When your last name is Charming, rescuing virgins comes with the territory -- even when the virgin in question is a nineteen-year-old college boy.
Someone, somewhere, has declared war on Kevin Kichida, and that someone has a long list of magical predators on their rolodex. The good news is that Kevin lives in a town where Ted Cahill is the new sheriff and old ally of John Charming.
The attacks on Kevin seem to be a pattern, and the more John and his new team follow that thread, the deeper they find themselves in a maze of supernatural threats, family secrets, and age-old betrayals. The more John learns, the more convinced he becomes that Kevin Kichida isn't just a victim, he's a sacrifice waiting to happen. And that thread John's following? It's really a fuse...
Fearless by Elliott James is the third book in the Pax Arcana series. The protagonist, John Charming is a werewolf, former Knight, and is learning to adjust both to working with a team, and courting Sig, the valkyrie he met in the first book of the series.
The motley group is asked for help from Ted Cahill, now a dhampir, and the sheriff of a small town. It seems that someone is after Kevin Kichida, a supposedly ordinary nineteen year-old college student. Whoever has it in for Kevin is sending all the supernatural muscle they can find after him, and John and his companions have their hands full keeping him safe and finding the bad guy.
As it happens, John is both a Charming, and able to recognize patterns, and the more they look into things, the more it seems there’s a tangle of family secrets, and the sort of betrayals that make for lingering resentments - even from beyond the grave.
The series has a lot of familiar supernatural creatures, however this book introduces even more to audiences most familiar with werewolves and vampires. Those not familiar with Japanese culture, its mythology and traditions will likely find this a refreshing change from the sometimes wearying and endless parade of European beasts and spirits.
Meanwhile, another plot thread from previous books, that of the ongoing integration of a faction of werewolves with Knights crops up again, and is both important, and promises to figure prominently in another book.
This book marks the point at which John steps into danger, perhaps rushes in foolishly at times, for the sake of someone who is not part of his immediate group of friends. It should be noted that while John does propose plans that are often risky, he has good reasoning, experience as a tacticien, albeit one learning to work in a group, and is learning to listen to others, making him a refreshing urban fantasy hero.
As the supernatural world is further illuminated with each book, it becomes clear that villains use the Pax Arcana to their own advantage, and in this case, may be stretching it to the point of snapping, which puts all the supernatural community at risk, something that is sure to come up again. Each of the main characters is wrestling with issues of their own while they’re working to organize what is, in essence, a caper, involving an underground supernatural fight club, and the resolution of the story resolves a few problems, raises more, and leaves the field wide open for the next snag to hamper a simple happily ever after.
From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent comes a richly imagined, provocative new series set in the dark mythology of the Menagerie… When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger's Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she's forced to "perform" in town after town. But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other "attractions"—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she'll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed. Renowned author Rachel Vincent weaves an intoxicating blend of carnival magic and startling humanity in this intricately woven and powerful tale.
What a completely unique and very interesting read! I have to admit I wasn't quite sure what I was going to get when I read the blurb as it sounded nothing like what the author had done before, or really my normal genre reading preferences. But I'm so glad I took the chance as once I started reading MENAGERIE, I simply couldn't put it down. It was dark and gritty and oh so horrifying. I'm having a hard time putting my thoughts about this book into words, rather than just feelings like horror, outrage, etc, but imaginative would probably be the best description. This book made me feel so much it truly was impressive, from the creepy, to the terrible, to the heart-warming AND heart-breaking moments, I was an utter wreck by the time I finished.
That being said, as much as I enjoyed MENAGERIE, there were a few things that kept me from giving it a full five stars. At times the violence was too much. It's not that I mind violence in books, quite the contrary, but I do prefer a bit more positive or hope to balance things out. Aside from Delilah's stellar strength, for most of the book I didn't feel any hope or goodness, and it was just a bit oppressive. I also wish the ending and the interesting side of a certain character that I won't mention to avoid spoilers, would have been developed a bit more. Both the ending and that character's "story" and the repercussions felt incredibly rushed, and I just wish those parts had been expanded more.
