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Owl and the Electric Samurai by Kristi Charish

Owl is back.  Captain was taken, can she get him back? She’s wanted (IAA), she’s working for people she doesn’t want to work (Naga and Dragon) for and she’s being hunted by mercenaries.  Another day in the life.  Of course it couldn’t be simple – all supernatural factions seem to have a hand in the pie.

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

Title:  Owl and the Electric Samurai
Author: Kristi Charish
Series: The Adventures of Owl #3
Narrator:  Christy Romano
Released:  May 8, 2017
Description:  The third exciting novel starring the unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. From the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish (Owl and the Japanese Circus) and for fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and fantasy lovers everywhere.

The International Archaeology Association (IAA) is responsible for keeping all things supernatural under wraps. They’re also responsible for ruining the promising archaeology career of Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl.

Needless to say, Owl’s still a little sore about that.

Just to keep Owl’s life lively, the IAA has opened a bounty on the two designers of World Quest, the online RPG that is much, much more than it seems. Owl needs to locate the notorious gaming duo before the other mercenaries do. But finding the gamers won’t be easy since every clue points to them hiding out in the legendary lost city of Shangri-La. Not to mention that the last time Owl and the game designers spoke, their conversation didn’t exactly end on the best note…

Meanwhile, undercurrents of supernatural politics are running amok in Tokyo, dragging Owl and her friends into a deadly game of wits with an opponent who calls himself the Electric Samurai. The cost of losing? All-out civil war between two powerful supernatural factions

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


Nervous Nellie says…

I listened to this book in audio as well as read print.  The narrator for the audio does a fantastic job.  She distinguishes voices and the inflection is spot on.

This is an urban fantasy that has plenty of suspense, mystery and adventure.  No sex though there is a relationship between Owl and Ryan.  No cats were hurt in the reading or writing of this book.  There are some parts that are somewhat graphic with dismemberment.  There are Elves, Vampires, Zombies, Naga, Dragon and assorted other supernaturals involved.

Things are kind of hairy again with Owl.  It seems like she can never relax.  She has to find the video game masters because she’s afraid that if IAA get hold of them, they’ll be toast.  She has to find the Electric Samurai suit or she is toast.  Her elven friend may or may not be trusted.  Ryan acts weird – besides being an incubus.  Captain was taken, but he’s returned with his tail in a bunch, but otherwise unharmed.

I feel defensive of Owl through the book because it feels like Ryan isn’t always on her side.  Granted, she is a thief, but still.  Also, granted that Owl is not always the most mature and is heavily motivated by money and treasure.  I also feel like she’s often put between a rock and a hard place.  Her skills are used and somewhat abused, as is Owl herself.  She is one smart cookie and a tough one at that.

I can tell you that I love this series.  I usually don’t take to anti-heroes or “black hats” and that is what I’d categorize Owl as.  She is a thief and steals artifacts for other beings to use for their benefit, BUT if it is too dangerous, Owl will be sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

The writing is smooth and the action is fast.  It’s an easy read – I didn’t have to struggle to figure out motivations or hidden clues.  I could relax and take the ride without fear of missing any symbolic references or clues.

 

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The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish

2016-standout-award-badge-smallWHOOP!  Now I know why Penguin Random House Canada was so excited about this book at BEA.  It’s AMAZING!  Both Nell and I are totally enthralled. Not only is this a fantastic urban fantasy, but it’s also a classic “whodunit!”

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Voodoo KillingsTitle:  The Voodoo Killings
Author:  Kristi Charish
SeriesKincade Strange Book 01
Publish Date:  May 10, 2016 (US audio)
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s DescriptionFor the first time since we launched Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, Random House Canada is thrilled to announce the debut of a new urban fantasy series. Kristi Charish’s The Voodoo Killings introduces Kincaid Strange, not your average voodoo practitioner…

For starters, she’s only 27. Then there’s the fact that she lives in rain-soaked Seattle, which is not exactly Haiti. And she’s broke. With raising zombies outlawed throughout the continental USA, Kincaid has to eke out a living running seances for university students with more money than brains who are desperate for guitar lessons with the ghost of a Seattle grunge rocker–who happens to be Kincaid’s on-again, off-again roommate.

