Category Archives: All Reviews

A Killing Frost by Seanan McGuire

I don’t know of many series whose fourteenth book is still as good as the first. But the October Daye series is certainly one of them.

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Title: A Killing Frost
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye, Book 14
Publish Date: September 15, 2020
Genre: Urban fantasy
Narrator: Mary Robinette Kowal
Source
: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: When October is informed that Simon Torquill—legally her father, due to Faerie’s archaic marriage traditions—must be invited to her wedding or risk the ceremony throwing the Kingdom in the Mists into political turmoil, she finds herself setting out on a quest she was not yet prepared to undertake for the sake of her future…. and the man who represents her family’s past.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Talk bubble for IvanaInvested Ivana says…

There hasn’t been an October Daye book yet that I don’t find fabulous. Between McGuire’s writing and Kowal’s performance, I am constantly surprised at the emotional response each book can provoke in me. A major theme in A Killing Frost is forgiveness, which is a theme guaranteed to spark emotions.

If you are enjoying this series, don’t miss out on this book. Each one really does build on the last, and I have a feeling there will be some big revelations coming in Book 15!

Ink & Sigil by Kevin Hearne

I’ve been so excited about this return to the world of the Iron Druid! And I’m very grateful that Luke Daniels continues to be the narrator.

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Title: Ink & Sigil
Author: Kevin Hearne
Series: Ink & Sigil, Book 1
Publish Date: August 25, 2020
Genre: Urban fantasy
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Source
: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Al MacBharrais is both blessed and cursed. He is blessed with an extraordinary white mustache, an appreciation for craft cocktails, and a most unique magical talent. He can cast spells with magically enchanted ink and he uses his gifts to protect our world from rogue minions of various pantheons, especially the Fae.

But he is also cursed. Anyone who hears his voice will begin to feel an inexplicable hatred for Al, so he can only communicate through the written word or speech apps. And his apprentices keep dying in peculiar freak accidents. As his personal life crumbles around him, he devotes his life to his work, all the while trying to crack the secret of his curse.

But when his latest apprentice, Gordie, turns up dead in his Glasgow flat, Al discovers evidence that Gordie was living a secret life of crime. Now Al is forced to play detective–while avoiding actual detectives who are wondering why death seems to always follow Al. Investigating his apprentice’s death will take him through Scotland’s magical underworld, and he’ll need the help of a mischievous hobgoblin if he’s to survive.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Talk bubble for IvanaInvested Ivana says…

What a delight! Ink & Sigil is a fun adventure with great characters and the excellent writing you’d expect from Hearne.

Luke Daniels did a great job, as always, bringing the characters to life with his vocal talents. I will admit that I initially struggled a bit listening to Al’s Glaswegian accent, much like I did with Owen Kennedy’s from the Iron Druid. It was a little rough on my ears until I got used to it (I say that with no nationality bias and with the full knowledge of how American English sounds to many across the world). But after listening to it for a half-hour or so, I didn’t even think about it anymore.

Whether you’ve read the Iron Druid Chronicles or not, if you enjoy really good urban fantasy, this is a book to check out. Hearne really is one of the best writers of the genre.

Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows

Everything you’ve read about Sherlock Holmes is a lie. The tale of Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows reveals the real story of Watson and Holmes and the work they undertook to keep this world safe from the old gods.

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TitleSherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows
Author: James Lovegrove
Series: The Cthulhu Casebooks, Book 1
Publish Date: November 19, 2019, Blackstone
Genre: Urban fantasy
Narrator: Dennis Kleinman
Source
: Audible Plus Catalog

Publisher’s Description: It is the autumn of 1880, and Dr. John Watson has just returned from Afghanistan. Badly injured and desperate to forget a nightmarish expedition that left him doubting his sanity, Watson is close to destitution when he meets the extraordinary Sherlock Holmes, who is investigating a series of deaths in the Shadwell district of London. Several bodies have been found, the victims appearing to have starved to death over the course of several weeks, and yet they were reported alive and well mere days before. Moreover, there are disturbing reports of creeping shadows that inspire dread in any who stray too close.

Holmes deduces a connection between the deaths and a sinister drug lord who is seeking to expand his criminal empire. Yet both he and Watson are soon forced to accept that there are forces at work far more powerful than they could ever have imagined. Forces that can be summoned, if one is brave – or mad – enough to dare …

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Talk bubble for IvanaInvested Ivana says…

I’m not exactly sure how to classify this Sherlock Holmes/Cthulhu mash-up, but urban fantasy seems as good a description as any. There is an investigation that takes place in Victorian London, and there are elements of the paranormal, so I guess it qualifies.

The premise of this book is interesting and I like the narrator’s voice. However, I don’t feel very invested in the story or the characters.

The book can get overly wordy, which isn’t surprising for a Victorian-era story. I’m usually okay with exposition, but even I got a bit tired of it.

In this story, Watson has only known Holmes for a week or so, and yet he behaves as if they’ve been devoted friends for a lifetime. I suppose the trauma they are experiencing could be bonding them more quickly than expected.

Somehow, Holmes figures out how to use magic. That seems a little forced, convenient, and out of place.

I enjoyed Dennis Kleinman as the narrator quite a bit. He creates several easily-distinguishable voices throughout the book. There could have been a greater difference between Holmes’s and Watson’s voices. They were different, but the differences were subtle to my ear.

It’s just little things like these that kept me from truly investing in the story. It wasn’t a bad story by any means, but it didn’t draw me in enough to pursue the remaining two books in the series. If you are a particular fan of Holmesian or Lovecraftian fiction, it might be worth checking out, though.

