Tag Archive | Urban Fantasy

A Month of Self Published Authors: Fantasy

I don’t read a lot of self published authors (SPAs). I used to but I stopped because:

1) There are simply too many! There’s way too much noise to slice through so it’s overwhelming.
2) So many SPAs act like gigantic assholes. I don’t want to be bothered with assholes.
3) So much drama surrounding them and their reactions to reviews (negative and positive). Why would I both spend my money AND get harassed? Again, I don’t want to be bothered with assholes.

But recently, I’ve been discussing this with people in the multitude of bookclubs I belong to. I decided…maybe I’m being too harsh? That the SPAs who act like assholes represent the minority and not the majority.

Well, I’m not sure but I’m willing to give it a short go (in small doses). To test this out, I’m going to start with a month of SPAs. I’m challenging myself to read at least 1-5 chapters from a different SPA each week in February. I *hope* to write a short summery as to how the chapter(s) felt to me and if I plan to continue reading the book or author.

I don’t accept review requests so all of books picked will be from books I already own. I tried my best to pick books that I think I will like – I didn’t just grab any book that was self-published.

My tentative SPA reading schedule:
Pale Queen's CourtyardFebruary 1st: Pale Queen’s Courtyard (Moonlit Cities #1)

Kamvar, a soldier, has lost his way. Leonine, a thief and sorcerer, has forgotten that he had one to lose.

When the daughter of a High Priest finds herself exiled and hunted across the entirety of conquered Ekka, both men will remember who they are, and the country’s invaders will learn that memories, unlike temples, are not so easily torn down.

Pale Queen’s Courtyard is the first novel by Canadian author Marcin Wrona, and a finalist in SciFiNow’s 2009 War of the Words.

 
The Tribe of IshmaelFebruary 8th: The Tribe of Ishmael (Afterlife Chronicles #1)

There are no heroes. Only villains…

Ishmael Abajian has always been a play-by-the-rules kind of guy, so when he stows aboard a train to escape from dangerous pursuers, he figures his guardian angel will overlook it. Except each train car appears to represent one of the Seven Deadly Sins. And the demon conductor informs him that he is no longer alive, deepest condolences. Not to mention the accidentally-going-to-Hell part—tough break. Too bad there’s no better luck next time.

Now trapped in a dark authoritarian world embroiled in power struggles and dreams of liberation, Ishmael teams up with a girl who may-or-may-not be a murderer in order to recover their lost memories and escape. However, as a free soul condemned neither to Hell nor Paradise, Ishmael is something that some demons have been waiting for, while others will stop at nothing to destroy: change.

The first installment in a brand-new epic fantasy series, THE TRIBE OF ISHMAEL is a dark metaphysical adventure containing hellhounds with nasty frost-bites and lots of adult content.

Welcome aboard the Sunnyside Express.
Next stop: the Afterlife.
Whatever you do, please don’t abandon all hope.
That wouldn’t be as much fun.

 
The Madness of HallenFebruary 15th: The Madness of Hallen (Khalada Stone #1)

Half a millenium ago, the mind of Husam al-Din was ripped apart and scattered beyond the borders of the known lands. Although secured by bloody war, the peaceful legacy he brought has begun to collapse, and the world once again starts a slow descent into chaos. Against all who betrayed him, al-Din will be forced to reclaim those who survived.
There are none who can prevent his return, but there are three who would control him. All that stands in their way is their own sanity, and everyone they love.

In the mountain city of Brunn, a darkness gathers around Ohrl. Restlessness, a sense that his life should mean more than it does. On his first journey beyond the mountains he begins to understand that destiny cares not for his petty desires. It is vicious and brutal, and it will not stop until either he, or it, are totally consumed.

Na’ilah’s search is almost over. She can feel his mind pulsating here in the city, but she cannot take it through strength of arms alone. Her armoury is cunning, manipulation and betrayal. Her will is to be obeyed, and her cruel heart will show no mercy to those that stand in her way.

His mind will be a vessel for the betrayals of his kind, and in time he must decide upon their right to survive. Yet before that decision can be made, Faerl must release the six most powerful men that brought this curse upon them, men who died half a millenium ago.

The Khalada Stone is the first of four epic novels following the lives of two brothers in their quest against the rightful heir to the mind of Husam al-Din.

