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Raised in Fire by K.F. Breene

Got a steady job.  Got a housekeeper, a fallen angel for a dad, an understanding boss, and even a righteous sword.  Who needs more?  Reagen Sommerset, that’s who.  Less talk and a lot more action is what she’s all about.

Title:  Raised in Fire
Author: K.F. Breene
Series: Fire and Ice Triolgy #2
Publish Date: September 22, 2017
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Nicole Poole
Source: Purchased from Audible

Publisher’s DescriptionIt is a common truth in my life that when it rains, it pours.

The killings that once plagued New Orleans are cropping up again in Seattle. The local office is stumped. I’m called out to lend a fresh set of eyes, and my unique magical touch.

It’s only when I get there that I realize the Seattle office isn’t stumped at all.

They’re being silenced by the Mages’ Guild, a corrupt magical institution that doesn’t want word to get out of what is plaguing the city. Worse, news of my magic might’ve slipped down to the underworld, hitting the ears of some extremely powerful demons.

What I thought was a routine murder investigation turns into a fight for my life. With the help of Darius, my stalker elder vampire, and my dual-mage side kicks, I somehow have to dodge the Guild in order to stop one of the most powerful demons I’ve ever encountered. If I don’t? It’ll escape back down below with proof of what I really am.

My life hangs in the balance, and this time, I can’t see a way out.

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


Nervous Nellie says…

This book rocked! This is #2 in the 3 book run of Fire and Ice series.  There is swearing.  There is death.  There are monsters.  There is tricks and conspiracies.  All those things, but mostly just the last 4 will give you a hint there are vampires as well.  There isn’t a cliffhanger, but a lead in to the next book.  There is some graphic stuff but not horror graphic.

 

 

I can’t say enough good about this series so far except I will be sad when I get through the last book.  Reagan is someone I’d like to hang with and see what trouble she land in next.  Her dad is Lucifer.  She’s supposed to reign in hell.  She doesn’t want to.  She’s great at the bounty hunter job she has in the brink and she doesn’t want to be noticed by the demons bent on bringing her into her daddy’s inner circle.  Well, they could also use her to their own ends too.  I mean, they are demons, you know.

And then there is the vampire stalker.  Oh, he doesn’t think he’s a stalker.  For some reason, even unknown to the elder vampire himself, he is pulled to Reagan like a magnet.  Darius doesn’t like the feelings she’s stirring up in him.  He’s a vampire for goodness sake.  He’s not supposed to have feelings, but Reagan is pulling him back to his humanity.  It’s really a fun journey.  Reagan and Darius work so well together, it would be a shame to split them.

This story is exactly as the description claims and it was an adventure full of discovery and death.

Other recommendations…

…you might try  Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock, Brad Magnarella’s Prof Croft series, and Jenn Stark’s amazing Immortal Vegas series…

 

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Black Spark by Al K. Line

Black Spark introduces us to Faz Pound—called “Spark” since he is the Black Spark—an enforcer for the Dark Council, an interspecies group that ensures practitioners and magic beings follow the rules, particularly the one about not letting the Regulars know that magic exists. Faz has just broken that rule, killing a Regular in public. Bystanders filmed it, and YouTubers are eating it up. But Faz wasn’t exactly himself when he murdered the Regular with magic. Now he has twenty-four hours to erase the incident from the collective memory and figure out why he made such a horrible, horrible mistake.

Title: Black Spark
Author: Al K. Line
Series: Dark Magic Enforcer, Book 01
Publish Date: February 7, 2017 by Tantor Media
Genre: Urban fantasy
Narrator: Gildart Jackson
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: I watched in horror as dark magic sprang from my hand faster than an imp after your socks. I didn’t know my name, let alone that I had such power. The man was dead. I panicked. I ran.

How was I to know I was a dark magic enforcer, tasked with keeping magic hidden from the world? Yeah, total noob move, I know.

But my memory is returning, and the Hidden have given me twenty-four hours to make amends. Cover it up. Finish the job I was given, or else. Failure isn’t an option. Well, it is, but I like me, and I like being alive.

Time is running out as I battle to make things right and exact revenge on those that took so much from me. Easier said than done as I deal with angry mages, bitey zombies, oversexed imps, creepy necromancers, and grumpy trolls—and those are just my friends!—all while trying to stop myself falling in love with my best friend, Kate, who just so happens to be a hot vampire.

