Blog Tour Release Day Review: The Ghoul Vendetta by Lisa Shearin

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Ghoul Vendetta by Lisa Shearin
SPI Files #4

Men in Black meets Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum in the fourth urban fantasy novel in the series starring seer Makenna Fraser and her fellow agents at Supernatural Protection & Investigation.

The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) are paid to keep the peace. But that’s not so easy when an endless evil threatens to tear that peace to pieces...

A vampire gangster’s nephew is abducted off his yacht by a bunch of low-rent Creatures from the Black Lagoon. A slew of banks are knocked over by what looks like the cast of Night of the Living Dead. All of this may seem like the movies, but, I promise you, it’s not.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI, and I know the culprits aren’t wearing disguises or makeup. They’re real. Deadly real. Especially their leader—an ancient shapeshifter who leaves a trail of chaos and blood in his wake. Now, he’s taken my partner, Ian—and his intentions aren’t pretty.

The worst part? This is only the beginning...

The beginning of the end of the human race.

This series is so much fun, I absolutely love it. Each book is a solid block of entertainment and THE GHOUL VENDETTA was no exception. There's so much humor between the phenomenal cast of characters despite all the very dark things they have to deal with. This time around was a doozy, and yet the story never once lost that sense of levity that I truly enjoy about it. Mac is fierce, but in a focused little engine that could type of way rather than your typical take no prisoners heroine. Her self deprecating humor mixed in with her determination to serve and protect is a breath of fresh air. You honestly never know what she's going to do next, but somehow she always comes out on top in the strangest of ways. She's unpredictable and admirable, and I just adore her for it. The rest of the characters are honestly top notch as well. From Mac's partner Ian, who is the definition of the perfect supernatural cop, to her mischievous lover, Rake, who is still a mystery, but oh so yummy, and to the rest of the SPI crew, simply fantastic.

Speaking of fantastic, man was the plot behind THE GHOUL VENDETTA one heck of a roller coaster ride. I read this book in one setting because I simply couldn't put it down. With each new release, Lisa Shearin has upped her game and brought higher stakes and bigger character developments, but this one takes the cake. Perhaps it's due to the fact that it hits very close to home for the SPI crew, but it just felt so much more intense. I won't spoil things, but trust me when I say you'll be on the edge of your seat while reading this one!

I couldn't have asked for a more enjoyable read. I truly hope there are many more books in this fantastic series to come!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Previous Books:
     1. The Grendel Affair
     2. The Dragon Conspiracy
     3. The Brimstone Defection

Kirsten Reviews: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

, by Kt Clapsadl

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
Sorcerer Royal #1

Magic and mayhem collide with the British elite in this whimsical and sparkling debut.

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho begins the Sorcerer Royal series slowly, but the book soon picks up and the series should be well-received if it’s as funny and fast-moving as it starts off to be.
Zacharias Wythe is a freed slave and an exceptionally good magician as well as being the Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations in all of Britain. In spite of this, he is constantly dealing with the insults, bigotry, and even threats on his life leveled at him by the “best” of upper English society. At the same time, Zacharias is not without his own prejudices, as he thinks that women are simply too fragile to handle the raw power of magic - that is until he meets one Prunella Gentleman, a powerful young woman who soon changes his mind, even as she turns his head.

Meanwhile, England’s magical stocks are dwindling, there are powerful witches and others interested in taking advantage of any perceived weakness, and things soon get very exciting, or dangerous, if not both and Zacharias and Prunella have no need to look for trouble, as it’s probably chasing them.

There’s a lot going on in the writing as well as the world-building, and stylistically, this book has a bit of Austen, a dash of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and even some of Georgette Heyer. All of these comparisons are valid, but the book manages to balance all of that nicely. The story is therefore easily read by anyone who isn’t a huge fan of historical fiction and might otherwise be put off by it, here there’s as much modernity as one can get away with while not ignoring the time period.

Although the book moves rather carefully at first, its pace accelerates to keep things lively and bring all the plotting to an ending that leaves one intrigued at where the story will go in further books.
(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Rabid Reads
     The Bibliosanctum
     Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda Books

Review: Phantom Kiss by Chloe Neill

, by Kt Clapsadl

Phantom Kiss by Chloe Neill
Chicagoland Vampires #12.5

In this all-new novella from the New York Times bestselling author of Midnight Marked, Merit, Ethan, and the rest of Cadogan House crew discover that not all undead creatures are kindred spirits…

Vampires generally aren’t afraid of things that go bump in the night, but Merit and Ethan are extra jumpy after a recent attack by a dark sorcerer. So when they learn that someone is messing with graves in Chicago’s cemeteries, stealing skulls and snatching souls, they fear that their powerful foe might be back for even more magical vengeance.

But after a specter begins haunting Cadogan House—and targeting vampires—they realize that they're being taunted by an altogether different sort of monster. A ghoulish villain straight out of the Windy City’s urban legends is on the prowl—and he won’t stop until he’s killed again...

I cannot believe this series is almost over! This novella is perfect for fans like me, who are just not ready to say goodbye to these awesome characters. It's a very quick read, but in true Chicagoland style, PHANTOM KISS is action packed and a lot of fun from start to finish. There's just something about these characters that keeps me begging for more. This time around a ghost is at the helm of the trouble which made for an interesting read, but it was the extra time spent with Ethan and Merit's relationship that I enjoyed even more. I really enjoy the two of them together, and sometimes the frantic pacing of the main books overshadows their relationship, so it was a definite treat to have more focus on them in this novella. Fans of the series will be more than pleased with this fantastic novella!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Goldilox and the Three Weres
     a GREAT read
     Fangs for the Fantasy

Previous Books:
     1. Some Girls Bite
     2. Friday Night Bites
     3. Twice Bitten
     4. Hard Bitten
     5. Drink Deep
     6. Biting Cold
     7. House Rules
     8. Biting Bad
     9. Wild Things
     10. Blood Games
     10.5. Lucky Break
     11. Dark Debt
     12. Midnight Marked

Kirsten Reviews: Conspiracy of Ravens by Lila Bowen

, by Kt Clapsadl

Conspiracy of Ravens by Lila Bowen
The Shadow #2

Monsters, magic and the supernatural combine in this sequel to Wake of Vultures, in which a young woman must defeat the evil hiding beneath the surface.

