Tag Archives: urban fantasy

Not a Docile “Widder Woman”

bloodOfEarthBlood of the Earth by Faith Hunter is the first in an offshoot series from her Jane Yellowrock series. It features Nell Ingram who is anything but a docile “widder woman” (a widow in the church dialect.)

Nell grew up in a polygamist cult. She was married off in the church when she was 15 yrs old. She was married in the eyes of the law at 18. The second marriage allowed her to become more of the woman she is at the beginning of the book – independent and perhaps what her church people would call uppity. Her husband left her the land when he died instead of leaving it to the church. This gave her the independence she craved. But it comes at a price. She is harassed by some of the men from the church on a fairly regular basis it seems. And it also feels like it’s just a matter of time before something bad happens to Nell at the rate things are going.

Nell has a talent for growing things. But, it’s more than that. She finds that she has a connection with the woods on the land – Soulwood. She has an awareness of all that the wood is aware of. People on her property? The wood feels unsettled.

PsyLed, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, contacts Nell and offers her a position as a consultant. They want to see if a group called the Human Seekers of Truth is in contact with the church people she was brought up with and maybe more. There are kidnappings to boot. Who is responsible is just the tip of the iceberg.

Nell agrees to work with PsyLed and begins to form bonds with some of her co-workers. They are a team, but Nell has to learn to be a part of a team. She isn’t used to trusting people, especially men, with her back.

I enjoyed the story. Overall I give it a 4 out of 5 stars. It’s well written. The church could have been a caricature, but with all the relationships involved, it becomes complex. I enjoyed the relationship building in the team as well. And I liked that while the overall story is settled, there are still a few things you want to know more about to keep your interest into the next book in the series. I look forward to reading more about Nell and her Soulwood.

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Good vs. Evil in Anthology

urban_enemiesHere the emphasis is on the evil part of the Good vs. Evil. Seventeen stories from diverse urban fantasy series showcase their villains. There are stories from the following authors: Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files), Kelley Armstrong (The Cainsville and Otherworld series), Seanan McGuire (InCryptid), Kevin Hearne (The Iron Druid Chronicles), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger), Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet), Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville), Joseph Nassise (Templar Chronicles), C.E. Murphy (Walker Papers), Steven Savile (Glasstown), Caitlin Kittredge (the Hellhound Chronicles and the Black London series), Jeffrey Somers (The Ustari Cycle), Sam Witt (Pitchfork County), Craig Schaefer (Daniel Faust), Jon F. Merz (Lawson Vampire), Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock), and Diana Pharaoh Francis (Horngate Witches).

Most of the stories are told from the villain’s point of view rather than just being about the villain. Some of them are written in such a way that you can actually feel a moment of empathy for them. Others showcase just how evil they really are. My favorite story was probably the one from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I found myself empathizing with the main character. Also well written, but definitely falling into the catagory of scarier villains was the story about beings that are like cuckoos from Seanan McGuire.

I wasn’t expecting to empathize with any of the villains. I was not familiar with all of the series. In fact, I was hoping to gain some idea of other urban fantasy series I might enjoy. It was a success in that regard. All of the stories were well written no matter the angle they took. In truth, I would reread this whole anthology in addition to seeking out other works by the authors. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Urban Enemies is due out August 1, 2017 from Gallery Books. If you enjoy urban fantasy, definitely check this book out.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own and freely given.

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May the Circle Become Broken…

After the incidents in Bitter Bite (Elemental Assassin #14), Finn finds out that he has unraveledinherited a wild west theme park complete with a luxury hotel. He talks Bria, Owen, and Gin into accompanying him for a vacation. Considering her last vacation was a little disastrous, Gin is skeptical about going, but gives in. She has her own motives for the trip: finding out more about her mother and the Circle – a group that is supposed to secretly control all the illegal goings-on in Ashland.

It’s not long before they find out there is more to the park than expected. Mainly that Hugh Tucker, a supposed member of the Circle, is present and has personnel in key positions in the park. One thing leads to another and the bullets and knives start to fly.

Jennifer Estep mixes things up a bit this time around in a couple of ways. The setting is outside the usual Ashland. The supporting characters are a slightly different group. And there is an interesting dwarf named Ira who has been working in the park for a long time. Also, the bad guys are relatively new and different as Gin looks into the mysterious Circle. I think the Circle as her nemesis will continue into the next book and perhaps beyond.

I liked that Gin remembers more about her mother and her past in this book. And the cast of characters worked well together – both the white hats (Gin and her friends) and the black hats (Hugh and his henchmen).