All in all, this book is a must read for any Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Thriller, and/or Suspense lover. From the moment you start this book you'll be on the edge of your seat biting your nails in anticipation for what's going to happen next.
Odea Donahue has been able to travel through people’s dreams since she was six years old. Her mother taught her the three rules of walking: Never interfere. Never be seen. Never walk the same person’s dream more than once. Dea has never questioned her mother, not about the rules, not about the clocks or the mirrors, not about moving from place to place to be one step ahead of the unseen monsters that Dea’s mother is certain are right behind them.
Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town and Dea finally starts to feel normal. As Connor breaks down the walls that she’s had up for so long, he gets closer to learning her secret. For the first time she wonders if that’s so bad. But when Dea breaks the rules, the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate. How can she know what’s real and what’s not?
I have really mixed feelings about DREAMLAND. The premise was really interesting but the actual execution didn't quite live up to it. While I was kept engaged by the book for most of the read, I felt like there really wasn't a lot of momentum. Things that should have been focused on, weren't, and things that I feel mattered much less stayed front and center. It was rather frustrating at times. Even so, all could have been forgiven if the portrayal and focus on the Dreamland had of been different, or more. For a book with this kind of premise, I just expected a lot more attention and explanation to be tied to it. It just was a let down to be honest.
Onto the characters, I can't say that I really connected fully with any of them. Odea can't across as a petulant child at times, keeping everyone including her mother at arms length. And while a part of me understands Odea's rebellion due to the circumstances, it just rang a bit false. This non-connection came strongly through the book and despite the budding romance, most the characters felt flat.
Overall despite being engaged enough to keep reading, this one just didn't work for me. I wanted so much more and while there were parts and glimpses at that great person hinted to in the premise, ultimately it fell flat.
Two brand new tales anchor this wide-ranging collection from one of urban fantasy's most successful authors. Here is the first time that best-selling fantasy, YA, and crime author Kelley Armstrong has had her stories collected from Otherworld and beyond. With her signature twists and turns, Armstrong gives a fresh spin on city-dwelling vampires, werewolves, and zombies, while also traveling further afield, to a post-apocalyptic fortress, a superstitious village, a supernatural brothel, and even to feudal Japan. With tales that range from humorous to heart-stopping, these are the stories that showcase Kelley Armstrong at her versatile best.
I've really enjoyed all of Kelley's books, including the other anthology, Otherworld Nights. So when I had the chance to read this one I didn't hesitate. Unfortunately, while LED ASTRAY was enjoyable, it just didn't suck me or wow me like I had hoped. Anthologies, and short stories are tough tricks because unless they are longer novellas, the short format just doesn't lend to the full set up I would like. However, in cases like Otherworld Nights, the stories are set in an established world with established characters, so much of that build up is unneccsary anyway. Unfortunately that wasn't the case here as most of the stories were not set in Otherworld or Cainsville, and even the ones that were didn't revolve around the main characters, with just a few exceptions. And I would guess it's no surprise that the stories that those exceptions were the ones that I enjoyed the most.
As I said, the stories were largely entertaining, but I can't help being frustrated at feeling like I was left hanging in each story at the end. They were just too short to be developed how I had hoped, and some are still leaving me scratching my head, namely the Dragon story set in Cainsville. I also would have loved to have seen more from the Door story, but again, these short stories just didn't lend to a lot of detail.
It's a compliment to Kelley's writing in itself that I wanted more from these stories. Despite that short format, I was engaged with each new tale. I can only hope that some of these will be expanded upon in the future as my appetite has been whetted, but not satisfied. In the end, aside from anthologies firmly set in established worlds, I think I'll pass on groupings like this. I just wanted more.
Detroit 2030. Double-crossed by the person she loved and betrayed by the covert government organization that trained her to use her body as a weapon, Peri Reed is a renegade on the run.
Don’t forgive and never forget has always been Peri’s creed. But her day job makes it difficult: she is a drafter, possessed of a rare, invaluable skill for altering time, yet destined to forget both the history she changed and the history she rewrote.
When Peri discovers her name on a list of corrupt operatives, she realizes that her own life has been manipulated by the agency. She joins forces with a mysterious rogue soldier in a deadly race to piece together the truth about her final task, unable to trust even herself.