Then a stray zombie turns up outside her neighbourhood bar: Cameron Wight, an up-and-coming visual artist with no recollection of how he died or who raised him. Not only is it dangerous for Kincaid to be caught with an unauthorized zombie, she soon realizes he’s tied to a spate of murders: someone is targeting the zombies and voodoo practitioners in Seattle’s infamous Underground City, a paranormal hub. When the police refuse to investigate, the City’s oldest and foremost zombie asks Kincaid to help. Raising ghosts and zombies is one thing, but finding a murderer? She’s broke, but she’s not stupid.

And then she becomes the target…As the saying goes, when it rains it pours, especially in Seattle.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

Sometimes knowledge is not the worth the headache.

OR

Murphy’s law: everytime you think you know something, the universe will prove you wrong.

This is an urban fantasy/mystery. No sex, no graphic violence but PLENTY of magic. The story completes without a cliffhanger; however, there is a lead into the next book and the next book cannot come too soon!

Necromancers. That’s what we call ’em. Kincaide Strange and her mentor are necromancers but they call themselves “practitioners.” There are laws that govern the use of that kind of magic and it has left Kincade out in the cold. She used to work for the police solving murders. She has been relegated to the rubbish bin by the new head police guy in town and her boyfriend (dirty, rotten scoundrel) because of her magic. Luckily, her best friend is a famous grunge rocker who happens to be allergic to responsibility—and corporeally challenged. Yep, he’s a ghost. Intrigued yet? Well, that’s not even the half of it!

I started this book on a Saturday and figured I’d read a couple of chapters just to get started. I was in the same place that afternoon after not putting the book down for anything less than a bathroom break. It was a page turner. The action, adventure, and characters were put together so well that it felt like I’d known these people for several books in a series when this is only the first. Having a ‘one sit wonder’ doesn’t happen with every author I read, but it seems like when Charish gets her groove on, she makes things happen. [Just reminding everyone of Owl and Captain (her other series).]

The mystery is good. Excellent, as a matter of fact. The author had me running down blind allies and taking wrong turns all throughout the book. Not once did I guess the real perpetrator. I was led through the pages of this book on a wild goose chase or two before it finished up with a bang. It was an amazing bang, too.

badge5v4The characters are whole and entertaining. If I had to pick a favorite character, I would be hard pressed. They were all exceptional. They were developed, complex and totally captivating. They each had their own personality so much that I questioned the integrity of a couple of them. There are loose threads that are left dangling to be picked up in the next few books. I don’t know if there will be several books, but I’m hoping. This series is NOT to be missed.

To reiterate: To say I enjoyed this book would be a gross understatement. It left me riding high and excited to see what happens next. I can’t imagine where Kincade and Nate will take us next, but I’m ready. More than ready!

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

What drew me to this book: I’ve been a fan of Kristi Charish’s Adventures of Owl series since I came across it last year. I was pretty excited to hear she had started a new series, and that it was out in audio. Plus, check out the cover and description! I just had to find out how Charish could combine Seattle grunge rock, Haitian Voodoo, and a Japanese geisha.

Why I kept reading: This supernatural murder mystery blew me away! The world building is fantastic, reminding me of The Hollows series by Kim Harrison in the depth of thought put behind it. Magic is out in the open, regulated by the government and policed just like everything else. The development of the rules of magic and the impact of magic on the culture hits my world building sweet spot.

The characters are deep and well-developed.  Each one of them feels real and worthy of my attention. Much like Charish’s Owl, I occasionally wanted to smack Kincade upside the head (actually, several of them could use a good smack) as much as I was rooting for her.

The action and mystery were fantastic!  I had a horrible time putting the story aside to work or sleep, I was so engaged in finding out who did it. Seriously, I went to bed one night with 4 hours left in the audio. I couldn’t fall asleep until the book was done!

The narrator, Susannah Jones, is absolutely perfect!  I had not heard her prior to this book, but you can bet she’s going on my list of favorite narrators.

