Monthly Archives: April 2016

Kitty in the Underworld by Carrie Vaughn

Things take a turn for Kitty when she’s kidnapped (again!) by people who think they have a way of getting rid of their shared nemesis, Roman – and this time for good.

Kitty in the UnderworldTitle:  Kitty in the Underworld
Author:  Carrie Vaughn
SeriesKitty Norville Book 12
Publish Date: July 30, 2013
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: As Denver adjusts to a new master vampire, Kitty gets word of an intruder in the Denver werewolf pack’s territory, and she investigates the challenge to her authority. She follows the scent of the lycanthrope through the mountains where she is lured into a trap, tranquilized, and captured. When she wakes up, she finds herself in a defunct silver mine: the perfect cage for a werewolf. Her captors are a mysterious cult seeking to induct Kitty into their ranks in a ritual they hope will put an end to Dux Bellorum. Though skeptical of their power, even Kitty finds herself struggling to resist joining their cause. Whatever she decides, they expect Kitty to join them in their plot . . . willingly or otherwise.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

I’m very fifty-fifty about this book. On the one hand, Kitty’s pretty much facing, by herself, a group of strangers who have taken her prisoner. No pack. No outside allies. Just taking on the fight and trying to win, and all by her lonesome. She has victories. She manages to escape once, but then turns around and goes back in (which frankly, I didn’t agree with). She even gets to know the secrets behind Roman’s history and how he evolved to the arch-nemesis he is now. She participates in a ritual that doesn’t go as planned…but when do things ever go as planned for our favorite alpha werewolf?

Roman’s creator and three others have acquired her to take part in said ritual that will supposedly end Roman’s life. But Kitty’s not all gun-ho on their methods and fights them pretty much every step of the way.

What I liked is the strange, albeit twist of an ending that’s going to lead more into the final two novels and the oncoming battle.

What I didn’t like is the setup of this one. Sure, Kitty gets to be a badass on her own without aid of her pack or anyone else. But that meant it was mostly just her and sometimes the story dragged as she repeatedly got kidnapped, trapped, or locked inside a room. And honestly, I wish the author would have allowed Kitty to walk away and escape. I think the plot would have been more exciting. She could have come back with her allies to figure things out. It would have thrown more conflict into the story and I think I would have enjoyed it more.

Not that I didn’t like that ending. Just the rest of it didn’t appeal to me. I think I was wanting more action this close to the end. The stuff building to the climax and the final battle. It was probably the one Kitty book I’ve enjoyed the least.

badge3v4Still, I give it a three, so it’s not like I hated it. I am, however, eager to read on and discover what Cormac’s got up his sleeve.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

Much like Books 05 and 06, Kitty in the Underworld is not one of my favorite in the series. It feels like a “bottle episode;” except that the majority of the time, Kitty is with previously unknown characters.

Most of the story takes place inside an abandoned silver mine — so the setting is pretty confined and uninteresting. The characters who have kidnapped Kitty don’t talk much, except in the most obscure terms. And, once again, the plot revolves around Roman without him even being around. Because Kitty is alone a lot, there is a ton of exposition. Like Kat, I wanted to smack Kitty upside the head when she found her way out of the mine, but then went back to her kidnappers. I get that defeating Roman is important, but can we say Stockholm Syndrome?

badge3v4That being said, some really good things happen in this episode, like Kitty’s connection with the first Regina Luporum. A lot of this book is set-up for the last two books in the series, so you don’t want to skip it. It’s the same good writing, the same characters, the same world, and the same great audio narrator; it’s just isn’t one of Kitty’s more exciting adventures.

Our reviews in this series…

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series, Rachel Vincent’s Shifter series, or Eileen Wilks’s World of the Lupi series.

The Sword Chronicles: Child of the Empire by Michaelbrent Collings

In this action-packed tale of deception and bloodlust, a teenage girl discovers she has a Gift worthy of an Empire.

Sword ChroniclesTitle:  The Sword Chronicles: Child of the Empire
Author:  Michaelbrent Collings
Series: none listed at this time
Publish Date:  December 3, 2015
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Source: Received from the author in exchange for a review.

Publisher’s DescriptionShe is a Dog – one of the many children and teens across the empire of Ansborn who have been sentenced to fight in the arenas. There they fight in battle after battle until they die for the sport of the people of Ansborn – an empire built atop the peaks of five mountains.

But one day she picks up a knife… and everything changes.

She discovers she is a Greater Gift – one of a handful of magic users with powers so great they have only two choices: to join the Empire as one of its premier assassins, or die as a threat to the Empire itself.

She is no longer a Dog. Now, she is Sword. And she will soon realize that in this Empire, not all is what it seems. Good and evil collide, and she can never be sure whom to trust – not even herself.

She holds life in her hands for some. Brings death by her blade to others.

She is a killer.
She is a savior.

