Tag: Urban Fantasy

Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

Posted July 30, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Series: The Iron Covenant #1, Kate Daniels #9.5
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9), Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1), Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3)
Published by Nancy Yost Literary Agency Inc
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 392
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four-stars

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Hugh. He was a villain in Kate’s world. Yet I could never hate him. Still, not hating a bad guy vs wanting him to get a happy ending? I’m happy to report it really worked. Not that I’m surprised. Andrews always pulls me in.

Hugh has been cast off from Roland after he failed to deliver Kate. He spends a few months wallowing in self-pity and trying to numb the pain of the giant void inside himself where Roland’s magic used to be with alcohol, until his Iron Dogs catch up with him and force him to see what’s been happening to them. They’re being hunted down and exterminated by Landon Nez, Roland’s Legatus of the Golden Legion. They used to be 1200 strong. Now they’re down to 400+.

With no money and no way to earn a living, Hugh accepts a mad bargain – in exchange for their protection, the White Warlock and her people will house and shelter them. Because neither side is really trustworthy, they agree to marry to seal the deal. Marriage to a harpy of a woman isn’t what Hugh ever envisioned for his future, but it isn’t long before he realizes there’s more to Elara than he previously thought. When their bonds of loyalty are tested, they’ll have to decide what’s important.

Hugh really is an anti-hero. He’s a right bastard, sure, but he also has heart and his soul bleeds. Elara is a monster, the same as her husband. She didn’t want the marriage any more than he did. But she can’t deny there’s something very compelling about the Preceptor of the Order of the Iron Dogs. As they come to know each other and learn to rely on one another, I found myself swept up in their story and the fight they find themselves in to protect their territory. I really hope the series continues. I’d love to see more from them.

I think to truly understand Hugh and why he’s so adrift, reading the Kate Daniels series first is a must. However, this an stand on its own if you haven’t read that series.

4.25 out of 5

The Iron Covenant

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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Review: Edge of Oblivion by J.T. Geissinger

Posted July 23, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Edge of Oblivion by J.T. GeissingerReviewer: Holly
Edge of Oblivion (Night Prowler, #2) by J.T. Geissinger
Series: Night Prowler #2
Also in this series: Shadow's Edge (Night Prowler, #1)
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 396
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three-half-stars

2013 RITA® Award finalist for Best Paranormal Romance of 2012.

There exists a world beyond our own. It is a world of ancient magic and well-guarded secrets, a world of strict laws and harsh punishments for those who betray them, a world inhabited by the Ikati, a race of gifted people who are so much more than they first appear. Brought together by fate in this world of danger and beauty, two people with dark pasts will meet.

Morgan is beautiful, smart, sexy…and about to die. Convicted of treason against her shape-shifting kin, she is given one last chance at redemption; discover the hidden lair of the enemy intent on destroying every one of her kind, or forfeit her life.

Xander is ruthless, heartless, cold-blooded…and assigned to kill her if she fails in her task. Expecting to feel nothing but contempt for the traitor under his watch, the assassin accompanies Morgan on her search, but as the two race through the heart of Italy while the clock winds down to zero hour, he finds himself drawn into a dangerous web of desire as powerful as it is forbidden. Their passion will test everything they believe in, and endanger the future of the tribe itself.

Sensual, edgy, and action-packed, Edge of Oblivion is a must-read for lovers of dark paranormal romance.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the heroine of this story after her actions in the previous book. Based on her past and the way she was raised, I couldn’t totally hate her, but I didn’t love her either. I’m happy to report I enjoyed this book much more than book 1.

Branded a traitor and sentenced to death, no one is more shocked than Morgan when she’s given a second chance to prove herself to her Clan. Sure, she’s been given an impossible task to complete in an impossible time-frame, but she’s free. For the first time in her life she’s free of the shackles that have always bound her. Except for Xander, anyway. The Ikati assassin is assigned to keep her in line and kill her if she doesn’t complete her task within the assigned time-frame. Which sucks, because Morgan wants to live as much as she can during her two week reprieve. Waiting for him to kill her puts a real damper on their relationship.

Xander knows his duty, and he’s never shirked it before. But Morgan makes him feel things he never thought he’d feel. When they stumble into a plot larger than either of them thought they’d find, he has to decided how much he can trust her and if she’s worth saving.

Morgan ended up being a great heroine and I really loved her with Xander. The plot was fast-paced and kept me engaged – something I felt was lacking in Shadow’s Edge. There’s a lot of action and adventure here, as well as a pretty emotional struggle for Morgan and Xander. I really loved the story.

