Tag Archives: urban fantasy

Unwanted (Elemental Assassin #14.5), by Jennifer Estep

20 Sep

27876414Format: e-ARC, 100 pages

Publisher: Pocket Star

Published: July 18, 2016

ISBN: 9781501142291

Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy

Back cover blurb: The New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin series continues with a new e-novella–from the point of view of Finnegan Lane, the foster brother of Gin Blanco, and a fan favorite of readers of the series.

The fallout from his disastrous “family reunion” in Bitter Bite has left Finn feeling hurt, angry, and depressed. He can barely stand to look at himself in the mirror, much less eat any of the delicious barbecue from Gin’s famed Pork Pit restaurant.

But when the funeral for a slain security guard at his bank turns into a showdown with some nasty underworld giants, Finn knows that he must act in order to protect an innocent family.

Finnegan Lane might be the most unwanted man in Ashland these days, but he’s determined to try to make amends for his past mistakes…

My review: I’ve always been a big fan of Finnegan Lane, but after Bitter Bite – and yes, you must read that first before tackling this novella – he’s been ostracized by almost everyone except Gin and the gang. His boss at the bank is making him attend all the funerals of his dead coworkers, even though no one wants him there, and it is just before the last of these that he discovers the widow is being shaken down by an Ashland baddie for the life insurance policy.

Now, Finn is not his father’s son for nothing, so he takes it upon himself to help her out, sans Gin, and gets back a little of his self-esteem in the process. I really enjoyed this in the same way I enjoyed Owen’s novella, as a nice way to gain closure on a difficult episode. Loved the ending, and now I can go on to the next book without worrying too much about Finn’s mental health.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5




Bitter Bite (Elemental Assassin #14), by Jennifer Estep

17 Apr

25835889Format: e-ARC, 400 pages

Publisher: Pocket Books

Published: February 23, 2016

ISBN: 9781501111273

Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy

Back cover blurb: Which is stronger: blood ties or a battle-tested friendship?

It’s not easy being queen bee of an underworld abuzz with crooks and killers. Wielding my potent Ice and Stone elemental magic will only get me so far—my real secret is my tight-knit makeshift family, a motley crew of cops and criminals, dwarves and playboys. My foster brother Finnegan Lane is my right-hand man, but when his suddenly not-dead relative comes back into the picture, I’m the one on the outside looking in.

It’s funny how life works: one minute your best friend is rock-steady, and the next he’s doe-eyed and buying into this whole loving-relative routine to the point of ignoring you. I’d like to be happy for Finn, I really would. But all of my instincts are telling me that beneath the syrupy sweet demeanor and old-fashioned charm, this sudden interloper is planning something. The whole shtick leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. This person might have avoided the grave once, but I’ll put anyone who hurts Finn in the ground—for good.

My review: The last few Gin Blanco books have been my favourites of the series, as we see history repeating itself and Gin facing enemies worthy of her attention in the wake of Mab’s demise. The enemy here was foreshadowed in the last book and turned out to be quite a tricky prospect for Gin, who has to balance her love of family with her absolute loathing. I really enjoyed the twists and turns, and loved how Gin’s friends and family worked as a team. One big revelation at the end should prove great fodder for the next couple of books. Looking forward to them!

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5





Stacking the Shelves #5

18 Apr

Stacking The Shelvesl_thumb2Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Welcome back to Stacking the Shelves, a regular meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the latest books you have added to your shelves, physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course e-books! Here is my haul from this week.

Purchased from Audible

Purchased from Audible

Audible had a half-price sale on my entire wishlist, so of course I couldn’t let that pass. I purchased Endless Knight by Kresley Cole, Off the Grid by Faith Hunter, and pre-ordered One Night With You by Marie Force.

Approved from Netgalley

Approved from Netgalley

Netgalley approved my request for The One In My Heart, a new contemporary romance by Sherry Thomas.