I’m Faz Pound, a.k.a. Black Spark, Dark Magic Enforcer, and time is running out.

At least I have my looks. For now.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested Ivana says…

“The rain had stopped, making the new paving gleam like a polished crystal ball as the sun made a risky move. It dared to shine for a few brief moments, before a concerted attack by the Welsh cloud gang took back their territory. The victorious clouds celebrated with a downpour so sudden and fierce the street emptied in seconds.”

Black Spark delivers a fun urban fantasy adventure, interesting world-building that turns some of the normal tropes on their heads, a thoughtful system of magic, and some fun and lovable characters. Kate, Grandma, and the imp Intus, are probably my favorites. There are some jewels of writing, such as the “Welsh cloud gang” quote above, that really tickled my fancy. And I love that Gildart Jackson is the narrator. Jackson is also the narrator of the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka, of which I am very fond. He does an excellent job.

The book is written as if Faz is talking directly to the reader. So the fourth wall gets broken a lot; the narrative switches between past and present tense, depending on whether Faz is describing something that Is (in his imaginary present state) or Was part of the story he’s telling; and the character’s voice is much closer to the informal way someone would talk rather than the more formal way someone would write. These appear to be deliberate choices by the author that make the book feel very chatty and fun, appropriate for an urban fantasy.

However, there are some less-polished aspects of the writing that I noticed, being a fiction editor myself. It often feels as if Faz is rambling. His sentences can get very long and go off in a multitude of directions. At times, the narrative tense changes from past to present when it probably shouldn’t. There are also parts of the narrative that feel a bit repetitive. None of these things really impacted my enjoyment of the story; I just happened to notice them.

I do have to say, though, that I’m very glad I chose to listen to the audio version. I happened to open the Kindle version, thinking I could get some reading done at a time when I couldn’t listen to the audio. Attempting to actually read the book was a very different experience because of a noticeable lack of editing or proofreading. I’m sure I’m more sensitive to issues of grammar and punctuation because of my job as a line editor, so not all readers may be as affected as I was by this lack. But I’m not sure I could have finished the book had I tried to read it. I have to give Gildart Jackson triple kudos for translating that raw text into a great performance.

That being said, I am not reviewing the text version of this book, but the audio. I give the audiobook four stars. I liked the characters and world-building, and I enjoyed the story. I’m sure I will pick up more audios in the series and check out Line’s other series as well. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that, since Black Spark was published in 2016, Line has discovered the benefits of a good editor.

Other recommendations…

Gildart Jackson also narrates the Alex Verus series, which I adore. You might also check out James Hunter’s Yancy Lazarus series and anything by J.A. Cipriano.

Born in Fire by K.F. Breene

Working with vampires is never a good idea, but when broke, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Title:  Born in Fire
Author: K.F. Breene
Series: Fire and Ice Triolgy #1
Publish Date: May 1, 2017
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Nicole Poole
Source: Purchased from Audible

Publisher’s DescriptionSupernatural Bounty Hunter isn’t the sort of thing you see on LinkedIn. But with a rare type of magic like mine, I don’t have many options.

Dangerous or not, the job is mine. And it was going fine, until an old as sin vampire stole my mark, and with it, my pay day. Knowing I’m poor and desperate, he has offered me a job. I’ll have to work by his side to help solve a top secret case. Everyone knows not to trust vampires. Especially a hot elder vampire. But without any other jobs coming up, I’m stuck. As I uncover a web of lies and treachery, revealing an enemy I didn’t know existed, the truth of my identity is threatened. I might make it out alive, only to end up in a gilded cage.

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


Nervous Nellie says…

This was a fun an engrossing book. There is no sex-alluding to the deed, yes.  Following through, no.  There is one spot of nudity, plenty of killing of witches and mages…and zombies but no graphic description of violence that leans into the horror category. The four letter “f” word was used a little bit, but it had to be done to make the character a dimensional and believable character. There was also no cliffhanger.

Can I just say that I was not expecting this kind of story? I was kind of expecting a heroine that’s clingy and wishy washy attitude that amplifies to the damsel in distress when she falls into a vapid romance with a vampire that’s going to save her.  That’s what I could get when I do no research, read no sample chapters and listen to no snippets from the narrator.  Basically, I put my money down blindly.  That’s totally unusual for me. But I did it anyway.  Me.  Taking a chance.  Write it in the history books.

