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Review – The Weird Girls December 12, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Urban Fantasy.
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the-weird-girls

Title: The Weird Girls

Author: Cecy Robson

Publisher: Signet

Publication Date: December 4, 2012

ASIN: B008EXNZZM

Available at: Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls—with one tiny exception: they’re products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, a little weird…

The Wird sisters are different from every race on earth—human and supernatural. When human society is no longer an option for them, they move in among the resident vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region. Could this be the true home they’ve longed for? Um, not quite. After the sisters accidentally strip a witch of her powers in a bar brawl, they soon realize the mistake will cost them. Because to take on a witch means to take on her coven. And losing the battle isn’t an option.

Review:

Celia and her sisters tangle with the local witch’s coven and it’s up to Celia to protect her sisters. She takes on the head of the coven in one on one match. Over the next few days she’ll have to face a series of challenges. Never knowing what will arise, Celia will have to stay on her toes to survive.

This novella starts off with a bang and keeps on going. It’s a thrill ride that has just enough energy in it to keep you going. The witch that Celia takes on is a royal you-know-what. Cecy portrays her so perfectly. I wanted to smack her myself.

I loved that this was about Latina heroines. It’s so rare that authors write about anyone other then those of Caucasian descent. I love what it adds to the story and I wish more authors would write about heroines like Celia and her sisters.

I really loved Celia. She was protective of her sisters without being motherly. She was fierce without being masculine. She was strong without losing her vulnerability. I loved her to pieces. I loved that she was a weretiger! Something other then a wolf! The difference was slight but it was just enough to make it noticeable.

If there were weaknesses in the story it was that I felt like the background on the curse could have been developed more. After all it made the Wird girls who they were. I felt like it was a vital piece of who they were and would have provided a lot of more to the sisters characters.

Other then that, this was a strong prequel to a series and I’m truly looking forward to the first book in the series. (Sealed with a Curse comes out on December 31st.)

4 Stars_Star Rating System

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Throwback Thursday (22) December 6, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk.
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Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books. While the spotlight is always on the new releases, Throwback Thursday features a book published five or more years ago.

Title: Something from the Nightside

Author: Simon R. Green

Original Publication Date: January 1st, 2003

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

John Taylor is not a private detective per se, but he has a knack for finding lost things. That’s why he’s been hired to descend into the Nightside, an otherworldly realm in the center of London where fantasy and reality share renting space and the sun never shines.

This series is something along the vein of the Dresden Files. It’s gritty and full of magic just like Harry Dresden’s world. Except it has its own magic, its own characters. Its distinctive in that way too. The Nightside is a landscape that is hard to forget. It’s full of sorcery and demons. Witches and bounty hunters. It’s also full of violence. It’s definitely not light-hearted.

Although this series is dark, it’s still fun. It’s another series I keep meaning to pick up again. One of the many on my list.

Review – Full Blooded August 29, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Urban Fantasy.
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Title: Full Blooded

Author: Amanda Carlson

Publication Date: September 11, 2012

Publisher: Orbit

ISBN-13: 978-0316205207

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

Summary:

At twenty-six years old Jessica McClain has finally made the full change into a female werewolf. The problem is she’s the only female werewolf in existence. Can she escape the prophecy that signifies she’s the doom of the werewolves?  And can she escape those that wish to simply own her for being so unique?

Review:

I loved the novella Blooded. (See my review here.) I was eagerly anticipating Full Blooded and I even pre-ordered it, so when Amanda Carlson asked me if I wanted an advance copy of the book I was ecstatic.

Let’s start with the whole female werewolf thing. It’s rare to see an author touch upon a heroine who’s a werewolf so well. It’s being done more and more lately, but it was really done well in this book. She wasn’t dependent on changing with the full moon. Her wolf was more like an alter ego that she could  communicate with. The werewolves also had a limited telepathic ability I thought was a nice addition. Needless to say I was impressed.

As far as Jessica goes, I really liked her. She had a direct was of handling her problems that I admired. Here she was, the lone female werwewolf in a pack of werewolves not to mention the supernatural community and she handled it. She kept her cool during the most stressful of times. She had a lot of fight in her. Almost obstinately so. At one point Rourke had to pull her kicking and screaming from a fight she had no chance of winning.

So let’s get to Rourke. He came along later in the book and he was a treat. Maybe it was because he was such a late addition there wasn’t as much character development as I would have liked. With the other characters I felt I knew them more because I had been introduced to them either in the novella or earlier in the book. Rourke was still fun to read about as he was commanding and sexy. I’m looking forward to reading more about him in future books.