AND THE ENDING! That was the best “Oh, shit!” ending I’ve read in a long while! It’s going to make the wait for Book 2 a KILLER!

badge5v4Why I recommend it: The Voodoo Killings is a masterful urban fantasy “whodunit.” It is one of the best, if not THE best, book I’ve read so far this year!  If you’re a fan of the genre, it’s going to knock your socks off.  And even if you’re not normally an urban fantasy reader, you have got to give this book a try.  It’s so exciting and so well written, you really don’t want to miss it!

I believe the availability of this book is still limited outside of Canada. The audio is available in the US and Canada on Audible.com, but I don’t think it’s available in print or on Kindle in the US quite yet. The audio is fantastic, so give that a try, or be on the lookout for the book release in your part of the world.

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try Charish’s other series, the Adventures of Owl, Diana Rowland’s White Trash Zombie series, or Melissa F. Olson’s Boundary Magic series.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Owl and the City of Angels by Kristi Charish + Give Away Winner!

The second adventure of antiquities thief, Owl, is even better than the first!  Kristi Charish and Owl are the newest editions to our must-read list.

Owl City of AngelsTitle:  Owl and the City of Angels
Author:  Kristi Charish
Series: The Adventures of Owl Book 02
Publish Date:  October 5, 2015
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s Description: The wild second adventure for unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world—from the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish. For fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and the like.

Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl, international antiquities thief for hire, is settling into her new contract job for Vegas mogul Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon with a penchant for ancient, supernatural artifacts. And now he has his sights set on some treasures of the mysterious Syrian City of the Dead that are sitting in a recluse’s private collection.

There’s just one wrinkle. To stop the resurrection of an undead army that could wreak havoc on Los Angeles, Owl must break into a heavily guarded archaeological sight in one of the most volatile regions in the world. A detour through Libya and a run-in with Somali pirates sends the clock ticking hastily toward total paranormal disaster.

Meanwhile, Alexander and the Paris vampires have stopped stalking Owl’s apartment, but they have by no means forgotten their death grudge against her. To top everything off, Owl finds out the hard way that there is nothing heavenly about the City of Angels…

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


The Winner of the Adventures of Owl 2-Book Bundle is…

Jessica Fox

Congratulations, Jessica.  Email us from your gmail account (for verification) with your preference for ebooks or print books.  If you want print books, please include  mailing and inscription details and we’ll get the info to the author for your books. Thank you so much to Kristi Charish for providing the books for this give away.


Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

“Planes clipping sand dunes?  Let me cross that off your bucket list for you; doesn’t matter if you’re strapped in, it still hurts like a son of a bitch.”

“As a collective species, isn’t there something better we could come up with? Nope. Over five thousand years, and all we’ve managed are mummies, zombies, and a handful of walking skeletons.”

Zombies, Mummies and Jinn, OH MY!

You know how sometimes sequels are never as good as the original?  Yeah, not in this case.  This story is awesome and I am already begging for Owl #3.  It kept me strapped to my chair and madly page turning until the end and the end wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger, but there is one member of the cast that has been cat napped, I mean, kidnapped and Owl is not a happy girl.

In the first book, I said that Owl had relationship issues.  She takes her friends feelings and totally blows them off.  Now that I’m finished with book #2,  I’m not sure it’s on purpose.  I think she’s just that unaware.  Owl changed a lot for me in this book.  She’s finally approaching the threshold of “getting it”.  Owl has serious self esteem issues and I think she might be on the road to realizing those feeling are not true.  She’s good at what she does, even though it’s thieving.  She knows her artifacts and her history.  She makes archeology exciting.  But then again, being chased by vampires, zombies and mummies would lead to a certain amount of excitement, don’t you think?

Rynn is still a mystery.  He’s been around for a thousand years and he’s taken with a 27 year old human.  Yeah, yeah – old argument, I know.  I’ll forgo my soapbox in lieu of romance.  I like Rynn, but he’s a secret keeper.  He tells Owl he can’t tell, but I’m not so sure.

Carpe Diem.  The elf.  Where do I start on him?  He’s a huge mystery.  He needs a spell book, but doesn’t say why other than life or death.  How come a supernatural needs a human’s help?  Something going on there, but I don’t know what.

badge4v4World Quest.  How do these guys/gals…..supernaturals….humans ….whatever….know all about dig sites and artifacts and where they are hidden and stuff enough to build a game around?  Hmm?  How do they have all the maps and how are they accurate enough Owl can use them in her heists?  I have all sorts of theories, but I know better than to put them into print.  I’ll just embarrass myself when the real story is revealed.

