Tag Archive | urban fantasy

Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking (Trylle Trilogy #1)

Format: ebook

Published:  July 12, 2010

Genre: Young adult, paranormal, urban fantasy, magic

Sensuality Rating: kisses

Synopsis (from Goodreads)When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn’t until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might’ve been telling the truth.

With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed – and it’s one she’s not sure if she wants to be a part of.

Review: 

At her sixth birthday party, Wendy Every’s mother tried to kill her with a cake knife. Way to kill the party vibe…

Since then Wendy has been living with her very over protective older brother, Matt, and her aunt Maggie moving every few months whenever Wendy gets kicked out of yet another school. When not another private school will take her Wendy enrols in a public school but her attitude hasn’t changed at all. Brawling with girls in the bathroom and sleeping her way though History class – that’s literally sleeping complete with drool. Nothing seems to have changed at all. Until she notices Finn Holmes – the only kid in the class that’s even newer than she is – staring at her. Constantly.

The only thing worse than his creepy behaviour is the fact that Wendy can’t help but notice how attractive Finn is. After a disastrous date to the school dance, Wendy isn’t even sure if she wants to see Finn again but he drags her into a world she’s knows nothing about complete with princesses, magical powers and trolls…

I really enjoyed this story. After reading many paranormal teen novels that follow the same formula (girl meets boy, they fall in love for no apparent reason, they have drama but end up happily ever after) I was glad to read a story where the romance isn’t the focus. Yes, Wendy does develop feelings for Finn but that’s by no means the focus in this story.

The world of the Trylle was fascinating. I love the idea of changeling children being “switched” out with the children of wealthy parents in order for the Trylle society to inherit generous trust funds that they then bring back to the society after Trackers are sent to find the changelings.

One of the few things that I did have issues  with in this novel was the pacing – there was a lot of world building and background information that was important to set up the series but I was 50 pages from the end and was waiting for the climax to start. 40 pages to the end I was still waiting. It wasn’t until twenty pages from the end that all the drama unfolded but it was all wrapped up within a few pages – it had to be because we were running out of pages before the novel ended.

I really enjoyed this story. It was a great YA paranormal story that offered me something new. I’d never read a troll story before but I will be reading another  – the sequel is already on my kindle and waiting for me! 😛

Rating: 

3.5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository (paperback) / Amazon (kindle version) / FishPond (paperback)

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Book Review: Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

Book Review: Fair Game by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega #3)

Format: paperback

First Published: March 6, 2012

Genres: Urban Fantasy, Shifters, Paranormal

Synopsis (from Goodreads): They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can’t afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father’s dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.

Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack’s help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer’s sights…

Review: 

This book takes place just after the events of River Marked (Mercy Thompson #6) and a few years after Hunting Ground (Alpha and Omega #2). In the time that has passed since the last book in the series, Charles has become more and more affected by the job he does for his father – enforcer and assassin. He is withdrawn and even becoming neglectful of his mate and wife, Anna.

After discussion the problem with  Anna and Asil, Bran decides to send Anna off to collaborate with the FBI on a serial killer case in Boston – with Charles along as her body guard. They discover that the serial killer who has recently been targeting Werewolves has been operating for decades – and his targets are not that of the human variety. Fae have been disappearing for dozens of years with none of the supernatural world investigating. Now, with Anna and Charles on the case – with the assistance of a few local werewolves and FBI agents – the killer will be stopped. One way or another…

For me, this is a very hard book for me to review simply because I loved it. I don’t want to come across as a babbling fan girl but I’m afraid I might.

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again – I love how Ms. Briggs tortures her characters. Just because she’s let Anna and Charles get mated and married does not mean she’ll let them have an easy time of it. They’re both hurting. Charles especially – not wanting to let the spirits that haunt him to taint Anna but because of this and his pulling away from her, he’s hurting her more than ever.

I love Anna. And I love Charles. But I think what I love most about them is how they love each other. It’s evident in everything they do and how they interact. I think it’s really beautiful and a testiment to Ms. Briggs’ writing that she can write a fairly gritty urban fantasy novel where romance is very much in the background, and yet their love for each other is so prevalent.

