t without drama, and adds a nice little dash of romance to the story. Ms. Fredsti also manages to throw in some interesting twists to the zombie virus that will have those little hairs on the back of your neck standing on end. I chuckled, I cringed, and I cheered (quietly, so as not to disturb the rest of the house), as Ashley and her rather ragtag (and somewhat charming) band of zombie warriors fight the hordes and rescued survivors. If you love zombies, strong, sarcastic heroines with heart, and fight scenes that will knock your socks off, you’ll devour Plague Town!...more
When we last left my favorite skinwalker in Mercy Blade, there were definitely some strings that needed tyin’ up, so I was eager to dive back into Jane’s world in Raven Cursed. In the 4th book of the series, Jane heads out of New Orleans and back to Asheville, North Carolina to provide security for a parley between the MOC of New Orleans and a master vamp that wants to establish his own territory. Unfortunately, Jane gets way (way) more than she bargains for in Asheville. Rogue weres are killing tourists in horrible ways, and Jane is tasked with taking them out. Easier said than done, especially when Jane feels that she’s responsible for the weres’ rampage.
Strangely enough, this is one of the things that I love most about Jane. Her guilt. Yeah, I know that sounds weird, but she’s such a tough girl; so capable and strong, especially with Beast, that her enduring habit of taking nearly everything upon herself gives her a vulnerability that I can’t help but love. Seriously, sometimes I want to smack her (purely out of love), and say “It’s not your fault!!! You can’t control everything!!”, but I digress… So, there’s the were issue, which really gets bad when she finds out they might be after her best friend (and witch) Molly, and her family. Molly’s hubs isn’t all that fond of Jane for various reasons, so convincing Molly that things aren’t as they seem may prove to be a hard bargain. It really complicates things when Jane finds out that Molly’s sister Evangeline may be dabbling in the dark arts. I really wanted to throttle Evil Evie in Mercy Blade, and it only gets worse in Raven Cursed.
You think there’s a lot on Jane’s plate? There is! But wait, there’s more! Ricky-Bo is in town and is freaking out (understandably) at the possibility of going furry. Doesn’t help that his “mentor” , head of the African were cats, wants to kill him. I’ve always been hopeful for Rick and Jane, and their relationship just gets more complex, and more tender in a lot of ways, as the series goes on. I will admit that Jane and Bruiser’s , ahem, “almost” scene in Mercy Blade was the awesome, (‘cause Bruiser is a hottie, after all), but Rick is where it’s at, and I have no doubt that their relationship will just get more and more interesting as the series progresses. So, there you have it. Rampaging weres, twisty-turny vamp politics, hot shifters (and vamps), some seriously nasty (and witchy) black magic (we’re talkin’ demons here), and Ms. Hunter’s trademark, awesome fight scenes make for a book worth relishing. The Jane Yellowrock series is superb, and they just keep getting better. If you haven’t discovered it yet, I envy you, because you can start with Skinwalker and race right through. If you have discovered it, you’ll love Raven Cursed! This series is a must for any urban fantasy lover!...more
Diana Rowland is awesome. She managed to take an emotionally damaged, drug addicted,slacker, down on her luck, high school dropout bum, and make me love her. Angel Crawford is the product of a mentally ill mother who committed suicide when she was young, and an alcoholic father that blames Angel for her mother’s loss. They live in a ramshackle house in the Louisiana swamp, where hopelessness prevails and a miasma of despair creeps like fog into every corner of their lives. When the book opens, Angel is awakening in the hospital with visions of twisted metal and blood filling her memory. The only thing is, she doesn’t have a mark on her, and when she’s told that she was found naked on the side of the road, she can only imagine that an accidental overdose was to blame. A note from a stranger informs her that she has a job waiting for her driving the coroner’s van, and she must hold the job for a month. Angel figures she’s been given a second chance by a Good Samaritan, and decides to just ride it out. What she didn’t count on is the sudden, all consuming craving for human brains…
This book is so much fun, and it’s so much more than what it seems to be on the surface. Angel is such a broken girl, and dealing with her alcoholic father and her stagnating life has resulted in nearly non-existent self esteem. The job with the coroner, which at first seems like a means to an end, becomes a lifeline for Angel, in more ways than one. First is the obvious: Angel needs human brains to survive or she will begin rotting away (seriously, pieces will start falling off). What’s most surprising to Angel is the camaraderie with her coworkers and the self worth that begins rebuilding piece by piece. The stress keeps piling on though, because someone is cutting a swath through her town, lopping off heads and taking names. Is it a serial killer, or something else? The mystery rounds out what is essentially Angel’s story, and I had a really hard time putting this one down. You’ve got to have a bit of a strong stomach for this one though, because, well, Angel assists with autopsies and eats brains, and the author gets rather descriptive. I had to really twist my way of thinking, because Angel is pretty much like a vampire, except if she eats your brain, you’re not gonna be alive to get all romantic about it. Being a zombie ain’t pretty, but Angel handles a pretty extreme circumstance with her singular grace and a heart of gold, and we get to watch her change from a girl on the skids, to a capable, strong, well…zombie. This was one of the most unusual books I’ve read, and I can’t wait to get to know Angel even more!...more
Poor Atticus. After the epic battle in Hounded, he just wants to train his new apprentice and tend his Druid grove in peace, but it’s just not in the cards. He’s still cleaning up the demon mess left behind by that battle, and that’s not all. Atticus is asked, by the local witch coven, to take down a group of Bacchants that threaten to turn their patch of Arizona into a seething den of iniquity. He’s also got his Viking vamp lawyer trying to convince him to take down Thor, which he absolutely does not want to get involved with. Then there’s that feisty (and nasty) coven of German witches, and they’re out for his blood…
Hexed is just as awesome as Hounded, and some of my favorite characters are back, and getting lots more play! For example, my favorite Viking vamp Leif is enlisted to help Atticus and the Sisters of the Three Auroras fight that coven of German witches I mentioned earlier. This particular showdown is like the O.K. Corral, but with a Druid, witches, a vamp, golems, goat headed demons, and RPGs. Seriously, RPGs folks! My favorite Irish wolfhound, Oberon, is back and better than ever (I seriously love this dog), and we get a rather memorable visit by the Morrigan (remember the Morrigan?), and get to see her, um, softer side. Yes, the softer side of a death goddess is just as entertaining as it sounds. We also get to spend a bit of quality time with the lovely Brighid, which is always a singular treat! Mr. Hearne’s writing is fast paced and spot on, and really, if you’re like me, you’ll have quite a bit of trouble putting this down in order to get other things done. Like, you know, eating and stuff. Hexed is steeped in magic and wrapped in awesome. It really doesn’t get much better than this! ...more
Life is hard as the Beast Lord’s mate. Yeah, no sarcasm there (so jealous!). Actually, life is proving rather difficult for Kate Daniels. Yes, she and Curran are mated, and in that, she couldn’t be happier (and neither could I!!!). However, her professional life is in shambles, after the Knights of the Order did their best to ruin her reputation. She’s started her own PI business, but clients aren’t biting, and she’d rather fall on her own sword then ask the Pack for more financial help. When Ghastek, a powerful Master of the Dead, calls Kate to warn her that an out of control vamp is headed her way, all hell breaks loose, in more ways than one! Kate’s first client wants her to track down an inventor that was kidnapped under her watch, along with the mysterious device he was creating. When she visits the scene and realizes that some seriously powerful magic has been used, she’ll have to gather all of her resources to find this inventor and the device, which is more powerful than anyone could have imagined, and could destroy everything Kate loves the most!
