Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Black Wings by Christina Henry

Maddy's position may come with magical abilities and an impressive wingspan, but it doesn't pay the bills. And then there are her infuriating boss, tenant woes, and a cranky, popcorn-loving gargoyle to contend with.
Things start looking up, though, when tall, dark, and handsome Gabriel Angeloscuro agrees to rent the empty apartment in Maddy's building. It's probably just a coincidence that as soon as he moves in, demons appear on the front lawn. But when an unholy monster is unleashed upon the streets of Chicago, Maddy discovers powers she never knew she possessed. Powers linked to a family legacy of tarnished halos.
Powers that place her directly between the light of Heaven and the fires of Hell...

I picked up this book for a number of reasons, one I do like books about angels, and two, the whole agent of death concept brings me back to one of my favorite shows, Dead Like Me, so I figured I would give it a try. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting, but by the end of the book I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the book.

I like the character of Maddy, she has a pretty good head on her shoulders, and to her credit she doesn't back down. I think part of the reason I really liked Maddy in this book is that while she is powerful, she is just coming in to her power and so she doesn't really know how use it, which leads to the action in this book being unpredictable  I also like that Maddy is the type of girl who runs into the fire to help people.

Another thing that makes Maddy all the more enjoyable to read is her cast of sidekicks. Well, technically she only has the one sidekick, her gargoyle, who is pretty hilarious with his antics and eating habits. Gabriel is kind of a big question mark throughout the book, he knows a lot more than he is telling, and the rules regarding Maddy and Gabriel's interactions are rigid to say the least.

And speaking of rules, the world Maddy was born into is more than complex. The rules are rigid and disobeying the rules almost always seem to end in beheading, so talk about incentive to "behave". Unfortunately for Maddy, she has no idea what the rules are, and she ends up putting her foot in her mouth on more than one occasion  To say Maddy has a complex and some crazed family situation would be an understatement.

I would recommend this book. The descriptions are pretty good, the characters a pretty good, and once the action takes of it doesn't really ever stop. I read this book pretty quickly and enjoyed it from beginning to end. I look forward to reading the sequel. This book isn't heavy on the romance, so if you are looking for that I have a feeling you will find it in book two. But if you are an urban fantasy lover who wants serious action then you will probably enjoy this book.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Right Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins

Like most Manhattanites, aspiring artist Tate can't resist a good rental deal-even if it's in the city's strangest neighborhood, Golgotham, where for centuries werewolves, centaurs, and countless other creatures have roamed the streets.
Her new landlord is a sorcerer named Hexe, who is determined to build his reputation without using dark, left-hand magic. As Tate is drawn into Hexe's fascinating world, they both find that the right hand does not always know what the left hand is doing-and avoiding darkness is no easy trick...

I was intrigued by this book because I love New York City, I would move their in a heartbeat. And as a long time lover of all things urban fantasy the idea that a neighborhood devoted to all things that go bump in the night existing in Manhattan was just too good to pass up. First a foremost I have to say that I was impressed by Collins' ability to create a really nice picture in terms of describing Golgotham. In many ways Golgotham was a full on character within the book. In a lot of books I read the city a character lives in takes a back seat to the action and people within the story, so it was refreshing to see such a vivid telling of Manhattan.

As characters go, I really did enjoy Tate. I liked her artist nature, and one again Collins does a great job at bringing her sculpture to life with words alone. Tate comes from a rather high and mighty family, and she really is breaking all the so called rules by moving into Golgotham when she is nothing but a regular old human. Following along with her first couple of days in the new neighborhood is funny, scary, and sometimes totally out there.

Hexe is the sorcerer version of Tate, he comes from a high and mighty magical family, but like Tate he goes against the grain by only practicing right hand magic. I'm sure in future books Collins will showcase Hexe and his magical abilities more than she did in this book, but there were some funny moments when Hexe was being hired to "un-do" some pretty hilarious hexes.

