Tag: Urban Fantasy

Review: Magic Redeemed by K.M. Shea

Posted May 11, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Redeemed by K.M. SheaReviewer: Holly
Magic Redeemed by K.M. Shea
Series: Hall of Blood and Mercy #2
Also in this series: Magic Forged
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 20, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 284
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

I thought life would be easier after I unsealed my magic. Spoiler: it’s not.

I want to free my family from my traitorous cousin, but with all the allies he’s got guarding his back, even my new powers won’t be enough to beat him. My best bet is to use my parents’ signet ring to prove my claim of leadership.

There’s just one problem…

I can’t find it!

Things aren’t looking so good for my vampire housemates, either. As Killian Drake’s conflicts with the fae get worse, it's clear that war will break out soon if something doesn’t change.

Plus, Killian has gotten really weird about smelling me and invading my personal space. Every time he comes near my heart almost pops out of my chest, but I’m sure that’s just terror caused by being so close to the most feared vampire in the region.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

So, I’m a wizard searching for a ring while trying to survive living with a bunch of vampires and their deadly and suddenly touchy-feely leader. Yeah, life is definitely not easier.

Hall of Blood and Mercy is an urban fantasy trilogy featuring all your favorite vampires, wizards, fae, and werewolves. It’s packed with humor, adventure, and a sweet, slow burn romance between a vertically challenged wizard and the most lethal vampire in town.

Much has changed for Hazel since she fled her house and sought refuge with the vampires. She has regained the full use of her magic and learned to fight and protect those she loves, but she still hasn’t figured out how to take her house back. The signet ring she needs to prove her identity has gone missing, and the council won’t swear her in as head of her house without it. Her traitorous cousin is still after her and she hates that her family is suffering while she figures out what to do.

To make matters worse, Killian is having trouble with the Fae, and there’s a good chance he’s going to war. As his vassal, Hazel will have to go to war with him, which means further putting her house at risk. If that wasn’t bad enough, Killian has also been really weird around her.

There was a lot of filler in this book that felt unnecessary to me. I wish this book had been better edited. So much could have been left out. I liked the progression of the story. Hazel’s training and her determination to figure out her magic was good. I also like Killian and his vampires.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Hall of Blood and Mercy

three-half-stars


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Review: Magic Forged by K.M. Shea

Posted May 9, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Magic Forged by K.M. SheaReviewer: Holly
Magic Forged by K.M. Shea
Series: Hall of Blood and Mercy #1
Also in this series: Magic Redeemed
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 28, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 263
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

I'm one scrappy wizard. As someone with barely a flicker of magic, I've spent my life being mocked and surviving fights with bullies. But when my parents die in an accident, and I find myself responsible for our whole wizard house and family, I know my usual tactics aren't going to cut it.

The situation veers from bad to catastrophic when my backstabbing cousin stages a coup and takes my family hostage. I barely manage to flee, but the only supernatural willing to help me is Killian Drake - the most feared vampire in the region, and a far more deadly villain than the jerk threatening my family.

Is Killian sexy and charismatic? Heck yeah.

He's also so powerful that my flight or fight instincts kick in every time our eyes meet. And he's definitely using me as his personal magic detector in his feud against the local fae.

But Killian is also the first person to believe I might have more than just a scrap of magic. And if I can convince him to train me, I might get strong enough to free my family and get my house back.

I'm not sure what happens when a scrappy wizard is taught how to fight by a hall of deadly vampires, but I'm about to find out.

Magic Forged is the first book in the Hall of Blood and Mercy trilogy, which features vampires, wizards, fae, and werewolves. It's packed with humor, adventure, and a sweet, slow burn romance between a vertically challenged wizard and the most lethal vampire in town.

Magic Formed by K.M. Shea is the first book in the Hall of Blood and Mercy series, which is set in the world of Magiford, a Supernatural City in the Midwest. I read the Crown of Shadows trilogy last year, which is set in this world, but comes later in the timeline. I enjoyed the world enough to go back and start here.