I’m always happy to return to this alternate Atlanta and ride along with Kate and Co. on their adventures, and Magic Slays is one of the best of the series so far! Poor Kate really can’t catch a break in this one. Along with the kidnap victim she’s hired to find, she also discovers her teenage ward, Julie, has run away from boarding school, for what seems like the millionth time, and is heading her way. Her best friend (and shifter), Andrea is back after a self- imposed exile with vengeance on her mind (with vomiting, smelly, monster dog Grendel in tow), and Kate discovers some secrets about her family that will make her question Curran’s love, and his motives for making her his mate. Then there’s that mystery device…
If you’re already a fan of this series, this one will knock you over, and if you haven’t discovered it yet, run, don’t walk, to the bookstore or download Book 1 (Magic Bites) ASAP! The authors ratchet up the intensity and the emotion in Magic Slays and I think readers will be very satisfied with how things tie up with plenty of new material for future novels. Highly recommended! ...more
Alex Craft can talk to the dead. Or rather, she can talk to shades, memories that are left after someone dies. When she gets a call from her sister, asking her to investigate the death of presidential hopeful (and poster boy for the Humans First Party) Governor Theodore Coleman, she gets a bad feeling. Things get worse when a friend on the force asks her to take a look at a recent murder victim, and she is physically attacked by its shade…which shouldn’t be possible. Then there’s the body that isn’t a body.
It’s been 70 years since The Magical Awakening that brought magical creatures out into the open, and Nekros City certainly has more than its share of magic. In addition to dealing with the shade attack, and the mystery surrounding the Governor’s death, she also has a rather cranky (yet sexy) detective on her tail, and he won’t let up. Then Alex finds out she’s been infected with a soul sucking virus from the shade attack, and now it’s a race against time to find out what’s going on, before she loses her life, and her soul.
Grave Witch was just pure fun! Alex Craft is a great new heroine to fall in love with, and I really enjoyed the world building. When Alex uses her “grave site”, it layers a decaying version of the world over reality, and the sensations Alex feels when she talks to the dead are fascinating. Add Death to the equation, especially a Death that looks hot in jeans, and only Alex can see, and it completes this fun mix of police procedural, magic, witchcraft, soul switching, and romance. Grave Dance (Alex Craft 2) comes out in July, and I’ll be sure to snap it up! ...more
Justine Jones is a hypochondriac who has spent her life paralyzed by fear that a blood vessel will burst in her brain and kill her. Especially since her mother died of that very thing. When she meets handsome, charismatic, Sterling Packard, he promises her a freedom from fear that she never thought she’d have. Packard is a highcap, one of a special group of people that have mutations that have gifted them with certain powers of the mind. Packard has the ability to see deep within a person, and in Justine, he not only sees the person she could be, if freed from fear, but also a powerful ally and pawn in a plan that involves some of the worst criminals Midcity has ever seen.
Justine starts off as an insecure woman paralyzed by fear. After meeting Packard and being recruited into his group of Disillusionists, she finds strength and confidence she never knew she had. The Disillusionists are charged with taking their fear and pushing it outward onto the criminal, effectively “rebooting” them and causing complete reform. Justine will have to battle her growing attraction to Packard while discovering her newfound powers. When she meets Chief Otto Sanchez, her sense of what is real and fantasy is blurred, and she finds herself having to make a choice that could alter the course of her life forever.
This was one of the most unusual and entertaining urban fantasies that I’ve read in a long time. It’s obvious the author did her research, and the dark heart of a hypochondriac’s mind is a fascinating and terrifying place. Justine frustrated me at times, but that was only because she is a complex character, and was frequently conflicted in her decisions. Ms. Crane takes us on quite a ride with Justine! Sexy, always exciting, terrifying at times, and tons of fun, Mind Games is a great read! Keep an eye out for my review of Double Cross, the next in the series!...more
Abby Sinclair has her hands full. She’s taking care of Moira’s half angel/half faerie son Benjamin while Moira is off on the Queen’s business, her bodyguard Talivar (also Moira’s brother) is showing more than a passing interest in doing a little more than just guarding Abby’s body, she’s becoming more and more proficient in the Dreaming, while also fielding “Dear Abby” letters from the OtherFolk of Portsmyth. See, Abby is Moira’s TouchStone, which gives Moira the ability to stay in the mortal world without limitations and travel the CrossRoads of Faerie at will. Abby is also a KeyStone, which means that she can be TouchStoned to someone without a contract, just by physical contact. Abby’s also still reeling a bit from her breakup with Brystion (incubus and full on hottie.) Full plate! Things start getting really weird when a kidnap attempt is made on Benjamin by a woman claiming to be the new Protectorate of Portsmyth. That’s a big problem, since the current Protectorate is Moira. So, where exactly is Moira?
Unfortunately, that’s not all that’s gone wrong. The Queen is not acting like herself, and some pretty severe steps have been taken, which are taking their toll on Faerie, and war may be brewing between daemons and faeries. I really enjoyed A Brush of Darkness, but Allison Pang really brings the awesome with this one. Still have questions about Abby’s past ( I know I did)? Don’t worry, lots of those will be answered here, and then some. Were you hoping for a sweeter love story for Abby, as well? Talivar certainly fits that bill. I could go on a bit about Talivar…but I digress. I mean, Ion was hot, but fickle, and sometimes a bit of a jerk, but what do you expect from an incubus? If you love Faerie, again, you’ve come to the right place. The author’s world building is nothing short of excellent. Seriously, it was good in the first book, but it’s awesome in this one. Abby will not only have to navigate her new and delicate relationship with Talivar, but she’ll also have to do it while navigating the labyrinthine intrigues of Faerie, including a rather memorable trip through the outskirts of Faerie and some sticky negotiation with the Unseelie. Court intrigue abounds, and the author is expert at weaving in some pretty cool pop culture references while tying together multiple plot strings with some pretty intricate knots. I mean, she references Portal…how cool is that?
