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Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow

Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will dig this sassy, smart heroine who faces all the creatures that go bump in the night.

Title: Strange Angels
Author: Lili St. Crow
Series: Strange Angels, Book 01
Publish Date: May 14, 2009 by Razorbill
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionDad? Zombie.
Mom? Long gone.
Me? Well, that’s the scary part.

The Real World is a frightening place. Just ask sixteen-year-old orphan Dru Anderson, a tough girl who has taken down her fair share of bad guys. She’s armed, dangerous, and ready to kill first and ask questions later. So it’s gonna take her a while to figure out who she can trust . . .

Dru Anderson has been ‘strange’ for as long as she can remember, traveling from town to town with her father to hunt the things that go bump in the night. It’s a weird life, but a good one – until it all explodes in an icy, broken-down Dakota town when a hungry zombie busts through her kitchen door. Alone, terrified, and trapped, Dru’s going to need every inch of her wit and training to stay alive. The monsters have decided to hunt back – and this time, Dru’s on their menu. Chances of survival? Slim to none.

If she can’t last until sunup, it’s game over . . .

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat Mandu says…

Dru and her creature-hunting dad are staying in a small town, trying to live a somewhat normal life despite their knowledge of the Real World. When her dad goes to investigate a lead and returns a zombie, Dru is left with no choice but to defend herself as her world flips upside down.

Now, she’s being hunted by some supernatural baddies, and her only allies are the enigmatic Christophe and the chatty, awkward Graves, who’s recently been turned into a half-werewolf. If she can escape the city before an old enemy gets to her, she’ll have to find out who’s really targeting her and if she can survive the encounter.

I really enjoy the characters in this one. Dru is tough and very reminiscent of Buffy Summers for me. She’s very protective, sarcastic, and not afraid to stand up for herself. Sometimes she does things that scare her and poor Graves, her new best friend, who gets bitten by a wulfen. The story mostly focuses on the two of them and their situation, and it’s a nice setup for a best-friend-forever or possibly more.

I only rated this a four because there were certain scenes I struggled with, mostly action scenes that threw me off. I didn’t really get the water fountain scene in the mall or how Dru managed to kill off the hellhound. And the chase scene in the van also confused me with its sporadic, unclear details. Besides those two parts, everything else was kosher.

It’s filled with sincere, tender moments that clash wonderfully with the intense action and supernatural tension.I really enjoyed it and I imagine many others would too.

Other recommendations…

Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead; Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine; Madison Avery trilogy by Kim Harrison.

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Almost Invincible by Kristen Brand

When the theme-park ride based on the legendary, super-strong hero, White Knight, is reopened to the public, Dave, aka White Knight, gives his teenage daughter, Elisa, his complimentary tickets. Only one of his old enemies decides to take the theme park hostage…

Title: Almost Invincible
Author: Kristen Brand
Series: The White Knight & Black Valentine, Book 03
Publish Date: September 30, 2017
Genre: Superhero
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: A theme park turns into a death-trap of sadistic supervillains…

White Knight is the most popular superhero in the country—which is bad news for David Del Toro, formerly White Knight, who retired from heroics years ago and just wants some peace and quiet. When the White Knight ride at a superhero-inspired theme park has a grand reopening, Dave is more than happy to give his complimentary tickets to his daughter and her friends and spend the day at home. But then the park gets taken hostage by supervillains.

The man known as Bloodbath spent the last decade in a maximum-security prison and blames White Knight for putting him there. He’s given an ultimatum: the hero comes to face him, or he’ll kill every tourist in the park. Dave barely managed to beat Bloodbath while in his prime and doesn’t like his chances now that he’s old and busted. But unless he does something, every innocent person in the park is going to die…including his daughter.

Almost Invincible is the third book of The White Knight & Black Valentine Series but can be read as a standalone. If you like tense thrillers with big, superpowered action, don’t wait—download Almost Invincible now!