Purchased from iBooks

Purchased from iBooks

While waiting to see if I’d won a competition for Catherine Robertson‘s new book, The Hiding Places – I think I was unsuccessful – I downloaded her free novella, May Day, from New Zealand iBooks. I also received my pre-order of Story of Son, by J.R. Ward.

Purchased from Amazon

Purchased from Amazon

My only other purchase this week was from Amazon, and was The Shadows by J.R. Ward.  I waited a couple of weeks for the price to come down before I bought this, purely because I’m not sure I’m going to like it once I start reading, based on all my friends’ reviews, and it would annoy me more if I had paid top dollar for it! The price had dropped by a third since its release day, so I think it was worth waiting.

Keep an eye out for my reviews of these in coming weeks. So what new books did you pick up this week? Let me know in the comments.

Stacking the Shelves #1

18 Mar

Stacking The Shelvesl_thumb2Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Welcome to Stacking the Shelves, my first time at this regular meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the latest books you have added to your shelves, physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course e-books! Below is my haul from this week – can you spot a theme, lol?

Yes, I’m a fan of Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series, and recently finished Kiss of Venom, book 8.5. Of course, that meant I had to buy book 9, Heart of Venom, and it seemed I couldn’t resist books 10 and 11 as well! One-clicking is a dangerous thing!

Add to that, last week I joined Netgalley, and the first book I was accepted for was the first in Estep’s brand new series, Cold Burn of Magic, due to be published on April 28 by Kensington. The blurb is really interesting and I’m looking forward to getting started on the ARC.

Back cover blurb: There Be Monsters Here. . .

It’s not as great as you’d think, living in a tourist town that’s known as “the most magical place in America.” Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I’ve got my mom’s bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend’s pawn shop, and I have to make a call–get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn’t. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I’m stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I’m going to end up just like her. . .

Keep an eye out for my reviews of these in coming weeks!


Insurgent, by Veronica Roth

11 Jun

Format: Kindle Edition, 545 pages

Published: May 1, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Back cover blurb:
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

My review:
Wow! Veronica Roth never ceases to amaze me, especially given her young age. Insurgent is an emotional ride, and at times I had to put it down because the heartfail got a bit much. I love Tobias/Four, but sometimes I just wanted to shake him for being so clueless. Typical teenage boy, really. This book is missing the delicious UST of the first because they have become a couple, yet their relationship is seriously tested by communication issues right to the end.

Tris, although only 16, seems to get stronger as she fights on bravely to find what truth there is left in their world. I was genuinely afraid for her most of the story, but she really is a fantastic heroine. Regardless of heartfail, I could not put down the last third of this book. That ending was amazing, and I cannot wait for book three (which Roth is very amusingly calling Detergent as she is writing it). This series is a must-buy and I cannot recommend it enough!

My rating: 5/5

Sacrificial Magic, by Stacia Kane

25 May

Format: Kindle Edition, 370 pages
Published: March 27, 2012
Publisher: Del Rey
Back cover blurb:
When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss—who also happens to be her drug dealer—to use her powers as a witch to solve a grisly murder involving dark magic, she knows she must rise to the challenge. Adding to the intensity: Chess’s boyfriend, Terrible, doesn’t trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the sparks between him and Chess.Plus there’s the little matter of Chess’s real job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth, investigating reports of a haunting at a school in the heart of Downside. Someone seems to be taking a crash course in summoning the dead—and if Chess doesn’t watch her back, she may soon be joining their ranks.

As Chess is drawn into a shadowy world of twisted secrets and dark violence, it soon becomes clear that she’s not going to emerge from its depths without making the ultimate sacrifice.

My review:
Another great installment with lots happening, but this time I could easily see whodunit from early on, which was a little disappointing. Still, there were plenty of other twists and lots of creepy ghosts and interesting new characters with ulterior motives.

Chess’s drug problems seemed to be worse, despite her supposedly happy relationship with Terrible, and then the serious heartfail in the middle almost had me not wanting to read on. However, I needed to make sure Terrible was all right so I persisted. He says just the right things sometimes, and the ending was just lovely. It will be interesting to see how the Chess/Terrible/Lex triangle evolves in the next book, given Lex’s new role. Luckily, we don’t have to wait very long for book five, out next month.