Abby is one of my favorite characters in urban fantasy right now, and her supporting cast is almost as awesome. Phin, your favorite wee, ass-biting, panty wallowing unicorn is back in all his glory, and shockingly enough, you get to see a more serious side of that rude little guy in this one. It’s kind of…disconcerting, yet also very cool. Allison Pang actually takes the time to really flesh out her minor characters and you find yourself caring about them almost as much as her major players. How she does it, I don’t know, but she’s captured magic in a bottle twice, and I’m also counting on the third time being a charm. Trust me, at the end of this one, your jaw will drop and you’ll begin the countdown for the next book. Very, very highly recommended!...more
In book 4 of the superb Iron Druid series, we rejoin my favorite Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan, and the Morrigan in the Arizona desert, as they prepare to watch as Atticus rather spectacularly fakes his own death, with the help of the trickster Coyote, of course. Yes, you read that right. Atticus is about to watch “himself” be obliterated by a few gods that want him dead (see book 3, Hammered.) What follows is indeed spectacular, and laugh out loud funny as the gods discuss Atticus’ demise with Morrigan (playing her role with aplomb.) Well, now that Atticus is “dead”, he’s feeling pretty good, since, for the first time, no one is after him, and he can train his apprentice, Granuaile, in peace. Yeah, riiiiight. We all know that Atticus is kind of a trouble magnet, in spite of his best efforts, right? Indeed, Coyote, who was a big part of Atticus’ faked death, needs a favor, and it’s a biggie. Coyote wants to help out his people, who are suffering in a dying town, but little does Atticus know, this also involves fighting some extremely nasty skinwalkers. Think berserker Tasmanian devils with one track minds set to “kill, kill, kill.” Yes, they’re that bad. Oh wait, add some pretty hefty magic to that equation too. Atticus is tough, but the skinwalkers are off the charts. Then there’s that pesky vamp problem…
If you haven’t discovered this series, yet, get thee to a bookstore and snag ‘em, or download them, however you roll, because it just keeps getting better and better. I laughed so hard during the first half of this book that I may have squirted tears a couple of times, and the action in this one pretty much never lets up. Poor Atticus is also put through so much, physically, that I was genuinely worried for my fave Druid a couple of times. There’s lots of meaty stuff in this one, and the author wraps up some major story arcs and gives Atticus and Co. a fresh start. The author takes a bit of a break from the thunder gods to tackle Navajo lore, which I found fascinating, and we also got to know Granuaile a lot better (she’s smart, kicks butt, and has Atticus’ back at all times.) Oberon, the big, adorable, meat-lovin’ ball of awesome that is Atticus’ longtime friend and Irish wolfhound, is funnier than ever and his heroics in this one might get you a little bit teary.
The problem with these books is, upon finishing, I want to gush and tell everyone all about it, and I want to tell you, my loyal readers, all about it too, but that would totally spoil the fun, yeah? Reading an Atticus book is like visiting a lifelong friend and knowing you’re always going to have a kick-ass time. How Kevin Hearne does it Every. Single. Time, I have no idea, but he does, and he just keeps piling on the awesome. Tricked is packed with thoroughly engrossing characters, fascinating mythology, creatures that will make your head spin, lots of action, and a ton of heart. I dare you to give this series a try and NOT fall completely in love! Luckily, the next book, Trapped, is out later this year, and I have no doubt it will blow me away!...more
I picked up Darkfever at the urging of my partner in crime, Chelsea, of Vampire Book Club, and I’m really glad I did! I loved how the author took a rather annoying, somewhat spoiled Georgia peach and threw her into a situation that forced her to put on her big girl panties really, really quickly. Jericho Barrons’ Dublin is not the charmed southern life MacKayla “Mac” Lane is used to at all, and she’s forced to make some pretty nasty discoveries fairly soon after arriving to investigate the brutal death of her older sister. I’ll be honest, Mac kinda got on my nerves in the beginning. She talks about how pretty and well put together she is…a lot, and I wanted to give her a firm smack and maybe give that blond ponytail a good, hard yank, but I digress. That’s who she is at the start of the story; coddled, every need met by her parents, and not a care in the world. When she finds out about the death of her sister, however, that safe, soft world is shattered, and she’ll do anything to get to the bottom of things.
Going all the way to Dublin, without the blessing of her parents, who are shattered, is pretty brave for someone like Mac. When she meets Jericho Barrons, and discovers exactly what lurks in the shadows, she has to reach deep inside herself to discover hidden strength that she never knew she had. The world of the fae is opened to her, and it’s most definitely NOT the stuff of fairytales. There are shades that linger in the shadows, waiting to devour hapless victims, creatures that feed off of human beauty, and fae that can even kill by sexing you up to much. Yep, death by sex. It’s enough to drive any self respecting southern girl insane. But Mac isn’t just any southern girl. She can see through fae glamour, and it’s an asset that some will kill to possess. She’s sensitive to a book that Barrons will do anything to get his hands on, and if he has to use her a little bit to get to it, then so be it. Arrogant, painfully handsome, and for Mac, incessantly annoying, she finds herself an unwitting pawn in a game she’s only beginning to understand. Darkfever was a really good start to what I know is going to be quite a ride. Bring on the Darkness....more
There’s a blurb on the front of Fated by Jim Butcher, and I’ll admit, it went a ways toward me reading the book. Don’t get me wrong, the book sounded great, but Benedict Jacka is a new author, so it definitely helped. That said, Fated is a bit like the Dresden Files, but really only in the fact that Alex Verus is a wizard, or mage, and Alex’s voice is is a similar mix of easygoing and tightly coiled power. Alex is a diviner, able to see the many possible outcomes and paths of a situation. Usually. He’s not all-powerful, but he’s pretty darn powerful, and he’s done his best not to cross paths with the Council, running a magic shop in Camden Town, in London. Staying under the radar has done well for him, but when various mages (Light and Dark), come to him seeking his services, he finds himself back under the very thumb that he escaped years ago.
The author packs quite a bit of storytelling into just under 300 pages, and does it very effectively. I liked Alex immediately, and found his power fascinating. There’s some mild tension between Alex and his friend Luna, who’s carrying a very powerful curse, and she’ll turn out to be a valuable ally in the battle to come. And there will be battle. There’s a powerful artifact that more than a few powerful mages want to get their hands on, and they’ll use any manner of coercion, arm twisting, and just plain nastiness to get Alex to snag it for them. The main group of Dark mages that Alex deals with are really just plain mean, and I found myself wishing that Alex could just kick ‘em in the mouth. Multiple times. With feeling. It doesn’t help that Alex is carrying around a little baggage of his own, having been at the mercy of a Dark mage himself when he was younger. Yeah, the Dark mages like to keep slaves, er, helpers, and they’re extremely cruel about it. Can you say torture chambers? So, you can understand why Alex isn’t too keen on “helping” any of these guys out. On the charming side, we’re also introduced to some really neat creatures, and the world that the author has created is definitely one I’ll want to visit again. Fated is a strong start to what looks to be a magical series!...more
Jake Hatcher is a man with a problem. A special military operative, he’s been wrongly imprisoned, and on the day of his release, finds out his brother has been killed; a brother he never even knew existed. This mystery begins a journey for Hank that will take him into the darkest heart of man, and beyond.
Damnable is a wonderful debut novel, and Jake Hatcher is my kind of hero! In a sea of kick ass, tough chicks, he’s a male hero to root for! Wisecracking, resourceful, and tough, I had a blast following Jake as he battled zombies, half-human, half-demons, and his own growing feelings for a certain beautiful woman. I loved the author’s unique take on heaven and hell, and the creatures that inhabit them. Add to the mix Demetrius, a truly nasty villain that loves a good torture chamber, the mystery of Jake’s brother, plus a dash of romance, and you have a fun, fast-paced read! I couldn’t help thinking that Damnable just about has something for everyone, however, with Schwaeble’s talent for description, the violence may make you squirm a little. That said, I never felt that anything was gratuitous. If anything, it appealed to the horror fan in me, and gave us a picture window into the villian’s twisted psyche.