She is Sword.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

I loved the premise of this. When I first read the summary, I immediately thought of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen, so I requested it pretty quickly. The crossing of all the genres is what really drew me in. You’ve got a mixture of D&D type of swordplay and magic, a bit of steampunk weaponry and vehicles, abilities that are a combination of both magic and science, and some Asian flair and politics.

The hard part for me was that I couldn’t relate to the lead character, Sword, as well as I could the others. For the first half of the story, she narrates and although she’s led a tough life, so has pretty much everyone else in the entire book. I was more excited to read the later point of views of characters like Smoke and Rune, whose powers were pretty cool.

There’s an endless stream of abilities ranging from epic weapon prowess to teleportation, a Siren’s call to time travel, even the control of plants, each unique and given a certain name. Some of the names get confusing – like I really still don’t understand what a Push does – but most are pretty understandable.

The thing I didn’t like was that halfway through, it suddenly gets rushed. The plot literally jumps forward, especially towards the end, leaving a LOT of plot holes and secrets that get explained in one or two sentences. Although I admire what the author was trying to do, I wished more time would have been spent on the ending rather than the plot set up at the beginning. I understand the need for world building, but the ending could have used the same amount of care. Also, the editing starts out the same way – great writing and excellent descriptions, but then a third of the way through, a lot of typos show up, which makes me wonder the writer was in a huge hurry to get the story done and focusing on getting it finished instead of making it a really good ending. And I really don’t want to think that…

badge3v4But I still enjoyed the story nevertheless. Smoke gets points for being my favorite character and I enjoyed the time Sword spent with each “family.” This gets a three from me.

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try Eon/Eona by Alison Goodman, The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, or Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder.

Raging Star by Moria Young

The final book in the Dustlands Series will have your heart breaking and singing with joy at the same time.

15835877Title: Raging Star
Author: Moria Young
Series: Dustlands #3
Publish Date: 2014
Genre: Post-apocalyptic
Source: purchased

Publisher’s Description: Her passion kept them alive. Now it may destroy them all.

Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo…until she meets him and finds herself drawn to the man and his vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to build a stable, sustainable world…for the chosen few. The young and the healthy. Under his control.

Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Presumed dead, he’s gone undercover, feeding Saba crucial information in secret meetings. Saba hides her connection with DeMalo and commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, and her sister, Emmi, Saba leads a small guerilla band against the settlers and the Tonton militia. But the odds are overwhelming. Saba knows how to fight—she’s not called the Angel of Death for nothing. But what can she do when the fight cannot be won? Then DeMalo offers Saba a chance—a seductive chance she may not be able to refuse. How much will she sacrifice to save the people she loves?

The road has never been more dangerous, and betrayal lurks in the most unexpected places in the breathtaking conclusion to the Dust Lands Trilogy.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


 

Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

What I Liked: Once again Young did not disappoint with continuing to show us this beautiful post apocalyptic world, but it takes the back seat compared to the characters in this one. Saba grows into her leader role and proves that violence isn’t always the right way to win the war. After Rebel Heart I had a sneaking suspicion that Saba was pregnant since it kept being brought up. I was right but not until the very end when she is told that she lost the child. I love love love the fact that Demalo isn’t the visionary he tells the people he is. I feel like this is true to the real world. The plot is just as fast paced as ever, but it does not feel rushed. There is the sense of urgency for the events happening in the story but it doesn’t leave you in a whirl wind like some stories.

badge4v4What I didn’t like: I did not like the fact that Emmi, who shows so much potential in this book, dies. Then while you are still reeling over the fact that young Emmi is dead, BAM! Lugh dies as well. Then Jack leaves Saba. It is too much heartbreak all at once. I also didn’t like the fact that Lugh seems to be obsessed with Saba. I understand he wanted to rebuild their family that was lost after all the tragic events that happened to this little band of siblings, but I began to question if there was an incestual relationship going on in some parts of the story and turned me off the book just a little bit.

I give this book 4 stars.

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

Black City Series by Elizabeth Richards, Ashfall Series by Mike Mullin, Article 5 Series by Kristen Simmons

Biting Cold by Chloe Neill

It’s up to Merit.  GP won’t help, Shifters want to lay low.  Long live Cadogan House.

11746102Title Biting Cold
AuthorChloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #6
Publish Date:  August 7, 2012
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionTurned into a vampire against her will, twenty-eight-year-old Merit found her way into the dark circle of Chicago’s vampire underground, where she learned there was more to supernaturals than met the eye—and more supernaturals than the public ever imagined. And not all the secrets she learned were for sharing—among humans or inhumans.

