Tag Archives: Meljean Brook

Urban Fantasy, where to start?

Part 1

Picking up a new genre is never easy and when you pick up one that usually includes vampires, shape-shifters, fae and other such interesting creatures, you really need to open that first page with an open mind. If there is a rule where to start, not only do I not know about it and to be honest neither do I care. Instead I will give you a list of my favorites over the years. So if you want to have a go here is some options for you to look at but there are so many good collections out there that I will continue the list at a later stage.

A Hidden Fire

A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter

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One of my favorites is Elizabeth Hunter,  I am absolutely addicted to her books and have no qualms with this recommendation.

A phone call from an old friend sets Dr. Giovanni Vecchio back on the path of a mysterious manuscript he’s hunted for over five hundred years. He never expected a young student librarian could be the key to unlock its secrets, nor could he have predicted the danger she would attract.

Now he and Beatrice De Novo follow a twisted maze that leads from the archives of a university library, though the fires of Renaissance Florence, and toward a confrontation hundreds of years in the making.

History and the paranormal collide in A Hidden Fire, the first book in the bestselling Elemental Mysteries series and semifinalist in the Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Books of 2012.

Magic Bites

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

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Another absolute favourite is the Ilona Andrews duo and their books are as good as it gets as far as reading UF goes.

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

Moon Called

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

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There is something about Mercy Thompson that once you start reading you won´t want to put it down.

Mercy Thompson’s life is not exactly normal. Her next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a VW bus for a vampire. But then, Mercy isn’t exactly normal herself.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by J.L. Murray

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J.L. Murray is an incredibly talented writer but unlike the above authors she has a little darkness in her pen. The story doesn’t go the way you expect and the results are startling to say the least. One of the most fun reads ever in UF.

Niki Slobodian sees things – things that aren’t supposed to be there. Labeled an Abnormal by New Government, her name is tacked onto the Registry, which seems to be getting longer these days. Now she can’t work or she’ll end up the same place as her father: in prison. But with no money coming in, Niki’s getting desperate.

Kindling the Moon

Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett

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There is a special story about this book, when it first came out Amazon did not deliver to Mozambique and I didn´t have a kindle at the time. I emailed the author and asked if it was possible to buy directly from her, I was after all desperate to read this book. Jenn Bennett did better than that, she sent me a PDF to my email. I have since then purchased all the books but the PDF is still in my email, it is a special momento which I am not quite willing to let go.

Meet Arcadia Bellbartender, renegade magician, fugitive from the law. . . .

Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.

But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.

Storm Front

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

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Jim Butcher is a must if you read UF. Personally, I don´t think a UF list is quite complete without his name on it.

Meet Harry Dresden, Chicago’s first (and only) Wizard P.I. Turns out the ‘everyday’ world is full of strange and magical things – and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in.

Harry is the best at what he does – and not just because he’s the only one who does it. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal capabilities, they look to him for answers. There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks.

So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get . . . interesting.

Magic – it can get a guy killed.

Hope that you find something that you like here, these, are in my humble opinion, worth your time and money.

 

 

 

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Rereading books… Why do we do that?

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How many people reread certain books? I don´t mean once more like five years down the line, I am talking about rereading them regularly.

I hadn´t given it much thought until last night when I started rereading a series of books that I must have read at least ten times already. I have approximately 30 new books on my kindle so reading one of the new books would seem the logical thing to do, instead I revert back to those that I know.
Don´t get me wrong, I do read the new ones, I had just finished reading one of the said new books by Anne Bishop, Written in Red (which I haven´t reviewed because I have no idea how to review that book), but instead of starting something new I opened up the Kate Daniels series…. again.

A few chapters in and I was wondering why I was reading this again, anyway, I realised that certain books comfort me, the stories, the characters, the writing. I know that I will be happy after I read it, that there is a contentment to be found that will make me smile and say, “This is a great book!”. Rereading something that I love is safe and I know that I won´t feel uncomfortable or disturbed with what I have read. I also realised that I tend to reread my favourite books after reading something that has left me confused in any way. Having said that Anne Bishop´s Written in Red was not what I expected, I´m just not sure how I feel about the story or the characters so I went back to what I know and enjoy for another read.

So to Ilona Andrews, Meljean Brook, Elizabeth Hunter, J.L. Murray and so many more, thank you for being my safety net in the literary world.

Readers and their “prude-metres”

A few days ago on Goodreads I came across comments on the latest Ilona Andrews book Burn for Me. One of their fans was concerned about the cover and that the contents would contain either a sex scene or the f#*& word in it. When I saw this I closed my eyes counted to ten and hoped that the comment disappeared by the time I opened them again, but it was still there. It surprised me to see it because if you are an Ilona Andrews fan you know that they don´t write porn and the very few sex scenes that appear are relevant to the moment and tastefully written. I think it is unfair to these authors (actually any author) that someone would raise such a petty and stupid question, if you know the author and enjoy the books give the content a chance before you start judging the book by its cover. As for the F word you would think that these people are five years old.