My rating: 5/5

Magic Bites, by Ilona Andrews

25 Apr

Format: Audiobook
Published: March 27, 2007
Publisher: Audible
Back cover blurb:
Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for magic…

One moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.

In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, she must choose to do nothing and remain safe or to pursue his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy…

My review:
Meh. Another first book where I lost interest because of too much world-building. I’m told the series improves – and Curran becomes hotter – as it goes on, but at the moment I’m in no hurry to read the rest. Also, the audiobook was OK, but it annoyed me greatly that the narrator pronounced “plait” as “plate”. Grr!
My rating: 3/5

A Test Of Mettle, by Kevin Hearne

24 Apr

Format: ebook

Published: December 2, 2011. Available from the author’s website:

Back cover blurb:
This wee story, told from Granuaile’s point of view, takes place concurrently with the events of HAMMERED, book three of The Iron Druid Chronicles.
My review:
A nice little story allowing us a glimpse at what Granuaile is up to while Atticus is away fighting Thor. We get to find out a bit more about her and her upbringing, which is intriguing, and of course there are the usual hilarious Hearne lines and in-jokes. I particularly liked: “On a Creep Scale from Hello Kitty to Cthulhu, I award it a Freddy Krueger.”
My rating: 3/5

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs, by Molly Harper

15 Mar

Format: Kindle Edition
Published: March 31, 2009
Publisher: Pocket
Back cover blurb:
Maybe it was the Shenanigans gift certificate that put her over the edge. When children’s librarian and self-professed nice girl Jane Jameson is fired by her beastly boss and handed twenty-five dollars in potato skins instead of a severance check, she goes on a bender that’s sure to become Half Moon Hollow legend. On her way home, she’s mistaken for a deer, shot, and left for dead. And thanks to the mysterious stranger she met while chugging neon-colored cocktails, she wakes up with a decidedly unladylike thirst for blood.

Jane is now the latest recipient of a gift basket from the Newly Undead Welcoming Committee, and her life-after-lifestyle is taking some getting used to. Her recently deceased favorite aunt is now her ghostly roommate. She has to fake breathing and endure daytime hours to avoid coming out of the coffin to her family. She’s forced to forgo her favorite down-home Southern cooking for bags of O negative. Her relationship with her sexy, mercurial vampire sire keeps running hot and cold. And if all that wasn’t enough, it looks like someone in Half Moon Hollow is trying to frame her for a series of vampire murders. What’s a nice undead girl to do?

My review:
This book was a laugh riot from start to finish. The snark was dialled right up to 11, and Jane made me snicker out loud so many times I lost count.

Set in a world very much like that of Sookie Stackhouse, where vampires are out in the open and drink synthetic blood products, children’s librarian Jane finds herself unemployed and undead all in one day, the latter thanks to a drunken hunter who mistakes her for a deer. She is “saved” by the hunky Gabriel, about whom I wish to know much, much more. He is a bit like Sookie’s Bill, a civil war-era gentleman who is deliciously naive in the modern manner of speaking (like another favourite character of mine, Leif in the Iron Druid series) but loves talking about books and knows how to please a lady, if you know what I mean.

Jane, though, is a bit of a walking disaster, having gained herself a nasty enemy on top of having a dysfunctional family and a best friend with a new, “different” girlfriend. The potential for humour is endless with material like that, and Harper capitalises at every turn. This was very close to a five-cupcake read for me, and only isn’t because I found the denouement a little unsatisfying and rushed. However, I’m very eager to read the sequels and find out more about yummy Gabriel.

My rating: 4.5/5

A sneak peek at Insurgent

22 Feb

Pretty British cover 🙂

Entertainment Weekly has given us an exclusive excerpt from the highly anticipated Divergent sequel, Insurgent, due out May 1!

I loved Divergent so much, and can’t wait for my pre-ordered copy to hit my Kindle! Read on for the teaser 🙂