Hazel is a member of one of the oldest Wizard Houses in the Midwest. Her parents were well-respected and loved, but she’s an outcast because she’s a magical dud. When her parents are killed in a car accident she has to become the head of the house as the only bloodline descendant. The fate of her house and her family rest solely on her shoulders. Unfortunately, members of her house don’t think she’s the best choice for the job and stage a coup. She’s forced to flee to save her life and those of the rest of her family members. She ends up the only place she knows she’ll be safe from those who would kill her or force her into marriage….with the Vampires. Killian Drake is the most feared vampire in the region. He keeps all of the other vampires in check, and there’s no way members of her family will attack him to get to her. As a vassal of his house, she’s required to serve in his household and render aid as he requests, but it’s worth it to buy some time to figure out her next steps.

Living with Killian and his vampires isn’t what she thought it would be. They train Hazel to fight and teach her to use her small amount of magic in ways she never anticipated. They also convince her that she may have more magic than she’s aware of. As Hazel tries to figure out how to save her house and navigate vampire politics, it soon becomes apparent there’s more to Killian than meets the eye…and he seems to be focused on her.

I struggled with the pacing a bit. There were times when it seems like nothing was happening and it was a chore to get through a chapter, then things would pick up and I’d read a 1/4 of the book before I realized it. Hazel’s desire to save her house was on the backburner for most of the book, which was strange to me considering that was the whole premise of the series. That aside, I did like the book. Hazel’s training was interesting to read about and I liked the mystery of Killian and what he was up to.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Hall of Blood and Mercy

three-half-stars


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Review: Witches Get Stitches by Juliette Cross

Posted February 21, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Witches Get Stitches by Juliette CrossReviewer: Holly
Witches Get Stitches by Juliette Cross
Series: Stay a Spell #3
Also in this series: Wolf Gone Wild, Don't Hex and Drive
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 390
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Violet Savoie has a plan. A dream, rather. To open her own tattoo shop, which caters to supernaturals in need of permanent charms. As a powerful Seer, she has the potent magic to cast every kind of spell. Except the kind to give werewolves control over their beastly side. And her business partner Nico needs help in the worst kind of way.

Nico Cruz has a secret. A motive, rather. To subtly stalk and seduce Violet until she finally recognizes they are fated to be together. Ever since their heated encounter in Austin on New Year’s Eve two years earlier, he’s been dying to get his hands—and his tongue—back on her body. He knows a woman like Violet can’t be courted in the usual way. Luckily, Nico has no scruples about misbehaving to get what he wants.

But when his former pack roams into town, and an old friend is far too interested in Violet, his focus shifts to the threat venturing into his territory. Nico may come across as the quiet, broody one, but the intruders are about to regret stepping foot in New Orleans. And when Violet goes missing, no charm or spell can keep Nico’s wolf at bay.

Witches Get Stitches is the third book in the Stay a Spell series by Juliette Cross, which features the Savoie sisters, powerful witches who own a bar in New Orleans. Nico and Violet had a connection in the first book, Wolf Gone Wild, and I was really excited to read more about them.

Violet is a powerful seer. She also has a unique gift – she can imbue tattoos with spells. She goes into partnership with Nico in a tattoo shop as she works on refining her craft. She and Nico had a passionate encounter, but she did a divination for herself and realized he wasn’t the one, so she’s been keeping him at arms length.

I have to say, Violet frustrated me. She acted very immature about her attraction to Nico. I wish she’d been more open and honest with him, instead of just ghosting him, or picking fights for no reason.

Still, I liked the underlying message about inclusion, and the way she and Nico changed things for the werewolves. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Stay a Spell

three-half-stars


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Review: Last Guard by Nalini Singh

Posted January 24, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Last Guard by Nalini SinghReviewer: Holly
Last Guard by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling Trinity #5
Also in this series: Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Ocean Light, Ocean Light , Wolf Rain , Wolf Rain, Alpha Night, Alpha Night, Last Guard
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


NYT bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to a world devastated by change in her award-winning Psy-Changeling Trinity series, where two people defined by their aloneness hold the fate of the Psy in their hands . . .

