Category Archives: Urban Fantasy

Cold Reign by Faith Hunter

Yellowrock Clan is back to battle revanants, European Vampires, traitors, spies and conspirators.  Another day in the life of Leo’s NoLA Enforcer and her people.

Title:  Cold Reign
Author: Faith Hunter
Series: Jane Yellowrock #11
Publish Date:  May 2, 2017
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Source:  Reviewer purchased book and audio

Publisher’s Description:

Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker…and the woman rogue vampires fear most. Jane walks softly and carries a big stake to keep the peace in New Orleans, all part of her job as official enforcer to Leo Pellisier, Master of the City. But Leo’s reign is being threatened by a visit from a delegation of ancient European vampires seeking to expand their dominions.

But there’s another danger to the city. When she hears reports of revenant vampires, loose in NOLA and out for blood, Jane goes to put them down—and discovers there’s something unusual about these revenants. They never should have risen.

Jane must test her strength against a deadly, unnatural magic beyond human understanding, and a ruthless cadre of near-immortals whose thirst for power knows no bounds… 

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


 

Nervous Nellie says…

Dang ninja vamp.

This is an urban fantasy with hints of sex – nothing descriptive, lots of blood and gore.  Plenty of scheming and manipulation – vamps are good at that and magic.  The ending isn’t a cliffhanger but the game has changed dramatically so it will be impossible to stay away from the next installment. There is only one word for this book and it has to be “EXCELLENT” or how about two words..”Solid Gold”.

I have loved this series since it began.  Jane Yellowrock has grown and grown into a force that no one can deny.  Even the fangheads have to respect her because she CAN and much to her independent nature WILL take them out.

This story threw me into the action right away with Jane and Eli fighting a revenant.  There are NCIS investigations into dead sailors and since the dead sailors were drunk dry, Yellowrock Securities or rather Leo Pellissier’s Enforcer were called.  That had me hooked from the get-go.  Seriously? NCIS and Jane Yellowrock in the same paragraph? I am SO in.

The action doesn’t stop there.  Nope.  Not even close.  The revenants are the main story line and why they are all of a sudden digging themselves out of their graves 200 years after they were put there is the million dollar question.  And then comes the riots.  And then the storms.  And then the attacks on Leo and his HQ.  The suspense and treachery reach a friendzied pitch and then back down just as I was on the edge of my seat.  When I finally relax a bit, here goes the action and mayhem all over again.  Jane and her team get thrown in head first time and time again while Leo sits back with his drink and his toys just waiting for Jane to fix things.  He’s such a jerk.

Leo doesn’t come out of this adventure unscathed, however.  He suffers some loss although the loss isn’t as great to a vamp as to normal people. They have games not relationships.  Now, I may be a bit biased because I don’t like Leo much.  I will concede that he does seem to treat his people well and he pays Jane well.  I hate the vamp politics and the long game they play to one up each other.  He’s just too devious for his own good.  And pretty.  And a schmoozer.  And a liar.  And just plain fangy.

Relationships expand in Jane’s household in this book.  She gets herself a Primo, a Secundo and to top it all off – an Enforcer.  Jane has worked dang hard for her place in vamp hierarchy and she deserves happiness.  Enter Bruiser.  *Swoon*  Yes, he is pretty and romantic as ever.  I think they make a super pair.  It makes me all warm and melty.  Of course I couldn’t get comfortable with that because THEN things so a bit sideways because Ricky Bo makes an appearance.  He makes it known that he wants Jane back and (this is the part that is cool) Jane is the one that tells him to…um…go jump in a lake.  Bruiser is not the one flexing muscles here and going all alpha protective over Jane because Jane can take care of herself.  Go Jane!

I cannot rate this any higher than 5 stars though I’d want to give it 20.  Faith Hunter’s writing is out of this world and her story line is one that is original and engaging.  Go Faith!

 

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

…you might try  Soulwood series by Faith Hunter

 

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A Dream of Ashes by Orlando A. Sanchez

Ava James has been framed for murder – and the real culprit behind the Mystic deaths is drawing closer to home with every kill.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

TitleA Dream of Ashes 
Author: Orlando A. Sanchez
Series: Chronicles of the Modern Mystics 
Publish Date: April 27, 2016
Publisher: OM Publishing
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Provided by the author & Wordslinger.

Publisher’s Description:

Mystics. Magic. Murder.

A Rogue Mystic. A Ruthless Killer. A Dark Secret.

Ava James is a fire mystic with the Mystic Investigative Division. As a branch of the Enclave, a worldwide mystic organization, the MID is feared, respected and reviled. When the half-charred body of a Mystic is found, the Enclave sends her to investigate the strange death. Ava finds that all the clues point to the killer being a fire mystic, one of her own. Accused by the Enclave of working with the killer she must solve the case before a secret buried in her past is revealed and destroys her world.

Can she save herself? Will she find the murderer?