I also really liked the vampires. They weren’t your run of your mill vampires and they weren’t of the glamorous sexy variety either. They definitely had a horrific element to them. Add in witches and you have a very exciting UF book!

The end of the book does leave you hanging and wanting more. So consider yourself warned. The next book, Hot Blooded is due out on April 13, 2013 and I’m already eagerly awaiting it.

*A free copy was provided by the author for an honest review.

Review – Libriomancer August 24, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Urban Fantasy.
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Title: Libriomancer

Author: Jim C. Hines

Publisher: DAW  Hardcover

Publication Date: August 7, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-075640739

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg.  Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.

With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . . .

Review:

Libriomancer is a fun book full of innovative magic including a cool new twist on vampires. Isaac Vainio is a failed field agent who has been designated as a cataloger when he’s suddenly attacked by a group of vampires. From there, along with the help of Lena the bokken wielding dryad, he endeavors to find out why the vampires are attacking and murdering Libriomancers. He also tries to discover who kidnapped Gutenberg, the founder of Libriomancy. What ensues is a mad adventure that is entertaining and delightful.

Isaac is your unlikely hero. He’s a retired field agent holed up in a small town library. He’s resourceful and the way he uses books as weapons reminds me of a Mr. Gadget. Lena is a great sidekick. As a dryad she has more durability and magic then your average human woman. She also has a bit of emotional baggage, but that’s all I can say about that. They make a great team. I hope they work things out and manage to keep their partnership alive for subsequent books.

And the magic? The magic was wonderful! You could delve into books! Books! And withdraw objects! Like laser guns, swords, healing potions. You name it! It was ever reader’s dream! And the vampires! The vampires were the coolest vampires I’ve ever read about. There were different strains of vampires depending on which books they originated from. How cool is that?  I admit at a few points it got a bit confusing to keep track of all the different vampire characters, but I loved it.

I do admit having a hard time getting into the book for the first 16% of it, but once I did I became thoroughly immersed. Another great piece of work by Jim Hines!

Review – Dead Men’s Boots August 1, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3 stars, Urban Fantasy.
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Title: Dead Men’s Boots

Author: Mike Carey

Series: Felix Castor

Publisher: Grand Central Publishinng

Publication Date: September 6, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0446618724

Available at: Amazon Barnes and Noble

Summary:

Felix helps stop a lawyer from cremating a friend’s body. His widow says he was acting strangely before his death and now that he’s dead he’s ghost has gone berserk.

He also takes on a case where a man was brutally murdered with a claw hammer. Only the hammer was never found. Where’s the hammer? Why was a woman’s voice heard in the room when no one saw a woman enter or leave?

Felix tries to puzzle his way through all of this and more.

Review:

There were a lot of pieces to this book. There was the matter of Felix’s friend who has killed himself in mysterious circumstances. Leaving a  widow who didn’t want his body to be cremated, but with a will that specifically stated he be cremated. It was a mess!

Then there was the other mess with the accused murderer. Was there a third party or wasn’t there? Were the two cases connected? There were a lot of moving parts. It took a lot of time to get them moving. By the time they did I kind of lost track of what was what. Well, not really. But I did lose a lot of my ability to care.

One thing the book did have going for it was the development of Julia, the succubus. She was one of the central figures in this book and it was great! I always liked her and I liked seeing her more fully fleshed out. Hopefully she’ll continue to remain in the books as one of the cast of characters that plays if not an essential, but a substantial role.

The book did get stronger as it moved along. I will say that. It gained momentum and it finished strong. So in the end I was fully invested in it. It just took too long for that to happen. There’s something to be said for a strong finish though.

It had some great sub-plots too. There was a custody battle between Pen and Jenna-Jane over Raf, Felix’s college friend who is demonically possessed. It was a good diversion.

In the end I did enjoy this book because it had such a good end.  I can forgive a slow start for a really satisfying conclusion and great character development.  This book had all that and then some.

Review – Dead Men's Boots August 1, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3 stars, Urban Fantasy.
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Title: Dead Men’s Boots

Author: Mike Carey

Series: Felix Castor

Publisher: Grand Central Publishinng

Publication Date: September 6, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0446618724

Available at: Amazon Barnes and Noble

Summary:

Felix helps stop a lawyer from cremating a friend’s body. His widow says he was acting strangely before his death and now that he’s dead he’s ghost has gone berserk.

He also takes on a case where a man was brutally murdered with a claw hammer. Only the hammer was never found. Where’s the hammer? Why was a woman’s voice heard in the room when no one saw a woman enter or leave?

Felix tries to puzzle his way through all of this and more.

Review:

There were a lot of pieces to this book. There was the matter of Felix’s friend who has killed himself in mysterious circumstances. Leaving a  widow who didn’t want his body to be cremated, but with a will that specifically stated he be cremated. It was a mess!

