witches

Kicking Butt in Atlanta: “Blood Trinity”

7775742Blood Trinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love
Pocket Books: October 19, 2010
Genre: Urban Fantasy; Paranormal Romance
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
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Thanks to the Kate Daniels series I’ve been more inclined to read urban fantasy of late and for whatever reason I somehow came across Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love’s Belador series. Blood Trinity is the first in the series and introduces readers to Evalle, an outcast in the larger brotherhood of the Belador warriors.

Like the other warriors Evalle has power and she uses those powers to fight against other paranormal beings. Unlike the other Beladors, Evalle is a half-breed and as such she is an Alterant, a person that can shift into beast form. Unfortunately, this transformation is unique to Alterants and the other Beladors fear that Evalle will lose control of her beast and kill without consequence; a fact that has been proven over and over again with other Alterants. Evalle has been successfully avoiding being caged by the Belador elite thanks to two loyal friends who have covered for her in the past. However, when a new player rolls into Atlanta is seems that Evalle might not be able to avoid being caged unless she can prove that she’s not responsible for a recent murder. Complicating matters is the impending apocalypse. Sigh. As if your day job isn’t tough enough. (more…)

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“Cloud Watcher” – Mediocre Tale of Destined Mates

cloudwatcherCloud Watcher by Lilith Saintcrow
Imajinn Books: October 2006 (Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy)*

Beach vacation
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I jumped into this series in the fourth book, but that caused no trouble in my understanding of the world and what came before. It was pretty clear that each of the pairs of supporting characters (pairs, because they are already paired up) had been the protagonists in the earlier works.

I enjoy a heroine alone, on the run from the villains, who over the course of the novel, finds friends, builds a community, and learns to depend on and work with others. This novel opens with Anya running away from demons. Unaware of what she is, what powers she possesses (and that she is only one of many – a witch, instead of unique, a freak), she runs from city to city, and when necessary, persuades others to provide her with the necessities. Her companion is a boy in a man’s body, who depends on her protection. When Anya and her companion come to their latest refuge, they encounter the city’s three guardians – fellow witches who protect the city from demons. Each witch is one half of the pairs of destined mates. (more…)

The Complicated “Witch Hunter”

18190208The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
Little, Brown Books for Young Reader: June 2, 2015 (Young Adult; Historical Fantasy)*

Beach Vacation
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Spells, familiars, potions, herbs: It’s all illegal now. There was a time when those things were tolerated, encouraged even. Magic was seen as helpful – once. Then the plague came. Started by magic, spread by magic, we were almost destroyed by magic. We warned them to stop, but they didn’t stop.

The Witch Hunter is a historical fantasy set in 1558. In this alternate history magic started a plague and years ago the king allowed his uncle to persecute those who continued to practice magic. Blackwell, the Inquisitor, has outlined laws for those that practice magic and uses his witch hunters to enforce them. Elizabeth Grey is a witch hunter, one of the best. When she is caught carrying herbs that are banned, Elizabeth is branded a witch and sentenced to death. Only a mysterious visitor to her cell on the eve of her execution saves her, and transforms everything she thought she new about magic. (more…)

The Witches of Echo Park (Unfinished)

witchesofechopark The Witches of Echo Park, by Amber Benson.
Published January 6th, 2015 by Berkley Publishing (Urban Fantasy)*

My rating: vintagesuitcase3

Per my 2015 reading resolution, I read 100 pages of this book – but by the time I got there, the action still had not really started, I felt nothing for any of the characters, and the world and magic rules didn’t make much sense. By the end of the first chapter following page 100, I had reason to finish this book. Flashbacks and descriptive passages, along with unlikeable characters and inconsistent characterizations, left me with a feeling of relief when I finally put it down.

Lyse, an orphan raised by her great aunt Eleonora, returns to LA when she discovers Eleonora has cancer – and only months to live. Eleonora is glad to have Lyse back, mostly because Lyse is needed to take over the coven that Eleonora leads. There are witches in Echo Park (you guessed that, right?) and Eleonora is the Head Witch. There is some Great Evil preparing to descend on the world, and Lyse is Our Only Hope to defeat it. Trouble is, she doesn’t know magic exists. Or, more specifically, that her great-aunt is a witch.

(more…)

The Incomplete “Whisper the Dead”

20613807Whisper the Dead by Alyxandra Harvey (The Lovegrove Legacy #2)
Bloomsbury USA Childrens: October 7, 2014 (Young Adult; Historical Fantasy)

My rating: Beach Vacation vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3

Having read the first book in the Lovegrove Legacy series, I was really looking forward to book 2, Whisper the Dead. I loved the historical atmosphere, combine that with magic, I was hooked. The multiple perspectives with the cousins also kept me intrigued and I liked that the author seems to be focusing on a specific cousin for each book. Unfortunately, I felt let down with Whisper the Dead. It was fast-paced like book 1, but in this case I felt that the book was rushed, especially in the romance department.