The wide scope of creatures that live in Golgotham is fun to experience. And like all cultures there is most definitely an underground culture here. And that underground comes into play in a big way in this book. And I expect to see it continue with future books.

I do have one bone to pick with this book though. The writing was good, the characters were good, but it took a little too long for my taste for the plot to really get into full swing. In some ways I feel like this first book in the series is just one big giant set up to whatever comes next, but I do wish there was more action earlier in the book.

Other than that I would say the book was very enjoyable. I read it rather quickly, which I think is a testament to Collins' good writing skills. I will definitely be buying the second book in her series, because like I said earlier I felt like this book was just a big set up for the series, and what happens next is going to be a fun ride that I want to know about.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Guest Post Sherry Soule

Author Sherry Soule provides today’s post. She is celebrating the release of her new novel, IMMORTAL ECLIPSE—due to be released April 30, 2013. If you like supernatural suspense mingled with a dash of chick-lit and a healthy dose of paranormal romance, then this is the book for you!
Sherry asked her snarky heroine, Skylar Blackwell to stop by. She has recently started her own advice column: “Dear Skylar.”
Since several people have asked Skylar for help with some very strange topics, she’s generously taken time away from her shopping cardio to answer them. Pasted below are some of the questions sent to her.

Question 1:
Q. Dear Skylar,
My boyfriend is in college and he likes to wear socks with sandals. When I complained about it, he just says his feet get cold. It’s so embarrassing! I refuse to go on dates with him until he buys a real pair of shoes. Any advice on getting him to stop?

A. Dear Fashion-Clueless-BF,
Wearing socks with sandals has been a fashion faux pas forever, but that doesn't stop people (generally men) from doing it. Unless you are walking outside to pick up the newspaper, socks with sandals are a big fashion no-no! First off, you don’t have to alert the fashion police—just throw out those sandals yourself! Then buy him some nicer shoes to wear. He’ll have new shoes, and you’ll have a fashionable guy—problem solved.

Question 2:
Q. Dear Skylar,
One day my sister Kate saw me enter the bathroom. She continued down the hallway, and to her surprise, she saw me inside my bedroom. Kate insisted I was in the bathroom, but obviously, I was lying on my bed doing homework. A few days later, Kate swore that she saw me watching TV in the living room, but I had been gone all day at softball practice. Later that same day, she also claimed that I ran past her and pulled her hair, but it wasn’t me! What do you think’s going on?

Kind regards,

A. Dear Doppelgangers-Suck,
Hmmm, you may indeed have doppelganger trouble. They are commonly considered an "evil twin," unknown to the original person, who causes mischief by confusing friends and relatives. But some have more insidious intentions…especially, if they’re already dead. My advice? Get yourself a magical charm for protection, and fast!

Question 3:
Q. Dear Skylar,

I recently took over the family business, and although everything has been running smoothly, it feels as though the female employees haven't quite accepted me as their new boss yet. In fact, they've been downright hostile and verbally abusive. And then there’s the little digs: one of them even asked how long I was planning to stay and told me that I was in over my head. How would you recommend I handle this situation?

Peace out,

A. Dear Nobody-Likes-Me,

Sounds like typical “Mean Girl” abuse. The pointed digs make some female bullies more toxic than the classic rageaholic. Well, I would advise you to fire all those hateful workers, but disgruntled employees can be nasty, too. Unfortunately, there’s no escaping your employees—unless you’re willing to quit or fight back. You’re just gonna have to dig in your heels—or Pradas—and get proactive. And try to keep in mind that life has a quirky way of working things out: When you're dealing with a bitch, remember that karma is a bitch as well. Best of luck!

Question 4:
Q. Dear Skylar,

My husband, Tony, is a construction worker and he fell from a scaffold at work last week. His boss said he had broken his spine and that he was taken to the morgue. But when I arrived at the hospital, he was alive! He was walking around like nothing happened. And one other time, Tony was bitten by a poisonous snake and he didn’t get more than a slight headache from the venom. Am I going crazy or what?