The novel switches from third person view between Jake and Demetrius, and the only complaint I have is I would have loved to have Jake’s passages be first person. Although, Schwaeble makes up for this with fun asides of Jake’s funny, sarcastic train of thought.
Damnable won the 2009 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel, and it shows! It’s a testament to the author’s talent when he can make an over-the-top plot seem believable and make us sympathize with a hero that has such a shadowed past, but we do, and for me, that makes it a successful story. If you loved Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger, or Nelson DeMille’s John Corey, then you’ll love Jake! I know I do, and I’ll follow him anywhere! 5/5 ...more
Cat Crawfield is a 22 year old half-vamp that spends her nights killing sleazy vamps after picking them up in bars. Not really an existence any proper 22 year old girl should have, but the time she spends killing these vamps is also time spent getting vengeance on the father that raped her mother, resulting in her birth, and half-vamp status. One night, Cat picks up the one vampire that could change her entire way of life, and may be her match, and more. Meet bounty hunter Bones, Brit by birth, vamp by way of Australia, 300 years old, and all kinds of sexy. After discovering Cat is half vamp, he makes her an offer she can’t refuse. Train with him, take down some nasty vamps, and live. Cat accepts, and soon learns that her life will never be the same.
I’m fairly sure I’m the only one on Planet Earth that is just now starting this series. Ok, that may be an exaggeration, but I do know how popular it is, and as I discovered, for good reason! Halfway to the Grave was pretty much a thrill ride from start to finish, and I really enjoyed the world that Ms. Frost created. Cat irritated me at times, with her hesitancy to believe that not all vamps are bad, but Bones changes her mind on that one, and pretty quickly! Cat does begin to see that her way of thinking is maybe not the smartest way, but sometimes I wanted to shake her and tell her to open her eyes. This is a steamy read, but not overwhelmingly so, and moves very quickly toward an ending that will leave you breathless for more. Highly recommended for urban fantasy and paranormal romance fans alike!...more
When Linnet Ellery begins working at the White-Fang (yep, vampires) law firm of Ishmael, McGillary, and Gold, she realizes rather quickly that her professional life may be a bit boring for a while. Taken under the wing of lawyer Chip Westin, she’s recruited to help out on a case that’s been in litigation for many years. Stagnation seems inevitable, until a werewolf invades the law firm one evening, brutally murdering Chip, and nearly killing Linnet. Who would have wanted to kill the gentle,kindly Chip? And why?
I really enjoyed this fun, unusual urban fantasy! The alternate world the author created is just to the left of ours, and vampires, werewolves, and the fae (the Alfar) have revealed themselves and are collectively thought of as the Powers. It’s a boy’s club, however, at least when it comes to vamps and werewolves. You see, they’re not allowed to turn women, under any circumstance, under the penalty of death. Linnet was, in fact, fostered by a vampire liege from the age of eight, with whom she’s still very close to, so she’s sensitive to the discrimination that they sometimes face. Working at a White-Fang law firm doesn’t intimidate her, but knowing that she, and the rest of the women in the office, will never make partner, can be bothersome. As she follows the clues to find out who killed Chip, with the help of handsome PI (and Alfar) John O’Shea, she finds herself in danger more than a few times over, but she’s determined to get to the bottom of it. A shadowy firm called Securitech and its head werewolf, Deegan, seem to have something to do with his death, but she’s not quite sure what. She does know that Deegan is perfectly capable of tearing her limb from limb.
This book is described as Anita Blake meets The Firm, but I’d describe it more like Stephanie Plum meets The Firm. Linnet has the charm of Plum, but is plenty capable in her job, and I loved how the author actually gives her a life in between the werewolf attacks and law office politics (of which there are plenty). Linnet is an accomplished horsewoman, and I loved the passages that involved the ins and outs of competitive riding. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the action, but woven in with traditional urban fantasy themes are explorations of gender equality, and a rather sweet romance. It also wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the author is very fond of New York City, since it’s almost a character unto itself. I highly enjoyed This Case is Gonna Kill Me and I’ll be crossing my fingers for more adventures with Linnet!...more
Zinzi December is a finder of lost things (mashavi), in a look at an alternate Johannesburg seething with magic and rotting from within. Zinzi is also one of the animalled, with a spirit sloth constantly at her side. Having a spirit animal is the mark of a criminal, and in some places, like China, zoos are executed. Zinzi also has drug debts that she’s paying off by running email scams. It’s a precarious life, at best, and for Zinzi, it’s about to get worse, much worse. Zinzi is hired by an elderly woman to find a ring that she’s lost down a drain, but on her way to take the ring to her, Zinzi feels the connection between the ring and its owner snap. She’s hired by Amira and Mark (both odd and animalled), to find a missing person while waiting at the scene of the woman’s murder. She doesn’t normally take missing persons jobs, but after losing out on her fee for finding the ring, and being interrogated by the police concerning the murder, Zinzi is desperate for cash. Accepting this job may be more trouble than she thought, when she finds out the missing person in question is the girl half of the twin teen pop sensation iJusi. Zoo City is written in Zinzi’s POV, and her voice, cynical and lifeworn, gives the story an immediate feel. Zinzi lives in a squatter refuge, in a neighborhood where gang wars and the sound of automatic gunfire in the streets is not an unusual thing. The animalled are treated like lepers, and the animals are considered to be physical manifestations of their sins, or in some circles, witch’s familiars. She begins the investigation into the missing singer thinking that the 15 year old just wanted to escape the demands of her fame and her producer, but Zinzi begins to realize that there is much more to the disappearance that what it first seems, and when bodies start turning up, and she starts getting emails from the dead, Zinzi becomes increasingly convinced that something very dark is at work. I stayed up very late finishing Zoo City. The first quarter or so does some setting up for Zinzi’s story and her environment, but once you hit the second half, things go into overdrive, and you won’t want to put it down. Zoo City is not for the faint of heart. There is murder and the darkest kinds of magic, some of it involving kids. You’ll find nothing gratuitous here, but there are some disturbing scenes (nothing sexual). The author’s descriptive talent is nothing short of awesome, and there are some parts that are absolutely terrifying. Ms. Beukes doesn’t give all of her characters happy endings, and sometimes the heroine doesn’t save the day. Zinzi is a damaged woman, and she manages to alienate nearly everyone around her, but she has a good heart, and her desire to see this girl safe is her driving force. She’s also an addict, and at times her weaknesses threaten to consume her. I was fascinated with the lore of the animalled, and the idea of symbiotic spirit animals (if you’re an animal lover, you will too), and I loved the “articles” that were interspersed with the chapters , providing info about the “zoos”, and also insight into the alternate, near future South Africa in which Zoo City takes place. Dark, fascinating, beautifully told, and at times disturbing, Zoo City will please fans of Urban Fantasy with a healthy dose of the dark and the weird....more
It’s 2023 and the world has been devastated (and reduced to mostly islands) by killer tsunamis. 24 year old Kathryn O’Malley (aka Tsunami Blue), lives by herself with her dog Max and takes to the airwave where she uses her gift to warn whoever is listening, when a tsunami is on its way. You see, the ocean speaks, and Blue can hear it. Her hopes of saving as many lives as possible keep her going in a world that’s seemingly gone to hell. Constantly on the lookout for pirates (aka Runners) who would capture Blue and use her for her gift (to pillage and plunder), Blue is always on alert, and knows how to protect herself, so when a handsome stranger washes up on her shores, all her barriers come crashing down. Gabriel Black looks like an angel, albeit a dark one, and at first, Blue takes him for dead. She manages to get him back to her cabin and eventually nurses him out of hypothermia, only to find out he’s a dreaded Runner. Or is he?
