Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

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Fire Touched
Author: Patricia Briggs
Published: 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Mercy Thompson #9
Rating: C+


I started reading the Mercy Thompson books right smack-dab in the middle of the series. Since I had read all of the Alpha & Omega series, which is a spin-off, I actually found it really easy to fall into these books.

There’s been a war brewing between the Fae and humans ever since the human justice system failed to prosecute someone who had harmed a Fae’s child. In response to the growing tension, the werewolves have declared the feud none of their business and have worked to avoid getting trapped in the middle. This neutral stance is threatened when Mercy and her husband, Adam, decide to offer their pack’s protection to a child wanted by the Fae. To avoid all werewolves getting pulled into the war, Adam and Mercy’s pack is disowned and marked rogue. This leaves them completely on their own against the Fae and vulnerable to werewolves outside of their immediate pack. Continue reading

Review: Chasing the Moon by A. Lee Martinez

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Chasing the Moon
Author: A. Lee Martinez
Published: 2011
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: N/A
Rating: B+


A. Lee Martinez is an author I don’t see floating around much, but has some really great stuff out there. His books are humorous fantasy and all standalones. This is great if you’re looking for something light to read that doesn’t mean diving into a new series.

In Chasing the Moon, we follow Diana as she moves into a new apartment and immediately discovers that the amazing flat comes with a hidden cost. Tenants of the building are burdened with some sort of supernatural job. Whether it’s hosting a bat creature in their body, being held prisoner by a tiny hellhound, or (in Diana’s case) having to share the flat with Vom; a monster who’s an unstoppable eating force and liable to devour her some day. Continue reading

Review: On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

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On the Edge
Author: Ilona Andrews
Published: 2009
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Edge #1
Rating: C


I’m really glad that I didn’t start the Edge series with On the Edge. The hero, Declan, is the first of Andrews’ heroes who just did not work for me. He was a little too much of jerk and never showed any real change in mentality from spoiled rich boy. This especially came out in his reactions toward the heroine, Rose.

Rose has been targeted ever since she flashed white at her graduation ceremony. Flashing is, essentially, an emission of magic that can be controlled and used as a weapon. Different colors signify how much power a person has, with white being the strongest. People who can flash white are extremely rare, so when Rose showed off her flash she unintentionally marked herself as a conquest for noblemen who want to strengthen their bloodlines. Living in “the Edge”, Rose is looked at as an easy victim, so she’s been dodging kidnapping attempts for years. At the same time, she’s also been raising her two younger brothers and working at a crappy job since her father abandoned them. So she really has no time to cater to Declan, the arrogant nobleman who shows up on her doorstep. Continue reading

Review: Must Love Hellhounds by Various

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Must Love Hellhounds
Authors: Various
Published: 2009
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Anthology
Series: Southern Vampire Mysteries #9, Guild Hunter #.5, Kate Daniels #3.5, & The Guardians #5.5
Rating: B


The Brittingens Go to Hell by Charlaine Harris

Rating: N/A
Didn’t read this installment in the book. I’ve tried to read Harris in the past but could never really get into her. So I decided to skip this one.


Angels’ Judgment by Nalini Singh

Rating: A-
This is a short prequel story to Singh’s Guild Hunter series. It features Sara Haziz right before she decides to accept the Guild Hunter director job. Its basically a “how they met” story about how Sara and her husband, Deacon, got together. I loved this story.

Sara and Deacon are assigned the job of finding out who is behind a spurt of vampire slayings in the area. Signs point to it being a hunter who has gone rogue. However, things begin to get complicated when one of the archangels decides to test the potential new guild director.

Like most of the things I’ve read from Singh, this was pretty fabulous. However, places felt a little rushed. Singh had several good plot threads going that could’ve easily carried a longer story. Great installment for fans of the series. Continue reading

ARC Review: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

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Dead Heat
Author: Patricia Briggs
Release Date: March 3rd 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Alpha and Omega #4
Rating: B –


Dead Heat is the long awaited fourth book in Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series. While this series can be read without reading the Mercy Thompson books (to which it has strong ties), I would highly recommend reading the Alpha and Omega stories in order, due to the world’s politics.

Taking a trip down to Arizona to buy a horse and see an old friend should’ve been a simple journey for mated werewolves, Anna and Charles Cornick. Unfortunately, things rarely go as planned for the pair, as they quickly find themselves in the middle of an investigation. Something has been hunting children in town and has made the mistake of attacking a family considered Pack. All signs are pointing to the Fae, even though they’ve all quarantined themselves away. Anna and Charles will have to step lightly as they look into the attack to avoid tipping the scales on the cold war between the Fae and humans.

