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Howling For You by Chloe Neill

How do you choose family duty or a life that would make you happy? Why do those things never coincide? Maybe Fallon can make it all work.

Title:  Howling For You
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #8.5
Publish Date: July 7, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: reviewer purchased

Publisher’s Description:  Jeff Christopher is a shapeshifter and ally of Chicago’s Cadogan House of vampires—he’s also a tech whiz and mostly-legal hacker. And the only protective shields he’s never been able to find a way around are those of the powerful Keene Family.

For a long time, Jeff has only had eyes for the beautiful Fallon Keene. Unfortunately, she is the only sister of the lethal North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene. The intricate balances of power and politics make it all but impossible for Fallon to trust her feelings.

But fate takes a hand when the Pack’s totem is stolen—threatening the Keene family’s rule—and Fallon enlists Jeff’s help to retrieve it before the Pack is thrown into chaos. Can she and Jeff find the totem, and restore order, before it’s too late? And will Jeff finally be able to prove himself to the only person he truly loves?

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


Nervous Nellie says…

I was in the middle of Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill.  It’s the story where Merit and Ethan’s daughter is the focal point, and she’s taking her own steps into her mom and dad’s world. I took a break from that book and went back to the world of Chicagoland Vampires to catch up with the characters.

This story is about the North American Central Pack leader’s sister, Fallon. She’s in love with Jeff but is expected to make an alliance with another pack by marriage. The story takes us through the journey that Fallon has to follow in order to find happiness. It’s a quick novella with a conspiracy, love, and discovery. 

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Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 7/1/18

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip. Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

Summer is the time to sit back with your favorite beverage and book and just chill. I love summer, I love to be outside, and I love to read. All a great combination. The hard part is picking a book. Oh, it SHOULD be easy with the mountainous TBR pile I have, but let’s face it… mountainous TBR piles are extremely intimidating.

…and then there are the new releases. What am I supposed to do?? Let’s see what’s being released:

Brief Cases is the sequel anthology of Side Jobs, and will be released before Peace Talks

Set to include the following stories:

An exclusive novellette from the perspective of Maggie and Mouse.

“Curses” — from The Naked City, edited by Ellen Datlow
Takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat.

“AAAA Wizardry” — from the Dresden Files RPG, published by Evil Hat
Harry teaches a group of young Wardens his procedure for dealing with supernatural nasties.

“Even Hand” — originally from Dark and Stormy Knights, edited by Pat Elrod. Reprinted in Beyond the Pale, edited by Henry Herz.
Gentleman Johnnie Marcone clashes with a rival supernatural power. Told from Marcone’s point of view.
Takes place between Turn Coat and Changes.

“B is for Bigfoot” — from Under My Hat: Tales From the Cauldron, edited by Jonathan Strahan. Republished in Working for Bigfoot.
Takes place between Fool Moon and Grave Peril.

“I Was A Teenage Bigfoot” — from Blood Lite 3: Aftertaste, edited by Kevin J. Anderson. Republished in Working for Bigfoot.
Takes place circa Dead Beat.

“Bigfoot on Campus” — from Hex Appeal, edited by P.N. Elrod. Republished in Working for Bigfoot.
Takes place between Turn Coat and Changes.

“Bombshells” — Molly-POV novella from Dangerous Women, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Duzois.
Molly teams up with Justine and Andi to thwart a Fomor plot.
Takes place between Ghost Story and Cold Days.

“Jury Duty” — short story for Unbound, edited by Shawn Speakman.
Harry endures Jury Duty.
Set after Skin Game.

“Cold Case” — short story from Shadowed Souls, edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie Hughes.
In Molly’s first job in her new role, she teams up with Ramirez to take on a Lovecraft-esque cult.
Takes place shortly after Cold Days.

“Day One” — short story for Unfettered II, edited by Shawn Speakman.
Butters’ first mission.
Set after Skin Game.

“A Fistful of Warlocks” — short story for Straight Outta Tombstone, edited by David Boop.
Luccio takes on necromancers in the Wild West.
Set long before the events of the series.

Avalon stands revealed, but the war is far from over. For Layla Cassidy, it has only just begun.

Thrust into a new world full of magic and monsters, Layla has finally come to terms with her supernatural powers—and left her old life behind. But her enemies are relentless.