 
InhaleFebruary 22nd: Inhale (Just Breathe #1)

Strangers in reality, inseparable in dreams…

After years of suffocating under her boss’s scrutiny, whale biologist Zoe Morgan finally lands a job as director of a tagging project in Hervey Bay, Australia. Success Down Under all but guarantees her the promotion of a lifetime, and Zoe won’t let anything—or anyone—stand in her way. Not the whale voices she suddenly hears in her head, not the ex who won’t take no for an answer, and especially not the gorgeous figment of her imagination who keeps saving her from the fiery hell of her dreams.

Gavin Cassidy hasn’t been called to help a human Wyldling in over a year, which is fine by him. Still blaming himself for the death of his partner, he keeps the guilt at bay by indulging in every excess his rock star persona affords. That is, until he’s summoned to protect Zoe from hungry Fyre Elementals and learns his new charge is the key to restoring order in the dying Dreaming. He never expects to fall for the feisty Dr. Morgan…nor does he realize he may have to sacrifice the woman he loves to save an entire country.

*This book contains graphic language, sex, and violence. Not suitable for readers under the age of 18.

**The author will donate all profits from the sale of the JUST BREATHE trilogy to programs that educate people about whales and the challenges they face.

An Aficionado’s Guide to the Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – Part 6

A few things you should know about this list:
*It was voted on by a large group of fantasy readers (majority rules)
*If a single book is on the list and that book is part of a series, it’s a recommendation for the entire series.
*I have read some of the books, but not all.
*I provide a link to the books I have reviewed.

I decided to break this into parts because it’s a pretty long list.

 

An Aficionado’s Guide to the Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – Part 5
 
 
moon called41. Moon Called
Series: Mercy Thompson
Review: 4 Stars

Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…

 
darkfever42. Darkfever
Series: Fever

MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands…

 
The Wizard of Oz43. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Series: Oz
Movies: 1939, 1978
Review: 3.5 Stars

In a terrifying instant of darkness, a tornado snatches up Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto, whirling them on the wild wind out of Kansas and straight to Oz.

In this wondrous world of sorcery and danger, Munchkins, flying monkeys, talking mice and fighting trees, all Dorothy wants to do is go home…

Together with the Scarecrow who wants a brain, the Tin Man who wants a heart, and the Cowardly Lion who wants courage, Dorothy and Toto must follow the Yellow Brick Road to find the Wizard of the Emerald City. But before the wizard of Oz will grant their wishes, Dorothy and her friends must do the impossible–Destroy the all-powerful Wicked Witch of the West….

 
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An Aficionado’s Guide to the Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – Part 5

A few things you should know about this list:
*It was voted on by a large group of fantasy readers (majority rules)
*If a single book is on the list and that book is part of a series, it’s a recommendation for the entire series.
*I have read some of the books, but not all.
*I provide a link to the books I have reviewed.

I decided to break this into parts because it’s a pretty long list, lol.

An Aficionado’s Guide to the Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – Part 1
An Aficionado’s Guide to the Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – Part 2
An Aficionado’s Guide to the Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – Part 3
An Aficionado’s Guide to the Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – Part 4
 
 

The Sheepfarmers Daughter51. Sheepfarmer’s Daughter
Series: The Deed of Paksenarrion
Review: 4 Stars

Paksenarrion — Paks for short — is somebody special. She knows it, even if nobody else does yet. No way will she follow her father’s orders to marry the pig farmer down the road. She’s off to join the army, even if it means she can never see her family again.
And so her adventure begins . . . the adventure that transforms her into a hero remembered in songs, chosen by the gods to restore a lost ruler to his throne.

Here is her tale as she lived it.

 

night watch52. Night Watch
Series: Дозоры (US/UK: Watch Series)
2004 Movie

Walking the streets of Moscow, indistinguishable from the rest of its population, are the Others. Possessors of supernatural powers and capable of entering the Twilight, a shadowy parallel world existing in parallel to our own, each Other owes allegiance either to the Dark or the Light. The “Night Watch,” first book in the “Night Watch” trilogy, follows Anton, a young Other owing allegiance to the Light. As a Night Watch agent he must patrol the streets and metro of the city, protecting ordinary people from the vampires and magicians of the Dark. When he comes across Svetlana, a young woman under a powerful curse, and saves an unfledged Other, Egor, from vampires, he becomes involved in events that threaten the uneasy truce, and the whole city…

 
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An Aficionado’s Guide to the top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – Part 4

As previously stated, this is a group created list.

A few things you should know about this list:
*It was voted on by a large group of fantasy readers (majority rules)
*If a single book is on the list and that book is part of a series, it’s a recommendation for the entire series.
*I have read some of the books, but not all.
*I provide a link to the books I have reviewed.