The Slaughtered Lamb Bookstore and Bar by Seana Kelly

Everyone needs a good book and a stiff drink, be they vampire, wicche, demon, or fae.  Sam’s a bartender and book nerd.  Why does someone want to kill her?

Title:  The Slaughtered Lamb Bookstore and Bar
Author:  Seana Kelly
Series:  Sam Quinn #1
Publish Date: October 13, 2020
Source: Netgalley

Publisher’s Description: Welcome to The Slaughtered Lamb Bookstore and Bar. I’m Sam Quinn, the werewolf book nerd in charge. I run my business by one simple rule: Everyone needs a good book and a stiff drink, be they vampire, wicche, demon, or fae. No wolves, though. Ever. I have my reasons.

I serve the supernatural community of San Francisco. We’ve been having some problems lately. Okay, I’m the one with the problems. The broken body of a female werewolf washed up on my doorstep. What makes sweat pool at the base of my spine, though, is realizing the scars she bears are identical to the ones I conceal. After hiding for years, I’ve been found.

A protection I’ve been relying on is gone. While my wolf traits are strengthening steadily, the loss also left my mind vulnerable to attack. Someone is ensnaring me in horrifying visions intended to kill. Clive, the sexy vampire Master of the City, has figured out how to pull me out, designating himself by personal bodyguard. He’s grumpy about it, but that kiss is telling a different story. A change is taking place. It has to. The bookish bartender must become the fledgling badass.

I’m a survivor. I’ll fight fang and claw to protect myself and the ones I love. And let’s face it, they have it coming.

 

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


Nervous Nellie says…

I wasn’t sure, at first, about this book.  The title had me wondering.  That didn’t stop me though, as I’ve been in many supernatural bars in my lifetime (through books), and I knew this would have to be interesting.

Interesting it was.  And violent.  Sam is knocked down, knocked around, and literally beaten not just once, but several times through this story.  All because someone wants to kill her.  She has no idea who she pissed off or why they could possibly be pissed off as she has kept her head down and out of sight for most of her life.  She also doesn’t know why the Master Vampire of the city stops in once a month for a drink at her bar.

The story is a tale of survival.  Getting beaten down and abandoned but still pulling herself up to do what she has to.  There is snark woven in and through this book as Sam has a sassy personality.  I had a tough time following along once or twice throughout the book, but Sam gets these horrible visions.  She may think it’s really happening, but it’s only happening in her mind.  I want to tell you that only because I got confused.

Clive Fitzwilliam.  Old vampire.  Master of the city.  Head of the Nocturne for San Francisco.  Rich and powerful and a force to be reckoned with.  Yep, he falls for the 24 year old werewolf.

Their combination has been done in other books, but I still like it.  Mostly, their relationship isn’t the forefront of the book.  It’s the mystery of who wants Sam wiped off the face of the Earth.  Whether it be bravery or stupidity, Sam takes things into her own hands and, again, does what she has to do to survive.

I like rooting for the underdog and Sam really got the party started.  I liked this book and I can hardly wait for the next book to be released.

I give it 4 stars.

 

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Morrigan’s Blood by Laura Bickle

Garnet has the blood of the legendary Morrigan – and legions of vampires and witches will go to war to possess that power.

Title:  Morrigan’s Blood
Author: Laura Bickle
Series: Crow’s Curse #1
Release date: September 25, 2020
Description: Garnet has the blood of the legendary Morrigan – and legions of vampires and witches will go to war to possess that power.

As a trauma surgeon, Garnet Conners has seen more than her fair share of blood. But when one of her patients walks off the operating table and disappears into the night, she finds herself caught in a war between legions of vampires and witches in her city.

Garnet has dreamed of bloody battlefields for years – and a mysterious lover who controls a kingdom. In her waking life, Garnet is shocked to meet that man in a club. Merrel knows her from another life, a life in which she was the legendary Morrigan, goddess of death and war.

Garnet rejects the notion of magical incarnations altogether. But she falls in with Sorin, a handsome warlock who’s determined to protect the former bootlegger city of Riverpointe from a secret society of vampires. Haunted by crows and faced with undeniable proof of magic, Garnet scrambles to protect her career and loved ones from magical violence.

Abducted by vampires who seek to turn her into a vampire against her will, can Garnet seize the power of the legendary Morrigan to forge her own path in her embattled city? Or will she be forced to serve as a fearsome weapon in a deadly nocturnal war?

 

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


Nervous Nellie says…

Wow!  This is going to be a primo series.  This book has a lot of start up – world developing stuff going on, however, it’s not boring stuff.  Author Bickle does an excellent job of developing the character that is Garnet Connors.  She’s a normal everyday trauma surgeon (not that that is normal or everyday) minding her own business.  She’s noticed crows her whole life and many of them have given her gifts.  Not valuable gifts, just things that are shiny that the crows would like.

Then BAM!!!  Garnet enters the world of the supernatural.  Without warning, some scary stuff goes down.  Attention gets brought unto her and now she’s noticed.  Dang!

Garnet is as bewildered as any of us would be when greeted with this weird stuff.  The only thing different is that she gets clues.  She has dreams.

To be honest, I really thought I was super smart and had it all figured out about where the story was going.  By the end, I closed the book (or shut my kindle off – because, well, closing a book is more final, ya know?) with a “WHOA!”  I did not see that coming.

This did have a mild cliffhanger, but I wasn’t overly bothered by it so it wasn’t dramatic.  It did allude to sex, there was swearing, there was violent death.  It was incredible!  Morrigan’s Bite comes out October 23, 2020.  I am stoked!  I give Morrigan’s Blood a 5.

Oh, and a side note to the author – THANKS FOR THE CAMEO OF SPARKY!!  Love him!!

 

 

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