Tag Archives: urban fantasy

How to choose just one book boyfriend/girlfriend – `only one´ they say

I am almost certain that regardless of your age, gender, race, religion (or lack thereof), or marital status, every single person that reads fiction has at one time or another fallen in love with a fictional character. I have, often and with so many that it´s a good thing that they are fictional, the crush lasts as long as the book, but sometimes you miss that character and go back and reread the book.

The advantages of having a crush on a fictional character is that the reading experience is so much more emotional and fulfilling. When the character does something funny my laughter is sincere and loud (usually startling family members), when they are hurt the tears that stream down my cheeks are real (at this point family members are seriously considering putting me on medication) and when they are hurt my pain is heartfelt but when they do something stupid I blame the author. What can I say? Love is blind.

There is one blog that I follow on a regular basis, Vampire Book Club, it was created by Chelsea Mueller (also an author). From the blog: “Established in 2010, this blog is for all those who love escaping into novels filled with vampires, shapeshifters, demons, witches and even the fae.”

All this is good, there are some awesome book reviews, new releases and some good recommendations but there is one particular time each year that I really look forward to on VBC, it´s a time when my loyalty to my fictional character crushes are tested.  The Alpha Showdown!

In each round two extremely badass alpha characters compete for votes from readers, the problem is we love them all, how can you choose? It´s like putting someone in a field full of cute baby animals and tell you to take only one… only one? No! I want them all. That´s pretty much how it goes with the Alpha Showdown and I swear that every year it gets more difficult.

Anyway, so far I have cast two votes, the second one hurt slightly but Curran (that was said with a sigh) sadly I had to forfeit Bones for Curran. If you don´t know who I´m talking about you obviously haven´t read Ilona Andrews and Jeanine Frost.

Soooo… all this is to inform the uninformed that if you have a book crush (this is on a paranormal / urban fantasy level, which I assume you understood from the blog´s name) and you want to suffer like the rest of us attempting to remain loyal to the countless book crushes go on to the VBC and join the fun of voting for your favorite alpha on the Alpha Showdown and there are plenty of cool alpha females, so cool to see gender equality.

Just follow the link below and give it your vote, (I promise that it´s more fun than political voting).

Vampire Book Club – Alpha Showdown 2017

VBC-HomeofAlphaShowdown.jpg

Advertisements

A review of One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles Book 3) by Ilona Andrews

I received an ARC of this book for an honest review. However, that said, this book is the final and refined product of a weekly serial that is posted free online by the Ilona Andrews duo on their website Innkeeper Chronicles – Free Fiction from Ilona Andrews

Fiction, especially urban fantasy in the first person is not my favorite form of reading it, mainly, because it is so difficult to do it properly. There are a few exceptions however, and Ilona Andrews nails it every time in every book. The writing is fluid and in constant motion, in this case from Dina DeMille´s point of view.

Dina does not tell you story, she shows you, you can see and feel the story. Descriptions are detailed but manage to avoid being lengthly and tedious. The characters are complete with flaws and strengths making them authentic even though they are supernatural or alien. No two characters are the same or even similar in their personalities.

This book was surprisingly emotional, there were parts that made me laugh, who would have thought that Arland had a sense of humor? “Are you going to war Lord Marshal?” “No, I was attending a formal dinner. They make us wear armor to these things so we don´t stab ourselves out of sheer boredom.”

We get to meet Dina´s sister Maud and her niece Helen. I´m a mother and if Helen was my kid I would be a warrior too. Their relationship is interesting and it develops throughout the story. Maud´s relationship with Arland is feisty and fun to watch the battle of wills.

New worlds, new species and once again Dina and Gertrude Hunt find themselves in a sensitive situation once more. There is plenty of action and some serious “kick ass” fighting, love the swords. And Wing, must confess that I have a soft spot for Wing. Cute creature.

Speaking of Gertrude Hunt, that is one of the most amazing characters, yes the inn is a character, it feels, yawns (which I found amusing) and has a life of its own. Ah, now comes the “Grab your Tissues” moment, the seed. Let me say that this is pathetic, but never have I ever felt so much sorrow and sadness for a seed. As much as it costs me to say this, I did spill a tear or two for that seed.

Moving on, Sean, well yes, Sean loses control once or twice. Okay fine, a few times but he is after all a wolf and the development of his relationship with Dina is smooth and natural as it should be, nothing is forced or rushed. Everything about them happens when it should.

My question is about the cat, “Who the hell is Sebastien North?”