But that´s not even the point, the point is that if you are reading urban fantasy or paranormal, paranormal romance, sic fi, or whatever, you are bound to come across a few of the more colourful vocabulary in our language and as for the sex… well hun I hate to tell you that that is how we all made our way into this world.

If people have a “prude-metre” when it comes to books there are plenty that offer the colourful vocabulary and sex free literature. Why read a genre that you know for sure you are bound to come across what you dislike and then actually comment or review based on that? Personally I don´t like YA or poetry or biographies or any religious literature, therefore I don´t read it and I  most certainly don´t review it and not because it is not well written or a good story but I don´t like it and would probably have a lot of bad things to say that the author did´t deserve.

This raises the question, why do you read what you read?

I read what gives me pleasure and that I enjoy, so I buy authors like Ilona Andrews, Meljean Brook, J.L. Murray, Karen Marie Moning and so many more. I know that there will be less kosher language, some violence and sometimes some sex but I already knew that and to buy and read these books is my choice.

Please read books that fit within the parameters of your “prude-metre” and stop asking ridiculous questions. Stick to what you truly like and gives you pleasure instead of going with the flow of what your friends are reading. Books are art and like all art it is personal, what your BFF loves is not necessarily what you will love so please stay away from what may offend you and spare the rest of us absurd questions.

Link

Meljean Brook and why I read her books

There are different reasons to read books, I’m all for fiction and it can be a far fetched fantasy, I don’t really care if there are vampires, werewolves, demons or any other paranormal creature in them as long as they are well written with a good plot and well developed characters. Of course if there is a little romance that is always a bonus, anyway, recently I decided to give steampunk a try and I fell in love with the genre. Of course finding good authors in any genre is always a challenge but I did find a few and Meljean Brook was one of them, she offered everything I look for in books. A good plot, wonderfully well described locations and scenes, well developed characters, action, political intrigue and of course the swoon worthy romance.

The attached link is just one of the reasons her books are a must read, the research that is put into them and the link between reality and fantasy is really well done. I’m loving the Kraken King but then again I’ve loved all of the Iron Seas novels.

A review of The Kraken King Part VI: The Kraken King and the Crumbling Walls

The Kraken King Part VI: The Kraken King and the Crumbling Walls (Iron Seas, #4.6)

The Kraken King Part VI: The Kraken King and the Crumbling Walls (Iron Seas #4.6)

by Meljean Brook (Goodreads Author)

Experience the incredible adventure and heart-stopping romance of the Iron Seas in this thrilling steampunk tale from New York Times bestselling author Meljean Brook.

The Kraken King, Part VI
The Kraken King and the Crumbling Walls

Reunited, Ariq and Zenobia must journey over the red wall and make a desperate appeal to the one woman with enough power to halt the marauders’ plans—the Empress of Nippon.

But even the Kraken King cannot demand the attentions of an empress. Masked and quarantined, Ariq and Zenobia are forced to bide their time. Despite the fact that they are as physically close as two people can be, Zenobia is trying to keep the man she can’t help but love at a distance, terrified she’ll be hurt again. And all the while, the mysteries of the Living City grow around them.

My review:

Tuesday’s, an otherwise inconsequential day in the week is now what I call the Kraken Tuesday. By now you must realise that this series is published every Tuesday and this weeks series? Wow! What to say?

Some books are difficult to review, mainly because all that you want to shout out about is a spoiler. Maybe I can mention… no not that scene, maybe the one where…… no not that one either. So basically in this review I’m not telling you squat! But I suppose I do have to write something, anything? Okay, so maybe I can tell you that I sighed a lot (enough to get hubby to glance at me sideways) and that this was the most amazingly beautiful part of the series so far. Oh myyy! The descriptions of the Red City are wonderful and Zenobia’s character, well she is just an amazing character, inspiring to real women showing us to be practical and that courage comes whether you believe you have it or not. What am I learning from this character? Embrace it, embrace it all with everything that life has to offer.
And Ariq, well I could tell you but then your reward would be lessened when you read it. But I can tell you that MB has pretty much screwed things over for men, every woman that has read this book is going to be wishing for an Ariq. Mr Darcy? Who is Mr Darcy? Who needs a Mr Darcy when you can have a Ariq instead?

Can’t say much more without giving away spoilers… so I will just say, if you are not reading this you have no idea on what you are missing.

Review of the The Kraken King Part V: The Kraken King and the Iron Heart

The Kraken King Part V: The Kraken King and the Iron Heart (Iron Seas, #4.5)

The Kraken King Part V: The Kraken King and the Iron Heart (Iron Seas #4.5)

by Meljean Brook (Goodreads Author)


The Kraken King, Part V The Kraken King and the Iron Heart

With their lives and the fate of an empire at stake, Ariq is forced to leave Zenobia behind. Held captive by their enemies, Zenobia can only pray that Ariq keeps his promise to come for her—until a terrible loss prods her to action.

Ariq has no intention of handing over the Skybreaker to the two men responsible for the marauders’ attacks against Krakentown—but without a ransom to give them, Ariq must risk everything to rescue Zenobia and stop the swarming forces bent on destruction.