An Aficionado’s Guide to the Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – Part 1
An Aficionado’s Guide to the Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – Part 2
An Aficionado’s Guide to the Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – Part 3
 

the lies of locke lamora61. The Lies of Locke Lamora
Series: Gentleman Bastards

In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part “Robin Hood”, one part Ocean’s Eleven, and entirely enthralling…

An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.

A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying…

 
a spell for chameleon62. A Spell for Chameleon
Series: Xanth

Xanth was the enchanted land where magic ruled–where every citizen had a special spell only he could cast. That is, except for Bink of North Village. He was sure he possessed no magic, and knew that if he didn’t find some soon, he would be exiled. According to the Good Magician Humpfrey, the charts said that Bink was as powerful as the King or even the Evil Magician Trent. Unfortunately, no one could determine its form. Meanwhile, Bink was in despair. If he didn’t find his magic soon, he would be forced to leave….

 
hounded63. Hounded
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

 
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An Aficionado’s Guide to the Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – Part 2

Like the previous list I posted – 20 Best Urban Fantasy Books – this is a group created list.

A few things you should know about this list:
*It was voted on by a large group of fantasy readers (majority rules)
*If a single book is on the list and that book is part of a series, it’s a recommendation for the entire series.
*I have read some of the books, but not all.
*I provide a link to the books I have reviewed.

An Aficionado’s Guide to the Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – Part 1

furies of calderon
81. Furies of Calderon
Series: Codex Alera #1

In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies-elementals of earth, air, fire, water and metal, fifteen-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. But when his homeland erupts in chaos-when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies-Tavi’s simple courage will turn the tides of war.

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Review: Clean Sweep (The Innkeeper Chronicles #1) by Ilona Andrews

Clean-Sweep-Cover-Small

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This is a short novel, about 60,000 words.

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night… Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

I loved this book! Loved it!

I first read this book a while ago. It’s available – in its organic form – as a serial on the Andrews’ website. I knew what to expect but boy was I surprised!

I hate squeeing. I swear, it’s rather undignified. But there’s really no way to truly explain how much I enjoyed this new and updated edition. This updated version of Clean Sweep has been copy edited and four beautiful color illustrations added. I can’t emphasize enough the need to read this on something that has color. I read it on my computer once I realized there were illustrations. The Illustrations…really gave me fond memories. My first few hard and trade fantasy books were illustrated – here and there but illustrations still. The copy-edit is seamless (as it should be) and has given more back story and detail to an already rich world. Dina, the heroine, has had some additional background filled in and the ending is less abrupt.

This book is written in a flavor you’re familiar with if you read Ilona Andrews: strong characters, new and fascinating magic systems/worlds, real alpha males instead of Alpholes and female characters that aren’t doormats.
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Clean Sweep Read – In Progress (SQUEE!)

My best friend is a huge Lil Wayne fan. I don’t understand it, personally. We are way too old for him to be a Lil Wayne fan but regardless of that, he is.

One day I was over his house hanging out when he whips out his phone to show me his tumblr (instagram? IDK, I don’t use that stuff). He was super excited because he’d posted a picture of Lil Wayne tagged as “best rapper alive.” And Lil Wayne “liked” his picture. He was almost bouncing with joy. “Lil Wayne liked my picture! He knows I exist!” I’m sure I must have looked at him like he was insane. He admitted that it was more likely that one of Lil Wayne’s assistants (or someone like that) had liked the picture but “Still, it doesn’t matter! Someone in Lil Wayne’s camp knows I exist!”

Not gonna lie, I joked the shit out of him about that.

Then Ilona Andrews announced that she was going to be sending out ARCs of her new self-published book, Clean Sweep, to review blogs. I requested a copy…

…and not only did Ilona Andrews approve me for an ARC of Clean Sweep, she answered my email and said my first name.

OMG!!

Ilona Andrews knows I exist! OMG.

It took me like two days to open the damn email, lol. And by that I mean I’d open the email and read it before flagging it as “unread” and then reading it again.

OMG. I swear I had a bookgasm when I saw the email. Embarrassingly, I was at work – so I had to share this information with my coworker…who gave me the serious side eye.

LOLOL! At least I have the ability to laugh at myself. Cause I’m in for a ton of joking when my friend finds out about this – especially after the way I ribbed him about Lil Wayne. Cause now I know exactly how he felt. Ilona Andrews knows I exist and she said my first name!