Book will be available on December 20th

Amazon BN  Kobo  iTunes

ofs-cover

I

 

New release – One Fell Sweep

Looking for something special for the X-mas tree? Look no further, on the 20th of December is the release date of the third book in the Innkeeper Chronicles. If you don´t know them go on over to Ilona Andrews website for more information on these great books Ilona Andrews Innkeeper Chronicles

ofs-cover

One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles Book 3) Kindle Edition (Amazon)

Dina DeMille may run the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, but she caters to very particular kind of guest… the kind that no one on Earth is supposed to know about. Guests like a former intergalactic tyrant with an impressive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced-and-superhot werewolf; so don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage.

But what passes for Dina’s normal life is about to be thrown into chaos. First, she must rescue her long-distant older sister, Maud, who’s been exiled with her family to a planet that functions as the most lawless penal colony since Botany Bay. Then she agrees to help a guest whose last chance at saving his civilization could bring death and disaster to all Dina holds dear. Now Gertrude Hunt is under siege by a clan of assassins. To keep her guests safe and to find her missing parents, Dina will risk everything, even if she has and may have to pay the ultimate price. Though Sean may have something to say about that.

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

515xqofyzol

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

kate daniels.jpg

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

Mercy Thompson.jpg

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

51p6s9v2l8l

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

9795263

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

jim-butcher

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.

 

 

 

Amazon needs to update their time zone difference

I´ve had my coffee it´s 06h30 in the morning and I browse through emails, read those that the vocabulary is not too difficult to grasp and leave the ones that require my sleep addled brain to be fully functional for after the second cup of coffee. A small window appears on the corner of my screen reminding me that today is the day to buy a new book, not the random ones you come across and think `why not?´ This is one that has been on my Amazon wish list since it was announced.

Chloe Neill´s new book The Sight (The Devil´s Isle Series) has been available in the USA (and maybe other countries too) since the 16th of August but for me (and anyone else in the region) it would be available today the 18th of August. As coffee number two starts working its magic I´m confident enough to open up the Amazon browser happily realising that it´s the 18th today! Yay, new book day.

Ready to click on the Buy Now thus giving Amazon my hard earned money only to be hit with the harsh reality that the book is still marked as Pre-Order. Huh? Today is the 18th isn´t it? It´s been the 18th of August for 6 hours and 3o minutes, actually 41 now as I type this and in the US (a few states at least) it´s been the 18th for at least half an hour. So why is the book not available? Guess I will have to wait until Amazon computers catch up and enter the 18th of August.

Sometimes it sucks to be on a different time zone!

The Sight: A Devil's Isle Novel (The Devil's Isle Series) by [Neill, Chloe]

The Sight: A Devil’s Isle Novel (The Devil’s Isle Series)

 

A review of Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy # 1) by Ilona Andrews

http://www.amazon.com/Burn-Me-Hidden-Legacy-Novel-ebook/dp/B00I7V11WU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415033327&sr=8-1&keywords=ilona+andrews+burn+for+me
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

My review:

Reviewing your favourite authors is never an easy thing to do, especially when they write series that you absolutely love. Ilona Andrews falls into this category with their Kate Daniels series, these are books that never leave my kindle for several reasons; (i) I like to reread the series every now and again just because; (ii) purely for therapeutically reasons: after a particularly bad book I will revert to Kate to make things better and (iii) because I simply miss the characters and indulge myself.

When said authors launch a new series I pre-order without knowing anything about it and don’t even have to think about getting a brand new book in a new world with new characters and a new plot. This was the case with Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy book 1), it was pre-ordered and on the day it was uploaded I found it safely tucked into my kindle, it did however take me two days of occasionally staring at the cover before I finally got round to opening it. It is probably ridiculous to have this unfounded fear that it just might not reach my expectations but they set the standard with previous books.

So I did finally read Burn for Me.

The plot is twisted and interesting as it builds and evolves and you find yourself on a winding road with tight curves and a crazy lack of speed limits. I love the magic and how it affects society and structures. I particularly enjoyed the aspects to which the authors give importance and priority throughout this book, family. This is well understood (and truly enjoyed) with the family members, their love, humour, disagreements, pain, happiness and unity. Everything a family should be.

The world of Burn for Me has the most interesting characters, whether we are referring to the main characters or those who make an appearance for a whole of three sentences. The characters as always are rich, well developed and incredibly expressive, it takes real talent to bring that across in words and this duo of authors has yet to fail in this field. Nevada Baylor has this long list of incredible qualities and is all woman for many reasons and I liked her all the better for having amazing strengths and credible weaknesses. Connor ‘Mad’ Rogan, well…. I truly hate to say this but, if the authors keep this up, Curran might face some serious competition for favourite in future, but not quite yet! And Grandma Frida… seriously? I want to adopt her and take her home with me.

