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Search tags: sff-urban-fantasy
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review 2016-06-07 15:52
Fire Touched
Fire Touched - Patricia Briggs

It is nice to get back to Mercy and see what new things she and Adam will need to face in the Tri-Cities.

Since the events of Fair Game touched off a major change in the world of Mercy Thompson, a lot of the plot elements in this series have shifted to react to those changes. The Fae have always had a big presence in the series but it feels like these last few books they have been the major drivers of the plot.

When Bauclaire made his big declaration at the end of Fair Game, it was a clear us (Fae) versus them (humans) thing. So it was reasonable to expect that a lot of what would come after would be some sort of Fae v. Human war that other supernaturals would have to figure in in some ways. That is happening. But more interestingly, in this one we get to witness up close and personal the power struggle happening within the Fae community. And of course being the power couple they are, Adam and Mercy get sucked into the madness.

This book starts off with a lot of mayhem and excitement, but it settles into something a little quieter with larger stakes overall. Honestly I find the Fae in this series both fascinating and a rather scary. So I don't mind that they are featuring prominently at this point. I honestly don't mind that the vampires seemed to have taken a back seat. I liked the pacing and I liked the story.

I also liked the fact that Adam addressed, in decisive fashion, one of the HUGE  problems I had with his behavior in the last book. It made me forgive him. I won't even quibble about what I feel is a rather too fast resolution with some of the other issues Mercy was having with the pack. Since I found that whole plot element tiresome and dragged out at this point, I will hand wave away what I felt was a rather facile conclusion to it all.

So glad that one of my favorite series is still delivering well. Also made me remember that I don't think I've ever done a re-read with this one. Time to remedy that!

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review 2016-01-31 22:37
Kiss Of Steel
Kiss of Steel - Bec McMaster

Interesting take on vampires and how the author built her society.

The steampunk elements were very light. Some bio mechanics, mention of a steam cab -- that was kinda it.

I liked the characters for the most part and I found the romantic chemistry was well presented.

But the plot and pacing were not spry. I felt like I was taking forever to read this book. And I was always amazed about how much I had left.

I wanted them to get the big showdown -- because, you knew there was gonna be a big showdown -- in the biggest way. When they finally did it was a relief.

Not bad, just 'OK' but I am not chomping at the bit to get the next one.

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review 2016-01-31 22:34
The Dirt on Ninth Grave
The Dirt on Ninth Grave - Darynda Jones

I started reading this book with some hope and some trepidation.

I did not like the last book very much. As a matter of fact over the course of the series I have not been enjoying the overall central arc of Charley discovering what she is. For me the way the story is spooling out feels muddy and not very thoughtful.

If the central story of Charley's origins and her fate felt more ... I dunno... immediate, exciting, cohesive... I would be all over this. In raptures. But instead it feels like it is getting in the way of a good series. I fell in love with the first book. Utterly in love. I was really enjoying the series until i kinda wasn't. I think if this had just been a PNR detective series with all the same personalities and without the the boggy "What is Charley" stuff happening in the middle, I would love it still.

That said, I really enjoyed this installment. You know how when a tv series kinda goes a little off tilt and the next season they do a reset? That is what this felt like. In the aftermath of some really WTF stuff that happened at the end of the previous book (and WTF not in a good way, imo) Charley ends up in Sleepy Hollow, NY with no memory of what or who she is. We meet her as a waitress named Janey Doerr (of course Charley would never be as mundane as to call herself Jane Doe).

She has discovered that she can see dead people. It has taken her awhile to come to terms with that but she manages to roll with it and keep it a major secret from her co-workers. Even though she has no idea who she is, we recognize her still as Charley. She still has her insane love of coffee, her penchant for naming inanimate objects (Hi Denzel!) and her need to help people. I found it interesting that even though she is still Charley, the author managed to mute her somewhat in a believable way. Part of Charley's shtick has always been her outsized personality, her slapstick humor, the way she seems to never take anything too seriously. Her personality is only 1/2 outsized, her humor has been turned down to ten instead of twenty and she is very aware of the seriousness of her situation even though she tries not to dwell on it. It was like seeing Charley through a smoky mirror. I actually liked this smoky mirror Charley.

Of course her team manage to find her and surround her as regulars in the diner she works at. It was nice to see everyone there but also not quite their normal selves and they watch over Charley and wait for her to regain her memories.

I admit, I have not always been a fan of Reyes, but this book made me like him a whole lot. There was a thread of pure romance in this one. Charley has to fall for Reyes all over again not knowing who he is, while he has to stand helplessly by and wait for her to remember him.

A big plus for me is that Charley does some ghost-y stuff in this one which has always been my favorite aspect of the series. She helps solve a couple of ghost related things in satisfying side plots as well as play matchmaker.

I also admit, I liked how the author affected Charley's memory return. It was a good moment of series continuity and rather ingenious.

So this book was a good rebound from a couple of real clunkers

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review 2015-12-17 22:50
At Blade's Edge
At Blade's Edge (Goddess With a Blade) - Lauren Dane

The second book Blade to the Keep - Lauren Dane  remains my favorite of the series so far, but this one is a great rebound after what I felt was a weaker third book.

In this one, we are in the aftermath of Rowan having killed the evil Vampire Witch Goddess Enyo who left Rowan for dead at the end on the second book. But in hunting down and eradicating Enyo ((in the 3rd book  Blade on the Hunt (Goddess With a Blade Book 3) - Lauren Dane) , Rowan has discovered a rot deep in the Hunter Corp, the company that has been like a family to her and that has held her loyalty for years. The corruption has bummed her to the point where she is seriously thinking about leaving the company.