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat Mandu says…

Retired superhero White Knight has found some peaceful time to spend at home with his former supervillain wife, Valentina, and his daughter, Elisa. So when Elisa and her friends decide to hit up the local theme park to see the new ride based on her father’s old alter ego, Dave sends her on her way without too much worry.

Except later that day, there’s a prison breakout – and Bloodbath, Mother Earth, Doctor Sweet, and several other notoriously bad villains have escaped. Now several are working together to exact sweet revenge on White Knight and his sidekick, Freezefire, by calling them out on live TV and promising deadly payback.

Together, Dave and Julio face off against Bloodbath in hopes of saving hostages and others trapped in the park, finding Elisa and her friends, and putting Bloodbath down once and for all.

Many of you know that I’m a huge fan of the White Knight and Black Valentine series. Not only is it action-packed, but it also contains older heroes with backstories I appreciate and can relate to. It’s not often that superhero movies or books feature the family life of our heroes and villains. But Dave and Valentina truly love each other and their daughter, Elisa, who they work hard to protect. Almost Invincible is not an exception and I really loved it.

There’s not a lot of humor in this one, as Bloodbath is a character you probably wouldn’t want to joke about. This book tends to be a little more violent than its previous sequels, as Dave finds himself at the mercy and pain of his old nemesis, who seems to have an invincibility of his own. However, despite all the really cool battles in this one, Dave getting his butt handed to him about eight times throughout the book became slightly repetitive for me. I was also hoping that Elisa would have more scenes where she kicked butt. However, none of this ruined the story for me. It just means that Dave’s not invincible and that he has weaknesses beyond the physical.

I really enjoyed this new installment to the series. If you’re looking for some superhero and villain fun, I’d really recommend this book!

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

The Astounding Antagonists by Rafael Chandler; Superheroes Anonymous by Lexi Dunne; Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines.

T*Witches: Destiny’s Twins by H.B. Gilmour & Randy Reisfeld

The Twitches are back in the final book of the series. Can they become witches and follow in their family’s legacy? Or will Thantos prevent them from their initiation by throwing evil at them from all directions?

Title: Destiny’s Twins
Author: H. B. Gilmour & Randy Reisfeld
Series: T*Witches Book 10
Publish Date: February 1, 2004, Scholastic
Genre: YA paranormal fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: In this gripping installment, Cam and Alex are on the brink of Initiation—until someone evil sets out to stop them from succeeding. Can the twins still become true witches?

It’s the moment they’ve been waiting for. Cam and Alex are about to be initiated. In just a month, the girls will be welcomed as full-fledged witches in a blowout bash on Coventry.

But first, they’ve got to prove themselves witch-worthy. The twins must complete a series of tough magick tests. And they’ve got an extra-credit exam: someone sketchy is out to stop them both from succeeding. It’s up to the twins to decide how to get rid of this creep. But they’d better choose wisely. Because nothing less than their destiny is at stake.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat Mandu says…

The Twitches are back in the final book of the series. Can they become witches and follow their family’s legacy? Or will Thantos prevent them from their initiation by throwing evil at them from all directions?

All bets are off for the twins as they spend their entire birthday month studying, training, and preparing for their Coventry Island initiation. This test will prove just how strong, brave, and kind they are against all witchy situations. But they’re also dealt wild cards in the fact that their malicious Uncle Thantos is plotting against them. He’s recruited Sersee and some of his other lackeys to tear Alex and Cam apart when they need each other most.

I don’t really have much to say about this book. I mean, happy ending, and lots of precious self-discovery and proud moments. However, it lacks in the build up. I just thought that there would be more to their initiation or more to the book itself perhaps? There was very little backlash from other villainous characters, like Sersee and the other Furies. Plus, you never really hear about the drama with Shane and what’s happened to him after he tried to kill Thantos.

Either way, I enjoyed this reread of the series.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

You might try the Daughters of the Moon series by Lynne Ewing, the Sweep series by Cate Tiernan, and Witches’ Key To Terror by Silver RavenWolf.