What I got in this book, were characters that practically walked out of my earbuds to sit in the room with me.  I gotta say, Reagan’s contacts, clients, co-workers and neighbors are incredibly interesting folk.

When I grow up, I want to be just like Reagan Sommerset.  She’s not afraid of anything.  She’s confident, knows exactly what to do and can figure out a smart ass comeback in a blink of an eye.  She’s such a stand out character that I loved her every minute. Even in the most difficult and awkward of situations, she always has something sassy to say.

As I said, the writing was great – but the narrator….the narrator NAILED it. Her voice range was amazing. This book did not sound like it was being read-no, it sounded like it was being lived!  Poole’s inflection on frustrated, tired, sassy, bossy, hardass Reagan was golden.  Then came the other characters that stood out.  I could picture Reagan’s neighbors and the mage duo like I’d known them forever.  I don’t know how Nicole Poole does it, but she can go from one character speech to another totally different character with a different accent and timbre at the drop of a hat.  I was so impressed with this book, I had no other choice but to give it 5 stars.  It was that good.

Other recommendations…

…you might try  Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock, Brad Magnarella’s Prof Croft series, and Jenn Stark’s amazing Immortal Vegas series…

 

Raw Power by Ambrose Isben

If you were dying, and you were asked if you wanted a risky experimental surgery to save your life, would you do it?  What if the surgery involved a demon’s heart?

Raw PowerTitleRaw Power
Author: Ambrose Isben
Series: Demon Hearted #1
Publish Date: June 6, 2016 by Audible Studios
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Narrator: James Foster
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description:  I’m one of those disgruntled millennials you’ve heard about on the evening news. I’ve got a master’s degree in Art History, a mountain of student loan debt and no job to show for it.

Wait, scratch that. I track down stolen pieces of art for wealthy clients and then beat whoever stole them to within an inch of their life. Say what you will, but it puts bread on the table.

Something went wrong with this last job of mine, though. I walked in on something I wasn’t supposed to see and got murdered by witches. Yeah, real, legit witches. Never saw that one coming, did you? Neither did I, and the only reason I’m writing this is because some doctor working for an ancient secret society decided it would be a good idea to use me as a science experiment.

See, he implanted a new heart in me and saved my life, but it wasn’t just any old heart. It was a demon’s heart. Nifty, eh?

Anyhow, I’m back and better than ever, except that, now and then, the demon takes over completely and I do awful things. Lose control. But enough about that. This is a story about how I (mostly) rein in the demon’s impulsive personality and seek revenge against the coven of witches that tried to kill me. Along the way, I learn a thing or two about this secret society I’m apparently now a member of and find out that there’s a lot of shit out there that goes “bump” in the night.

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


Nervous Nellie says…

Wow. This was a great book.  I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I started this Nervous_Nellie_100book, but it was non-stop action until the end.  This story did not have any sex. There was plenty of violence but nothing too graphic. There was no cliffhanger.

Lucian is kind of a jerk.  I won’t lie and say he’s super cool because he’s not.  He’s basically a thug that “repossesses” items for the uber rich.  He’s just looking for a fast buck and really doesn’t care much about the whys or wherefores. He just wants the payday.

Then the demon heart happened.

The next thing Lucian knew, he was thrown into an A-Team situation where he had the temperament of a spoiled prom queen and the power of… well… a demon.

Not sure that’s a good idea, but the witch coven that is super evil is sacrificing children to work their magic.  It’s up to Lucian and his Scorpion-like team to stop their end game.

By the end of the book, I got to liking Lucian a little better.  That’s good writing right there.  The author took a character from slug to hero in two hundred pages. I am looking forward to the next book, Roaring Blood, as it is waiting for me in my TBR pile.

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Quickly, I’d like to address the narrator.  Sometimes you get really crappy narrators that can’t fit their character no matter what.  Not this guy.  His spin on Lucian Colt was awesome.  He captured Lucian’s whiny, spoiled attitude and then helped him along his way to self-realization and becoming a better guy.  Super narrator.  I’ll listen to him again, no questions asked!

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.

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