Sixteen months after her life changed forever, Layla and her team are besieged during a rescue attempt gone awry and must fight their way through to freedom. It turns out that Avalon has only grown since their last encounter, adding fresh villains to its horde. Meanwhile, revelations abound as Layla confronts twists and betrayals in her own life, with each new detail adding to the shadow that looms over her.

As Layla fights against the forces of evil, her powers begin to increase—and she discovers more about the darkness that lies in her past. As this same darkness threatens her future, will she be ready to fight for everything she holds dear?

Alex Verus is tracking down dangerous magical items unleashed into the world by Dark Mages – however, when the Light Council decide they need his help in negotiating with the perpetrators, Alex must use all his cunning and magic to strike a deal.

A brand new novella in the New York Times bestselling series featuring vampires in the Windy City.

Merit, Sentinel of Chicago’s Cadogan House, is pregnant. She’s ready to meet her daughter, but also very excited about the possibility of seeing her feet again. But trouble always seems to find her…

Ethan and Merit have been married for eight months, and they’re preparing for life-with-baby. Ethan’s battling his overprotectiveness, while Merit’s hoping she can figure out how to be a loving parent given her family’s chilliness.

While out on an evening walk, Merit stops to help a human in need, only to find herself under attack. A sociopath with a debt figures pregnant Merit is an easy target–and Cadogan House would pay handsomely for her return…

Most think that newest VC Warrior, Ronan McDonald, is just a laid-back cowboy. What they don’t see is the inner turmoil that only his small ranch and horses can tame. At least that was the way it had been until a witch with a beauty none could deny walked into his life.

Running has been Kira Grail’s life for as long as she can remember. It isn’t until she meets a VC Warrior that she realizes she is growing weary, but the forces chasing her will never bend.

Ronan doesn’t believe in witches or curses. What he does believe is that only he can keep Kira safe. Together they fight to bring the once powerful warlock, Orjyll, to his knees releasing the women of the Dragonfly Coven. During their perilous journey Kira vows to keep her distance, but the vampire cowboy has other plans.

As a Shadow, Asp planned his assassinations with meticulous care. His work required one thing, that the Council direct his kills. The coded target became a “sanctioned hit” and that distinction was vital.

His most recent assignment took him to a remote area of the Andes Mountains in Colombia. He completed his assassination according to plan – more or less – but no amount of careful planning could have prepared him for the dire circumstances he found himself in. As he faded in and out of consciousness due to a life-threatening bullet wound, he knew he might not get home. He’d resigned himself to dying alone, just not this soon.

Lyric Gadson was an unwilling expatriate. She’d trade her grandfather’s farm in the foothills of the Andes for her old life in Jacksonville, Florida in a heartbeat. But, the cost of a return ticket was out of reach, and Lyric found herself maturing from carefree teen to responsible woman on a remote Colombia banana farm. When her beloved grandfather failed to return from his yearly pilgrimage to his wife’s shrine, Lyric thought nothing of packing her kit and hiking into the Andes mountains to find him. She found her grandfather—and an unconscious man near death. Her decision to stay and care for the dying man would usher in the greatest love of her life, but it could also threaten everyone else she held dear.

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Fused in Fire by K.F. Breene

Some things are worth fighting for, and freedom is one of them. Reagan is Lucifer’s daughter, and she needs to hide from those who want to use her to their advantage. But how can she do that while meeting them on their own turf?

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

Title: Fused in Fire
Author: K.F. Breene
Series: Fire and Ice Trilogy #3
Publish Date: October 17, 2017
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Nicole Poole
Source: Audible.com

Publisher’s Description: I thought the threat from Seattle was finished. That we showed up in time and took care of business.

I hate being wrong. It really ruins my day.

When Roger, the alpha of the North American pack, shows up at my door with the news that a demon has made it to the Underworld with knowledge of me, some hard decisions have to be made.

Do I stay above ground, with all my magical friends, and wait for the battle to come to me? Or do I seek the demon out, and pluck the threat out by the root?

I don’t want my friends to die on my behalf. I could never live with myself. But if I venture into the Underworld, it’ll be the most perilous journey of my life.

This time, it isn’t just my life hanging in the balance, it is my eternity.

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


Nervous Nellie says…

“Just FYI, in case you need a barometer reading on the day’s suckery, it is high. Very high. There is a shitstorm warning in effect.”