The supporting cast in this book were brilliant. I loved the different government agencies and the feelings of forced co-operation between them. I have no doubt that the government would create a new paranormal agency just to handle new issues that would come to light with the werewolves and fae coming out into the world. I also really liked Isaac – the Alpha of the Boston pack. He gave a new insight to a different kind of alpha – you don’t need to be an old wolf to be a good alpha. Alistair Beauclaire also interested me. I feel like if Ms. Briggs ever wanted to write another spin-off with the Fae in the forefront, he would be a great character to have in it. Either as a main or serving a similar role to the one that Bran holds in this series. The fae are so interesting! All their magical powers and unspoken rules. I really would love to get a closer look at them. And the witches? I’m rather glad I’ve never had an encounter with one of Briggs’ witches…. they be crazy!

Pace wise, there was a lot of groundwork laid at the start of this novel. It did feel a little slow to begin with but after things got moving, I never felt like it was rushed. Everything felt like it was at a natural speed.

I loved the action. And I liked that the action scenes showed how Charles has grown as a person since the beginning of the series. He will always be there for Anna – but he now realizes that more importantly for her, she needs to be there for herself. They’re so perfect for each other… *dreamy sigh*

The wait for the next book is going to be painful for me! I might go into withdrawal! At least I have the other books in the series as well as the Mercy Thompson books to go back and re-read whenever I need my fix.

Rating: 

5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository (paperback)/ Amazon (kindle version) / FishPond (paperback)

Read  my review of Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega #1) by Patricia Briggs here
Read my review of Hunting Ground (Alpha and Omega #2) by Patricia Briggs here

Book Review: Succubus Nights (aka. Succubus On Top) by Richelle Mead

Book Review: Succubus Nights (aka. Succubus On Top) by Richelle Mead (Georgina Kincaid #2)

Format: paperback

First Published: May 5th, 2008

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Demons, Angels, Vampires

Sensuality Rating: Warm

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Georgina Kincaid’s job sucks. Literally.

Love hurts, and no one knows it better than Georgina Kincaid. If she so much as kisses Seth Mortensen, the shy, sexy, incredibly gifted Seattle writer she’s been dating, she’ll drain his life force. Georgina is a succubus-a demon who draws her power from other men’s pleasure. Admittedly, the shapeshifting and immortality perks are terrific, and yes, Georgina did choose to join the ranks of hell centuries ago. But it seems completely unfair that a she-demon whose purpose is seduction can’t get hot and heavy with the one mortal who knows and accepts her for who she is.

It’s not just her personal life that’s in chaos. Doug, Georgina’s co-worker at a local bookstore, has been exhibiting bizarre behavior, and Georgina suspects that something far more demonic than double espressos is at work. She could use help finding out, but Bastien, an irresistibly charming incubus and her best immortal friend, is preoccupied with corrupting an ultra-conservative talk radio star-and giving Georgina some highly distracting come-hither vibes. Georgina is going to have to work solo on this one-and fast because soon, Doug’s life won’t be the only one on the line

Review: 

She’s got a killer body… and a kiss to die for!

This story picks up a few weeks after the end of Succubus Blues with Georgina and Seth trying to have a romantic relationship despite the fact that Georgina could kill him at any moment. They are clearly in love butbecause of this they are unwilling to address the challenges of their difficult relationship. Enter Bastien – Georgina’s incubus best friend who is in town to take down a talk-back radio host and save himself from an eternity in Hell -or more specifically Guam… which in his opinion is just as bad.

On top of being roped in to help Bastien with his mission, Georgina has to deal with her friend and co-worker, Doug, who is acting even stranger than normal. Is something supernatural to blame for his currently behaviour and world record Tetris scores? And can Georgina manage to continue her relationship with Seth without accidentally draining him of all his energy and killing him?

I love Georgina as the heroine of this series. She’s modern and yet is centuries old. She’s mostly practical but still manages to be selfish. Her relationship with Seth amuses me. I can’t help but think that their relationship is living on borrowed time. But their love for each other is evident. I like the complexities of it. Yes they ended up together after the end of Succubus Blues but they are not having an easy time of being together. I also love that just because they are in love and currently together doesn’t mean and that everything is going to be okay. Georgina could still kill Seth with just a kiss and they both have to deal with their jealousy issues – him with her still being a succubus and having to have sex with men to supply her with the energy she needs to survive and her with his first love, writing, and him getting too involved with the world that lives inside his head.