I was so surprised at how much I enjoyed this little gem! I kinda fell in love with Blue, in spite of myself. She’s stubborn, untrusting (for good reason), and often bites off a little more than she can chew. But! She’s also refreshingly innocent (having been by herself for so long), is killer with a knife, and has a heart as big as the tsunamis that she predicts. A big part of the appeal of Tsunami Blue is the playout between Blue and Gabriel. In spite of his seemingly sinister background with the dreaded Runners, he’s determined to protect Blue at all costs, and seems to already harbor a serious crush on her. Blue, in spite of the undeniable attraction, is just determined to steal his boat and escape. Gabriel, excruciatingly so, manages to hold on to his mysterious origins, and the reasons for kidnapping Blue, for almost the whole book. So frustrating!! Yes, but it’s totally worth the payoff. Trust me on this one!
Tsunami Blue’s world is a cross between Mad Max and Waterworld (yes, I liked that movie, feel free to comment on that below), and I thoroughly enjoyed the engaging, fascinating characters that the author populated it with. The Runners are absolutely terrifying, and Blue is not afraid to get her hands dirty when engaging with them. She fights for her life right along with the best of them, and is a force to be reckoned with. The sweet romance with Gabe makes a nice counterpoint to the relatively dark world and that our hero and heroine are living in. However, Tsunami Blue is no frou frou romance. The worldbuilding is great, the fighting is fierce, and the perils are terrifying. You’ll zip through it wanting to know what happens next right now, not to mention wanting Gabe and Blue to get together already! Loved this one, and hope you will too!...more
Deep in the jungles of Columbia, Sam Thornton is on the hunt for the soul of Pablo Varela, drug czar and brutal killer. When he gets to the camp, his whole posse is dead, and a message is carved on the chest of one of the bodies. There’s only one person who could have left the message: Sam’s old friend and fellow Collector, Danny Young. Danny now has the soul that only Sam was supposed to collect, and if he doesn’t get it back soon, the powers that be will be very, very angry. Sam met Danny in 1953 while in Amsterdam for a Collection. Danny wanted to team up, be each other’s support system, and in spite of the strict rules against consorting with other Collectors, a friendship was born. You see, there are two types of people that come up for Collection: contract kills and freelancers. Contract kills are generally good people who’ve made a deal with a demon, many times in order to help someone else. Freelancers are people that revel in the misery and suffering of others(serial killers, psychos, you get the picture…). Both Sam and Danny were contract kills and both ended up as Collectors, as they sometimes do. The way Danny saw it, with the horrible job they had to do, Collectors should stick together, support each other, even if it was against the rules. It also doesn’t help that Sam is still reeling from an angelic confrontation that may have kicked off a war between heaven and hell.
I really enjoyed Dead Harvest, the first book in the Collector series, but in The Wrong Goodbye, Chris F. Holm really brings the awesome. Told in Sam’s voice, we get quite a lot more insight into why he is the way he is, not to mention some insights into his past collections that will chill you. The author has a gift for lush descriptions and his creatures made my skin crawl more than once.
Poor Sam has quite a few enemies to contend with in this one. He’s certainly been under scrutiny since his last big demon/angel confrontation; however, he does find friends in unusual places, such as a former small time hood, Gio, whose soul he places inside another body in order to use him as a sort of dowsing rod in finding the missing soul of Varela. During their trek across the desert, they also meet up with an oilman trying to escape the clutches of his greedy soon-to-be ex-wife, and a blind, transvestite fortune teller.
The action is pretty much nonstop, yet somehow the author managed to balance that with laugh out loud and terrifying moments in equal measure. Their wild journey across the desert will lead them to an L.A. Day of the Dead celebration and a showdown with powerful magic you won’t soon forget Sam is not your usual protagonist. After all, the man changes bodies like we change socks, and since he doesn’t have his looks to rely on, it’s who he is as a man that makes him a worthy hero. And he is worthy. Magic, betrayel, creatures made of bugs. It’s all in a day’s work for Sam.
I couldn’t make this stuff up, but Chris F. Holm can, and it’s a good thing, because we get to have a blast reading it. This series is urban fantasy at its best with subtle noir undertones and the combo just works. Also, if you’re a fan of the classics in hardboiled noir, the title is especially awesome. I wanted to hug this book when I finished (it happens sometimes, don’t judge.) If the author keeps this up, he’ll be giving some of the big UF names a run for their money, very, very soon. If you haven’t discovered this series yet, you’re in for a wonderful ride!...more
Mark of the Demon is the first book in Diana Rowland’s Kara Gillian series and after reading and loving My Life As a White Trash Zombie, I was eager for more of Rowland’s work. Kara is a brand new homicide detective in Beaulac’s tiny police force. She’s also a summoner. That would be a summoner of demons. When trying to summon a lower demon, she accidentally brings through something else; a beautiful creature named Rhyzkahl, who seems to know her every dream and desire, and doesn’t hesitate to offer to satisfy those desires. When a horribly mutilated body is found, and Kara is called to the scene, she knows it’s the work of The Symbol Man, and is shocked when she’s put in charge of the investigation. However, she’s determined to get to the bottom of this shocking, brutal killer and will stop at nothing to find him.
Mark of the Demon took me back a little to the early days of Anita Blake, and that’s a good thing. I loved the combination of serial killer thriller and urban fantasy, and Kara is a very likeable, strong protagonist. She’s spent most of her life keeping people at arm’s length (especially men), lest they find out her secret life as a summoner and student of the arcane. So, you can imagine what happens when not only Rhyskahl, but a handsome FBI agent comes into her life. The added pressure of being the head of a major task force only adds to Kara’s stress, but our girl can take the heat, no doubt. I really enjoyed the author’s unique take on demons and I’ll look forward to learning more as the series goes on. Taut prose and fairly fast pacing round out a great start to this series. I’m actually glad that I just now started it, since I can read the next three straight through! Mark of the Demon is a must for any urban fantasy fan’s shelves!...more
A witch, and elf, and a pixie go on a roadtrip… Sounds like the start of a bad joke, right? Well, it’s not, it’s the basic premise of Kim Harrison latest Hollows novel, Pale Demon, which is anything but basic. Trent Kalamack needs Rachel to do him a “favor” and get him to Seattle in one piece. Rachel needs Trent to back her up at a coven meeting, where she is hoping to have her shunning rescinded, and Jenks, Rachel’s trusted partner and dear friend, is along for the ride. Throw Ivy, Rachel’s beautiful, and lethal, vampire friend into the mix, and you’ve got the recipe for a roller coaster ride of magical proportions!