Now she is married to Hot ( but stuffily British) Vampire Clive, is settled in London to meet his parents, and also gearing up to formally solemnify their union with her father as is required by the Vampire Nation. So she is at a bit of a crossroads. She wants to root out the corruption in the Hunter Corp, kill the traitors, and make a final decision on her future with the company.

This was fun and a little less frenetic than the previous book. I liked Rowan in this one. She is just realizing what it means to be married and is starting to adjust a bit into her new role as wife, while still remaining laser focused on her mission to expose and kill the conspirators in the Corp. But Rowan is still Rowan -- mouthy, snarky and ready to cut someone's throat in a quick minute just cuz she's cranky like that.

Clive, even though he is suave and awesome, is also shown to be trying to fit into his role as Rowan's husband and what that really means on a day-to-day basis now that it is a reality. Being who they are and what they represent is bigger than just a being in love with each other. Their union brings huge political baggage (and rewards) that affect Hunter, Humans and the Vampire Nation. On a shallow note, he reminds me of a supernatural, upperclass British, more reserved version of Roarke from JD Robb's In Death series.

We meet his parents and his mother is .... interesting. I won't say more because part of the enjoyment of the book is discovering his mother.

A new character is introduced who feels like she is going to take up permanent (or long term) residency in the series. I rather liked her.

David and Alice, Rowan and Clive's super-efficient assistants remain their normal bad ass selves.

The book deepens the overall story arc of some shadowy group trying to destabilize the treaty that has kept the peace between Hunters & Vamps that we first get a hint of with The BloodFront group and Enyo earlier. But whoever is involved is even more in the shadows and has raised the stakes for Rowan personally. The book ends on a very shocking , abrupt and rather brutal note.

Very much looking forward to seeing what comes next.

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review 2015-08-08 14:12
Magic Shifts
Magic Shifts - Ilona Andrews

4.5 stars

Man, I fucking love this series! I am not giving this one five stars because it doesn't quite live up to the fabulous giddiness that was the previous two books in the series, but it comes really damned close!

How the heck is this series still rocking so very, very, very hard? I was sure that the excellence simply could not be sustained. However it is. It really, really is.

I once compared this series to a roller-coaster ride. Books one and two were a very slow climb. Book three took me to the top and sent me whooshing down in a thrill and then books four through seven were a rollicking ride -- zigging, zagging, turning corners and even more thrilling death drops.

This one feels like we are starting another climb. Not the slow one of the first two books but rather anticipatory, it makes you feel like you know another dizzying drop is ahead.

It is a transition book. Kate and Curran have left their roles as Beast Lord & Beast Lady and have settled down into suburbia. One would think we'd have to wonder what they have to do now. But in fact, Kate already has a big responsibility. She has claimed the City of Atlanta. And as it turns out that is a major deal. She is its magical protector and what exactly that means we only get glimpses of in this book. First from a contentious little encounter with Saiman and then during a very scary couple of chapters where Kate comes the closest to death that I think she ever has in the whole of the series.

However it is Curran who is having adjustment issues. In a gratifying nod to character continuity, Curran is very happy not to have to deal with the shit that came with being Beast Lord. He is still rather mad that the pack did not help or support Kate while he was in a coma following his encounter with her vengeful Aunt Erra. Curran has beat this drum before so when he mentions it again here, we know that it is something that really hit him hard and something he will never forgive his pack for.

But Curran is a natural leader with the need to manage people. And people, strangely, love to managed and led by Curran. I think the author came up with a neat solution to the Curran-as-Leader problem and it is one that I am looking forward to watching unfold.

The main story in the book really is a simple missing persons story. Eduardo, whom we first met in Magic Rises goes missing. It seems he has been keeping company with George, Mahon's daughter. But due to internal pack politics and Mahon's Bear-Supremacists views, Clan Heavy refuses to search for the missing shifter. So George hires Kate to find him.

Of course this isn't a simple missing person's case and it soon becomes much bigger with the appearance of Ghouls, Djinns and other magicks that are a rival to Kate's own.

I loved the fleshing out of two relatively minor characters in George and Eduardo. And Kate's determination that they would find him so the two could have their happy ending is infectious. I wanted them to be happy too!

Outside of the main story though there is all the other stuff swirling around. Even though Kate and Curran are supposed to stay away from the pack, the pack won't stay away from them. And some of the best/funniest scenes involve various members invading Kate & Curran's house. Let's just say I love Dali!

And then there is Roland. Andrews is doing for Roland what she did for Hugh. She is giving this antagonist character a whole lot of charm and I am weakening in the face of it. Roland is a scary mofo, but man, the scenes with and about him are hysterical as hell. I giggled like a loon during the scene in Ghastek's office!

This book is definitely for fans of the series and definitely not a place for a newbie to start. Too many callbacks. Too many old characters make reappearances. To much history needed. As a matter of fact, this book felt like a callback in some ways to Magic Bleeds. The structure and tone of it was very reminiscent of that book. It also felt like there were a a lot of references to that book as well. Except this one felt more mature and had more of an emotional heft because of all the stuff that has gone on since.

And finally, the climactic big battle scene was pure Kate Daniels. And always worth a go back & read again. If nothing else, it absolutely crystallizes the point that Kate and Curran are strongest as a team.

 

For the first time I actually listened to a Kate Daniels book on audio.  Usually I am too impatient to give to the 12 hrs. of listening because I like to tear through these.  And also I am not the biggest fan of the narrator, Renee Raudman.  But she was great in this one - with one exception.  I hated her voice for Derek.  She made him sound like some old geezer.  He is the Boy Wonder.  Her voice for him just did not compute for me.  But otherwise, everything else was well performed.


But no matter cuz man, I love these guys and I fucking love this series!

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