The supporting cast are also a highlight of this series – and this book. Carter, the angel who’s best friend is an archdemon, the Vampires, Georgina’s co-workers and Bastien – they’re interesting and entertaining. Even Seth’s family bring a lot to the book. I love how they show the many sides of Georgina. Friend, co-worker, potential sister-in-law, demon. But they’re great characters in their own right too. Bastien was a great addition to the story. He is everything that Georgina is not in terms of a sex demon. He takes pride in what he does and does it well. I really hope he comes back later in the series.

I can’t wait to start reading Succubus Dreams (Georgina Kincaid #3). I’m really glad that I “discovered” this series.

Rating: 

4 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon / FishPond

My review for Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid #1) can be found here

Book Review: Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

Book Review: Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega #2)

Format: paperback

First Published: August 25, 2009

Genres: Urban Fantasy, Shifters, Paranormal

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Anna Latham didn’t know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf. And until she was mated to Charles Cornick, the son- and enforcer- of Bran, the leader of the North American werewolves, she didn’t know how dangerous it could be either…

Anna and Charles have just been enlisted to attend a summit to present Bran’s controversial proposition: that the wolves should finally reveal themselves to humans. But the most feared Alpha in Europe is dead set against the plan — and it seems like someone else might be too. When Anna is attacked by vampires using pack magic, the kind of power only werewolves should be able to draw on, Charles and Anna must combine their talents to hunt down whoever is behind it all — or risk losing everything…

Review: 

Anna is really finding her feet! In this book Charles and Anna represent the Marrok at a werewolf convention. With all the alphas running about the place I was slightly worried for Anna but I shouldn’t have been. She more than managed to hold her own against the century old strong and dominant wolves. I love the characters in this series. Charles is used to being his father’s assassin and because of this he has always been wary of being overly friendly with anyone outside of Bran and his brother, Samuel. Briggs doesn’t forget the history she’s created for Charles (or Anna either for that matter). Charles has many things he has to overcome and in his new relationship with Anna, he has many struggles. I love that. I love that just because he has found his mate and fallen in love with his wife it doesn’t stop his former nature from showing at inappropriate times.

Anna, too, has to overcome her past in order to be with Charles. The problems they’ve both faced (separately and as a couple) are just one of the things that I find unique and refreshing with this series. The author doesn’t gloss over the hideous nature of the beast nor does she simply apply the notion of love overcoming everything. Despite the werewolf and supernatural nature of this series the character I’ve read in this book are more real to me than in so many other novels.

It was nice to see some more interaction between the Mercy Thompson series and the Alpha and Omega series – this time being in the inclusion of Fey and Vampires. The blending of the two series whilst still keeping things interesting and new is very well done. The things that we know about the Fey and the vampires already from Mercy are consistent with what Anna discovers in Hunting Ground. 

The new characters introduced in this novel delighted me. The slightly odd Arthur who believed he was the reincarnation of King Arthur, the blind witch, the Beast of Gévaudan as well as another Omega wolf and a whole range of other wolves were all brilliant. There were so many personalities and little stories playing in the background that there was always something to keep me interested.

I loved this novel. I loved the drama and the outcome. Most of all I adored the evolution of Anna and Charles’ relationship. I find it refreshing that one novel isn’t enough for one couple to go from meeting to happily ever after. This has been my favourite novel I’ve read so far this year. I can’t wait till the third in the series comes out next week. Expect to see a review of it very soon. 😉

Rating: 

5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon / FishPond

Read  my review of Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega #1) by Patricia Briggs here

Book Review: Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane

Book Review: Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane (Downside Ghosts #1)

Format: paperback

First Published: May 25, 2010

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal,

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.

Review: 

In 1997 the world changed. Earth was overrun with ghosts and it very nearly didn’t survive the attack. The Church of Truth stepped in. The Church is not one of God but rather rejects faith altogether and embraces Fact. Fact is Truth. In return for saving the world the Church requests “free domination over [the people’s] bodies, [their] property, and their soul[s] (The Book of Truth, Origins, Article 230).

Enter Chess, a Church Witch – a Debunker trained in the art of banishing ghosts. Armed with asafetida, a ectoplasmarker and the skull of a psychopomp she works for the Church to rid the world of ghosts. Chess has complete faith in the Church. They saved her when she needed it. She has complete faith in the Church… and in the pills she’s addicted to.