Kat’s Superhero Spotlight

The New Year is here!!! And I’ve got a whole bunch of books I want to read this year. So I got my organizational skills (aka OCD) into gear and made a plan that enables me to catch up and enjoy a whole year full of books.

This month’s specialty? SUPERHEROES. I mean, I’m such a huge fan of caped crusaders and vivacious villains, so I thought I’d give this genre a shout out for the whole month of January.

January’s Spotlight Features:

Almost Invincible – Kristen Brand

A theme park turns into a death-trap of sadistic supervillains…

White Knight is the most popular superhero in the country—which is bad news for David Del Toro, formerly White Knight, who retired from heroics years ago and just wants some peace and quiet. When the White Knight ride at a superhero-inspired theme park has a grand reopening, Dave is more than happy to give his complimentary tickets to his daughter and her friends and spend the day at home. But then the park gets taken hostage by supervillains.

The man known as Bloodbath spent the last decade in a maximum-security prison and blames White Knight for putting him there. He’s given an ultimatum: the hero comes to face him, or he’ll kill every tourist in the park. Dave barely managed to beat Bloodbath while in his prime and doesn’t like his chances now that he’s old and busted. But unless he does something, every innocent person in the park is going to die…including his daughter.

Almost Invincible is the third book of The White Knight & Black Valentine Series but can be read as a standalone. If you like tense thrillers with big, superpowered action, don’t wait—download Almost Invincible now!


The Astounding Antagonists – Rafael Chandler

Dr. Agon, a megalomaniacal inventor with an arsenal of lethal gadgets. Motley, a wisecracking jewel thief with nothing left to lose. Chillpill, a cryogenic drug lord who just wants a normal life.

Baelphegor, a demonic psychopath with an ugly score to settle.
They’re the most dangerous supervillains on Earth, and they’re about to pull off the perfect crime. There’s just one catch: if they succeed, they might accidentally save the world.

From the skyscrapers of Apex City to the gates of Hell itself, the Antagonists are pursued by violent superheroes and billionaire vigilantes. But as loyalties are tested and old hatreds are rekindled, the line between friend and foe begins to blur…


Superheroes In Prose, Vol 1 – Sevan Paris 

Snow is so freaking cool.

And I’m not talking about the Superhero named Snow (but he’s actually pretty cool too). No, I’m talking about snow-snow. Like the stuff people sing about at Christmas. Like the stuff Mom used to make snow cream out of. Like the stuff whitening everything in the city of Prose.

It snowed four inches last night—unusual for Prose even in winter. And downright impossible in March … yet here it is: Clumps falling off the Michael Booth Bridge, only to slowly be replaced by more;
every boring rooftop—angled or flat—covered with a cheery, white blanket of awesome; kids building leaning snowmen in front of
their apartment buildings. No school. No worries. No Supervillains. The city looks
like the coolest snow globe ever. Nothing can ruin this day.

Except for the smartass alien I’m bonded to.

I’m Gabe Garrison and this is the next part of my story …


Superheroes In Prose, Vol 2 – Sevan Paris 

A ragged, vacant breath escapes Rock’s mouth. 

The hospital bed—even reinforced for his stony one-ton body—creaks with every exhale. They’re deep and quick, like wind rushing from a cave. Specially designed tubes rest in the slits he has for a nose, feeding him … keeping at least his body alive. Wires hang from machines and chirp heartbeats.

Rock’s three-fingered hands, each one the size of a basketball, rest outside the fuzzy blue hospital blanket. The right one is held by a woman with Magickal arm tattoos. The brown Henna patterns curve and swirl up her toned arms, disappearing under the shoulders of a blue dress. It’s the Springy kind: sleeveless, light, and flowy. She wipes a hand under a glowing pink eye.

I shift my weight from one foot to the other.