The author is a writing maniac.  She had my attention from Chapter 1 til Epilogue.  Fast paced and enough twists and turns to give a person whiplash.  THIS is what I call adventure!!

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

“You know, sometimes I think the universe sits around waiting for me to say I’ll never do something, then comes up with fun and interesting ways to throw me in that exact situation.  You suck sometimes, universe.  Seriously.”

What a lot of fun!  In the second Adventure of Owl, Owl, Nadya, Rynn, and Captain set out to discover who is removing artifacts from the City of the Dead — items that curse any human who touch them.  Whoever is stealing them is impersonating Owl and everyone is after her — the IAA, the vampires, other supernaturals, and a Big Bad who is as yet unknown.

Throughout the story we learn a lot more about Owl’s troubles as an archaeology student that lead to her becoming an antiquities thief and just how insidious and evil the IAA–the governing body for archaeology worldwide–can be.  We also learn a bit more, though not everything, about Rynn’s nature as an incubus.  Owl seems to be growing as a person — she still does stupid, stupid things, despite her friend’s and employer’s instructions to the contrary; but, she’s learning to admit to her own mistakes and make smarter choices… sometimes. 🙂

badge4v4And there are several threads left hanging for future books, such as the life-or-death reason Carpe needed the Egyptian spellbook, and just who is behind the way-too-accurate World Quest game. I can’t wait to see what Owl and her friends get up to next!

Stand Out Award Badge2Other reviews…

If you like this book…

… you might like the Raine Benares series by Lisa Shearin, the Immortal Vegas series by Jenn Stark, or the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka.

Owl and the Japanese Circus + Giveaway by Kristi Charish

Owl and the Japanese Circus appears to be the start of a fun new urban fantasy series.  I’m looking forward to the next installment!

Owl and the Japanese CircusTitle:  Owl and the Japanese Circus
Author:  Kristi Charish
Series: The Adventures of Owl Book 01
Publish Date:  January 13, 2015
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.


The Adventures of Owl 2-Book Bundle Giveaway!

Owl PairAuthor Kristi Charish is giving away both Adventures of Owl books!  Your choice of signed paperback ARCS (US Only) or ebooks with Authorgraph (US and International). The winner will be announced on October 5, 2015.  Click the Rafflecopter link to enter or enter on our Facebook Giveaway page.

What is an Authorgraph?

Our thanks to Kristi Charish for providing the books for this giveaway event!

KristiCharish1_credit_VancouverPublicLibraryKristi is the author of OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS (Simon and Schuster Canada/Pocket Books), an urban fantasy about a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. She writes what she loves; adventure heavy stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists, pop culture, and the occasional RPG fantasy game thrown in the mix. The second installment in the Owl series, OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS, is scheduled for release Oct 5th 2015. THE VOODOO KILLINGS, book 1 in her second urban fantasy series, KINCAID STRANGE (Random House Canada), about a voodoo practitioner living in Seattle, is scheduled for release mid 2016.

Kristi is also a co-host for the popular Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing Podcast and also has a PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. She is represented by Carolyn Forde at Westwood Creative Artists.

Twitter: @kristicharish
FB: http://www.facebook.com/KristiCharishAuthor
Website: http://www.kristicharish.com
AISFP Podcast: http://www.adventuresinscifipublishing.com

If you like Owl and the Japanese Circus, be on the lookout for Owl and the City of Angels coming out in just two weeks, October 5th.  We’ll post our review of Owl and the City of Angels on October 5 along with the winner of the Adventures of Owl Giveaway.


Invested_Ivana 50So, what did you think of Owl and the Japanese Circus?  I thought it was a lot of fun.

Nervous_Nell 50I swear I was watching and Indiana Jones movie.  I started the book and I could not put it down.  Owl frustrated me with her attitude, but in the end I guess I understand her messed up brain.  Was this a predictable story for you?

Invested_Ivana 50Not at all.  Several times I thought I had it figured out, but then the story would go somewhere else. I was really upset when I thought for a while it was her best friend, Nadya, who was going to be the bad guy.  I’m glad that one turned out not to be true.