Even so, I’m not really interested in the characters to continue the series at this time. Perhaps at some point in the future I’ll come back to it. I’m not really interested in where the overall story arc is headed and the other characters didn’t really pull me in.

4 out of 5

Night Prowlers

three-half-stars


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Review: Shadow’s Edge by J.T. Geissinger

Posted July 16, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shadow’s Edge by J.T. GeissingerReviewer: Holly
Shadow's Edge (Night Prowler, #1) by J.T. Geissinger
Series: Night Prowler #1
Also in this series: Edge of Oblivion (Night Prowler, #2)
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 359
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two-half-stars

2013 winner FF&P's Prism Award for Published Authors—Best First Book Deep within the primeval forests of southern England, a race of beautiful, savage shape-shifters lives hidden from the everyday world. Bound together by ancient bloodlines and a ruthless code of secrecy that punishes traitors with death, the Ikati send their leader Leander on a mission to capture one raised outside the tribe before she can expose their secret. When Leander tracks the unsuspecting outsider to Southern California, the hardened warrior is prepared for a fight—but not for the effect the sensual young beauty has on his heart.

Jenna spent her childhood in hiding, on the run from someone—or something—her parents refused to discuss. She trusts no one, not since her father’s mysterious disappearance, not since her mother’s sudden death, and definitely not since she began exhibiting strange, superhuman abilities. When handsome, enigmatic Leander appears, promising answers to the mysteries that shroud her past, she knows she shouldn’t trust him either. But their connection is undeniable, and as powerful as the enemy hell-bent on destroying every one of their kind…

I read and really enjoyed Burn for You, a contemporary romance, and figured I’d give Geissinger’s PNR a try. Shadow’s Edge is the first book Night Prowler book, an urban fantasy series featuring a society of shapeshifters who are hidden among humans. While I liked the premise of this book, I didn’t end up loving it.

The Ikati are shapeshifters. For years they lived out in the open, but eventually the church labeled them monsters and they were hunted into near extinction. They retreated into hiding and for the past several hundred years, have lived tucked away from human society. They have a patriarchal society. Since they were hunted for so long (and still are), they keep to themselves and remain a secret. As a results, women are treated like they were back in the good ole days of “marry for bloodlines and then sit over there in the corner and be quiet”. Mating with humans is forbidden. If one of the males breaks the rule, he’s hunted and killed, along with his human mate and any children they have. Unless he willingly sacrifices himself for his mate and children. In which case they may live, until the child turns 25. If she manifests shapeshifter powers on her 25th birthday, she’s brought to live with the Ikati clan, or – if she refuses – she’s killed.

I think I expected this book to be …more. More Jenna exerting her will or being more badass. I feel like I spent the majority of the book waiting for something to happen. I wanted to see Jenna come into her own. I wanted to see Leander step in and kick major ass for her. I wanted to see things change with the clan, etc etc. Unfortunately none of those things came to pass. The premise is good, but it lacked a lot of finesse in the execution.

I started the 2nd book immediately thinking a lot of the unanswered questions would be cleared up, but book 2 is set in a different place and features different characters. While I enjoyed aspects of this book, I enjoyed book 2 more.

2.75 out of 5

Night Prowlers

two-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Ocean Light by Nalini Singh

Posted June 10, 2018 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

It’s summer, y’all! You know what that means? Another Nalini Singh release. Woot. We’re excited for another Psy/Changeling Trinity novel. Bowen Knight’s book!

Sunday Spotlight: Ocean Light by Nalini SinghOcean Light (Psy/Changeling Trinity, #2) by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling Trinity #2
Also in this series: Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Ocean Light, Ocean Light
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
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New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh dives beneath the surface of her Psy-Changeling world into a story of passionate devotion and selfless love...

Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there's a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment--taking his brain along with it. With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he's at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling...

Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won't hide the facts of Bo's condition from him or herself. She's suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret Bo could never imagine...

But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back--even if it means striking a devil's bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy...

Order the Book:

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Excerpt

Excerpt from OCEAN LIGHT
By Nalini Singh

“Good luck.”

Bowen bumped fists with the other man and carried on ahead, hoping the luck would stick. It wasn’t like he knew what he was doing. According to the last woman he’d dated, he was about “as romantic as a block of wood.” She’d suggested he read some romance how-to books before “foisting” himself on another “unfortunate” woman.

“I should’ve made time to read them,” Bo muttered to Hex.

The mouse twitched his nose in response.

Bo’s next step was to locate Seraphina or Tansy, the two women Dr. Kahananui had told him were Kaia’s closest friends after Hugo. He was wondering whom to approach for their whereabouts without his questions getting back to Kaia when he spotted Oleanna.