Then there was the other mess with the accused murderer. Was there a third party or wasn’t there? Were the two cases connected? There were a lot of moving parts. It took a lot of time to get them moving. By the time they did I kind of lost track of what was what. Well, not really. But I did lose a lot of my ability to care.

One thing the book did have going for it was the development of Julia, the succubus. She was one of the central figures in this book and it was great! I always liked her and I liked seeing her more fully fleshed out. Hopefully she’ll continue to remain in the books as one of the cast of characters that plays if not an essential, but a substantial role.

The book did get stronger as it moved along. I will say that. It gained momentum and it finished strong. So in the end I was fully invested in it. It just took too long for that to happen. There’s something to be said for a strong finish though.

It had some great sub-plots too. There was a custody battle between Pen and Jenna-Jane over Raf, Felix’s college friend who is demonically possessed. It was a good diversion.

In the end I did enjoy this book because it had such a good end.  I can forgive a slow start for a really satisfying conclusion and great character development.  This book had all that and then some.

Review – By Darkness Revealed July 22, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Urban Fantasy.
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Title: By Darkness Revealed

Author: Kevin O. McLaughlin

Series: Blackwell Magic

Publisher: Role of the Hero Publishing

Publish Date: August 6, 2011

ASIN: B005G8L3X4

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

Summary:

Ryan Blackwell has fled to a military school in Vermont after a rift with his family, not caring if his sorcery is never to be used again. Only he finds out that the school is situated upon a major nexus of leylines. Soon he’s embroiled in a situation where he’ll need all his wits and magic about him.

Review:

I have to admit I was surprised with this book. When I started reading it, I forgot what it was about. Therefore I had no preconceived of notions of what it should have been about. I was really surprised at how good it was instead.

Blackwell is a freshman at a strict military school. He’s trying to escape his family and their sorcery. He’s just trying to keep his nose out of trouble when he finds himself in situations where he has to use his magic. I was able to completely immerse myself in the story of how he worked his way out of danger time and time again. I lost myself as he flung himself out of harm’s way here and there.

Ryan is smart and yet he’s humble. Yet he’s still confident. He’s resourceful and he’s creative. I loved spending time with him. I wouldn’t have minded him for a kid brother. There isn’t  a romantic interest in the story but I didn’t mind that.

I loved how quickly the book moved along. I was never bored. It was never dull. Yet there was always enough detail to keep you completely informed. The book never felt abbreviated or shortened. It was a complete story for a novella. There wasn’t even a teaser for the next book, which I liked. I enjoyed this book so much I really did want to keep on reading more of Ryan and his exploits anyway.

Review – The Devil is a Gentleman July 19, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Novellas, Urban Fantasy.
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Title: The Devil is a Gentleman

Author: J.L. Murray

Series: Niki Slobodian

Publisher: Hellzapoppin Press

Publication Date: May 25, 2012

ASIN: B0086D3PM8

Available at: Amazon

Summary:

When hated Congressman Frank Bradley shows up on Nikki Slobodian’s doorstep, Nikki knows he’s nothing but trouble and she’s not wrong. He’s ingested angel blood. Not only does Nikki have to shoot the Congressman to keep him from killing her, now she has to find the angel who’s blood is being distributed by one of the most secret and powerful organizations in the world. In the process she’ll learn more then she’ll ever want to about her boss Sam and she’ll find out that maybe her father wasn’t as power hungry as she thought.

Review:

I was really excited when I saw the second Nikki Slobodian had come out. I started this book a little nervously, wondering if it could possibly be as good as the first book, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. It was, possibly even better then the first book.

The book starts off with a punch when Frank Bradley shows up at Nikki’s apartment hopped up on angel blood. The action doesn’t stop there as she goes on a mission to hunt down the angel who provided Bradley with the blood.

As the action unfolds, more mysteries are uncovered about Sam among other things. There were several things going on at the same time. None of them were too confusing. They just made things even more exciting.

Nikki’s character solidified as the book unfolded. Her character seemed to harden and coalesce as the book progressed making her larger then life. Bobby Gage, her partner was also further developed. More details about his life were revealed.

The more I learned about Sam, the more astonished I became. I totally didn’t see it coming. No spoilers, but it was a great surprise. Looking back, there were enough clues to who he was, I was just so absorbed in the story I just didn’t bother putting them together.

For a 200 pages book, there’s a lot packed inside of it. At the same time, I did wish it were longer just because I wished I could spend even more time with Nikki and co.