Termed merciless by some, and a robotic sociopath by others, Payal Rao is the perfect Psy: cardinal telekinetic, CEO of a major conglomerate, beautiful—and emotionless.

For Canto Mercant, family and loyalty are everything. A cardinal telepath deemed "imperfect" by his race due to a spinal injury, Canto cares for the opinions of very few—and ruthlessly protects those he claims as his own. Head of intel of the influential Mercant family, he prefers to remain a shadow in the Net, unknown and unseen. But Canto is also an Anchor, part of a secretive designation whose task it is to stabilize the PsyNet. Now that critical psychic network is dying, threatening to collapse and kill the entire Psy race with it.

To save those he loves, Canto needs the help of a woman bound to him by a dark past neither has been able to forget. A woman who is the most powerful Anchor of them all: Payal Rao. Neither is ready for the violent inferno about to ignite in the PsyNet . . . or the passionate madness that threatens to destroy them both.

Last Guard (Psy/Changeling Trinity #5) by Nalini Singh follows Payal and Canto, two Psy with a heavy burden to bear.

The PsyNet is failing, and without the biofeedback it provides the entire Psy race will die. Psy Designation A, the Anchors, have been quietly working in the background of the PsyNet for centuries, until Canto Mercant, a Hub-Anchor, realizes they have to come together and gain a seat in the Ruling Coalition if there is any chance of saving the PsyNet. When he reaches out to Payal Rao, he has no idea she’s also his friend/savior from childhood – a brave, smart girl who stood up for him, and who he has been searching for ever since.

Payal can’t show her true face to anyone. There’s a manic, angry girl inside her she barely keeps leashed, and in her family, showing weakness is a death sentence. She’s shocked when she comes to face-to-face with Canto and realizes he’s the boy she never forgot..and apparently he never forgot her either.

As they’re forced to work together, they both realize the connection they had as children is growing into something new and solid as adults. But Payal can’t let her guard down, or she risks losing all control….

This is one of the better books in the Trinity series. I enjoyed Payal and Canto, their friendship from childhood and the way they reconnected as adults. I also enjoyed learning more about the Anchors, and seeing them work through the problems association with the decline of the PsyNet. Canto is paralyzed from waist down and Payal is neurodivergent. I loved the strong message about being different, not deficient.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Psy-Changeling Trinity

four-stars


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Review: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Posted January 10, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: First Grave on the Right by Darynda JonesReviewer: Holly
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Narrator: Lorelei King
Series: Charley Davidson #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 310
Length: 8 hours and 58 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

This whole grim reaper thing should have come with a manual.Or a diagram of some kind.A flow chart would have been nice.
Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. And it's her job to convince them to "go into the light." But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (like murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely. But what does he want with Charley? And why can't she seem to resist him? And what does she have to lose by giving in?
With scorching-hot tension and high-octane humor, First Grave on the Right is your signpost to paranormal suspense of the highest order.

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones is the first book in the Charley Davidson series. I’ve seen this series over the years and considered reading it a number of times, but the comparisons to the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich turned me off. While I liked the first few Plum books, her constant ineptitude and the love-triangle got old fast. When my book club chose this I figured it was an opportunity to see for myself how “Plum-like” the series really is.

The writing was really great. I easily fell into the story, though the “sassy” and “sarcastic” quips of the main character were kind of annoying. That only got worse as the book went on. She had a zinger for everything, and it felt really forced. I didn’t find her charming or cute, but annoying. Did she take nothing seriously? Also, the obsession she had with a boy from her past – after a single brief encounter where he was a total bastard – didn’t make sense. Why was she so interested in him? It had shades of a “fated-mates” type thing, but it didn’t work very well in context.

I enjoyed the investigative parts of the story, but they were few and far between. The majority of this book was her either lusting after a shadowy figure from her dreams or obsessing over this boy she met once as a younger girl.

There were shades of a good story here, but most of it got lost behind the dumb sarcasm and crazy amount of lust/obsession she felt for this total stranger/creepy being. I may try another book in the series to see if it gets better.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Charley Davidson

two-half-stars


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