I hate to admit this but they did have me charmed with Adam Pierce for a few chapters, it is frightening for several reasons and I think we should be grateful that the Adam Pierce’s of our world are not able to do what he does as there are more than enough of them around. As with other series and books, Ilona Andrews has the amazing ability to focus equally on all characters, their development exquisitely done and you have such a clear understanding of the personalities and their role in the story and once again it is relatively easy to imagine them in your mind as the authors give you all that you need to achieve that. Until they twist it and you reread the pages astounded that you hadn’t seen that one coming. Well played Ilona Andrews, well played!

I have never been to the USA so with the aid of google images and the wonderful description of the authors I visualised the city of Houston as Nevada went from one place to the other, the Pit was imagined to perfection (well my version of it anyway), I must say that it was an extremely fun visit.

This review was based on my first quick read in a rush to reach the end. With the second slower and more focussed read there will possibly be edits and changes to this review on my blog. But for now this is the verdict of a very happy fan.

Are we hypocrites?

Okay people, grab a coffee and let’s start the rant.

Image

Why this title? Over the past few years, paranormal romance and erotica authors have sprung up like peed on parsley. There are just too many of them, some are really good and others not so much. The fact remains that there is surely a market for all of these writers. Now I have to ask, what has led to this overflow of writers in this genre? Has there always been a market for this genre or is it a recent fascination? Hardly, I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula what feels like centuries ago. And who didn’t read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein? Of course vampires and werewolves are no longer what they use to be, they are now alpha males that most women (and some men) fantasize about sexually. Is this what has brought the genre to the spotlight?

I think about my own experience as I rant on this topic. It’s simple really, today, without too much embarrassment I can admit to having been an extremely prejudiced twit when it came to books. When did it change?  After I received my kindle then I just became a hypocrite. I no longer include myself in the hypocrite category, but how many more hypocrites are there (we’re only talking books here people, not every other reason you can come up with!)

Anyhow… before kindle I wouldn’t be caught dead reading certain genres, erotica was definitely off my reading list and so were books with semi naked male specimens on the cover, no matter how drool worthy they were. I didn’t even consider reading these books, it was just too embarrassing. Having a kindle gave me freedom to explore other literary genres, and while authors like Bram Stoker, John le Carré, Daniel Silva, Amin Malouf amongst others hold their place in my heart and on my bookshelf and will always remain my absolute favourite authors, I do now indulge in other entertaining literature and have added more favourites to the already existing list.

But even then, reading authors like R.G. Alexander whose books I really enjoy, I didn’t dare leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads… just imagine if someone I know saw my name on a review related to that kind of ‘rubbish’? Hypocrite? Hell Yes! Idiot? Definitely!

So what changed? I have no idea, I just know that I no longer care what people think about my book shelf. There are genres that I enjoy and others that I stay the hell away from, but at the end of the day it’s my choice and personal taste in literature rather than other people’s opinions on what I should and shouldn’t read. Fortunately by the time I started reading paranormal and urban fantasy books I didn’t care anymore so authors like Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, J.L. Murray, Alexandra Ivy and so many more already saw my reviews and ratings.  If I like a book I make a point of leaving a rating and a review regardless of the genre.

To find my favourite authors in these new genres I had to read a lot of crap, it was quite an eye opener and I keep the “not to read” authors’ list next to my computer to avoid future mistakes and wasting my hard earned money. While I don’t mind an explicit sex scene (between consenting adults) in a book, I do want a well written book with a plot, a story that actually makes sense, with a beginning, middle and end. Character development is essential and editing of course.

When all the commotion regarding the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy hit television and the internet I looked it up and read the blurb. I was slightly disappointed and found that it didn’t seem all that interesting, on the other hand there was so much talk about it that I did what every clever person in doubt does, you wait for your friends to read it. Four friends read it and three of them didn’t even finish the books. The complaint was the same, too much sex and not enough of a story to go with it. At this point I figured that if it was about the sex I could always get the Kama Sutra, and it comes with illustrations (right there you can see the benefits of the Kama Sutra). I don’t know if this trilogy is good or not as I still haven’t read it and it still hasn’t made its way to my “to-read list”.

While we can determine that e-readers gave people more freedom in the genres they choose to read, did it have an added value for the authors? Do these people support authors by leaving a review and a rating regardless of the genre? If you are one of these people that have to hide what they read because of comments from others, then you have my most profound sympathy and I hope that you will one day you will free yourself from the self-inflicted prison of useless opinions.

Just remember that the next time you see someone with an e-reader, maybe… just maybe you are looking at a hypocrite.