Talk about some twists and turns! THE DRAFTER is a great mix of scifi and thriller, and with each chapter a new depth and twist to the story was unveiled. Every time I thought I had things figured out, the rug was pulled out from under me. It made for an incredibly intense read that bordered on stressful to be honest. If I only had one word to describe this book, nail-biter would be the one that comes to mind. Once things took off I couldn't put it down. Frankly, I was a nervous wreck while reading the last half of this book, but in the best sort of way. I couldn't have put it down if I tried.
One thing I do wish is that I had read the prequel novella. It seems like it's more of a integral read to the series than I originally thought. I have to admit that the beginning of this book was a bit slow for me as I felt like I was scrambling to keep up and figure out what was going on. But after reading the description and the reviews for Sideswiped I think a lot of my early confusion wouldn't have happened. THE DRAFTER has a lot of world building, which is to be expected in a new series, especially a futuristic scifi thriller like this one. However when you add that heavy world building with the very secretive side of the thriller parts of the story, it just kept me from really sinking into the book quite as much as I had wanted to. Of course, things do pick up almost to a frenetic pace once more things are revealed, I just wish I had the prequel's knowledge to have balanced out the pacing overall.
All in all, THE DRAFTER is one heck of a nail-biting intense ride of a book. World building pacing and confusion aside that should be alleviated by reading the prequel, this is an utterly fantastic read that is sure to please fans of an intense read.
Centuries ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were slashed open allowing hideous fantastical monsters to wreak havoc; destroying entire cities in their wake. Now, people must live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the evil creatures constantly trying to break in. Only the corps of teen Hunters with lightning reflexes and magical abilities can protect the populace from the daily attacks.
Joyeaux Charmand is a mountain girl from a close knit village who comes to the big city to join the Hunters. Joy thinks she is only there to perform her civic duty and protect the capitol Cits, or civilians, but as cameras follow her every move, she soon learns that the more successful she is in her hunts, the more famous she becomes.
With millions of fans watching her on reality TV, Joy begins to realize that Apex is not all it seems. She is forced to question everything she grew up believing about the legendary Hunters and the very world she lives in. Soon she finds that her fame may be part of a deep conspiracy that threatens to upend the protective structure built to keep dark magic out. The monsters are getting in and it is up to Joy to find out why.
HUNTER is one of those books where you have to immerse yourself and give the book plenty of time to fully take off. The beginning is very slow, almost painfully so. The world building is immense and full of info dumps, which slows the pacing a great deal. However, waiting for the payoff is worth it in the end. The book, once it takes off is very impressive, and I was fully hooked, it's just a matter of being patient through all of those early info-dumps. It's a bit of a shame, because I feel like this book had incredible potential, but the beginning slowness will likely deter many. Once things are set up, the fascinating world and interesting characters truly stand out, making me wish the early parts of the book would have been tightened to allow this new series to truly shine.
Joy was a really strong and interesting character for me. At the start sure, she seems very Mary Sue, however, as the book progresses, she starts to come out of her shell, and her strength shines. Of course, she's very special, which is a common theme in YA novels, but I didn't find her overtly so, or unrealistic. She's a game changer, and I can't wait to see how the story progresses as she makes her mark.
Slow beginnings aside, all in all HUNTER was really entertaining read. The perfect blend of dystopian, scifi, fantasy, and paranormal all in one, HUNTER earns a recommendation from me.
Long before he was sent to hell, the Aeon known as Khoth-Kapira was the closest thing to a living god the world had ever known. Possessed of a vast intellect, he pioneered many of the wonders that persist in the world that lingered long after he was banished. Nearly every fragment of medical, economic and technological progress that the mortal races enjoyed could be traced back to him. But with his wonders came cruelty beyond measure: industrialized slavery, horrifying experimentations and a rage that would eventually force the world to bow to him.
Now, as Khoth-Kapira stirs the world begins to shudder with disasters yet to come.The epicenter is the city of Cier'Djaal. A religious war between two unstoppable military juggernauts begins to brew. The racial fury among many peoples of the world is about to explode. Demons begin to pour from the shadows at the head of a vicious cult worshipping dark powers.
