Tag Archives: Urban Fantasy

Review: Enchanted Ever After Robin D. Owens

2 Jan

enchantedeverafterowens


3 of 5 scoopers

Enchanted Ever After by Robin D. Owens
Harlequin/MIRA (Dec. 18, 2012)
Trade: $14.95; ebook: $10.99
ISBN: 9780373803477

Favorite Lines: “Change was scary and inevitable and could be embraced. Respect of others was important but confidence in yourself even more.” (p. 393, e-galley)

Kiri Palger knew the difference between reality—new house, hard work and not too many friends—and fantasy—the fun she had playing online games. So when the chance to work for the best gaming company in the world came up, giving her a chance to merge business with pleasure, how could she not apply?

Suddenly she has more friends, interesting neighbors and an intriguing love interest. But when the game begins to awaken something inside her, Kiri is shocked by the talents she never knew she had…and an evil she’d never imagined.

Her nice, safe life is imploding around her—and if she takes up the mantle of her powers, it will never be the same again….

Enchanted Ever After is book three in Robin D. Owens Mystic Circle series. The emphasis in this book is on water dwelling people and plays with the idea of merging video games/technology with magic to create something new. In this case it’s more Lightfolk. The danger comes from not knowing the intricacies of societies that are other than human and the Dark Ones (bad guys) who seek to destroy the Lightfolk.

Take a good look at the cover before you buy this one. I’m not a fan of water dwelling creature stories and that’s what this is. If I’d have known the book would be about merpeople and naiads I would have passed on it. I would have missed an entertaining story, but not one that I’d want to re-read.

The book is about Kiri, a human woman in the process of change. Not just transforming from human to magical, but at a changing point in all aspects. Her friendships are changing, she’s creating a relationship with a magical man, and she’s going after her dream job. Too bad the person I cared most about was Kiri’s love interest Lathyr.

He wanted to belong so bad, but because he isn’t pure merman he is sneered at and wanders from home to home. There is more there than the obvious and Owens slowly unravels Lathyr’s story. I thought there would be more to it and really don’t understand the reasoning of the creature who masterminded Lathyr’s nomadic lifestyle. It seemed rather silly.

Watching the couple lean on one another was nice and the story was pretty tame. There was nothing outrageous or that made me feel anything. I laughed out loud one time over the course of the entire story. I never cried or felt sad. I got irritated while reading Enchanted Ever After, but never invested in anybody. I felt detached and I blame that on Owens’ portrayal of the Lightfolk. Most of them are cold, even Jenni (heroine of book one and djinnfem) seemed untouchable.

Despite my inability to connect with the characters in Enchanted Ever After I had no problem reading it. When I finished I thought “okay, on to the next book.” I had no desire to re-read any passages. I finished and this review will finalize my thoughts on it. Book four won’t be an instant read for me. Although if the synopsis sounds good I’ll give it a try.

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Review: Gilded by Karina Cooper

20 Dec

5 out of 5 scoopers

Gilded by Karina Cooper
HarperCollins Publisher/AVON (Dec. 26, 2012)
Mass market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9780062127662

Favorite Lines: “Blood dries to an oily brown, like embedded dirt or forgotten paint. Beneath a month’s worth of dust, the color stained the floor in unshakeable evidence–I had not imagined everything. A body had fallen here. Bled out here.” (p. 13, e-galley)

In the gleaming heights of Victorian London, a world of deception awaits an unconventional Society lady whose taste for adventure makes her a most formidable adversary…

Though Society demands that I make a good marriage, I, Cherry St. Croix, have neither the time nor the interest. I am on the trail of a murder with no victim, a mystery with no motive, and the key to an alchemical formula that could be my family’s legacy.

Yet the world is not so kind as to let me pursue simple murder and uncomplicated bounties. Above the foggy drift, an earl insists on my attention, while my friends watch my increasingly desperate attempts to remain my own woman. From the silken demands of the Midnight Menagerie—to whose dangerously seductive ringmaster I owe a debt—to the rigorous pressures of the peerage, all are conspiring to place before me a choice that will forever change my life.

Tarnished introduced me to Karina Cooper‘s St. Croix Chronicles. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I never thought I’d come to love the historical urban fantasy series the way I find myself obsessing over it. I think you’ll know exactly what I mean after you read Gilded. Do NOT try to jump into the series with this book or you will be totally lost.

Gilded is told in the first person from Cherry’s point of view.

Opium addict and member of polite London society, Cherry St. Croix is still collecting money working as a bounty hunter of sorts in foggy London. She struggles to fit into a world where young women are trained to marry and raise children. It’s hard for her because she has a scientist’s brain and her family history–let’s just say it has her teetering into ostracized territory. Or it would were it not for the highly eligible bachelor Lord Cornelius Compton. He’s not the only man in her life. Her nights are often interrupted by Micajah Hawke, the Midnight Menagerie’s ringmaster.