It was fast paced as all the other books in the series that I’ve read have been. And Estep makes  you want to know what will happen next. I ended up reading it in just 3 days which is pretty quick for me.

If you like urban fantasy with plenty of action, then you will like this series. There is also a little romance and character development. You could probably read it on its own, but you would enjoy it more if you’ve read a few of the other books in the series. I give Unraveled 4 stars out of 5.

Unraveled by Jennifer Estep is due out August 30, 2016 from Pocket Books. An excerpt can be read on her website.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Skindancer Dakota Frost returns in Liquid Fire

LiquidFireFrancisFrom the synopsis:”Magical tattoo artist Dakota Frost is back—fighting a fire that may burn down the world.”

Dakota Frost returns in the third book in the Skindancer series. This time she and her daughter Cinnamon are on their way to San Francisco for Cinnamon to accept a math award. The trip is doing double duty for Dakota and her friends as they have a meeting with the edgeworlders in the city to discuss having a Magical Security Council similar to what has developed in Atlanta. Edgeworlders are vampires, fae, wizards, were-kind and the like.

In the course of things, Dakota meets a fireweaver named Jewel on the airplane. They become friendly and flirty. Dakota ends up being dragged into a magical feud in which dragons and liquid fire play a major role. “The race is on to find the truth about liquid fire, the secret behind Dakota’s magic tattoos, and the message hidden in the fireweaver’s secret codes—before the world goes up in flames.” (synopsis)

In the third book, the characters of Dakota and Cinnamon are more comfortable with each other and their roles as parent and child. Dakota has adopted Cinnamon who is a weretiger and a genius. Generally speaking, the characters are interesting and the major players are well developed.

Plotwise, there are ups and downs the way there should be, high action interspersed with downtime. There is a place in the middle of the book where it almost seems like it could have been broken into two books, but it still works as a whole. I got a little bogged down in the science of how things work and found myself skimming these parts after a while. These parts will interest you especially if you have an interest in codes and cryptography. I enjoyed the parts that spoke to the mythology and history of things.

If you haven’t read the previous books, you can still read and enjoy this one. It’s a richer experience though if  you have read the other two in the series. Liquid Fire was released May 22, 2015 from Bell Bridge Books.

Overall, the book is well written and deserves its 4 star status.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Yellowrock Securities Seeks Ultimate Suckhead: a Review of Dark Heir by Faith Hunter

darkheirIn Dark Heir by Faith Hunter, the action starts pretty much from the moment you start the book. There is a brief respite from time to time, but basically it’s a quick moving, action filled book. This is book 9 in the Jane Yellowrock series.

Jane Yellowrock, owner and active manager of Yellowrock Securities provides security for the Master of the City, that is to say, the head vampire of the city. She and her officers are called to headquarters because of an altercation on a lower level. Things go from bad to worse and next thing they know, the team is hunting the Son of Darkness, one of the biggest, baddest vampires ever.

Synopsis from Publisher:

Shapeshifting skinwalker Jane Yellowrock is the best in the business when it comes to slaying vampires. But her latest fanged foe may be above her pay grade…

For centuries, the extremely powerful and ruthless vampire witches of the European Council have wandered the Earth, controlling governments, fostering war, creating political conflict, and often leaving absolute destruction in their wake. One of the strongest of them is set to create some havoc in the city of New Orleans, and it’s definitely personal.

Jane is tasked with tracking him down. With the help of a tech wiz and an ex-Army ranger, her partners in Yellowrock Securities, she’ll have to put everything on the line, and hope it’s enough. Things are about to get real hard in the Big Easy.

Review: The book is well written. The pace is quick. The characters are well rounded. Alex is her go to tech man and his brother Eli is her partner in action. Bruiser is her “something,” her romantic interest. There isn’t much of what you would consider gooey romance here, but there is definitely a developing relationship between the two. And for those of you who prefer your books sex free, keep looking. There aren’t many sex scenes, but when those that are in the book are pretty hot.

Jane is a tough woman. A Cherokee shapeshifting skinwalker, Jane has an alternate shape of a mountain lion. This gives her an advantage over regular people in regards to senses, strength, and healing. She can be one of the guys. But in the end, she is also still a woman who will cry when it’s appropriate, and hang with her besties.

I give this book 4 stars for the action, the characters, and the writing. There is humor in the mix. The way she and others call the vampires suckheads is just one example. This was the first Jane Yellowrock book that I’ve read and I really enjoyed it. It can function as a stand-alone novel. I can only imagine that if you’ve been following the series it would be even better. The book was released April 7, 2015 by Roc. More about the author and her books can be found at Faithhunter.net

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

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