If you like hardcore, fast-moving action, complex mystical powers and an unstoppable heroine, then you’ll love Orlando A. Sanchez’ thrilling new series: Chronicles of the Modern Mystics. Buy A Dream of Ashes and join Ava on her adventure today!


Kat Mandu says…

In A Dream of Ashes, readers are introduced to Ava, a mystic with the ability to create and manipulate fire. Right from the beginning of the book, she’s been framed for several vicious murders she didn’t commit, not to mention she’s being hunted by a group of obviously wicked mystics trying to kill her. As she tries to navigate her way through a unique New York City without getting caught or killed, she’s gotta figure out where her uncle is and just who he was taken by. But getting mixed up in the affairs of mystics much more powerful than her is not what she intended, so she’ll need every ally and skill she can get.

Likes: This really is full of action and cool visuals, so it reads like a fast-paced movie with lots of awesome graphics. Plus, you know, the majority of the characters are Japanese, so ninjas. Either way, I really loved the easy-to-read flow of the book and I was quite fond of the quirky one-liners Ava gets to dish out.

What didn’t grab me: Like my fellow reviewer, this book was lacking in that really strong world-building that really would have made this a five for me. I had the feeling that the more the author wrote, the more ideas he came up with, which is nice but makes the beginning lackluster compared to the final moments. I would get caught up in the action but was left wondering just what Enclaves were and what Enforcers did and how everything worked out. Even if the info isn’t dumped at the beginning and spread out in hints throughout the book, it would have improved that clear structure of Ava’s New York/Japan aka “Mystic world.” I just didn’t get much that would help me really understand how everything works.

The only other thing is that there is quite a few organizations that come into play, plus numerous allies. I wish I could have gotten some more details on them as well, so I didn’t have to go back and ask myself “Okay, what did these guys do again?”

I just think this needs a clearer focus, but overall, I was impressed and give this three stars.

Luna Lovebooks says… 

“Go lick your wounds. When I see you next I will erase your existence.’ He turned and walked away as the sphere turned opaque and shifted us away from Nezu. We are going to die.”

Likes: This book is fast paced and action packed! Much like poor Ava, the reader doesn’t get to stop and rest. The characters and world are interesting, if not fully developed. Ava was resilient, but still vulnerable and had moments of weakness.  I love the fact that she is strong but not super woman. The mysterious Ghost and his daughter are two characters I’d like to get to know better. I would also love to know more about warders and mystics in general. This may slow down the book a bit, but it would also back up the world building.

Dislikes: I feel there are too many unanswered questions, even if this is the first book in the series. The cover is part of what drew me to pick up this book. But when I received my copy the cover is very pixilated and loses some of its beauty. I’m am sure that as a writer Sanchez knows the world he is creating. It feels solid, but as a reader I was lost.  There isn’t much information given about enclaves, mystics, or those special sticks. I feel that the plot should have slowed down to give some more world building to the readers.

Over all I give this book 4 mystics. 

 

Other recommendations…

If you like magic with unique systems and spins, we’d recommend Brandon Sanderson, J. F. Lewis, and M.K. Hobson. 

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Elementally Priceless by Shannon Mayer

Welcome to Saturday Shorts, in which we review shorter works such as short stories, novellas, middle-grade books, and graphic novels.  You get a “two-for” when you read this novella.  The start of two series in one book. How much better can it get?

Title: Elementally Priceless
Author: Shannon Mayer
Series: Rylee Adamson #0.5    and   The Elemental #0.5
Publish Date: January 20, 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description: “My Name is Rylee, and I am a Tracker”

This is the story of my first salvage, seeking out a missing child that my mentor has warned me away from.

What I find is more than one child: I find my destiny.

“They call me the Destroyer.”

I’ve been banished to the desert for years after saving a life I should have let the darkness take. But as an earth elemental, I couldn’t turn from the pleas for help any more than I can turn from them this time. Except that this time, I have a Tracker to deal with.

This is about to get interesting.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

This is an urban fantasy with some swearing.  There is no sex, no graphic violence, no romance. There is no cliffhanger, but there is an excellent hook at the end of the book. There is sword play, elementals, goblins, Minotaurs and a host of other creatures.  This is the kind of book I live for and it was excellent.

The book is divided chapter by chapter from each protagonist’s point of view.  So, you have Rylee in one chapter and the next will be Lark.  I could get a feel for both and decide if I like them well enough to proceed with the series.  I liked them.  A lot.

Rylee is what the supernatural world calls a “Tracker”. She can find anyone anywhere at any time as long as she has a picture and a name.  She uses her gift in finding the missing – mostly children – which is a noble calling.  Lark is an “Elemental”.  She has a reputation for not following the rules set in the Elemental’s world.  She has incredible power and a moral compass that will not be ignored.  She risks everything – and I mean not just her life, but risks being imprisoned for decades, maybe centuries for breaking the rules she feels need broken in order to save the world.  That’s pretty honorable too.

