Category Archives: Urban Fantasy

Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood

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Have you ever read such a good [fantasy] book that by the end of it you believed in magic…if only a little? Or maybe watched Star Wars, episode 2 and walked away from it feeling that if you only found a Master and practiced your latent Jedi powers would manifest? What about reading one of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden novels and then find yourself shopping for a trench coat and a skull? Or walking away from an episode of Firefly itching for a sixshooter and a spaceship…?

If so, this is the book for you. Geekomancy is a love song written by a geek for geeks. This book is pure comedy wish fulfillment for the person who wishes that the force really exists.

Ree Reyes is a screenwriter (see “barista”) who suddenly finds herself in a world in which magic exists…and that the geeky TV shows, books, movies and games that she has always loved powered that world.

Ree jumps into this newfound world of magic and danger with both feet…and of course she gets slapped sideways, lol. Ree has does has help, however. Her introduction to “Geekomancy” (the use of magic fueled from the world of Pop Culture) is by Eastwood, a scruffy old Geekomancer who becomes her mentor. She also hooks up with another character that totally stole the show for me, Drake, a Steampunk inventor and adventurer extraordinaire. I ♥ Drake. As you wish. 😉

Ree and Eastwood’s task is simple (on the surface): find out who is causing a string of teenaged virgin suicides and stop them before they kill again. But…as anyone who’s ever read any Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Comic books or played any MMORPGs…things are never quite as simple as they seem.
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Blood, Smoke and Mirrors by Robyn Bachar

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Even a bad witch deserves a second chance.

Wrongly accused of using her magic to harm, the closest Catherine Baker comes to helping others is serving their coffee. Life as an outcast is nothing new, thanks to her father’s reputation, but the injustice stings. Especially since the man she loved turned her in.

Now the man has the gall to show up and suggest she become the next Titania? She’d rather wipe that charming grin off his face with a pot of hot java to the groin.

Alexander Duquesne has never faltered in his duties as a guardian — until now. The lingering guilt over Cat’s exile and the recent death of his best friend have shaken his dedication. With the murder of the old Titania, the faerie realm teeters on the brink of chaos. His new orders: keep Cat alive at all costs.

Hunted by a powerful stranger intent on drawing her into an evil web, Cat reluctantly accepts Lex’s protection and the resurrected desire that comes along with it. Lex faces the fight of his life to keep her safe…and win her back. If they both survive.

Warning: This book contains one tough and snarky witch, one gorgeous guardian, explicit blood drinking, magician sex, gratuitous violence against vampires and troublemaking Shakespearean faeries.

Please Note: There are some small spoilers in this review. If you want no spoilers at all, please do not read this review.

This book went down the crapper so quickly after 40% that it damn near gave me whiplash. O_o The difference between the two parts of this book are SO VAST that I have separated them: Book I, Part I and Book I, Part II

Book I, Part I (the first 40%) of this book is pretty damn good. There are some points that I issue with, however:

Why is Cat qualified to become Tatiana?? Why is she one of the only few in the world eligible? The author never says.

Cat makes lots of decisions without thinking. She told Lex to screw himself about her becoming Tatiana…but then changes her mind a page later for no reason and runs to do it. No explanation given to the reader for the abrupt 180 change of heart.

WTF is up with Lex turning Cat in to be tried (before book starts)? That isn’t cool. And then for him to get back with her by only saying, “I’m sorry, I didn’t think it would go down like that” was total BULLSHIT. Where was he for the last 3 years as she struggled to get by? There was NO GROVELLING. None at all!! Are you freaking SERIOUS?! She became an Outcast because her bf betrayed her and he didn’t even have to grovel?!?!? We had the ‘I love yous” happening by 40%. I call Shenanigans. I also do not buy their relationship. At all. And BTW, I actually kinda hated Lex.

This is the biggest issue I had with Book 1, part 1: Cat is the daughter of a witch and a necromancer. Her father killed her mother and tried to kill her. Her mother/guardian is killed when she was scheduled to be out all night. Her father wants world domination and is willing to go through her to get it. She is the only one able to stop her father. Cat has super strong powers that even she hasn’t explored the limits of.

Did that sound familiar to you? If you’ve ever read the Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews then it sounded really, really familiar. But don’t get your hopes up, it’s not in the same league.

Other than the items I listed above…book I, part I is actually a pretty good (and fast) read. I’d give it 3.5 stars.

Then we have Book I, Part II (insert ominous music here)

WTF happened here???! After Cat kills her father and becomes the Tatiana it feels like an entirely new and completely different book starts. The damn thing even changed plot points! WTF. The entire section with the vampire Zach Harrison holding Cat hostage was BS. Why the fuck was she there to begin with? She makes such STUPID decisions!! It is at this point that Cat goes from being a funny, snarky witch with a brain to a TSTL romance heroine without the sense God gave a Nat who finds herself in the middle of [something like] a love triangle with a vampire. Even though she and Lex ‘are in looove.’

*faceplam*

I’ll stop ranting about this section now because I’ll end up spoiling the entire thing…but let’s just say it was about 50% of the entire novel and it all SUCKED ASS. I was shocked and saddened by the way this great story wound up in WTFsville so quickly. I spent the rest of the book screaming and yelling at Cat to stop being TSTL.

And the ending. Can it get any more rushed than that??! The ending was so fast and rushed that I felt like I had whiplash.

I don’t think I’ll continue the series.

Review: Cold Days by Jim Butcher

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I honestly didn’t think anything would be able to top Changes. It was just so emotional and… Full of change (yep, I went there). But damn. Just damn. Cold Days didn’t just top it for me, it blew it out of the park.