At this point in the series, most of the dust between Anna and Charles has settled. They seem to have reached a point in their relationship where they’re both feeling secure and that shows here. There’s some mild tension between them about the possibility of a baby, but that takes an extreme backseat compared to the other things happening. I’m a huge fan of internal conflict between protagonists, so I definitely missed the tension in Charles and Anna’s relationship throughout Dead Heat.
Continue reading

Dime Store Magic: A Re-Read

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Dime Store Magic
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Published: 2004
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Women of the Otherworld #3
Rating: A –


I did a re-read of Dime Store Magic for one of my categories in the 105 in 2015 reading challenge. I can’t believe that it’s already been ten years since I first read this book.

After the events of Stolen, Paige Winterbourne has taken in thirteen year old Savannah Levine whose mother recently died. Savannah is a powerful witch for her age, but impulsive. It’s a dangerous combination that has the Nast Cabal (the supernatural equivalent of the mafia) tearing Paige’s life apart in a bid for custody. As her life continues to crumble around her, Paige is forced to accept assistance from Lucas Cortez, a young lawyer with his own motives for helping.

I decided to read Dime Store Magic again because I didn’t give Paige a fair shot the first time around. When I first read this, it was immediately after devouring the first two books in the series, which feature werewolf Elena Michaels. I had adored Elena and wasn’t excited to discover that the next book’s narrator was going to be the twenty-something witch from Stolen. (Especially, since I hadn’t cared for Paige in that story.) While I had ended-up enjoying Dime Store Magic on my first reading, I still thought Paige was a little lack luster. It wasn’t until later in the series that I got into her and Lucas, as characters. So, I’m glad I did a re-read as I was able to appreciate them more this time around.

The most interesting thing about going back to this book was seeing just how far Armstrong has come with her characters and the world. There were several moments in the story where I thought Paige, Lucas, and the ideas behind witches were rather shaky and clichéd. It felt like Armstrong wasn’t sure where she wanted to take the characters at this point in the series. Despite this, I still enjoyed the book enough that I might also re-read Industrial Magic.

Overall, my grade for this book didn’t change. I would recommend Dime Store Magic to fans of the series, but I don’t think I would suggest you start off with this book. If you’re looking to get into the Women of the Otherworld series, I would suggest starting out with Bitten.

Night Broken

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Night Broken
Author: Patricia Briggs
Published: 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Mercy Thompson #8
Rating: D +


Night Broken is number eight in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series and my introduction to the books.

After a late night visit from Fae Lord, Alistair Beauclaire, Mercy is given seven days to retrieve an artifact from Coyote. Unfortunately, no one seems to know how to find him and Mercy isn’t currently at the top of her game. A panicked phone call had forced Mercy and her husband, Adam, to open their home to his ex-wife, Christy. Now Christy is living with them as they protect her from a homicidal stalker.

Briggs is an engaging writer, but I have a problem with the fact that the rape of her heroines is a device she uses repeatedly. I found it hard enough to deal with it in her Alpha and Omega series, whose heroine has a brutal history of being repeatedly gang raped. So, I wasn’t chomping at the bit to dive into these books since I knew that, in one of the earlier stories, Mercy is sexually assaulted. In Night Broken, I was a little disturbed by how the rape was referred to consistently as just an assault. If I hadn’t known about it prior to going into the story I would’ve assumed that Mercy had just been beat-up. I was also horrified that there’s a video of it floating around, which almost everyone seems to have seen. I was further disturbed by the fact that everyone ignores what happened to Mercy and instead concentrates on how awesome/terrifying Adam was in it when he took out her attacker. This is not what should be concentrated on here. Why does it seems like the tape is getting passed around? Why does no one in this book see it as an extreme violation to have seen this tape? Why isn’t Mercy more upset by it? I really despised how this aspect was handled throughout the story.

Originally, I had chosen to start with this Mercy book because the plot interested me the most. I’m a sucker for stories where established relationships are going through a difficult time while danger stalks them. However, it didn’t work for me here. Mercy is having a tough time as Christy attempts to manipulate her way back into Adam’s life. Instead of doing anything about it, Mercy just keeps quiet. She constantly plays the martyr throughout this novel. By the end, I was so tired of her accepting the blame for every issue that arose and trying to take the heat for people who were at fault.

I also had a huge problem with how Adam handled Christy. He did nothing to protect his relationship with Mercy. If anything, I would say that he piled onto the issue by catering to Christy’s requests. I wasn’t on board with the excuse for his actions being that he didn’t want Mercy to look jealous and petty. I can understand (sort of) why Mercy would be concerned about everyone seeing her that way, as she’s trying to win people over. However, why is Adam so concerned by it? He’s in charge and people seem to adore him. Setting some clear boundaries and backing-up his wife instead of his ex should’ve been a no-brainer. I was further frustrated at how, by the end, nothing came from all the drama with Christy’s manipulations. We spent the majority of the book on Mercy’s angst around the topic and there was no real conclusion to it. The only thing I can think of is that Christy will still be flitting around in the next book and that’s why there was no closure there.

Despite my issues with the novel, I enjoyed the plot around Christy’s stalker and Briggs’ writing style is very smooth. It’s what kept me reading. However, I won’t be picking-up another Mercy book. I didn’t enjoy the characters, or their relationships with each other, enough to read another one. I’ll be sticking with just Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series for now.