This novella will take a couple hours to read – it’s only 102 pages.  It’ll give you the taste and feel of Rylee and Lark’s lives.  I found their lives exceedingly worth reading, so I give this novella a 5.  I’ll be hot on the heels of book 1 in both series.  I gotta see what happens next.

Other recommendations…

…you might try  Immortal Vegas series by Jenn Stark, The Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep,  Harbinger P.I. Series by Adam J. Wright,  Prof Croft series by Brad Magnarella and I could go on and on and on…

 

Heaven Help Us by John G. Hartness

He’s the immortal magic-wielding child of Jonathan Harker and Mina Murray from the classic novel Dracula. But to him it’s not a story, it’s family history. Quincy Harker is what you’d get if Constantine were renewed by HBO and taken to the darkest of dark sides. When things go bump in the night, he bumps right back.

TitleHeaven Help Us
Author: John G. Hartness
Series: Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter
Publish Date: October 18, 2016
Genre:  Urban Fantasy/Horror
Source:  Purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description: On the run and reeling from his bloody battle with the demon Orobas, all Harker wants to do is lie low in Lockton, Ohio for a few months and let his physical and spiritual wounds heal. But there are werewolves in the diner, and magically-talented teenagers disappearing all over town. Now Harker’s hip-deep in demons again, but this time he’s got no backup.

Meanwhile. Detective Rebecca Gayle Flynn and the rest of Harker’s team are back home in Charlotte, NC, trying to prove his innocence and figure out Orobas’ next move. But no one knows how corrupt Homeland Security or the police department are, or how high the scandal runs. And now some guy shows up claiming to be the great-great-grandson of Doctor Watson (yeah, that Dr. Watson) offering to help?

Will Harker survive a battle with Hell in a small town all on his own?

Can Flynn and Uncle Luke find the proof they need to bring Harker home?

Will they stop Orobas’ master plan before he unleashes Hell on Earth?

Who is this mysterious Shadow Council, and what do they want?

When all else fails on Earth, will Heaven Help Us?

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


 

Nervous Nellie says…

I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life. Some of them have gotten good people hurt, even killed. Many of them have caused immense property damage, and one was responsible for the extinction of an entire species of South American monkey.

Warning to all that I never guessed who was the bad guy this time around. Serious betrayal to Becks and Quincy. The story is just warming up, so jump on the roller coaster – it’ll be a bumpy ride.

Something hinky is going on and even Dracula is losing his composure.  He’s lost his house and his friend.  Homeland Security is after Quincy Harker and Rebecca Flynn is trying to get him out of the hip deep trouble he’s in.   *SPOILER*  Quincy (I’m stunned) takes his relationship to Becks the next step which is totally uncharacteristic for the tough 100 year old plus cantankerous hero.  The trip to the small town in hiding doesn’t last for long and Quincy ends up making friends with the wolves.  We get to meet Jo Henry, the main character in Calling All Angels and she is a force to be reckoned with that makes me glad she’s on the human’s side.  She’s also practically polar opposite of Quincy.  A mom.  Does not cuss.  Is not supernaturally powerful.  She rocks.*END SPOILER*

I am a fan of this series and I’ll keep reading as long as John G. Hartness keeps rolling them out.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

…you might try

 

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Heaven’s Door by John G. Hartness

He’s the immortal magic-wielding child of Jonathan Harker and Mina Murray from the classic novel Dracula. But to him it’s not a story, it’s family history. Quincy Harker is what you’d get if Constantine were renewed by HBO and taken to the darkest of dark sides. When things go bump in the night, he bumps right back.

TitleHeaven’s Door
Author: John G. Hartness
Series: Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter
Publish Date: October 18, 2016
Genre:  Urban Fantasy/Horror
Source:  Purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s DescriptionHe’s finally found something to care about after a century of searching, but will he lose it all at the hands of his most dangerous foe yet?

Seven years ago, Quincy Harker vanquished the demon Orobas and saved the city of Charlotte, NC from his evil plans. Or so he thought. Now the half-divine Nephilim are turning up dead in the Queen City, and it looks like Orobas is back to finish the job.

Can Harker stop Orobas, or will the bloodthirsty demon unleash Hell on Earth?

Who is behind these horrible murders, and why do they seem to be calling Harker out?

Will this be the battle that finally ends the long life of Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter?

Find out when Harker, his girlfriend Detective Rebecca Flynn, his guardian angel Glory, and his uncle, the legendary Count Dracula bring the battle of the diving and demonic right to HEAVEN’S DOOR.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


 

Nervous Nellie says…

I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life. Some of them have gotten good people hurt, even killed. Many of them have caused immense property damage, and one was responsible for the extinction of an entire species of South American monkey.

Warning that I never guessed who was the bad guy this time around. Serious betrayal to Becks and Quincy. The story is just warming up, so jump on the roller coaster – it’ll be a bumpy ride.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

…you might try

 

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