Jenks gets pixie-napped in the desert, the gang tangles with a very nasty day-walking demon, the coven is on a mission to assassinate Rachel before she can get to her hearing, and Rachel finds out that Trent may not have been completely honest with her about just why it is that he needs to get to Seattle. Pale Demon is nonstop action from the start, and unlike other series,where things can start to flag at this point (9 books in), it’s just as good or even better than the previous books. Rachel has always had a bit of a struggle with her identity, but never more so than in Pale Demon. She uses dark magic for good ends, but the coven doesn’t condone dark magic of any kind, and Rachel desperately doesn’t want to be labeled a Black witch. She’ll have to come to grips with who she is, or an entire world could be destroyed. Kim Harrison has made me cry before with this series, but Pale Demon was an emotional roller coaster of the best kind. The author is a pro, her characterizations are perfect, and her ability to balance a complicated, emotional plot with just the right amount of action, is part of why I love this series. Rachel, Ivy, Jenks, Bis, Pierce and even Al and Trent are like family to me, and reading a Hollows novel is like coming home. I can’t wait to follow Rachel into her next adventure! ...more
After her last adventure,our favorite OCD cat burglar and vamp,Raylene Pendle,is settling into domestic bliss (yeah right),with Ian Stott,the blind vampire that she’d like to be more than friends with,and her two pet humans,Domino and Pepper,street kids,and brother and sister that she’s taken under her wing. Raylene’s longtime contact,Horace Bishop,has a job for her,and just when she thinks she’s gotten away from the “weird jobs”,Horace wants her to steal a collection of,er,penis bones (aka Bakula) from various supes,like weres,gryphons,and unicorns,from the owner who was not willing part with them. Evidently these relics are used in all kinds of spells and rituals,and Horace is desperate to get his hands on them. When Raylene discovers that a brilliant,schizophrenic ex-NASA scientist is using them for her own mysterious reasons,Raylene begins to identify with her,and the more she learns,the more she wants to help her,in spite of her constant resistance to human attachment. Add that to her attempts to untangle Ian from the politics of his House,her growing feelings for him,and desperation to keep him by her side,and you’ve certainly got a recipe for fun,er,disaster! Hellbent is certainly not short of adventure,and when Raylene asks Adrian,ex-Navy SEAL and fabulous drag queen extraordinaire,to accompany her to Atlanta,to act as her ghoul and confront Barrington House (one of the most dangerous Houses in existence),things really get tense.
One of my favorite things about Raylene is that her tough as nails exterior hides her inner vulnerability. She’s very OCD,so she’s drawn to weaknesses in others,and it definitely brings out a “mommy” quality in her,no matter how much she tries to protest that this is the case. I just get more and more attached to Adrian,and Ian is like a gorgeous piece of art that I’d like to admire from afar (not Raylene,though,she wants to admire him way up close,but I digress…). There are a ton of upheavals in Raylene’s life in Hellbent,and she certainly deals with everything in her own unique,anal way,but that’s one of the things I love most about her. She’s a tough nut,yes,but there is a gooey center in there,it just takes certain things to get through to it. In Raylene,Ms. Priest has created a very complex character that’s at once tough and vulnerable,and sweet and salty,then surrounded her with a fascinating cast of characters that leave plenty of possibilities open for future story lines. It’s rare for a vampire character to leave me with the warm and fuzzies,but Raylene manages it,and the conclusion to Hellbent will leave you grinning from ear to ear. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!...more
Dead Mann Walking is zombies,but with a twist. These zombies aren’t mindless shamblers,instead they are sentient beings. They’re also not the risen dead come to life as a result of some sort of virus or spell. Using good ol’ American ingenuity,a solution to the rapid rise of innocent death penalty victims was born,and upon exoneration,were brought back from the dead. The process soon became somewhat of a fad,with families bringing back loved ones left and right. However,folks soon realized that what came back wasn’t quite the same. We’re not talking Pet Cemetery creeping evil here,but some people,upon coming back,did seem to lose some of their higher thinking ability,and the possibility of going feral always lingers. The undead now gather in enclaves,trying to keep to themselves and also staying hidden from the hakkers,groups that take pleasure in torturing and killing the chak (zombies.)
Hessius Mann,PI and ex-cop,is one such individual,having been exonerated after being convicted and put to death for the murder of his wife. Unfortunately,his memory isn’t what it used to be,and he relies on an LB (liveblood) assistant,Misty,to keep his daily affairs in order. The constant threat of rot and the near constant worry of going feral don’t make life easy,but when a client shows up and offers a wad of cash to find a missing person,Mann just can’t say no. Mann and his client travels into the Bedlands,an old mattress factory which now houses a large group of chaks. The man the client is looking for is rumored to be there,but finding the missing man is just one tiny part of this story. A serial killer is at work,decapitating chaks and keeping the heads as trophies,and the killer may have more to do with the case then Mann ever could have suspected. When a possible connection to his wife’s murder comes to light,Mann will have to dig very deep to find the truth,and what he finds may destroy everything he holds dear.
I loved this take on the zombie genre! The author has created a cast of characters that was great fun to get to know,and Hessius Mann is up there in my top ten list of favorite PIs,zombie or not. In Dead Mann Walking,you’ll explore a world where humans and chaks live very uneasily together,and chaks are treated like second class citizens. There’s definitely some commentary here on how we treat certain groups,using zombies as a metaphor,but nothing heavy handed,and it adds a humanity to the genre that is sometimes hard to find. Urban fantasy,horror,and noir fans will find a lot to love about Dead Mann Walking,and Mann’s vulnerability and his desire to find out the truth,drives this unusual and fascinating novel. This is the first book that I’ve read by Stefan Petrucha,and I love his writing style,his wit,and his uncanny ability for clever word play. Don’t miss Dead Mann Walking,a wonderful start to a series that will certainly be on my auto buy!...more
Finally, Toby is getting a break. The events of Late Eclipses nearly killed her, and as a result, she’s much stronger and more powerful. She and Connor are finally able to date since the annulment of his marriage to Rayseline Torquill, and happiness actually seems like something that’s in reach. We all know, however, that Toby really can’t stay out of trouble,or in this case, trouble finds her. She’s contacted by the Luidaeg, her aunt and sea witch (she’s a pretty big deal) with the news that someone has kidnapped the sons of the Duchess Dianda Lorden, of the Saltmist (Undersea). This is alarming to Toby in a few ways. First, if she doesn’t find her sons, there will be war, and eventually she might have to go underwater. If you recall, Toby was turned into a fish for 14 years so water is not her friend. When the kidnapper makes things personal, Toby is more determined than ever to find out the truth.
