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Tag Archives: Urban Fantasy

Angelic by Kelley Armstrong

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series An Otherworld Tale

Book Review: 1 Treasure Box
An Otherworld Tale
Publisher: Tantor Audio, Listening Length: 1 hour and 35 minutes, (104 Pages), ASIN: B0034DGXEM

Eve Levine is an angel, who needs a vacation, but the Fates are determined to keep her at work. After Eve died several years ago, she became a celestial bounty hunter. She is effective at her job because she is part demon and with her partner is a ghost.

Kelley Armstrong has written numerous contemporary novels, 11 books in the Women of the Underworld series, plus several other books, series, anthologies and novellas, including Darkest Powers & Darkness Rising and Nadia Stafford series. Angelic is told in a first person narrative by the main character Eve Levine, who, now that she is dead, works for the angel corps. The story is a contemporary fantasy, also known as urban fantasy.

The story started without much explanation and it took me a while to figure out the parameters of the world and the characters.  However, I was intrigued by the little bit of back story that was revealed. I did not think the story flowed very smoothly, because the characters seemed to jump around from place to place, although the novella did come to a good conclusion.

Angelic is a stand-alone novella and a quick read. I thought the book was OK, but not great but I was not clear about the world, so perhaps if I understood the world better I would have enjoyed the book more.

To Purchase: “Angelic” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

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Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Newford Series

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Third Book in The Newford Series
A Newford Collection
Publisher: Orb Books (August 1, 2003), Paperback: 416 pages, ISBN-10: 0765306794, ISBN-13: 978-0765306791

Magic, gemmins, mermaids and ghosts are just a few of the characters we are introduced to in Dreams Underfoot. Each story revolves around a unique and special entity from Mr. de Lint’s imagination and each story is entertaining and well told. This is a universe filled with creatures of urban fantasy.

The Newford series has a different twist on contemporary fantasy. There are no vampires, werewolves, etc, but there is magic which is a melding of Native American spiritual beliefs and urban faerie. This is a collection of short stories in the Newford universe which includes many of the usual characters plus a few new ones. Charles de Lint is a prolific writer and has written 24 books in the Newford series alone, he has also written many other novels, novelettes, short stories and collections.

The last half of the book was much better than the first half, perhaps because these stories focused more on people like Jilly, Jordy, Christy and Wendy. My favourite story in this book is “The Moon is Drowning While I Sleep” and it is Sophie’s story.  She is telling Jilly about a dream. But in this dream she has to make a choice. She can save the moon in the water, which is really the drowned lady, or she can have her heart’s desire.  The outcome of these stories depend upon the choices made by the participants, each is given the opportunity to decide how they will respond to the situations they face.

Each story is standalone and separate from each other, but all the stories are within the universe that Mr. de Lint created. I recommend this book as an introduction to this universe and the people and concepts within. If you enjoy reading contemporary fantasy or are a fan of Mr. de Lint, then you should add Dreams Underfoot onto your list of books to read.

 Favorite quote:

“Small deaths…They’re those pivotal moments in a person’s life that change it forever: a love affair gone wrong, not getting into the right post-graduate program, stealing a car on a dare and getting caught, that kind of thing. They’re the moments that some people brood on forever; right now they could have the most successful marriage or career, but they can’t stop thinking about the past, about what might have happened if things had gone differently.”

To Purchase: “Dreams Underfoot” from Amazon, click here or on picture above.

 

 

 

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Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Kate Daniels Series

Book Review: 1 trash can
Kate Daniels Series, Book One
Publisher: Tantor Audio, Program Type: Audiobook, Listening Length: 9 hours and 6 minutes, ASIN: B001PLND3E

Kate Daniels, a mercenary who can wield magic, becomes a temporary member of the Knight of the Order of Merciful Aid when she investigates the murder of her mentor and friend. Kate wields a magic sword and has magic in her blood. During her investigation she suspects that the Masters of the Dead or else Curran, the beast lord, are the most likely suspects, but are they?