My Review:
It’s bloody hard to write reviews, I’m not a writer so I’m always aware that whatever I write reflects rather poorly the author’s accomplishments. Also, I don’t want to give away spoilers and I am definitely not repeating what’s written in the blurb, for me that is just taking up space.
That said, let me start by saying that this part felt longer than the previous. I had mentioned one of the previous series had felt short, I believe that that it has all to do with content rather than word count. This series has a lot more informative dialogue, not that the other series don’t have it, but the first chapters are spent in the company of new characters and we get some insight into these characters that had only been mentioned before. There are some heartbreaking scenes and others simply beautiful.
Again Meljean Brook transports you into a magical world, and this time I was introduced to glowing jellyfish, and there is a lovely story behind the air-balloon that transports the lovers in this series.
As far as the relationship between Ariq and Zenobia goes, I suppose one could call it a romance, but I think it would be fair to instead refer to their relationship as a glorious love story in the making. The author truly creates magic as the love developing between Zenobia and Ariq is beautifully written. As Zenobia tries to push aside her emotional fears one can claim with certainty that she is definitely a fighter and Ariq could easily be every women’s dream come true (I tend to swoon when reading about him).But these two wonderful characters and their beautiful love story is not the only thing that keeps me anxiously waiting every Tuesday for the new series to be available, there is a political plot that I am curious as to how it is going to end and I am truly excited to see what happens when they reach the Red City.

Zenobia is one of the most (realistic) resourceful characters that I have ever read about and if any man did for me what Ariq did for Zenobia I would marry him on the spot.

Another great series and left with so much to look forward to.

A review of the Kraken King part IV

The Kraken King, Part IV: The Kraken King and the Inevitable Abduction (Iron Seas, #4.4)

The Kraken King, Part IV: The Kraken King and the Inevitable Abduction (Iron Seas #4.4)

by Meljean Brook (Goodreads Author)

The Kraken King has declared that Zenobia Fox is under his protection—and with her identity revealed, she needs that protection more than ever. But it comes with a price when Ariq demands that Zenobia reveal her secrets in return.

Ariq wants nothing more than for Zenobia to trust him, and he knows exactly which sensual tricks will breach her defenses. But although she urgently desires the powerful governor, Zenobia isn’t a woman who will be easily won with a few passionate kisses.

When his ambush goes awry, Ariq discovers just how deeply he can hurt her—but the real danger to Zenobia is one that he never expected.

My review:

So I nearly had a nervous breakdown when Amazon tried to screw me over and I wasn’t able to download this story when I got home from work today. My husband looked at me and weighed his options: (i) a hysterical woman without her book and (ii) the peace and quiet of the said woman sitting perfectly still reading her book (maybe devouring is a more appropriate word here). Hubby came to rescue and downloaded the book for me (I will thank him later).

Now, I am staring at my kindle, slightly nervous at what Meljean Brook has put into words this time round. I’m currently in a love hate relationship with this author, I love what she writes, I hate that she is supplying it slowly (painfully slowly). Finally I opened part four of this series and it brings a rather surprising relief to the weekly anxiety of waiting for the next installment of the Kraken King. Drama queen much? Not at all, you can’t understand this suffering if you’re not reading one installment at a time. Of course you can take the pain free method and just wait for all installments to be available and read happily to the end. But I made the mistake of reading the first one and there is no going back and no waiting for the end, so I will endure this self inflicted pain.

I happily opened the book and found myself somewhere over Southwestern Australia making my way to the Red City on May 27th. I smile because this is my father’s birthday and three days before my own. Aforementioned hubby has now disappeared as I’m no longer in my comfortable home, but instead I can feel the hot desert air that’s scorching my skin and I’m surprised that I will miss the smugglers den as Zenobia and Ariq continue their journey to the Red City.

Zenobia’s letters to her brother are most entertaining, her sense of humour shines through in her words to him and I can only hope that the author will continue with these. Avoiding boring dialogue between the characters, Meljean Brook manages to supply us with a fair amount of background information on who they are, their fears and hopes helping us understand them better and thus their actions too.

Finally I know why they call it the Red City, I confess I was very curious about this. How exciting, this is a city full of strange customs and even more peculiar people and I will not share the most astounding revelation of how this city is built, only that is beyond imagination and very original (unless you’re Australian, then you would probably have thought it). The steampunk theme is always present, amongst other things there are the airships. There is something fascinating about airships and I love imagining them hovering above the cities, balloons, wings and steam engines, how can one not be captivated with these descriptions?

There is no risk in repeating myself when I say that I am swooning at the sweetness between Zenobia and Ariq as this is the first time that the beauty of romance sweetens this book. I love a good and well written romance, so I’m smiling. But now I risk repetition by saying that I was not disappointed by the extremely well written action scenes and the elaborate political intrigue that I look forward to in this story and always find. Damn I am a sucker for a good plot!

What? It’s finished already? Meljean Brook is that anyway to end this story?

Here comes the love hate thing again… Another week of waiting, another week of agony before I can read what will happen next.