A. Dear Husband-Has-9-Lives,
That is strange indeed! Hmmm, let me think...since he can move about during the day, vampire is out. Government experiment doesn’t fit either, unless he escaped from the lab. Alien from Mars? Nah, he’d have green skin and big eyes. Or perhaps he’s a werewolf with regenerative powers. Whatever the case, the guy must have nine lives!

Hope you enjoyed this comical post! Now go feed your mind and read a book! Preferably one of mine. ;-)

Places you can cyberstalk Sherry Soule:
Twitter @WriterSherry: http://twitter.com/writersherry


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson's life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman--the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack--has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy's life. But on the edges of humanity, what passes for a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more. 
After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can't reach Adam--or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They've all been abducted. 
Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. With the werewolves fighting a political battle to gain acceptance from the public, Mercy fears Adam's disappearance may be related--and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outclasses and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely. 

I am a huge fan of Patricia Briggs, I love her writing style and I love the way the characters have evolved over the years. To say I am a big fan of Mercy would be an understatement. I have to admit I was a little worried about how this next book was going to go, the last one wasn't my favorite, and less face it the longer a series goes on the harder it is to keep the characters interesting and exciting while still keeping the things we love about the characters in tact. I have to say that I did enjoy Frost Burned a lot more than I was expecting. 

The action in this book starts from page one and then just when you think it's all over and you have everything figured out, it turns out there was so much more going on behind the scenes and the action continues on. Briggs has always done a great job with fight scenes and building up suspense that keep the reader wanting to turn the page. She brought those skills to his book definitely. 

As for the characters, she brought back a lot of my favorites. You have Stefan finally acting a little like himself. Wulfe makes an appearance, and let's face it, he's just as creepy as he has ever been. Jesse and Mercy definitely are starting to have a stepmother/daughter relationship, which is fun to watch. I loved that Ben was back on the scene, he's such a great departure from the standard werewolf. And even better Briggs brought The Moor over from Bran's pack, and I really love him in this. Oh and Tad and Zee make an appearance, which always makes me smile, what's a Mercy Thompson book without a little fae in your life? 

On the down side, the book has a couple of things I wish were a little different. But primarily I thought that there was not enough time between Mercy and Adam, or Mercy and the pack. It was action all the time, and for most of it Mercy was separated from the pack, so you don't really get to see the relationships between the characters evolve. Also if you don't have a great memory of the books you have read in the past, you may have a hard time recollecting all the character dynamics because Briggs doesn't waste a lot of time rehashing the past, nor does she introduce new characters. 

One thing I have to mention, because I really enjoyed it, was Adam got a couple of chapters to himself. Briggs through in a couple of Adam's POV, and it's in those chapters that you really get to see how much Mercy and Adam really love each other. I really appreciated those pages. 

Long story short, I always recommend picking up a book by Briggs, she is awesome. And this is a pretty good book, not my favorite of the seven, but definitely worthy of Mercy Thompson. I look forward to what comes next for Mercy. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Identity Theft by John Abramowitz

A man walks into the Texas Capitol. Shots ring out. A young aide lies dead. The killer's excuse? He was under a spell. 
Sounds like a job for Hunter Gamble, right?
Wrong. After his disastrous "victory" in the trial of Samuel Pollard, Hunter has turned his back on defending oppressed vampires, mages, and zombies. Having accepted a position at his father's giant litigation firm, he's trying the glamorous cases, working in a corner office, and making a six-figure salary--and hating every minute of it. 
As Hunter plots his exit strategy, he finds himself inexorably drawn to the case of the Capitol shooter, who is an old friend from law school. As he works to clear his friend, Hunter discovers that there is much more at stake in this case than whether one man was under a spell. Before long, he finds himself pulled into a magical conspiracy dating back to before the Unveiling--and with a singularly cold-blooded wizard at its heart. 
The clock is ticking. The search for answers is on.