I’ve never read a novel where the main character is so completely dependant on their addiction before. Drugs are the source of most of Chess’ problems – if she’d not been indebt to Bump then she never would have been at the airport, never would have gotten involved with Lex who supplied her with more pills, and never needed to so desperately to take on more debunking cases just so she would be able to fund a long weekend in the pipe room and have the chance to Dream. Her addiction is substantial and ever present – both in the circumstances Chess finds herself in and also in her state of mind. She’s incredibly paranoid, insecure and easily terrified. I found her a very hard character to like. She frustrated me. I didn’t like her motivation behind her actions and at times I couldn’t follow her train of thought at all – and whilst this made me dislike her character it did add to the realism that she was a confused drug addict and made the world Kane created all the more real.

Whilst I didn’t warm to Chess in the slightest, I did find myself drawn to Terrible – Bump’s chief enforcer. At first glance he was just a scary hit man but the more I got to read about him the more complex I found him. He was a scarred and tattooed bad boy who was more than just a gangster – he’s self educated and somewhat chivalrous (opening doors car doors for ladies and what not). I liked his own personal code of honour and found him to be a protector who seems to be unshakable but is also somewhat insecure with regard to his intelligence and his appearance. I loved that he became Chess’ trusted friend and protector and potentially something more romantic.

The speech of the street people (Bump in particular) is something that took a little getting used to. For the first half of the book it was irritating and annoying. But as I got more involved with the book and the story I started to notice it less and less. The descriptions in this book were beautifully written. I could almost believe I was there in parts, smelling the rotten stench of the tunnels. It was incredibly vivid.

I’m glad I persevered with this novel. For the first half I was just trying to get into it but couldn’t. I nearly put it down a dozen times but stopped myself only because so many of my friends had recommended it so highly to me. I couldn’t stand Chess’ constant need for drugs or the street people’s speech. And I felt like although things were happening, it felt like nothing was really happening. But then, around chapter 21, I was interested. Interested in what would happen to Chess, what was happening with the Church, what was happening with Terrible. The novel really picks up in speed and the things that were bothering me for the first 50% stopped being so noticeable. I still didn’t care too much for Chess but I did want to know what happened next.

The first half of the novel was necessary to set the scene or the ending wouldn’t have been nearly so powerful to read but it just took too long to hook me. If you can manage to get half way into this book, I’d recommend reading to the end. I will definitely consider reading the next book in the series – I just hope the lead up isn’t so painful to endure.

Rating: 

3 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon / FishPond

Book Review: Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison

Book Review: Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison (Elder Races #1)

Format: Paperback

First Published: January 11, 2011

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Half-human and half-Wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the Wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their Dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful—and passionate—of the Elder Races.

As the most feared and respected of the Wyrkind, Dragos Cuelebre cannot believe someone had the audacity to steal from him, much less succeed. And when he catches the thief, Dragos spares her life, claiming her as his own to further explore the desire they’ve ignited in each other.

Pia knows she must repay Dragos for her trespass, but refuses to become his slave—although she cannot deny wanting him, body and soul.

Review: 

Thea Harrison’s debut novel Dragon Bound both intrigued and excited me. The story starts off a little slow but that’s understandable considering that in the first novel in a series, a fair amount of world-building needs to occur. And I loved the world that Harrison created. This book is set in a complex alternate world. Wyr-shifters, Fae and a whole number of other otherworldly beings  interact with humans in modern society. Within that society there are pockets of Other Land where magic flows more freely and not all modern day technological inventions behave as they should. I found the world fascinating but at the same time it wasn’t overwhelming. There was enough character driven action mixed amongst the descriptions of the world that meant that the story kept moving forward at all times and didn’t get too bogged down in the details concerning the world building.

Dragos Cuelbrre is a dragon-shifter and debate-ably the most powerful and ancient wyr in the world. He controls New York City with an iron fist – noone dare defy him. So when half-wyr Pia Giovanni trespasses and steals from his hoard of treasures, Dragos is furious. Pia was raised to keep her true identity a secret from everyone and has spent her entire life living by the rules her mother instilled in her – 1. Tell noone who she is. 2. Be prepared to run at a moment’s notice and leave everything behind.

