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Listen Up! Three Light-Hearted UF/PNR Series

Since it’s been a while since I’ve posted, I thought I would play catch-up with a multi-book review. My goal lately has been to listen to audiobooks I’ve already purchased instead of buying something new. I have over a thousand audiobooks in three accounts, after all. I should be able to find SOMETHING entertaining, right? I landed on three light-hearted urban fantasy/paranormal romance series that had good mysteries and fit my mood perfectly.

I’m not going to include the story descriptions in this review to save space, but I’ll include a link to the series’ Goodreads page for descriptions. I highly recommend all three of these series if you’re in the mood for belly laughs, mysteries, relatable problems, gorgeous men, and a touch of romance.

Ordinary Magic series by Devon Monk

I decided to listen to Devon Monk‘s Ordinary Magic series again. I like this series a lot. It’s quirky and fun, and Khristine Hvam, who also voices the Jane Yellowrock and Soulwood series, does a fantastic job. I’ve liked Devon Monk’s writing since her Ally Beckstrom series. Ordinary Magic is lighter-hearted than Ally, but the mystery is good and I’m eager to see where it goes.

While the first three books in this series are published in the unabridged, single-narrator format, Graphic Audio has the first five books available. Graphic Audio produces full-scale dramatizations, though somewhat abridged. I like both types of productions, but I’d like to stay consistent within a series, so I hope the rest of Ordinary Magic gets made with Hvam narrating. Please, Audible? Pretty please?

Betwixt and Between series by Darynda Jones

After Ordinary Magic, I tried several different audiobooks. Either the story or the narrator wasn’t fitting my mood until I landed on Darynda Jones‘s Betwixt, and I realized I was wanting some light-hearted brain candy rather than my typical serious UF. The signature humor from Jones’s Charley Davidson series is all over Betwixt, and I laughed out loud several times, which was exactly what I needed. Traci Odom does a great job as narrator, ensuring the humor lands just right. My only frustration is that the second and third books aren’t out yet in audio! Bewitched releases on March 30 (a week from now) and Beguiled releases on May 5. All three books are available now in eBook, though, so I might have to switch formats to get more of this delightful series.

Madison Fox series by Rebecca Chastain

I wanted to stick with this lighthearted theme, so I decided to listen to Rebecca Chastain‘s Madison Fox series in audio. Before the audio was released, I had previously read and enjoyed this series in ebook format. So I knew I’d like the story. I just hoped the narrator did it justice. And she did! Elise Arsenault does a beautiful job voicing the characters and bringing the story to life. There are a few shorts and novellas in this series not in audio, and I’d love to see an anthology narrated by Arsenault, along with more Madison Fox adventures. In the meantime, however, I get to reread Chastain’s Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles and catch up on her Terra Haven series, which is starting to appear in audio as well. Thank you, Tantor!

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.

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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Tarnished Knight by Bec McMaster

In the steam-fuelled world of Victorian London, vampires, werewolves and slasher gangs stalk the night and a man made partly of metal is about to discover just how far he’ll go to protect the woman he loves…

Title:  Tarnished Knight
Author:  Bec McMaster
Series:  London Steampunk #1.5
Publish Date:  April 5, 2013
Source: free only to those signed up for author’s newsletter

Publisher’s Description: In the steam-fuelled world of Victorian London, vampires, werewolves and slasher gangs stalk the night and a man made partly of metal is about to discover just how far he’ll go to protect the woman he loves…

After a vicious vampire attack left him struggling to leash the dark urges of the craving virus, John “Rip” Doolan thinks he’s finally starting to master the darkness within. The only thing that threatens to shatter his hard-won control is Esme, his closest friend and the only woman he’s ever wanted. If the stubborn beauty ever realized precisely what was going through his mind, their friendship would be ruined.

For six months, Esme has waited for Rip to recover and take her as his thrall, not daring to hope for more. Too afraid to put her heart on the line, she is devastated when Rip reveals that he never had any intentions of making her his.

But when a savage gang of Slashers start causing havoc in Whitechapel, Rip and Esme have no choice. They must face up to the depth of the passion that burns between them and forge a new relationship…or risk losing each other forever.

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


Nervous Nellie says…

Indeed, the dark should fear him.

 

This is a typical case of a man being blind as a bat.  John was turned blue blood by Blade to save his life.  John and Esme were very good friends but Esme wanted more.  John wanted more too, but he didn’t think Esme did even though she practically hammered the idea on his head.  Esme tried every way she could think of to tell him – directly, indirectly, actions, words, no actions, no words and nothing seemed to break through John’s thick head.

It finally took “meddlin'” as Blade called it to clear the air.  Blade and his wife, Honoria, are making a home for their “family”.  Some are blood, some are not but they are all family.  Blade can’t stand not seeing Esme happy and even though he was supposed to leave things alone, he HAD to play matchmaker – which tickled him pink.

This is a fun book (except for when the bad guys steal people to drain them and want to take over Whitechapel) and it ends with a good ending.  There is some sex, some foul language but John and Esme get their own story which was *sigh* so nice.

 

Other reviews in this series:

  • Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster

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