First off I want to say I read and reviewed John Abramowitz's first book, which was a really fun and exciting read for me. There is something about Abramowitz's style that makes reading a book an adventure, he really pulls you into the world he creates, so I was really looking forward to reading his second book. 

Identity Theft did not disappoint me in the least. I think part of the reason I found this book so enjoyable was that Hunter is really a complex character. He didn't just take a character exactly like the one from the first book and throw him into a new situation. He really gave Hunter some depth, Hunter had some really hard things to deal with, and ended up taking a different course and going to work with his father. I think this actually ended up adding a lot of dimension into Hunter as a character. 

Hunter finding his way back to the himself, and the defense of Arcane's is really an evolution of a character and enjoyable to read. I always appreciated Abramowitz's ability to bring really realistic legal elements into the story, he does it seamlessly. 

As a second book, I feel like this book definitely is a good follow up, although it was lacking some of the punch that the first book had. But it was a great read, really fun for me to read, and really enjoyed getting to know Hunter all over again. It's really hard for me to review books like this because I want to tell you guys so much about what happens in the book, but I would totally run the excitement of finding it out on your own. What I can say is that you won't regret reading this book, it really is a good read. I would recommend that you read Abramowitz's first book first though, I think you get a lot more information on Hunter that makes the second book all the more enjoyable. 


Thursday, April 4, 2013

All That Bleeds by Kimberly Frost

As the last heiress of the House of North, Alissa knows that striking up a secret friendship with a half-vampire enforcer is dangerous, but Merrick is a temptation she can't resist. But when Alissa is kidnapped, Merrick proves that he will do anything to protect the woman who tempts him with her very existence.

I have never read a Kimberly Frost book, although I must admit I am pretty sure I have heard her name float around in genre circles, so when I got a copy of her book, I was pretty excited to read it. I had no idea what the book was about, and the cover really didn't tell me much, but when I read the back, I was excited to see Muses were a part of the story.

I think the part about this book that I enjoyed the most was that it felt really fresh. I, like many other urban fantasy readers, have read a lot of books that have to do with vampires, and sometimes it can feel like vampires are getting a little tired. But this book never made me feel like that. The whole book felt fresh and unique, and made me want to keep reading the book. I seriously read most of the book in one sitting, that's right I pull another read until 3a.m. night.

The dynamic between Alissa and Merrick is really great. They have this great pull towards each other but at the same time they both live these vastly different lives. Alissa is being pulled into doing her duty and knows she could never realistically have a relationship with Merrick. While Merrick has to deal with the threat of death everyday, but a relationship with Alissa could certainly up the percentages of bodily harm coming to him. Even with all of that though, they still maintain their secret correspondence to each other, which is really cute to read about, it makes you pull for them.

Alissa is the one I feel the most for, she does not have it easy by any means. As a child she lost one of her parents in a horrible way, and the result of that was her one remaining parent lost his mind. Now Alissa is the parent, as well as being the main bread winner for her community. On top of all that it doesn't seem like she has anyone to really be her friend, and some people out right hate her and want to bring her downfall. With recent events she really can't even trust the people she thought she could. As a reader I was pulling for her the whole time to get the happy ended she deserved, she really is a good person and great character.

Merrick I love just as much as Alissa but for totally different reasons. He lives by his own code, and he does some seriously bad things, but you can't help but love him. It's weird. One minute he's torturing someone for information and then minute you realize, hey I still like this guy. He is a killer in every sense of the word, but yet, I felt like I understood him and thought he was great. Also another thing I loved about him was he was not stiffling of Alissa. I hate when you have a girl who is "protected" by a boy and he goes all "me man, you woman," caveman on them, and this was so not the case with Merrick. Merrick protects Alissa, a lot of the time from a distance without her even knowing it, and when she knows he's protecting her, he totally lets her do whatever she wants, he works around her wants and needs. It's really sweet actually.

Long story short, I love this book. I will be picking up more books by Frost, because if her other books are half as good as this one is then I want to read them. Great romance, great action, and fantastic read. I recommend it to all.