The last book left me wondering who Cherry would choose to have a relationship with: society or the night. There were good points which could have swung her either way, but she makes a clear decision in Gilded. The repercussions of that choice will be played out in book three. I asked Cooper on Twitter when it would be released, but she did not yet know.

I wanted to punch some of the women for being vapid, eye-fluttering fools. I wanted to shake Cherry for making poor decisions. I wanted to scream and wail when I turned the final page of the book. I tried to put it out of my mind, but for days I replayed the events that culminated on the final pages of Gilded. I’ve got to know what will happen to Cherry. I’ve re-read a particular section in the final chapters several times and I guess that is how you know it was a good book.


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Books I Want: December 2012

1 Dec

The Cat’s Meow by Stacey Kennedy (TBA December)

thecatsmeowkennedyIn Charleston, Libby is an Enchantress—a witch gifted by the Goddess to conjure spells. When a magical presence is detected around a recent string of feline slayings, Libby must take the case to discover the reasons behind the odd deaths. Much to her displeasure, the coven has also sent the sexy warlock, Kale, to assist her.

While having the muscle around proves to be useful, fighting the
attraction between them is worse than a hex, especially considering Kale is keeping secrets. Libby has good reason to believe that Kale is there to evaluate her performance as a witch, and fears her job is on the line. But soon, Libby has bigger problems than the elusive warlock and career stability. Her spells are turning up clues that point to something far more sinister than slaughtered cats, leading her to a threat that could shake the very foundation of her world.

Now Libby lands herself in the midst of an uprising. She trusts no one and isn’t safe. Not from the warlocks stirring up trouble. Not from the worrisome rebellion she can’t escape. And certainly not from Kale who is weaving a very dangerous spell over her. Continue reading

Review: Sentinels: Kodiak Chained by Doranna Durgin

6 Nov


3 out of 5 scoopers

Sentinels: Kodiak Chained by Doranna Durgin
Harlequin (Nov. 13, 2012)
Mass market: $5.50; ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9780373885602
Excerpt
BONUS: The Gatekeeper by Heather Graham (novella)

Favorite Lines: “After a lifetime of feeling too bold, too strong, too much, Mariska quite suddenly didn’t quite feel alone anymore.” (p. 19, e-galley)

One mission. One night. One costly misstep….

A mighty Kodiak shifter, Ruger is more than a Sentinel warrior. As a Healer, he willingly risks everything defending the sick and helpless. But after an ambush nearly kills him, he can do only so much-until a sensual lady black bear shifter arrives to provide him backup….

In human form, she is called Mariska. Feisty and self-assured, she has finagled her present assignment helping Ruger chase down a rising new threat. The moment Mariska scents the heroic, battle-scarred grizzly she knows he will be her only weakness…and greatest desire.

Mariska will do anything to aid Ruger-even if confronting the enemy puts everything she holds dear in jeopardy.

I love bear shifters. They are in a category of their own and make me think of the ultimate cuddle buddy. Doranna Durgin’s shifter as pictured on the cover of Sentinels: Kodiak Chained is not the man I imagine as a bear shifter, but honestly I could care less about the cover as the shifter in the story was so much better.

Before I get much further, it’s important that you understand Kodiak: Chained is part of a series. I didn’t know that when I started reading it and boy did I pay for that lack of knowledge. I felt a few steps behind throughout the entire story. I knew I was missing something and no amount of explanation or back story insertion removed that feeling of missing vital information. In the middle of reading the book I visited Durgin’s website and found out that Kodiak Chained is book six in her Sentinels’ series. Had I know that I would not have read it without reading the previous books in the series.

For the most part Kodiak: Chained is a book about finding oneself and redemption. The hero is learning to readjust to new limitations. He had always been a powerful healer  but after an attack stripped that ability from him he has no choice but to re-evaluate his role as a guardian. He is paired with a female bear shifter who is trying to make a difference. Prior to transferring to Ruger’s team, Mariska was protected and coddled instead of given room to grow as much as she wanted. The route she chose made her untrustworthy in Ruger’s eyes and she works hard to redeem herself to him and those who love him.

The story has a nice pace and features a couple who could be good together from the moment they met in different circumstances. As the story unfolds we are shown a couple who pull together in the face of adversity and deserve a happy ending. I got over my initial dislike of the heroine and was happy with the obscenely evil villains. It’s never pretty when men and science try to match paranormal creatures and magic. Let me show you a few snapshots of this deliciously dark evil.