This story does have a small mention of sex, but nothing graphic. Reagan is very independent, and she tends to swear a lot. There are parts where demons and other evil creatures meet the business end of Reagan’s sword. This is the conclusion of the trilogy, and it would be smart to read books 1 and 2 prior to this book. Also, there is a satisfying ending, and maybe Reagan and Darius could be brought back for more adventures, but it’s the end for now.

First off, I love Reagan. She is so brassy and snarky that she makes me grin every time she throws out a one-liner. Even when she is surrounded by bad guys, she has something to say that is not necessarily something someone would say when that someone’s life is being threatened. She has bravado, but why shouldn’t she since she’s the daughter of Lucifer. She’s got two powers fighting for dominance: one ice, one fire. She has to try to learn how to wield them or there will be serious trouble.

Darius is a wealthy, elder vampire who does not want a woman in his life. He needs Reagan as leverage, and she is useful with her power. His sire, Vlad, also wants to succeed in his quest to be most powerful, but he’s got a different path. As the trilogy moves along, Darius starts feeling emotional about Reagan. She makes him feel his humanity again. Darius wants Regan for his own and needs to convince her that he’s trustworthy and has her best interest in mind. It’s a feeling that many older vampires want back as they age and lose everything that they were when they were alive.

This story is action-packed, full of great movie quotes, and the daughter of the devil. Reagan has to stop the information that she exists before it reaches her father. She and Darius travel through hell, and Reagan even sees her father from a distance. It’s a fantastic adventure, and Reagan is one kick-ass bounty hunter with powers to boot. Also, if you love great showdowns, the end of this book is one that was worth the price of admission.

Our reviews from in the series…

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

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Black Luck, Prof Croft #5 by Brad Magnarella

Did you think that Prof Everson Croft was finished saving New York?  Nah, the beasties keep coming.  Everson has a new partner.  She’s a woman…and it’s not Vega!

Title:  Black Luck
Author:  Brad Magnarella
Series: Prof Croft #5
Publish Date: May 20, 2018
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Publisher’s Description:  ’Cause sometimes luck ain’t enough

In the year since the Whisperer’s attack, I’ve been busting my hump to become my best wizard, like my father. Now I’m ready for a test.

When a dark mage starts planting infernal bags around New York City, I get my wish. Like time bombs, the bags detonate without warning, spawning demonic beings that rip the souls of innocents from their bodies. And the attacks are accelerating.

Meanwhile, a new wizard has come to town. A recent addition to the Order, Pierce is everything I’m not: refined, self-assured, and adept at magic. He even has Detective Vega blushing. If riling my resentment wasn’t enough, he’s trying to shoulder me out of my own case, stoking my suspicions.

With the race to stop the dark mage growing more desperate by the minute, I need to prove that I’m the wizard to get it done—not Pierce. And without relying on my luck quotient.

That saying about being careful what you wish for?

It’s there for a reason.



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


Nervous Nellie says…

Prof Croft has been practicing…and practicing…and practicing.  Is he as good as he could be? No.  Is he getting better? Yes.  This action packed book is filled with spells, casters, demons and the big question that foreshadows the story? Is New York big enough for two wizards?  Hard to know unless you read the book.

Black Luck doesn’t have any sex in it.  Lots of death of poor unsuspecting regular folk but not too gory- just sad.  Everson is having a hard time with this case.  There is a new wizard in town and Everson is a tad jealous of the new showman.  This story is more about Everson’s growth as a person instead of a wizard.  He’s got work to do in his professional life as well as his personal one.

I really enjoy Everson’s world.  I think my favorite character is Tabitha, the talking cat.  She doesn’t have any golden insight or does she assist in any major way.  She’s just a talking cat and that’s enough.  Now, if you want me to name my favorite part of the book, it’d have to be when Everson’s partner calls to the murderous imps and makes them mind.  She should be called the Imp Caller.  Or the Creature Tamer.  Or Dark World Whisperer. Any of those would be accurate.

I enjoyed seeing a glimpse inside of Everson and Ricki Vega’s new life.  They are trying hard to stay together but with the pressures of the job it’s proving difficult.  I’m always a sucker for a good romance.  There isn’t much romance in this story, but I enjoyed what there was.

Black Luck?  5 stars for sure.

 

Our reviews in this series…

 

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Series Spotlight: Esther Diamond (audio) by Laura Resnick

Laura Resnick (author) and GraphicAudio have teamed up to create the Esther Diamond series audios, and it’s a fantastic pairing! If you like full-production audiobooks, you don’t want to miss this series!