Now Merit is on the hunt, charging across the stark American Midwest, tailing a rogue supernatural intent on stealing an ancient artifact that could unleash catastrophic evil on the world. But Merit is also the prey. An enemy of Chicagoland is hunting her, and he’ll stop at nothing to get the book for himself. No mercy allowed. No rules apply. No lives spared. The race is on.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

“Supernatural man drama was making me grouchy.”      OR

“A vampire’s best ally, Sentinel, is the guy that makes your enemy more nervous than you do.”

This is an urban fantasy with a little vampire romance mixed in.  There is a good wrap up to the book, but the story isn’t done.  There is no cliffhanger. This is not a stand alone, please start with Book 1.

I am aware that this book was released in 2012, but just recently the author released Book #12 in the series.  I can safely read Book 6 because there is a few book buffer there, however, I have been warned that there will only be 13 books in the series. That kind of bums me out.

After the drama in Book 4 and the clean up in Book 5, this book was relatively tame.  Book 4 was very emotional for me and nearly turned me off the series, but I soldiered on.  Book 6 brought the fractured pieces back together and started everyone down a new road.

Merit has grown a lot since Books 4 and 5.  She’s matured and refined her position as Sentinel of Cadogan house.  She is trying very hard to bring peace to her city.  She hasn’t the experience all the other supernatural creatures in Chicago have, but she’s the only one stepping up to the plate to help.  I stand behind that.

badge4v4I recommend this series since it’s such a long running series.  I feel like I’m part of a family, but with the end near, I know I will crash and burn with sadness for their loss. I like keeping company with the Cadogan house vampires and Jonah.  I really like Jonah.  Lot’s more than Ethan, but I’m not in control of THAT situation.  I’m ready for Book 7 to see where this new road Ethan has taken for his vampires and if he truly will be solid for Merit.

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try  SPI Files by Lisa Shearin, Immortal Vegas series by Jenn Stark or Adventures of Owl by Kristi Charish.

The Brimstone Deception by Lisa Shearin

SPI Agents never catch a break.  Action and adventure to keep you occupied, romance to make you swoon.

23529245TitleThe Brimstone Deception
Author Lisa Shearin
Series: SPI Files #3
Publish Date:  January 26, 2016
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: It’s called Brimstone. And after the first few hits, you’ll see every supernatural beast sharing the sidewalk, train, or office with you. After that, you’ll start seeing the really scary stuff.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for the SPI. And the collateral damage caused by Brimstone is something I’d like to unsee: dead drug dealers missing their hearts—and souls. Because your local pusher doesn’t stand a chance against the new cartel muscling its way into New York. And since the drug can only be produced with magic and molten brimstone fresh from Hell, that means a rift to the underworld is open somewhere in the city.

And when—not if—the cartel loses control of it, well…

It’s going to be Hell on earth.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

This is accurately labeled as a combination Janet Evanovich‘s Stephanie Plum/Men in Black story.  It’s an urban fantasy with a little romance goin’ on. There isn’t a cliffhanger, but there is a book #4 (Yay!!).    There are monsters and killing of said monsters.  It’s a fun series that has characters that appreciate humor. The series probably should be read in order, but if push comes to shove, it could be understood if started out of order.

Come for Rake Danescu, stay for MacKenna Fraser, Ian Bryne and the rest of the cast.  Rake is a hunky goblin that is sin on a stick.  He’s after MacKenna, though his motivations are suspect.  The sexual tension between the two is swoon worthy though I love how MacKenna isn’t stupid and remains vigilant regarding sussing out Rake’s intentions.  He is a goblin with a reputation – she is smart to be cautious.  MacKenna has a great sense of humor and she is also quite aware of her limitations.  That’s refreshing to me.

badge4v4The story picks up immediately after Book #2.  SPI agents don’t get a break when it comes to the supernatural. Of course, the agents have to save the world again, but that is par for the course.  I like the fact that this series doesn’t depend on just one kind of supernatural to be the villain and the stories are not anything alike.  Each book is a new challenge for the agents with plenty of action thrown in.

Don’t miss this series.  It’s a series that combines adventure, witty comebacks, romance and life threatening action scenes.  It’s great!

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

Another fun adventure for Mac and Ian.  New York’s drug dealers are being killed off while a new drug, created with Hell’s Brimstone, is flooding the city.  Ian and Mac have to track down the killer and the maker of Brimstone before anyone else dies.

Rake is, of course, a suspect.  But is he part of the plot, or is he just being set up?  I love how Rake gets “real” in this story.  We get to see beyond the playboy facade to the person underneath.

badge4v4Again, Johanna Parker does a great job of narrating the story.  She is such a good pick for these stories.  I can’t wait until the next one.

Our reviews in this series…

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

If you haven’t read them yet, the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris would be good for fans of Makenna in either book or audio form. You might also like the Paranormal Scene Investigation series by Laura Anne Gilman or the InCryptid series by Seanan McGuire. Of course, there is also the Raine Benares series by Lisa Shearin, wherein more goblins dwell.