Nervous_Nell 50I am amazed that Owl kept her friends.  She blew them off time and again.  I can’t imagine why Rynn didn’t cut his losses and just go.  *shrug*  Whatever.  Anyway, I was totally being led along by my nose the whole time.  I didn’t see any of the outcomes at all.  The writing was really good and the story rocked.  Who was your favorite character?

Invested_Ivana 50I agree, I couldn’t have put up with Owl very long were she my friend.  She continually ignored their concern for her and acted very stupid.  I think she survived from pure luck more than anything else.  But, it made for a great story!  I can’t say I had a favorite character, really.  I thought Owl’s interaction with the smarmy vampire Alexander was fun.

Nervous_Nell 50That was very much fun.  I think he enjoyed playing the game with her more than he let on.  I really do think he was flirting with her.  In his own way.  I think that if he really didn’t want to interact with her, he’d never had answered the phone.  I liked Owl’s ballsy attitude – standing up for herself even when it wasn’t in her best interest.  I was glad you suggested this book – I must apologize, though.  I thought you were getting me into something I was going to hate.  The title really threw me off.

Invested_Ivana 50Aha!  Vindication!  See, I occasionally DO know what I’m talking about. 😛


Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

“I hate this espionage shit.  That’s why I’m into antiquities.  More money, and I get blindfolded a lot less.”

The good:  Owl is a female Indiana Jones….oh, and she doesn’t like snakes either.  The only thing different about Owl is that she is a thief selling relics and artifacts to the highest bidder.  Indy never hunted for profit.  She was blackballed from her profession and now makes whatever living she can.  She finds booby traps, solves ancient puzzles, decodes old text and throw in a few supernatural creatures and you have the story.  Archeology is a dull science with hard won achievements, but Owl’s adventures make the ride much more exciting.  She has knowledge of all sorts of foreign places and takes “Captain” the cat along.  Captain was my favorite character.  Not that he is a cat, though.  It was because of his versatility.  He is vampire hunting cat.  He is also a cat that will listen to commands.  That’s a new one on me, for sure.

The bad:  Owl, at times, can be a real jerk.  She really does treat her friends badly.  More like a servant than a friend.  Her friends want her to be careful, stay safe and watch her back.  She is wrapped up in the hunt for the relic that she blows them off time after time.  There was a lot of death associated with the relic that Owl was assigned to retrieve.  Assigned is a loose term as if she didn’t retrieve the relic, she would be eaten.

The ugly:  There are some supernatural creatures that Owl encounters that are just plain scary.  Vampires don’t sparkle and Dragons don’t fall head over heels in love with humans.

badge3v4The take-away:  This is a suck-you-in with tons of adventure.  It was a book that kept me reading until the wee hours……and it wasn’t because of the scary monsters.  I am looking forward to the next Owl story.  I just hope she learns from her mistakes a little quicker.  Rynn is a pretty good guy, I hope he doesn’t get fed up and leave..

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

What I liked:  The first book of Owl and her friends is a fun read.  Charis says she wrote Owl in the spirit of adventure movies like Indiana Jones and The Mummy. I like the mix of urban fantasy characters, especially the Japanese characters used in this book. I like that the characters are rarely what they seem, either; it kept me guessing.  I had five different guesses for the plot before I was done with the book.

What I didn’t like:  Owl gets in trouble with her friends because she goes off and does stupid things that could likely get her and other people killed.  Even though her friends tell her not to–sometimes beg her not to–she just keeps doing stupid things.  Even I got tired of her doing stupid things.  I know that accepting the fact that she does stupid things is supposedly part of her friends’ acceptance of her, but I think she goes too far.  She’s reckless and constantly ignoring those people she calls friends in this book, and I don’t think I could have put up with her.

badge3v4Conclusion:  Worth checking out for sure. I can see this becoming a favorite series if the stories stay good, so I’m giving it a 3.5.  I’m looking forward to the next adventure, but I hope Owl starts listening to her friends, or they won’t be her friends for much longer.

Stand Out Award Badge2Other reviews…

If you like this book…

… try Getting Wilde by Jenn Stark, the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka, or the Raine Benares series by Lisa Shearin.