And Lenk finds himself in the middle once more, his fate and the fate of Khoth-Kapira interlinked as the demon attempts to convince him of his earnestness.
"Your world is breaking around you," He Who Makes says, "let me fix it. Let me help you. Let me out."
The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes is the first book in his Bring Down Heaven trilogy, and from the first pages, readers step into an adventure winding down, or so the main characters believe.
The story picks up as a group of adventurers attempt to enter the city of Cir’Djaal in order to obtain money they are owed. The premise seems fairly simple from the outset, but as with any such characters, things quickly go sideways, and they find themselves in the middle of a foot war, and political power struggles.
Fair warning, this book throws a lot of characters of varying species, temperaments and histories at the reader very quickly. However, while the plot sprawls over a large landscape, its threads are woven tightly, and it all comes together into much larger picture with the various characters each having their own issues to wrestle with.
The leader is a young man named Lenk, who is only in charge because nobody else wants the job, and most of the time, makes the worst plans. He’d like to stop killing - something which he has a talent for doing very well, and yet would like to preserve his relationship with Kataria, a shict, who is conflicted about her connection with Lenk, as well as her faith. Then there is Dreadaeleon, a young wizard, who would like to prove himself, often at the detriment of others. Denaos is the quintessential rogue, and he’d like to avoid the city more than most of the others. Finally, Gariath is their ‘heavy,’ a dragonman, who protects the other members of the party, and yet struggles with how to reconcile that with his sense of identity. There are a number of secondary characters, some helpful, others decidedly not, and many who have stories worth exploring further.
As the story progresses, the book is divided up into sections, and as circumstances deteriorate, so do the relationships among the adventurers. There are no easy answers to any of the plotlines, and as a rule, everything is terrible, or might be if somebody breathes wrong.
There are a fair number of fantasy books that follow a formula, where the protagonists are all good, or at least the kind of characters you wouldn’t mind meeting in a dark alley. This book departs from this rather spectacularly, as this group is as dangerous to their enemies as they are to their allies, and might rescue someone, or cut them down, depending on their level of emotional instability. Even so, Sykes’ sense of humor comes through strongly, and even though there’s quite a bit of bloodshed, the jokes aren’t in short supply either.
In future books, it would be nice to see the characters stepping away from their own stories a bit more, in order to interact more, beyond fights with one another and their many enemies, and there is definitely plenty of story and its world to explore.
(Received a copy from the publisher)
Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required—those more common to predatory animals than to man.
Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets, is fascinated by his nature—at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it’s too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows...and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare…
I cannot express how much I loved ARCHANGEL'S ENIGMA, so much so that I don't know what to say in this review past a lot of fangirling and squeeing. There's many times where a book knocks my socks off, but I can't remember the last time where I finished the book and wanted to immediately re-read it.
I always loved the mystery behind Naasir in the previous books, but I have to admit I was a bit unsure how he would work as the hero. There's something just so feral and sometimes childlike about him, that make for a really interesting character, but I just wasn't sure how that would translate to the romance department. I shouldn't have worried at all. Nalini did an utterly amazing job at bringing his character truly to life. Naasir stole my heart from the very first page. Instead of his feralness and sometimes childlike wonder detracting from his attractiveness, it actually enhanced it. I wish I could describe just how incredible Naasir were, but to keep from spoiling I'll just let you find out for yourself.
Easily my number one read for the year, ARCHANGEL'S ENIGMA is an absolute must read. Run, do not walk to your nearest book store and snatch this one up. Just make sure to set aside enough time to devour it uninterrupted as you will not be able to put it down once you start.
A new novel from a master of comic fantasy, Tom Holt.
New Evil.Same as the Old Evil, but with better PR.
Mordak isn't bad, as far as goblin kings go, but when someone, or something, starts pumping gold into the human kingdoms it puts his rule into serious jeopardy. Suddenly he's locked in an arms race with a species whose arms he once considered merely part of a calorie-controlled diet.