Ilona Andrews is the pen name for Ilona Gordon and Andrew Gordon, a husband and wife writing team. There are currently nineb ooks in the Kate Daniels series, a contemporary fantasy series where magic and technology are continually at odds. When magic is flowing, technology doesn’t work and vice versa, with each power source continually in flux. Monsters roam the streets including naked, sinuous and bloodthirsty vampires who are controlled by necromancers.  Ilona Andrews has also written three books in the The Edge Series and two in the Kinsmen Series. Magic Bites is told in a first person narrative by the main protagonist, Kate Daniels.

The Kate Daniels books have quite a large following and some of the books have even ended up on the New York Times best selling list.  I can see how some of the original ideas, like the portrayal of the vampires and the way magic and technology are at odds can be appealing.  That is why I decided to give this series a try.  However, after reading, I could not understand why anyone would enjoy this book, I did not. Perhaps the quality of the writing improves as the series continues. I thought the dialogue was cheesy with a confusing story that jumped around without much flow while following a weak plotline.

Although this is a standalone book and the story resolves by the end of the book, the journey was painful.  I do not recommend this book.

 Question to ponder: Has anyone read all or any of the books in the series and if so, is the writing in the later books an improvement over the first book?

 

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Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Alpha and Omega Series, Book 2
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks, Listening Length: 8 hours and 25 minutes (304 pages), ASIN: B002MVI0XY

In this universe the Fae have already come out to the world at large and The Marrok feels it is time for the werewolves to come out as well. But what would happen if a supernatural group, that may or may not include the European werewolves, did not want the world to know? There would be lots of strife and bloodshed, but can Charles and Anna contain the damage?

This is the second of two released books in the Alpha and Omega series. There is also a novella that introduced this series and was published in On the Prowl. The third book is expected to be out in March 2012. This series takes place in the Mercedes Thompson universe but it revolves around different characters, focusing on Charles, the Marrok’s part Native American werewolf son and his new mate, Anna, who just happens to be an Omega. Patricia Brigg has also written several other series which fall into Paranormal Romance, High Fantasy, and Fantasy. She has written numerous short stories. This series is considered Urban Fantasy or Contemporary Fantasy. The books are told in a first person narrative with Anna’s voice and thoughts.

The book examines Charles and Anna’s relationship and delves into both their characters on a deeper level. I did not enjoy this book as much as the first book. I found the story to be a bit repetitive and it was not as captivating but I still enjoyed reading about Charles and Anna.

Hunting Ground is a standalone book with a much stronger ending than beginning or middle. I have not yet decided whether or not I will read the next book in the series when it is released.

To Purchase: “Hunting Ground” from Amazon, click here or on picture above
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Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series The Southern Vampire Mysteries Series

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
A Sooke Stackhouse Novel (The Southern Vampire Mysteries), Book 9
Publisher: Ace; First edition (May 5, 2009), Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 392 KB, Print Length: 312 pages, ASIN: B0024CEY22

The were community comes out to the world, the fae community start a civil war and Sooke is in the middle of all the action. The world does not take well to the existence of the weres and this is revealed with the shocking crucifiction of Jason’s estranged wife, Crystal. Who would do such a horrible deed? The mystery is unraveled as this story progresses.


Dead and Gone is the ninth book in The Southern Vampire Mysteries series(also known as A Sooke Stackhouse Novel), there are currently a total of eleven books with book twelve scheduled to be released May 2012. All the books are contemporary fantasy but are also known as urban fantasy. They also fall into the romance genre. The story is told in the first person narrative with Sooke’s voice and thoughts as we follow her around.

I did not enjoy this book as much as the previous books in the series, perhaps because it was so much darker. The story deals with prejudice in a big way, first how people respond to the weres, then how the fae feels towards humanity and then finally with the attack on Sooke. It also had a very sad ending and I felt it left off on a rather down note. There was lots of action in the book with plenty going on all the time. I always enjoy the interactions between Eric and Sooke.

I recommend this book, especially to fans of Sooke Stackhouse; it carries the story forward and is an interesting read.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series so I can find out how Sooke deals with what she endured during Dead and Gone and to see where the story is going next.