I am so excited about the Esther Diamond series’ audiobooks being produced by GraphicAudio! They are fantastic. Try it out for yourself with this sample.

I’m gonna break this Series Spotlight down into two sections: one to talk about the series and one to talk about the audio production because they both deserve their own spotlight.

Series

Esther Diamond is a struggling New York actress. While working on an off-broadway play as a chorus nymph and understudy to the female lead, the lead actress disappears.

Enter Maximillian Zadok, a 350-year-old wizard, stationed in New York by the Magnum Collegium to fight mystical evil. Max implores Esther not to take up her understudy duties for fear she will go missing, too. Once Max convinces Esther that there is mystical evil afoot, Esther rushes to help Max find and stop the culprit before she becomes the next victim.

Meanwhile, the lead actress’s disappearance is also being investigated by Detective Connor Lopez, a sexy Latino with blue Irish eyes. Lopez finds Esther intriguing and would like to get to know her better. Unfortunately, Lopez doesn’t believe in mystical evil, even though Esther’s tried to tell him that it exists. While he is strongly drawn to Esther, he fears she’s unstable, dangerous, and possibly felonious. Their involvement complicates his life and jeopardizes his job, but he has trouble staying away.

During their adventures, Esther, Max, and a number of their friends encounter evil sorcerers, demons, voodoo loa, zombies, vampires, spirits, cursed objects, missing corpses, mob hit men, death omens, drag queens, entitled young adults, harried production assistants, and narcissistic actors. The mysteries are intriguing and well written, but I think it’s the main characters that really shine in the series. They are complex and layered, unique and intriguing, each with their own secrets that are slowly revealed over time.

This series has magic, mystery, and adventure, but it also has humor, friendship, and relationship tension (not everything is rosy in this romance) that builds with each book. It’s more glossy than gritty, on the lighter side of urban fantasy, but the protagonists have depth, and it’s easy to care about them. I highly recommend the series for a fun urban fantasy read.

If you’re not an audiobook fan, you can find the Esther Diamond series in digital and print formats at your favorite online retailer.

Audio Production

I’ve mentioned on this blog before how awesome I think GraphicAudio is. They make audiobooks into full-production masterpieces. They’re essentially radio-plays, for those of us who are old enough to have heard of those. There is a full cast of characters, so the voices are all different and the “he said” and “she said” of regular audiobooks aren’t needed. There’s music and sound effects in all the right places, which enhance the story greatly. As a big fan of audiobooks, I absolutely adore these productions. They are just so much fun!

Graphic Audio did a FANTASTIC job with the Esther Diamond series. I cannot imagine a better casting of voices, especially Colleen Delany as Esther Diamond, Thomas Keegan as Detective Connor Lopez, Bob Payne as Maximillian Zadok, and Tim Carlin as Lucky Battistuzzi. The voice  acting is fantastic and really conveys the character personalities and emotional content of the story. The GraphicAudio actors bring each character completely to life in a way that only the very best voice actors can in regular audiobooks.

The background music and sound effects add such depth and dimension to the story that you really do feel as if you are listening to a movie. It’s that much easier to feel the tension of being stalked when you can hear the footsteps behind you, or to visualize a street fight when you can hear the impact of fists, the grunts of the combatants, and the splash of blood on pavement.

I don’t think I’m capable of expressing just how emotionally involved I feel when listening to GraphicAudio productions. It is an amazing medium for some genres, and I really encourage authors, particularly indie sci-fi and fantasy authors, to consider GraphicAudio for their books before any other audiobook company. Your listeners will experience a much richer version of your creation than I think you’ll find elsewhere.

A rich creation is exactly how I’d describe the Esther Diamond series on GraphicAudio. Five stars for this superb production.

You might also like:

GraphicAudio boasts a number of sci-fi and fantasy series by well-known authors such as Piers Anthony, Stephen Blackmoore, Peter David, Alan Dean Foster, Simon R. Green, Charlaine Harris, Jim C. Hines, Cherie Priest, Stephen Lawhead, Kelly McCullough, Ari Marmell, Elizabeth Moon, Michael Moorcock, Lilith Saintcrow, R.A. Salvatore, Brandon Sanderson, Michael J. Sullivan, Brent Weeks, and Eileen Wilks. They also have a number of audio adaptations of both Marvel and DC comics.

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