She waggled her eyebrows at his request. “No tentacles,” she whispered. “Either of them.”

His lips twitched; she was so joyously open about her sensuality that he could do nothing but like her. “I’m already very happily taken.” It felt damn good to say that—though he wasn’t certain what Kaia’s response would be to his declaration.

“Talk about no tentacles!” Oleanna scowled and put her hands on her hips. “But I love Kaia, so I suppose I’ll allow her to have you.” She dipped her head toward him, eyes narrowed. “Why are you looking for other women if you’re with Kaia?”

Realizing he’d have to confess if he wanted her help, he gave in. She clasped her hands in front of her chest afterward, bouncing on her feet. “Oh, oh, please let me help. I’m really good at sneaking things.”

“As long as you can keep it secret.”

“Puh-leeese.” She snorted. “If you only knew the people I’ve had in my bed.” Patting his cheek, she said, “What do you need, handsome?”
Not long afterward, he tracked Seraphina down to the assistant station commander’s office. He didn’t get a warm welcome.

“Hurt Kaia and I’ll kneecap you.” Hands on her hips, jaw set, and her purple lipstick a perfect match to her purple nails.

“I’ll stand still for it if that ever becomes necessary.” Bo knew he’d drive Kaia crazy in the future he was determined they’d share, but he’d never purposefully cause her pain.

“Hmm.” Seraphina tapped one skyscraper-high heel on the carpet of her office. “What do you want?”

A faint softening in her face when he told her. “Well, I guess it’s better than dead clams,” she said, putting him firmly in his place. But she gave him what he needed—and added an unexpected extra. “I can close out the location for you. It’ll say Closed for Maintenance on the panel. Input this code and you’ll be able to get in.”

“How about a no-swim zone above the transparent area?”

Seraphina gave him a you’re pushing it look but said, “Doable. I’ll turn the external lighting from white to blue in that spot—that’s a sign to our people that we’re working there and they should steer clear.”

Tansy was softer and sweeter, and had giant garden shears in her hand when he found her in an internal garden that was apparently also a lab where she worked on plants genetically engineered to thrive under the simulated sunlight. She snapped those shears menacingly after telling him to “Take care of Kaia.”

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Nalini Singh, 2018.

Psy/Changeling Trinity

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: June 2018

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Nalini Singh

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There’s no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I’ve worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer’s mill.


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Sunday Spotlight: Planet Dragos by Thea Harrison

Posted May 13, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Pia and Dragos are easily one of my favorite UF couples. I adore these little slices-of-life novellas where they’re just living their lives. Planet Dragos ties up some loose ends from other novellas and opens up a brand new direction for them as a couple. It was so good.

Sunday Spotlight: Planet Dragos by Thea HarrisonPlanet Dragos (Elder Races, #9.8) by Thea Harrison
Series: Elder Races #9.8
Also in this series: Lord's Fall, Pia Saves the Day & Peanut Goes to School, Dragos Takes a Holiday, Night's Honor, Night's Honor, Dragon Bound, Midnight's Kiss, Midnight's Kiss, Dragos Goes to Washington, Shadow's End, Pia Does Hollywood, Liam Takes Manhattan, Pia Does Hollywood, The Chosen: A Novella of the Elder Races, Planet Dragos (Elder Races, #9.8)
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: May 14, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 130
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From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Thea Harrison comes the final novella featuring Pia and Dragos…

Pia’s latest pregnancy has become a daily challenge, her relationship with Dragos strained with argument. That hasn’t stopped them from achieving a compromise and traveling to Las Vegas to celebrate their friend Rune’s wedding to his mate Carling.

From the moment they arrive, the trip goes awry. Death walks in Vegas, and Pia is kidnapped as an ancient enemy makes a move to destroy the Great Beast once and for all.

But the Great Beast has other plans.

On Planet Dragos everything goes the way he arranges it—unless someone decides to cross him, and God help them then, because he doesn’t know how to back down, and he doesn’t ever, ever let up….

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

As they approached the main doors of the casino, she allowed herself to believe everything really would be okay.

Until several people strode through the main doors and approached them.

The leader was a tall, powerfully built Elven woman. A jagged white scar split her splendid features. She was accompanied by six soldier types, all of them wearing flak jackets and weapons.

“I really don’t like this,” Eva muttered under her breath. “Okay, Pia, back up now onto the gambling floor. We need to flag security.”

Pia moved to obey, feeling as though she were swimming through mud. Whatever this impending confrontation was about, she and Eva weren’t going to escape it. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught sight of the logo on the nearest soldier type. Devil’s Gate Security.