Nettie Lonesome made a leap -- not knowing what she'd become. But now the destiny of the Shadow is calling.
A powerful alchemist is leaving a trail of dead across the prairie. And the Shadow must face the ultimate challenge: side with her friends and the badge on her chest or take off alone on the dangerous mission pulling her inexorably toward the fight of her life.

When it comes to monsters and men, the world isn't black and white. What good are two wings and a gun when your enemy can command a conspiracy of ravens?

Conspiracy of Ravens continues the exciting journey begun in Wake of Vultures as Nettie Lonesome discovers that she, and the world, are more than what they seem.

Conspiracy of Ravens is the second installment in author Lila Bowen (aka Delilah S. Dawson's) The Shadow series. The book picks up right where Wake of Vultures left off.

Nettie Lonesome had just realized that she could choose to be who she wants to be, that being transform into both a boy and a giant bird. She jumps off a cliff in order to literally spread her wings, lands as Rhett Hennessy and soon finds another shapeshifter named Earl O’Bannon.

At first there is some antagonism between the two of them, but Earl does tell Rhett a few things, including the fact that there is a railroad owner by the name of Trevisan who likes to cut limbs off monsters that he employs in order to use them in magic rituals. Whether the protagonist be Nettie or Rhett, as the Shadow, they share a stubborn streak that can get them into trouble at times.

Rhett decides that Earl’s story should be investigated and so takes him to the Durango rangers. Along the way, Earl assists Rhett in gaining more insight into his transformation and helps him learn how to remember what he sees as a bird after he changes form back into a man.

Going to see the Rangers gives readers the opportunity to catch up with a few characters from the previous book including Sam, the Coyote siblings Dan and Winifred, and The Captain. The Rangers have taken a commission to hunt down Sand Wyrms and this job will take them far away from Earl and Rhett’s destination. Rhett has to choose between going with the Rangers or act as The Shadow and follow the pull to track down the danger Earl has told him about. Winifred, Sam, and Dan decide to come along with Rhett and Earl and they make quite the troupe of characters.

While Rhett might want to burst into Trevisan’s camp and break up whatever evil scheme is playing out, that’s not the right move and it wouldn’t be as enjoyable as what does happen. The group works together to learn more about Bernard Trevisan, the way he runs his railroad camp, the horrible way he treats his workers as little better than dumb beasts to be used as labor until they give up, and the dynamics between the characters work well. Rhett has learned more about himself and continues to figure out how to use his abilities while also facing a few setbacks throughout the book which help him continue to mature.

The blend of fantasy and western elements give this series a lot of directions to explore and further adventures should continue to give it more depth.

(Received a copy from the publisher)


Order Links:

Other Reviews:
     Tenacious Reader
     The Tattooed Book Geek
     Shelf Quest

Previous Books:
     1. Wake of Vultures

Review: Dragon Spawn by Eileen Wilks

, by Kt Clapsadl

Dragon Spawn by Eileen Wilks
World of the Lupi #13

The New York Times bestselling author of Mind Magic returns as FBI agent Lily Yu gets some very bad news…

Lily learns she was right. Tom Weng—a powerful sorcerer allied with the Old One who keeps trying to take over the world—is still alive. But that's not the worst. Weng is a dragon spawn, the product of a botched hatching given a human form in an attempt to keep him from going mad. A failed attempt.

Meanwhile, Lily’s husband Rule is facing a Challenge to the death. Then there’s the possible reappearance of another sorcerer. But none of that matters when their enemy strikes out of nowhere in the worst way possible. Lily must face a nightmare and return to a place she never wanted to see again. The place where she died…

Wow was this one heck of a whirlwind read. I feel like this series has seriously ramped up and has taken off with a ginormous bang. There's no sign of things slowing down, that's for sure, especially when you consider the almost cruel cliffhanger this DRAGON SPAWN ended with. In so many cases, even in much loved series, by the time you get to the 13th installment things have drastically changed, and it's just dragging on. But that's simply not the case here. So much happens and it's just as fresh and exciting as the first book, if not even more so. Very impressive to say the least. 

Speaking of impressive, I especially enjoyed the balance the characters brought to DRAGON SPAWN. While the action and events continued at an almost frenetic pacing, there still were moments of levity and true depths of emotion to round things out. Gan's outlandishness stole the show for me and I loved how she could make me giggle at the most absurd of times considering what the rest of the characters were going through. Add that to the large and varied cast, and the multiple romances, and it was just a very enjoyable installment. Fans of the series should be more than pleased and I can't wait to get my hands on the upcoming book to see what happens next!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


Order Links:

Other Reviews:
     Gizmos Reviews
     The Genre Minx Book Reviews
     Just Talking Books

Previous Books:
     1. Tempting Danger
     2. Mortal Danger
     3. Blood Lines
     4. Night Season
     5. Mortal Sins
     6. Blood Magic
     7. Blood Challenge
     8. Death Magic
     9. Mortal Ties
     10. Ritual Magic
     11. Unbinding
     12. Mind Magic
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