Helped by an elf with a background in journalism and a masters degree in being really pleased with herself, Mordak sets out to discover what on earth (if indeed, that's where he is) is going on. He knows that the truth is out there. If only he could remember where he put it.
The Good, the Bad, and the Smug - a novel beyond good and evil by Tom Holt is about a new kind of evil, the sort that knows its way around good infrastructure and sanitation regulations.
Mordak the goblin, is a king with some big ideas, and none of them include how best to make himself the most popular within the community of evildoers. He’s more focused on improving working conditions, securing long term financial stability for goblins, and the small matter of taking over the press. As the elves run all newspapers - or did, until Mordak comes along, this makes him either more evil than expected, or simply a goblin with a plan.
Unfortunately for Mordak, his schemes are hampered by the issue of humans suddenly having more gold than they know what to do with. And with all this newfound wealth, they are arming themselves, which makes goblins and other races a bit nervous about the potential for all-out war.
With the help of an elf named Efluviel, who only wants to be a journalist, and is helping the goblin king in order to get her job back, Mordak sets out to learn who is giving humans so much gold. They would be well-advised to consult a man who spins straw into gold, and seems to know know quite a bit about supply and demand. Meanwhile, another goblin, Ozork manages to transform into a human named Archie by accident, when he’s seeking the Realms of Transcendent Bliss, and winds up on a film set in New Zealand.
The three distinct narratives of this book are evenly paced, and while at first, seem disparate, come together neatly in a tale that is both intelligent, and quite funny. For readers who enjoy the books of Terry Pratchett, this will be swiftly read and enjoyed.
(Received a copy from the publisher)
From the author of Armageddon Rules, the fanciful and fun continuation of the Grimm Agency novels...
As a partner at Grimm’s magical Agency, Marissa Locks is used to working odd jobs. But when an evil queen reappears in Kingdom, life becomes too strange to handle…
Even when she’s not starting it, trouble follows Marissa everywhere. First there was the incident with the homicidal Fairy Godmother. Then there was the time she accidentally started Armageddon. But the problems that always seem to arise on Marissa’s birthday take the cake.
This year, her annual bad-luck presents include an army of invading goblins, the resurrection of two vengeful enemies from hell, and the return of the Black Queen, the evil sorceress whose reign of terror still haunts Kingdom and who happens to have claimed Marissa as her servant.
As Marissa’s friends try to save her from the Black Queen’s clutches, Marissa fights to end a bitter war that started before her birth. But her quest for peace is about to bring up some inconvenient truths about her own past—ones that might cost her the happily ever after she’s always dreamed of…
This book is going to be really hard for me to review. I enjoyed it, but there were things that stuck out to me, keeping me from fully immersing and loving the story as much as I did in book two. But on the flip side, nothing really amazing stuck out to me, so unfortunately this review will focus on the less than great things. From the start, WISH BOUND proceeds at an almost frenetic pace. While this kept me completely hooked into the story, at times it was a a bit hard to follow. There's just so much going on with the story jumping all around that I found myself having to go back and re-read paragraphs just to make sure I didn't miss anything. I enjoy a fast paced plot as much as the next gal, but it needs to flow and allow me to fully immerse in the story, which just didn't happen here.
I have a feeling this is a series ending book, based on how many loose ends were tied up. After finishing I'm not quite sure about how I feel about everything in the end. On one hand, the end result has me content, but the path taken there and the motivating reasons which had been hid previously just seemed a bit forced to me. Between Grimm's secrecy, the reveal behind everything with Marissa, and the Dark Queen's motivations, I was left scratching my head at times. I feel like there's been this huge build up over the series, and while I wouldn't say the reveals fell flat, they didn't wow me either. Perhaps I'm judging things too harshly, but after the 2nd book knocking things out of the park for me, I was just hoping for a bigger end result.
I realize this review probably makes it seem like I wasn't a fan, but I did enjoy the book, if not as much as I had hoped I would. I almost wish I had more to say on the positive side to balance out the things that bothered me, because it is a good read. The book more than kept my attention, and I didn't want to put it down once I put it up. I'm glad I read WISH BOUND, and fans of the series should enjoy it as well. Marissa and company are left in a satisfying place that makes the overall journey in this series worth it