All of those little things in the previous books that didn’t make sense? The things I just kind of went with assuming I had missed something? Those questions are all starting to be answered, and on a totally epic scale. I feel like this entry in the series just took Dresden from and bunch of semi-related stand alone Urban Fantasy novels to one huge Epic Urban Fantasy tapestry. Yeah, tapestry, I know. I squeezed reading this into a Wheel of Time re-read, deal with it.

I love Butcher’s sense of humor. I love how I can go from tense and on the edge of my seat, to laughing out loud, and then to getting a little misty eyed all in one page. I love that he teases my stupid squishy romantic side a little, without the story turning into a another lame paranormal romance (sorry PNR fans, it’s just not my thing). I just plain love this series.

What else can I say? If you’re considering picking this book up, I’m hoping you’ve read the other thirteen books in the series first. And if you’ve read all thirteen, I’m guessing you’re enough of a fan to want to continue. And if you’re a fan, you won’t be disappointed.

No doubt about it, five stars. Hell, make it six for that matter. Loved it!

Damn it… Now I have to wait a whole year to find out what happens next.

Review: Angel’s Ink by Jocelynn Drake

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So here’s the thing.

I’m a Dresdenite. I love me some Dresden Files. It was my first real taste of Urban Fantasy and it is the reason I read so many others in the genre in hopes of finding something just as good. It’s lead me to some good series and to some really, really bad ones as well. Every other UF I’ve read gets measured against the entirety of the Dresden Files, which is probably unfair but pfft, nothing says I have to be fair.

So how does this book compare?

Well, not badly really.

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Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass

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I heard about this series and author via a recommendation at Dear Author. We were discussing the way [some] authors and [most] publishers are really screwing with the sub-genre “Urban Fantasy.” Urban Fantasy started as basically Sword & Sorcery but in a modern format and urban location. Somehow someway…Urban Fantasy became Romances with angry, sword wielding women who dressed in strings and had sex with paranormal creatures. Thank goodness someone in the comments section pointed me to this book.

This book…isn’t like that. I mean, it’s still an Urban Fantasy so it stays pretty close to the trope…but there is no emphasis on sex. The moment the heroine made a stupid decision…something bad happened to her. And there are POC characters!! Wow!

One of my favorite scenes in the book? When Khefar (hero) and Kira (heroine) are kissing and they stop. Because they have more important things to do…like planning for and killing the evil bad guy. 😀 There is no sex in this book.

This being an Urban Fantasy, Kira is the strongest Shadowchaser in quite a while. Kira is a bit of loner but it’s not because she’s angry with the world. She is gifted (or as she considers it, cursed) with a power that does not allow her to touch people in any way with her bare skin. If she touched them she would severely hurt them and possibly kill them. That puts a damper on interpersonal relationships, I’d say. She does have some really good “normal” friends but only a few – those she can trust. There is a relationship brewing in this book but it is not the focus of the story. Kira is fascinated with Khefar…but a huge portion of that comes from the fact the he is the only human she can touch.

Another thing I really liked about the book was its ethnicity and different focus. Kira is African American and Khefar is Nubian. Both Kira and Khefer worship Egyptian deities (Kira worships Ma’at and Khefar worships Isis). Egyptology is a large focus of this book (and I’m assuming the series). I haven’t ran across many (if all) fantasy books with this focus so kudos to the author!

While Kira is presented as very powerful, she is faced with a villain she cannot fight alone. She has to grow and learn teamwork during the course of the book. I appreciated the fact that Kira was shown as fallible and I hope that she will be forced into additional growth during the series. I do have a small concern: will she become too powerful? That becomes boring.

There is some info dumping at the beginning of the novel. Some of the terms are not really explained and the author leaves the reader to figure it out via context clues.

All in all, this is a fun book with great characters and a fresh background. I’m glad I ran across this author and I will be continuing this series.

Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

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I can’t tell you how many times I considered starting this series, but put it off because of the God awful covers. Likewise, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from friends that I should read it, that despite the God awful covers it really is a great series. Well, I finally bit the bullet and dove in…

And I’m really glad I did. The cover of this book isn’t a good indicator at all of the content within. It’s not about some trampy PNR chick being all bad ass and dark and shit, it’s about a smart and competent woman doing her best to help her friends and those in need. She’s still bad ass.. I mean she’s a mechanic, how hot is that? I’m a mechanical engineer and I can’t even work on cars. I can change a tire, do my breaks, change my oil (although I’d need a refresher for that one, haven’t bothered doing it myself in years), but that’s about all I have in my secret arsenal.

Just a side note.. I still can’t believe I’m reading and enjoying books like this. A year ago a scoffed at it all. Werewolves and vampires and other paranormal crap? No thanks. But I don’t know.. It’s just entertaining. It’s a great genre to use to break up all of the Epic Fantasy I read, and I’m glad I gave it a chance.

As for how this series compares to other Urban Fantasy out there.. I don’t know. I’m still young in my UF adventuring, having only conquered Dresden and Kate Daniels thus far. Still, I really really really enjoyed this story, and I’m very excited to check out the next book in the series.

Review: Monster Hunter Legion by Larry Correia

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I’m a one book at a time kind of girl. Once I start a book I finish it, there’s no switching back and forth for me. So you can imagine my distress when, in the middle of reading another perfectly good book, I heard from a friend that there was an eARC for sale of the newest Monster Hunter book.

Crap.

I needed to read it. Had to read it… Now now now! But what about the other book? I can’t just abandon it… I should probably finish it first, and then move on to Monster Hunter Legion once my plate is clean…

No. No! Not happening. I absolutely could not wait one more moment, I needed me some MHL like I needed air. So I didn’t just walk.. I ran to my purse to get my debit card so that I could snatch up a copy as quickly as humanly possibly, and then immediately fell onto the couch and began reading.

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