An Abert’s squirrel with gills, trying not to drown and trying not to rot in the unrelentingly watery environment it hadn’t been born to manage.–p. 72

He touched the crate where a bird with no beak flicked its tongue out at a cup of mashed seeds, its freakish little nostrils flat to the remaining face and twitching in distress.–p. 74

Kodiak: Chained is uncomfortable to read at moments and brings home the idea that men can be more monstrous than the most primal of paranormal creatures. It’s a paranormal romance that didn’t really work for me as a stand alone. I was happy to have a female bear shifter was sturdy but round in the right places as opposed to a sleek, cat-like woman. Kodiak: Chained is not my favorite book, but it is interesting which made me read it quickly.

Coming Soon: Shattered Souls by Delilah Devlin

29 Oct

Private Investigator Caitlyn O’Connell lost it all—her plum job as a detective for the Memphis PD, her partner and lover, and her own self-respect —to booze in an attempt to drown out the voices in her head. When her ex-partner drags her to a murder scene where she’s his only real lead, she knows it’s time to face her greatest fears and harness the inherited gifts she’s always rejected. That she’ll have a chance to prove she had damn good reasons for shutting Sam out of her life is just icing on the cake.

The last thing Sam Pierce wants is to revisit his painful relationship with Cait, but she’s the only lead he has. Sam doggedly follows Cait into a dark world filled with magick and unholy terrors as they search for killer wraiths and the demon who commands them.– Release date: Jan. 29, 2013

Books I Want: November 2012

26 Oct

Provoked by Rebecca Zanetti (Nov. 1, received copy from Netgalley)

A TIME FOR WAR…
A casualty of the war between the demons and the vampires, Jase Kayrs has been missing for six long years. His older brothers want answers—but they’re going to have to get them from an unlikely source. For when Kane Kayrs tracks down Amber Freebird, what he finds is a blonde, vegan pacifist who has no intention of using her skills in his war…

A TIME FOR LOVE…

Amber enjoys her life of chaotic freedom and has no intention of falling in line just because a sexy-as-sin vampire insists on order. Unfortunately, he discovers she may be the only hope they have of finding his brother, and there’s no way he’s going to let her go—even if it means mating her to gain her cooperation. The two are as different as can be, yet when the dominant Kane and the untamed Amber finally unite to rescue Jase, they just may find that opposites really do attract… Continue reading

Review: Running in the Dark by Regan Summers

15 Oct


5 out of 5 scoopers

Running in the Dark by Regan Summers
Carina Press (Oct. 29, 2012)
ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9781426894541
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “He’s what was waiting for me when you turned your back and let your guy throw me out of your club. I don’t know how well you’re acquainted with him, but in my experience, he isn’t very nice” (p. 142, e-galley)

Santiago, Chile

After surviving a vampire turf war in Alaska, vampire courier Sydney Kildare is back behind the wheel and working under an assumed name in Chile. She doesn’t speak the language, doesn’t know the city and—worst of all—has to drive a crappy car.

What she does have is Malcolm Kelly, her sort-of boyfriend and manager of the city’s vampire population. But with Malcolm preoccupied by bloodsucker business—and a gorgeous vampiress from his past—Sydney feels more alone than ever.

But Sydney has more than her love life to worry about. She’s got vamps on her tail, mysterious deliveries that leave death in their wake, and old enemies targeting her to get to Malcolm. Turns out he’s got a history more deadly than she ever imagined, and she’ll have to use every skill in her arsenal to stay alive…

I read and enjoyed the first book in Regan Summers’ Night Runners series so much that I’ve read it a couple of times. I’m happy to say I enjoyed the second installment in the series even more.

Running in the Dark picks up a few weeks after Sydney and Malcolm move to Chile. They are hiding their relationship from others, but it hasn’t stopped someone from trying to take out Sydney. The danger is coming from many directions and it isn’t clear who Sydney can trust. I love the action, but the emotional drama got me. With sections like:

But to have someone treat me like I mattered, not my body, not my connections, but me…and then to have him take that away…It was like falling from a great height. Painful and numbing and accompanied by some bitter version of resignation. I didn’t even have the energy to curse.–p. 142

See I love books that I can connect to. Stories that I can become invested in. I’ve found that in Summers’ Night Runners series. A heroine who has bettered her life. One serious about surviving on her own terms but who found a guy to spend it with is more than interesting to me. When it is paired with nonstop Fast and Furious action…I’ll read it again and again.

The books aren’t very long, but feel just right. So far I’ve only wanted and have never felt like I haven’t been given enough. I’ve learned new information about characters that only whets my appetite for more. If you’re into vampires and urban fantasy with a strong romance thread you’ll find that in Running in the Dark.