When Pia finds herself being blackmailed by her dead beat ex-boyfriend, she steals from the most power Wyr preditor in history in exchange for his silence on exactly what she is. Now her only problem is keeping the power Wyr from killing her.

I loved the characters in this novel. Dragos is a strong, sexy, all powerful kind of hero. He treats Pia more like a possession than a person at first. And whilst this behavior is the kind that would turn me off in real life, in fiction it just makes him all the more delicious. He’s unique blend of the ancient times which he came from and the modern world which he acclimated himself in. Despite his “mine!” and posessive personality, I found him to be incredibly romantic and at times tender and gentle with regards to Pia. Together they had some explosive chemistry and some unbelievably hot sex scenes. Pia was also a strong character. She was brave and determined. I liked how despite not being able to completely comply with her mother’s code, she didn’t completely betray her training. She wasn’t as flighty as a lot of female characters. She was a brilliant match for Dragos – not a complete walkover but at the same time she was willing to compromise and she tried to understand what Dragos meant even when his intentions weren’t entirely clear. Together they were fantastic. I loved the banter between them – it was funny and sexy and at times frustrating but at least it felt natural and not in the least bit contrived.

The supporting cast were another highlight for me. The sentinels were broody and yet cheeky. I’m excited that the rest of the series follows a different couple per novel so I get the chance to know these characters better.

I loved this novel. It kept me up half the night because I couldn’t put it down. It was the perfect mix of possessive, sexy, alpha hero, feisty heroine and fast paced action. The witty dialogue, intense sexual tension, romantic yet steamy love scenes and a fascinating supporting cast kept me hooked right until the lasts page. I can’t wait to read the next book in the Elder Races series.

 

Rating: 

5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon FishPond

Book Review: Stolen by Kelley Armstrong

Book Review: Stolen by Kelley Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld #2)

Format: paperback

First Published: December 24th, 2002

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

Synopsis (from Goodreads)It was in Bitten, Kelley Armstrong’s debut novel, that thirty-year-old Elena Michaels came to terms with her feral appetites and claimed the proud identity of a beautiful, successful woman —and the only living female werewolf.

In Stolen, on a mission for her own elite pack, she is lured into the net of ruthless Internet billionaire Tyrone Winsloe, who has funded a bogus scientific investigation of the “other races” and their supernatural powers. Kidnapped and studied in his underground lab deep in the Maine woods, these paranormals—witches, vampires, shamans, werewolves—are then released and hunted to the death in a real-world video game. But when Winsloe captures Elena, he finally meets his match.

Review: 

This novel picks up a few months after Bitten ends. Elena Michaels is back and involved with pack life and her romantic relationship with Clayton. But for werewolves, it would seem, life is never with it’s complications.

Elena is kidnapped and taken to a high security facility who’s inmates include a half demon, a shaman, a vampire and even a witch or two.

It’s a similar sort of set up to the facility that of Kresley Cole’s Dreams of a Dark Warrior and Demon from the Dark novels involve. Hoards of otherworldly beings in one place… I’m starting to think it’s not a great idea for anyone involved.

I loved the Elena we saw in this novel. She’s scared but brave and fiercely determined. She’s a sociopath but lacks the insight to realise that about herself. I loved that she never gave up. And she wasn’t prepared to stop and wait for help to arrive. She could be her own hero. Clayton is deliciously dangerous, as usual, but because the majority of this novel occurs in the facility and the loved up couple have few scenes together, this novel is not so much a romance. In parts it’s down right violent – at times disturbingly so. If you’re at all squimish, this is not the book for you.

This book does lay the groundwork for the rest of the series. We meet Paige – a witch who is still learning to control her powers to their full extent who goes on to be the narrator of the next few books in the series. I’ll be sad to say goodbye to Elena but I’m excited to see what Paige can bring to the series. Although this book was gory and violent, it’s also funny and exciting. I love Armstrong’s version of werewolves and the other supernatural beings that have been introduced. The half-demons are extremely interesting. I hope there’s more pyromaniac Adam in the future along with Leah and the rest.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I’m trying to pace myself and make the series last but my fingers are twitching with anticipation.

 

A link to my review for the first in the Women of the Otherworld series: Bitten

 

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon FishPond