Questions to ponder: Do you like the HBO version of True Blood? What do you think of the characters in the TV series?

To Purchase: “Dead and Gone” from Amazon, click here or on picture above
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The Dragonfly Prophecy by Jacquelyn Castle

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Class Act Books (July 19, 2011), Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 432 KB (290 pages), ASIN: B005DJA6QG


Lexi is an average teenage girl, with the dream life until she discovers that in fact she is very different and things are not what they appear.  First she wonders what is wrong with her, why does she keep fainting?   Then things soon start coming apart. Before long she realizes she has super powers and she needs to come to turn with what is happening to and around her.

The Dragonfly Prophecy is Jacquelyn Castle’s debut novel.  It is a contemporary fantasy, but instead of the usual vampires, etc, the heroine has super-powers. The setting is on today’s earth but it also includes an alternate universe and the story alternates back and forth.  The story is told in the first person narrative with the voice and thoughts of the main protagonist, Lexi, a 17 year old girl.

The story was interesting and kept me guessing right up until the end. The story centers around her conflicting love between two boys, each in a different universe. As the story unfolds, we get a feeling that one of them is not who he says.  The story is a good effort by a new author, but I felt that some of the writing was forced. I would have liked to see more adjectives used to describe Lexi and her friend’s communications other than shrieking and yelling. I found that the ending seemed to be cut a bit short and the whole episode revolving around Evangeline seemed forced. This book is a good Young Adult fiction with an original concept in contemporary fantasy.

I was engaged right up until the final conclusion with what was going happen and how Lexi was going to resolve her conflict. There was plenty of action and the plot line was well executed. If you are looking for something different in this genre, then I recommend you try out this new author.

To Purchase: “The Dragonfly Prophecy” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Alpha and Omega Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Alpha and Omega Series, Book 2
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks (January 15, 2009), Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 10 hour(s) and 6 min. (320 pages), ASIN: B001QVHR1C


A rogue werewolf is terrorizing people in the high country of Montana. Bran sends his newly married son, known as his enforcer, out to investigate. This gives the married couple a chance to spend some time together, and allows Anna an opportunity to realize what her Omega powers entail, but little do they know what really awaits them.

This is the second of three released books in the Alpha and Omega series.  The fourth book is expected to be out in January 2012. This series takes place in the Mercedes Thompson universe but it revolves around different characters, focusing on Charles, the Marrok’s part Native American werewolf son and his new mate, Anna, who just happens to be an Omega. Patricia Brigg has also written several other series which fall into Paranormal Romance, High Fantasy, and Fantasy.  She has written numerous short stories.  This series is considered Urban Fantasy or Contemporary Fantasy.  The books are told in a first person narrative with Anna’s voice and thoughts.

The story hooked me from the first page.  We are introduced to the characters and learn a bit about each of their back stories. Once Charles and Anna are up in the mountains, we realize that a black witch is behind these rogue attacks. The story is captivating and the excitement builds all the way through to an exciting ending.

This is a stand alone story with interesting characters. I already liked the universe and I am wondering what else Anna and Charles are going to get up to, so I am going to read the next book in the series.

To Purchase: “Cry Wolf” from Amazon, click here or on picture above
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Blood’s Voice by Áine P Massie

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series House Millar

Book Review: 0 treasure box/trash can
First book in House Millar
Publisher: Geas Publishing; 1 edition (June 1, 2011), Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 491 KB (400 pages), ASIN: B005405MYK

Anya Millar has been a vampire for several hundreds of years, but she has amnesia and cannot remember her past, all she knows for certain is that she will not feed off humans. One of her special gifts is her voice, and not because she can carry a beautiful tune, but because it is a weapon that can be used to control or even kill people, including other vampires.

Blood’s voice is the first book written by a new author and it is the first book in a proposed series. It is a contemporary fantasy told in the first person narrative by the main protagonist, Anya Millar.