Thirteen

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Thirteen

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Published: 2012

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Women of the Otherworld #13

Rating: A


Thirteen is the final book for Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld. While I’m very sad to see the end of one of my favorite series, I’m also glad that Armstrong chose not to drag it out until she was beating a dead horse.

The world is turning to chaos as the Supernatural Liberation Movement sets into motion their plans to expose the supernatural population. With powerful demons now choosing sides, all the factions of the Otherworld must work together if they hope to successfully stop the movement. Still caught in the middle of the brewing war is Savannah Levine, who has yet to completely regain her powers.

Even though Thirteen is told primarily from Savannah’s point of view, this is definitely everyone’s story. Her character arc is mostly over near the beginning, so the focus shifts fully to the impending battle as everyone pulls together. With things completely out of control, Savannah is just along for the ride at different points, as other character’s take the wheel. I really loved that we got one chapter from the viewpoint of each of the previous narrators in the series. Armstrong executed this wonderfully as all of those chapters worked to move the plot forward. It also seemed critical that they be told from that particular person’s point of view, rather than Savannah’s. So, it was a nice nod to all the main characters without interrupting the story’s flow.

My only confusion here is that, by the end, I felt like there should’ve been a novel for Cassandra. Cassandra has been a reoccurring character since Stolen and, while I don’t believe that we need a full length book for every character, she played an oddly large part here. She also seemed to have had a character arc happen off-page, which is the main reason I felt like there should’ve been a story for her. She does have a short story (found in Otherworld Nights) that touches briefly on it, but her change felt bigger than that.

All in all, this was a fantastic ending to the series that left a few open possibilities for Armstrong to explore in her novellas. So, while we may not get another full length Otherworld book, I’m glad that we are still getting small tidbits every now and then.

Spell Bound

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Spell Bound

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publish Date: 2011

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Women of the Otherworld #11

Rating: A


Spell Bound is book 12 in the Women of the Otherworld series and takes place immediately after Waking the Witch. It’s also a hard one to talk about since it serves to ramp things up for the final book of the series. After her adventure in Waking the Witch, Savannah discovers that her powers have disappeared at the worst moment. Witch hunters are after her and the Supernatural Liberation Movement, an organization bent on exposing supernaturals, is trying to recruit her. Without her magic, Savannah must learn to survive on her own as the world turns to chaos.

This is the first novel in the series that wouldn’t work well as a standalone. Unlike the other books, there’s no central plot that gets wrapped-up at the end. Instead, this acts as part 1 since the book ends on a cliff-hanger. It made me very glad that I could immediately hop to Thirteen instead of having to wait for it to be released. It also heavily references past stories and characters, which if you’re not at least vaguely familiar with them you’ll lose something while reading this.

As an “in-between” book, this was great. I loved the increase of tension as the Supernatural Liberation Movement starts to gain traction and the characters band together as things continue to get worse. Mostly though, I think Spell Bound excelled with Savannah’s character development. Her loss of power forces her to confront some of her greatest fears and mature a little further. I also loved getting to see some of my favorite reoccurring characters through her eyes.

While I don’t think you necessarily need to have read the entire series to enjoy Spell Bound, I do think you should have read some of the previous books. At the least, you should read Waking the Witch prior to this, otherwise I think a lot of the backstory will be lost.

Waking the Witch

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Waking the Witch

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publish Date: 2010

Series: Women of the Otherworld # 11

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: A –


Waking the Witch is book 11 in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series and marks the beginning of the end. When twenty-one year old, Savannah Levine sees the opportunity to prove she’s ready for more than just administrative work at Cortez and Winterbourne Investigations she takes it. The case leads her to a small town to investigate the possible supernatural connections in the deaths of three young women. For a small town, it’s full of suspicious characters and they all seem to have supernatural connections.

I have adored this series since I stumbled across Bitten back in 2004. So, I was incredibly sad when I heard Armstrong was going to end it at book 13 and disappointed that she planned to finish with Savannah as the main character. In her early appearances, Savannah was extremely self-involved and drove me crazy anytime she was on the page. However, by the end of the novel I was fully on-board with her as the narrator. It was nice to see how much Savannah has matured from the twelve year old we met in Stolen. She’s also given some interesting conflicts that I’m looking forward to seeing play out in the next couple of books.

Aside from establishing Savannah as a main character, Waking the Witch also works to lay the foundation for the overarching plot of the last two novels. At times, this would overshadow the main plot involving the mystery of the dead women but I still really enjoyed the story. I also kind of guessed what was happening based on how the short story Amityville Horrible had ended. Despite this, the novel was a fun ride.

If you’re going to pick-up Waking the Witch, I would recommend reading the short story Counterfeit Magic first. It acts as a nice prequel and (for people who have been following the entire series) it explains why Paige and Lucas are MIA in this one.