Gretchen Thorn is the tomboy cousin. She’d rather wear trousers and actually learn how to defend herself rather than learn embroidery and rely on men to just happen to be around to protect her. She’s not shy about her views, and this doesn’t exactly make her popular. Luckily she has great friends in her cousins Emma and Penelope, as well as a twin brother, Gideon, whom Gretchen can usually convince to go along with her antics.

Following the events of A Breath of Frost all of the cousins are being watched by the Order. The Order is not convinced by the cousin’s account of events of book 1, and have placed each of them under guard. Gretchen, unfortunately, lands herself with a guard who is more than a little stuffy and put off by Gretchen’s independent ways. Tobias Lawless lives for order and control and is surprised by Gretchen’s determination to march to the beat of her own drum. When an evil witch starts targeting the debutantes of London, these two are going to have to make some sort of compromise to put a stop to it. (more…)

Howl with Werewolves (Halloween Special Part 2)

In the second installment of our Halloween Special series (see the first, on Vampires), we look at my personal favorite supernatural: the Werewolf. Check out some good, better, and best werewolf stories in the list below. Word to the wise urban fantasy reader: Werewolves are sexy, so beware – many of these are romantic to varying degrees.

Just reviewed this week, a witty take on supernaturals living among us.

 

The Silver Wolf. The book that got me started on werewolves: a young, poor orphan, in the decaying Roman empire, sold by her family in marriage for well, the usual – money.

 

In Written in Red, Meg Corbyn, a blood prophet, finds sanctuary from the humans who tortured her in an enclave of the terra indigine, creatures like vampires and werewolves and other shapeshifters. Simon Wolfgard, leader of the enclave, doesn’t know why she doesn’t smell like food, or why he and the others find her so interesting. As Meg learns what it is to live in the wild, Simon discovers how much he wants to protect this strange human.

 

So, this one – not my favorite. But that doesn’t mean you won’t like it! It’s a humorous story about a witch just trying to get by, when werewolves nose their way into her orderly life.

 

The Mercy Thompson books are some of my absolute favorite stories, series, werewolves, EVER. Witty, sometimes dark, romantic, spooky, and upbeat, this is one of the best in the genre.

 

By the same excellent author, starring a different kind of heroine. Anna, victim of a vicious werewolf pack, is an Omega. Yup, that means she’s special. While not as stunningly amazing as the Mercy Thompson series, it’s still worth a read. You’ll want to start with the opening novella, Alpha and Omega. It may or may not be part of your copy of Cry Wolf.

 

Just started Silver, a serendipitous library find, and it has a different focus: Silver is a young wolf who has been tortured, poisoned, and is flirting (pretty sure I meant flitting there) between reality and visions. When Andrew Dare, enforcer for the East Coast packs, finds her, he’s driven to protect her and find out what happened.

 

Admittedly, I’ve only seen the TV series. But it’s a fun show! Might be a good book, too…

 

This is the second in a series about a former cop, who left the force to become a private eye because she developed a degenerative sight condition. In this one, her new sort-of-partner, Henry Fitzroy, bastard son of King Henry VIII and vampire, head out to the country to solve a mystery involving werewolves. Tanya Huff writes superbly drawn characters and complex settings and plots. A longer haul than most urban fantasy, this is totally worth it.

 

Sort of a tongue-in-cheek comedy of manners set in a steampunk Victorian England where the Queen has werewolf investigators and deals with vampires, Soulless begins a fun series about a soulless young woman, Alexia, and her encounters and involvement with the supernaturals in the community.

 

Crimefighting meets werewolves again in this one by Eileen Wilks. Lily Yu, a police detective, needs the help of Rule Turner to infiltrate the werewolf clans and find a killer.

 

I nearly forgot this one, though I don’t know how! The Psy-Changeling series is a truly enjoyable series that mixes humans, weres (mostly panthers and wolves) and a psychic race, in an alternate, sort of futuristic United States. Each book pairs a new hero and heroine, so if you’re into urban fantasy romance, you’ll probably enjoy these. Start with Slave to Sensation.

And if you want to get your werewolf fix in 5 minutes or less, here is the famous music video werewolf:

“The Line” is heavily, poorly drawn

thelineThe Line by J.D. Horn
47North (Amazon Publishing), 25th November 2013 (Urban Fantasy / New Adult?)

My rating: The plane was delayed, the luggage lost, and the museums closed

In this book, a young woman from a magical family without any powers discovers her own potential for magic and learns the secrets her family has been keeping from her for her entire life.

Overall, nothing about this book felt true. The relationships seemed stiff and unlikely. The world building was weak and forced. The plot, transparent and unrealistic.

The characters were pretty two-dimensional and often acted just to move the plot forward (or sideways in some cases). Mercy was clearly more special than everyone around her guessed, knew, or was telling. From the beginning, it was clear that Mercy was a Chosen One. Yet, she kept being duped by everyone around her, and I felt that her simplicity and trusting nature were really a means to surprise the readers with the denouement. The relationship between Mercy and her twin sister was simplified in some ways. The jealousy and dislike was realistic, but the way the relationship ended seemed simplified and forced.

(more…)