I think it is admirable that Ms. Massie is trying to portray the vampires of House Millar as nice, considerate creatures, albeit still showing how dangerous they can be. I find it hard to believe that vampires who have been around for hundreds of years would talk and act like teenagers. The book was really slow to get anywhere. Everyone calls everyone silly; it was used at least 49 times. The editing and grammar were unpolished which I found distracting. At times, I thought the story was derivative of Twilight, but it did have a few original and interesting ideas.

I thought there were some redeeming qualities about this book, but I also found a few problems which is why I gave it a zero rating. If you are a big Twilight fan, then you might enjoy this book, since it is similar in numerous ways. Both are kind of slow moving and aimed at young adolescents, in both the vampires can walk around in the daytime and the vampire protagonists do not feed on humans. I will not be reading the next book in the series.

To purchase: “Blood’s Voice” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

 

 

 

To purchase: “Blood’s Voice” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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River Marked by Patricia Briggs

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Mercedes Thompson Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
The Mercedes Thompson Series, Book 6
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks (March 1, 2011), Listening Length: 8 hour(s) and 54 min.(304 pages), ASIN: B004QDXJRS
The Mercedes Thompson Series, Book 6

After Mercy and Adam’s wedding, while they are on their honeymoon, they discover a river demon who is killing people. Stefen and his menagerie are in bad shape and still recovering from the injustice they received from Marsilia in Bone Crossed.

River Marked is the sixth book in The Mercedes Thompson Series and book seven is scheduled to be released in spring of 2013.  The series revolves around Mercedes (Mercy) Thompson, a Native American shapeshifter who can assume the body of a coyote. She is a strong, independent woman who makes her living as a mechanic. Patricia Brigg has written several other series which fall into Paranormal Romance, High Fantasy, and Fantasy as well as numerous short stories. This series is considered Urban Fantasy or Contemporary Fantasy. The books are told in a first person narrative with Mercy’s voice and thoughts as she lives her life.

I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be interesting and fascinating from the first page right to the last page. There was a Native American flavour to the book with the introduction of the First People spirits, which I thought added to the story. We learn more of Mercy’s history. There was plenty of action and suspense as the story built up to a great conclusion.

I recommend this book and I feel the Mercedes Thompson Series is one of the better contemporary fantasy series available. I am looking forward to the release of book seven sometime next year.  If you enjoy books with werewolves, shapeshifters, fae, vampires and witches then you will enjoy this book.

 

To buy: “River Marked” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

 

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Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Mercedes Thompson Series

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
The Mercedes Thompson Series, Book 5
Publisher: Penguin Audio (March 30, 2010), Listening Length: 9 hour(s) and 8 min. (304 pages), ASIN: B003EN3K2U

Mercy receives an odd message from Phin, a part fae, bookstore owner who lent her an interesting book on the fae. This message soon leads to events which spiral down into big trouble for Mercy. Plus there are a number of other interesting developments concerning the werewolves and Mercedes love life.

Silver Borne is the fifth of six books in The Mercedes Thompson Series. The series revolves around Mercedes (Mercy) Thompson, a Native American shapeshifter who can assume the body of a coyote. She is also a strong, independent woman who makes her living as a mechanic. Patricia Brigg has written several other series which fall into Paranormal Romance, High Fantasy, and Fantasy.  She has written numerous short stories.  This series is considered Urban Fantasy or Contemporary Fantasy.  The books are told in a first person narrative with Mercy’s voice and thoughts as she lives her life.

I am enjoying this book, but I do not think it was as good as the previous books, I thought the beginning was a bit slow.  However, there was plenty going on once the story did going.  There was a fair bit about Samuel, which I did not really think added much, but it was still interesting.  I find Mercy and Adam’s relationship to be fascinating and I am always curious to see what is going to happen next.

This is a standalone story, but still part of a larger plot. I like the characters and I like the direction the overall story is heading. I recommend this book and this is a good series in the Urban Fantasy landscape.   If you enjoy books with werewolves, shapeshifters, fae, vampires and witches then you will enjoy this book.
To Purchase: “Silver Borne” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

 

 

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