I always love going back into Toby’s world, and One Salt Sea was no exception. However, I didn’t get as emotionally tied up in this one as the rest, and I can’t quite pinpoint why, but I did enjoy it. My favorite King of the Cats, Tybalt, helps Toby on her mission, and I can’t get enough of Tybalt, with his sexy cat swagger, so that was a good thing. I’ve always had hope for Toby and Tybalt. I mean, Connor’s nice and all, but he ain’t Tybalt! The girl you love to hate, Raysel Torquill (Sylvester and Luna’s daughter), is back and reeking havoc, yet she’s presented as a much more sympathetic villain in this one. As heinous as her actions are, you can’t help but pity her, considering what she’s been through and how much her mind has been damaged. Toby is still getting used to her new powers since her mother changed her blood, and I really enjoyed the scenes underwater in the Saltmist kingdom. As always, the author uses rich mythology and charming characters to wonderful effect in her fae universe, and I’ll certainly be there for Toby’s next adventure....more
Maddy is an Agent of Death, who’s job it is to lead souls away from the earthly plane immediately afteYou may read my review here: Black Wings Review
Maddy is an Agent of Death, who’s job it is to lead souls away from the earthly plane immediately after death. Where they actually go, she’s not sure (the powers-that-be don’t share that with the agents). Evidently it’s on a need-to-know basis. All Maddy knows is that she’s got rent due and an infuriatingly cranky boss to deal with. Things are about to get a lot more interesting for Maddy, though, when a handsome tenant, Gabriel, moves into the building she owns. Before she knows it, she’s got demon problems and has powers that are becoming increasingly harder to control. Soon, she’ll discover a whole new world out there, one of angels and demons, and nephilim, the offspring of the fallen and humans. She’ll also discover an explosive secret about herself that will change her life forever!
Maddy is a charming heroine, and I found myself rooting for her, as she found herself thrown into situations beyond her control. Strong and smart, but also vulnerable, I enjoyed following Maddy as she discovered her newfound power, and discovered the secrets of her past and her family. I really liked Christina Henry’s take on angel and demon lore, and Maddy’s friend and protector, the gargoyle Beezle, who steals quite a few scenes. Ms. Henry also has lots of fun with Death as a bureaucracy, complete with pencil pushing and tons of paperwork. Black Wings was a very enjoyable urban fantasy, and I look forward to the next in the series, Black Night, due in July!...more
Toby Daye,fae changeling and Knight Errant is having a bad day. She is called to the knowe of Lily,an Undine that’s been there for Toby many times,and who she cares deeply about. Lily is ill,and no one knows why. Never mind that the Undine almost never get sick. Toby vows to find out what’s happening to Lily,but duty pulls at her from all sides,and while she is attending a ball at her liege,Sylvester’s court,another fae falls ill,but this time Toby thinks she knows who is behind it. Oleander,her old nemesis,has blown through,and Toby should know,since she can smell her rather unusual scent of oleander and sulfuric acid. Oh,how I hate Oleander. Evil has a name folks,and hers is it. The thought of Toby getting the chance to possibly wrap her hands around her neck certainly kept me turning the pages. Actually,I’m not sure who I hate more,Oleander,or Rayseline,Connor’s wife and Sylvester’s daughter. I think it’s pretty even. What follows is a race against time to find out what is causing Luna and Lilly’s illness,save their lives,and also thwart what seems to be a rather involved attempt to frame Toby and see her dead. She’ll need the help of all of her friends,and that’s one of the most enjoyable things about these books. I adore Toby,but the wonderful cast of characters that Ms. McGuire surrounds her with make the series an absolute joy. May,Toby’s Fetch,now lives with her,and is sort of the bright and colorful side of Toby,which,considering she’s the harbinger of Toby’s death,is always entertaining. Tybalt is also around quite a lot in this one,much to my delight. Tybalt,King of the Cats,is the ultimate bad boy,and he and Toby have always had a rather interesting relationship. Strong hitns that he may feel more than just friendship for Toby abound,and his gruff loyalty,not only to his cats,but to Toby,adds depth and meaning to an always (seemingly) tenuous relationship. Connor,Toby’s childhood love and Rayseline’s husband (for political reasons),is also always in the peripheral,and their chemistry is warm and sweet. Love triangle,anyone?
Seanan McGuire’s Faerie is a fascinating world that I never hesitate to return to. The characters are luminescent and leap off the page,and each faerie world has a life of its own. Court intrigue and machinations abound,loyalties are tested,and mad Faerie Queens and murdurous villians run amok. Toby is a strong,tough,heroine,with an unfailing sense of goodness,and Late Eclipses will reveal quite a few revelations about Toby’s past,and who she really is. I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish this one,and will probably be moving right along to One Salt Sea. This series is absolutely not to be missed!...more
Angel Crawford is still working for the St. Edwards Parish Coroners Office and looking over her shoulder, just in case zombie killer Ed should show upAngel Crawford is still working for the St. Edwards Parish Coroners Office and looking over her shoulder, just in case zombie killer Ed should show up again and attempt another decapitation. She has a new appreciation for life, even though, technically, she’s dead. Being needed is a good thing, and Angel is determined to do her job well and not go back to the way she used to be. Her dad seems to be trying hard to put the past behind them as well, and their relationship improves every day. Also, Angel’s relationship with sexy cop slash zombie, Marcus, doesn’t hurt either. When someone holds Angel at gunpoint when she’s dropping off bodies at the morgue, then steals one of them, Angel hopes she isn’t in over her head, and fears that her past might be creeping up on her.
Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues is the second in the series that began with My Life As a White Trash Zombie. In the first book, we see Angel hit a pretty bad place, not only with herself, but with her dad, and strangely enough, becoming a zombie actually made her clean up her act. However, poor Angel can’t seem to get a break. Something about a death at a research lab doesn’t smell quite right to her, and when she voices her suspicions to Marcus, she’s dismissed as acting immaturely. Yeahhh, Angel consistently gets underestimated, and she’s getting pretty sick of it. Also, after meeting Marcus’ uncle, she starts to suspect some sort of mafia connection. The line in these books always skate the edge of hope and darkness, but things do take a pretty scary turn in this one when Angel stumbles into a plot involving using zombies, and we’re not talking about for the betterment of mankind. Angel’s no idiot though, and underestimating her is not in anyone’s best interest. Yes, she still struggles with a lot of the self-esteem issues that have always plagued her, but that’s changing, and the support of her co-workers and her friends has gone a long way to overcoming that, not to mention her improving relationship with her dad. My heart ached for Angel a few times, but she’s a tough girl, and not to be trifled with. And wait ‘til you get a load of her when she’s fully topped off with brains. Super strength is just the beginning! The author has done an amazing job with a character that may have not always been sympathetic (although that’s changed quite a bit), and my stomach only twitches a tiny bit when Angel drinks a brain smoothie now, so I consider that progress. If you haven’t discovered this series, you’re in for a treat. Angel is one of my favorite heroines in urban fantasy right now, and I can’t wait to see what she’s up to next!...more
I was iffy on this one to start, but as I read on, it kind of grew on me. Kind of.Tate is a trust fund baby, rebelling against the trappings of her wealthy parents by pursuing a career that her parents find beneath her. She’s an artist, specializing in sculpture (of the metal kind), and the thought of her in a welder’s helmet, wielding a torch, is just too much for her blue blood parents to bear. After a bitter breakup with her boyfriend, she decides to move into Golgotham, New York’s home to witches, warlocks, satyrs, and all manner of magical creatures. The rent is cheap, and her handsome landlord Hexe, a Kymeran, is nothing to sniff at either. When she’s attacked in the garden one night by a young were-cougar, and discovers the plot of an evil, Golgotham underworld boss, she knows her stay in Golgotham might be more than she bargained for!