“I wish …” through Ember’s lips, Pink takes a deep breath and starts over … “I wish you could have known him, Gabe. He was so … I wanna say ‘awesome.’ But that word—awesome—gets overused so much, that when you really need it—when it really, really counts—it totally sucks the umph out of whatever you’re trying to say. But I’m here to tell you, with all the fracking umph that I can, getting to know Rock … awesome is just what it was.”

She smiles a little and sniffs. “But the first time I met him, he was a great big jerk.”

She looks out the window of the hospital room. “Liberty had just finished giving me a tour of HEROES Tower, and introducing me to Silver Sentinel and Thinkor. All of a sudden, I hear … like this thunderous boom-boom-boom behind me. I turn—look up … and up, and up …”

“And then Liberty says, ‘Rock, you’re just in time to meet one of our potential recruits: Her name is Bubble Trouble.’ ”

“And Rock says, he goes—” Pink drops her voice, making it rough—“ ‘Bubble Trouble?! What kinda silly-ass name is that?’ And then that rock slide thing he calls a laugh came out of his mouth.”

She laughs and looks back to Rock.

“God, I hated him for that. But I realized—I mean, later when he just kept bringing up the name thing, I figured out that was just him. Just his way of welcoming me. Of being more than just a teammate or whatever. Of being a friend. An obnoxious, pain in the ass friend, but a friend. He showed me the ropes or slopes, or whatever you wanna call them—that’s what he showed me … how to be a Superhero. And in return, I …”

Another gurgled wind passes out of Rock’s mouth.

“I’m sorry, Rock,” she says. “I—just, God, I am so sorry.”

Pink looks at Rock a moment longer before flicking Ember’s fiery red hair my way. “Do you think he can, like, hear me?”

The question is so unexpected, and seems so … important to her, I don’t know what to say. I take a deep breath and open my mouth—

“Gabe, are you about ready to broom this female, or what?” M says.

I press my fingertips hard against my forehead as if I could somehow rub away the alien entity living inside my brain.

My name is Gabe Garrison, and this is the next volume of my story …


In The Meantime… Check Out Some of My Favorite, Great Superhero & Villain Reads:

The Effigies

Bigtime

Superheroes Anonymous

Forever Red

DC Icons

Ex-Heroes

Renegade X

Dark Star

Golden Age

These Vicious Masks

T*Witches: Split Decision by H.B. Gilmour and Randy Reisfeld

Shocking secrets come to light at last as readers discover Thantos’s true nature, leaving the twins to deal with family drama, sinister death traps, and the loss of their magick without each other.

Title: Split Decision
Author: H.B. Gilmour & Randi Reisfeld
Series: T*Witches, Book 09
Publish Date: September 1, 2003 by Scholastic
Genre: YA paranormal fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Despite their much-needed vacation from themselves, Cam and Alex find their magick very weak while separated, resulting in evil settling in with no intention of leaving.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

 


Kat Mandu says…

Alex and Cam haven’t really been apart since Alex first showed up on her sister’s doorstep in book one. Now for the first time, the Twitches are doing their own thing. Alex is figuring out her relationship with Cade and Cam, recently split-up with Jason, and is lonely enough to fall for another one of Shane’s romantic tricks.

So Cam ends up on Coventry Island to deal with not only Shane, but also Sersee and her friends, Miranda and a very angry Ileana. Thantos tries to lure her in with promises of power and a family, with one exception: Alex isn’t part of the picture.

Alex herself has fallen into Michealina’s spell – one that promises she’ll see Sara again – and finds herself wondering if things would be better if she went back to Montana. Which is exactly how Thantos wants her to feel.

This book has a big “finding myself” kind of theme as the twins discover what life could mean for themselves without the interference of the other sister. The last eight books have tested their powers, and now it’s time to test their mettle and inner strength.

So overall, I really liked it and am ready for the finale.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

You might try the Daughters of the Moon series by Lynne Ewing, the Sweep series by Cate Tiernan, and Witches’ Key To Terror by Silver RavenWolf.