Review – Demon Demon Burning Bright July 18, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Urban Fantasy.
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Title: Demon Demon Burning Bright

Author: Linda Welch

Series: Whisperings Paranormal Mystery

Publisher: Linda Welch

Publication Date:  January 12, 2012

ASIN: B006LDZ62M

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

From Goodreads: “I would tear the world apart for Rio. Would you do the same for Royal?”

Royal disappears. He is a demon with inhuman abilities who moves between worlds at will. He could be anywhere. He leaves me a clue that takes me to Bel-Athaer, home of the Gelpha, but the High House councilors kick me out.

I’m going back in. I’ll find the mysterious Seer who sent Royal a message, and while I’m there I’ll do my damndest to save the young High Lord from the Burning Man and find the boy’s missing companion, and at the same time elude assassins who are after my ass.

I need backup, someone as strong and fast as Gelpha. Of all the shit crazy things I’ve done, returning to Bel-Athaer in the company of a Dark Cousin and an egotistical Gelpha is high on the list.

I won’t tear a world apart, but you can bet I’ll turn it on its ear.

Review:

The fourth book of the Whisperings series started out well. Royal has disappeared in mysterious circumstances. I ached to find out why. Tiff was shaping up to be on her best behavior. She set out to find Royal no matter what the cost. She was brave. She was resourceful. She contacted the Dark Cousin Gia and found a way into Gelpha. They’re all set to brave the land in an uneasy truce together.

Everything sounds great right? Until Chris Plowman walks in and all of a sudden he’s stealing kisses from Tiff! Say what? Say again? What the hell? She’s supposed to be determined to find her lover. She’s supposed to be lovelorn! Instead she’s falling into someone else’s lap? I’m really not looking forward to a love triangle!

Gia is as mysterious as ever. A lot of questions about her and the Dark Cousins are answered but a lot of questions are left open. She’ll remain an enigma I suppose.

The world of the Gelpha had one or two landscape scenes that were noteworthy but most of it past by unnoticed. The people were what caught my attention more then anything and I wish that the world building had been a little bit more complete.

The villain was a rather sorry fellow. He turned out to be nothing more then a bag of tricks. I find it hard to believe that the Gelpha were fooled for centuries by sleight-of-hand. I was a little disappointed.

Tiff’s background filled out more in this book and it was definitely intriguing and imaginative. I’m interested in seeing where it goes from here on out. It’ll also be interesting to see what she does with what she knows.

I really enjoyed this book despite its flaws. I enjoyed reading about Tiff as she roared through the Gelpha terrain on a mission to rescue Royal. The book was action-packed and it was fun. There was nice tension to the plot.  The mystery of Tiff’s birth was interesting. There were a couple other sub-plots that were equally interesting making this book a worthwhile read.

Review – Dead Demon Walking July 17, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Urban Fantasy.
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Title: Dead Demon Walking

Author: Linda Welch

Series: Whisperings Paranormal Mystery

Publisher: Linda Welch

Publication Date:  March 20, 2011

ASIN: B004T4LHRS

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

From Goodreads:  The sequel to Along Came a Demon and The Demon Hunters.

Is it just me? Is anyone else and their sweetie whisked from a romantic getaway and end up in the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington DC? I don’t even get to show Royal my new sexy underwear.

The FBI think I’m a Medium. They want me to “communicate” with the victims of a particularly brutal crime. I have a hard time believing the Federal Bureau of Investigation would seek the help of a psychic investigator, particularly one from Utah. I don’t think they’re being honest with me.

What I discover at the crime scene tells me the killer is not human. I’m surprised when the agents reach the same conclusion. Luckily, they are way off base.

I don’t expect to revisit old places, or see old faces who demand we quit the case. I don’t expect to risk losing everything and everyone I cherish.

And what is it with Jack and Dale Jericho?

Review:

Dead Demon Walking  is a well-delivered, fast-paced punch with a mystery to boot. Tiff and Royal are dynamic as ever as their romance continues on in this third book. As a couple they’re matched perfectly. The only thing that gets in their way is the fact that Royal is from another world and has promises to that world he must keep. That promise is something Tiff can’t forget no matter what.

Meanwhile, Tiff is thrown into one situation after another where her talent for speaking to the violently slain comes to the test. First in Boston, then with the FBI. Each time becomes a tense adventure and you never know what to expect.

As Tiff and Royal become more and more embroiled in the killings that the FBI are also involved in. Things get messier and messier. Both of them get stretched to the limits of their endurance and their relationship will be put to the test once again. In one heart-stopping thrill after another we follow them until the very end.

This was by far the best book of the series. I had such fun reading it. While it was only 232 pages it felt like a much longer book. Nothing felt abbreviated or cut short. Can the next book even live up to this one?