Right Hand Magic was a light, fun read. It moves along nicely, and Tate , Hexe, and Lukas (the were-cougar), were fun characters to get to know. Collins’ description of Golgotham sometimes made me think of the goblin market scene in Hellboy 2, and I enjoyed the adventure and light romance. I found the anti-prejudice message getting a little heavy-handed at times (Golgotham residents tend to be very wary of humans, and otherwise), and sometimes the dialogue was a bit trite, but all in all, it was a light, fun, diverting read, and a good break between “heavy” novels....more
It’s been a bad day for Steven de Selby. He has a hangover from a night of drinking with his cousin, and best friend, Tim, a dead girl is following him around (who he might actually be falling in love with), someone is killing his co-workers, and there’s already been an attempt on his life. Steven is a Pomp, or a Psychopomp, working for the family business (Mortmax), drawing the souls of the newly dead through to the Underworld. He’s been living quietly with his border collie, Molly, and moping over a break up that happened nearly 3 years ago, when all hell seems to break loose at once. His Regional Manager is missing, and Morrigan, family friend and higher up at Mortmax, can barely contain the sudden violence. Steven suspects that Stirrers are involved, who pretty much do the same thing as Pomps, but hunger for both the living and the dead, creating pain and havoc wherever they strike. Losing his co-workers is bad enough, but when the violence hits very close to home, Steven vows to get to the bottom of things, before it’s too late for him too. I’m a sucker for male protagonists (I like kick-ass chicks too, but this is a soft spot, k?), so when I started Death Most Definite, I was full of hope that I’d discover a new fave. Well, I have. Steven de Selby is everything I love in a male lead. He’s sensitive, kind, and a bit vulnerable. He doesn’t have a tortured past, and except for a rather bad run with women, there’s no serious angst that he’s dealing with when the you-know-what hits the fan. He’s just a (taller than usual) guy, doing the day to day in the family biz (albeit an odd family biz), and trying to catch a bit of happiness wherever he can. See, I get that (except for the guy part), and his humanity is part of what makes him so damn likeable. The author puts Steven though the emotional and physical wringer in this one, and it’s almost more than one man can handle. De Selby reminds me a bit of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden, but in Australia, instead of Chicago, and without as much of the snark , although there’s plenty of it for this snark fan. I thought the pacing was just about perfect, and I really enjoyed the little things, like the author’s references to 2001: A Space Odyssey, Firefly, and Mad Max. I love his world of inklings (tattoos that come to life), beautiful fig trees that ease the passing from life into death, and even zombies (of the non-brain-eating variety). Add car chases, explosions, some awesome twists, a chilling trip through the Underworld, and one of the funniest renderings of Charon I’ve ever read, and you’ve got a must read! I’ll definitely be back for more with Managing Death, book 2 in the Death Works series. ...more
The Mortal Path series is one of the most fun urban fantasy series out there, so I was more than ready to dive into Deliverance. Maliha’s story is a heartbreaking one, and there were quite a lot of changes in her life in book 2, so I was eager to see how book 3 explores these new paths. For one, Maliha is no longer Ageless. However, in order to break free from the demon that has enslaved her for so long, she must balance the scales and save the lives of innocents in order to make up for the many that she has killed as an assassin. Of course, her demon is convinced she can’t do this, but Maliha is determined to be free. She’s also ready for some normalcy in her life, and eager to explore a possible future with the man she loves, Jake. Jake has a secret, though, and that’s just one of the complications Maliha will have to deal with. A dear friend has been kidnapped, and a woman older and more dangerous than Maliha could ever imagine will have to be dealt with, even if it means Maliha’s life.
Maliha is a favorite character of mine, and she’s never hesitated to kick some serious butt. Deliverance is no exception, and the fight scenes are fast paced and brutal. Let’s just say that Maliha is very talented with a sword, and doesn’t hesitate to use it. When a member of her team gets kidnapped, all of her talents will come into play, and she’ll have to balance whether or not the rest of her team is in too much danger. Maliha’s got some guilt in this one, more so than in the first two books. No doubt this is because she’s now on the Mortal Path, and killing indiscriminately is no longer in her playbook, so a lot more thought has to be put into her methods. There’s also some serious tension between Maliha and her lover Jake, especially when a trusted friend tells her that there may be more to Jake than she thinks. Ms. Banks brings it with the villain in this one, and a lot of readers will recognize her as a very real figure from history, one that will certainly make you cringe. A big part of the fun of these novels are Maliha’s toys (cars, swanky condos, etc), and they’re at her disposal, as usual. I appreciate a girl who likes a nice sports car, but I digress… Fans of urban fantasy involving fun gadgets, fast cars, and internationat destinations will enjoy these always entertaining adventures, alongside a heroine that never ceases to be fascinating. Lots of revelations in this one will keep you glued to the pages and eager for the next book!...more
Seattle Detective Nigel Ferris is attempting to bring down a human trafficking/prostitution ring and the Russian mobster in charge of it, Mikoyan. He never thought he'd be so attracted to Ekatarina Zhuvova. During a visit to a brothel run by Mikoyan, Nigel is paired with the lovely Ekatarina (Katya)and expects to have to suffer through sex with her just to get out alive. What he doesn’t expect is his immediate attraction to Katya. See, Katya has a secret. She paid a visit the police that same morning, hoping to get help to save her and the other girls, but there are bigger fish in play, and the police are reluctant to bring down the hired help and risk missing out on nabbing Mikoyan. Katya has also been having visions of fire and apocolypse, and when earthquakes and destruction finally do hit the Seattle area, Nigel and Katya find themselves on the run for their lives, and the lives of everyone they love.
Before the Witches is a novella that takes place before the events in Blood of the Wicked, and the upcoming Lure of the Wicked. I could not put this book down. It’s short enough to finish in one sitting, and it had me glued to the pages. Karina Cooper writes like an old pro. Her pacing is flawless and the action never lets up. I’m a relatively new reader of paranormal romance (thank my partner in crime for that), and usually skip over most of the sexy bits in novels, not because I’m a prude, but I usually just want to get back to the story. There is one, count it, ONE, sex scene in this novella and it neither overwhelmes or disrupts the story. It’s pretty steamy, and it cements the relationship between Nigel and Katya. Trust me, you’ll see why. The world is coming down around them, and love can be a powerful bond, and a powerful tool in times of chaos. Before the witches ended way too quickly for me, and I’m really anxious to see where the story leads in Blood of the Wicked and Lure of the Wicked! Also, keep in mind this is a glowing review from a “reluctant” paranormal romance reader, so snap this one up! ...more