Quickly the soldier types fanned out until she and Eva were surrounded. Smiling, the Elven woman said, “Pia Cuelebre? Oh, look how pregnant you are. That’s just precious. My day keeps getting better and better.”

Moving so fast she blurred, Eva pulled her Glock and aimed for the Elven woman’s head. “Back up, asshole.”

Instantly the soldiers that surrounded them pulled their weapons too, all aiming at Eva. Dread drove like a spike into Pia’s chest. They weren’t bluffing.

“Eva,” Pia whispered, “put your gun down.”

“Not a chance.” Eva’s expression had turned ruthless. She bared her teeth at the Elven woman. “You want to go there? Let’s all go at once. They shoot me, I shoot you. Sure, I’ll be dead, but so will you. I don’t know who you are, and I don’t give a shit. We’re backing up onto the gambling floor, so get yourself out of my face.”

“We don’t have time for suicidal heroics,” the Elven woman said. Her gaze switched to Pia, and her smile widened. She said to the soldiers, “Holster your weapons.”

They did. Pia glanced quickly around. They stood at attention, watching the Elven woman, who said to Pia, “There, see? We’re not going to have any violence here, only choices.”

Choices – just as Azrael had warned. Pia’s heart pounded harder.

Ignoring Eva, who had not lowered her gun, the woman held out a phone to Pia as she strode closer. “I’ve taken a friend of yours, Carling Severan. Here, you can see her for yourself.”

She hadn’t thought she could feel more fear than she already did, but it spiked again. Dragging her gaze from the Elf’s face, she looked at the phone’s screen.

The scene was no static photo. It was live footage. She stared at the beautiful unconscious woman sprawled on the desert ground. It was indisputably Carling, her short auburn hair tousled. She was bound with strands of what looked like shining silver wire, and a silver arrow protruded from her chest.

There were at least two people with Carling. One stood visible from the waist down, holding a crossbow pointed at Carling’s head, while the other unseen person held the phone that filmed the scene.

“If you don’t come with me right now,” the Elven woman said softly, “he’s going to shoot. Are you going to save Carling’s life, or are you going to watch her die?”

No ordinary arrow would bring down a Vampyre of Carling’s age and strength, nor would ordinary silver bind her. Carling was one of the most powerful sorceresses in the world, yet this woman had captured her.

And Rune was mated to her, indisputably mated for life. Their Las Vegas wedding was nothing more than putting icing on the proverbial cake. If Carling died, Rune died. It was as simple as that.

Pia looked up to meet the Elven woman’s fearless, tigerish gaze. The Elf was a dead woman, of course, but some pretty important questions still remained. How would she die and how many casualties would she take down with her when she did?

Pia told her, “Of course I’ll come.”

“No,” Eva snapped, tightening her arm around Pia’s shoulders. “No, you will not!

Even as she protested, one of the soldiers walked up to slam the butt of his gun into the side of her head. Eva dropped like a stone.

“Okay, maybe we’ll have just a little violence,” the Elven woman said, hitching one shoulder up in a quick shrug. She said into her phone, “Don’t shoot her yet. Drain her so she’ll be weakened if she wakes up.”

As Pia tried to drop to her knees to check on Eva, two of the soldier types grabbed her arms, forcing her to remain on her feet. She wanted to scream in fury.

Instead, she said as steadily as she could, “This is not going to go well for you.”

The Elven woman laughed. “We’ll see how well it goes. When in Vegas you just have to roll the dice, know what I mean? Get to the roof,” she said to the others. “Move it!”

The roof. That meant they had a helicopter waiting. Pia hadn’t thought her heart could sink any further, but it did.

As they marched to a bank of elevators, she looked behind her. A couple of people were running over to Eva’s crumpled figure. One of them stood and shouted for help, and uniformed security guards appeared on the scene. As the elevator doors closed, the last thing she saw was one of the casino guards talking into a walkie-talkie.

The entire confrontation had taken a minute or less, and none of the guards had yet realized a kidnapping was in progress.

Pia looked at the logo on one of her kidnapper’s jackets. She asked, “What’s in Devil’s Gate?”

The Elven woman replied, “Your future.”

Elder Races

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Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Thea Harrison

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Thea Harrison resides in Colorado. She wrote her first book, a romance, when she was nineteen, and had sixteen romances published under the name Amanda Carpenter. She took a break from writing to collect a couple of graduate degrees and a grown child.

Thea writes in a variety of genres, including the award-winning paranormal Elder Races series and the Game of Shadows novels, and is currently at work on various new projects in sci-fi fantasy, paranormal and contemporary romance.

She adores animals and currently resides with two small dogs that have very large personalities.


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