Thursday, January 22, 2015

Uriel's Fall by Loralie Hall

Title: Uriel's Fall
Author: Loralie Hall
Genre:Urban Fantasy
Series: Ubiquity #1

Trade paperback, 301 pages
Publication: July 25, 2014

Source: I received a review copy from the author in exchange for a honest review.


What's a corporate demon to do when the voice in her head is devouring her sanity from the inside out, and the hosts of heaven and hell would rather see her destroyed than surrender a power they shouldn't possess?

Ronnie has the job any entry-level angel or demon would sell their soul for—she's a retrieval analyst for the largest search engine in the world. Ubiquity is a joint initiative between heaven and hell. Because what better way to track all of humanity's secrets, both good and bad, than direct access to their web browsing habits.

She might appreciate the position a little more if a) she could remember anything about her life before she started working at Ubiquity, b) the damn voice in her head would just shut up already, and c) her boss wasn't a complete dickhead.

As she searches for the solutions to the first two issues, and hopes the third will work itself out in performance reviews, she uncovers more petty backstabbing than an episode of Real Housewives, and a conspiracy as old as Lucifer's descent from heaven. On top of all that, if she forgets the cover sheet on her TPS report one more time, she's absolutely going on final written warning.

Now Ronnie’s struggling to keep her sanity and job, and stop the voice in her head from stealing her life. She almost misses the boredom of data analysis at Ubiquity. Almost.

Come to think of it, I read a lot of Urban Fantasies but books about angels are usually a miss for me. I don’t know why, they just are and I tend to pass them over in favor of other books. However, when Hall approached me to review Uriel’s Fall, my curiosity was definitely piqued. Angels and Demons working together in the corporate world, never heard of that before! I  am so happy I decided to read this book, the world and characters (the main 3 angels) are intriguing and the idea unique; which made it an enjoyable read.

Uriel a.k.a. Ronnie has been suffering from memory loss. The last thing she remembered was waking up in her boss, Lucifer’s office three months ago and starting work at Ubiquity, a search engine company run by angels and demons to find cherubs (angel/demon energy) that escaped to earth looking to take a host body and live a mortal life. Ronnie is doing everything she can to get her memory back, but things get a little complicated when she starts hearing a voice inside her head, a voice demanding Ronnie to give back her body.

I was sucked in from the first page. Hall’s take on angels and demon is unlike anything I’ve ever read and I loved her fresh take on Gabriel, Michael and Lucifer; angels/fallen angels most people are familiar with. For most of the book Ronnie is trying to figure out why she lost her memory and who/why is there a voice inside her head. The whole internal dialogue Ronnie had with the voice reminded me a lot of The Host by Stephanie Meyers. The voice was amusing at first, but I thought that it was eventually go away. However, the voice was the main plot of the story and was the driving force for the characters and their actions. As much as I liked the big reveal of the voice and how she is connected to everyone around Ronnie, I wish there was more to the story. More action. Ronnie basically goes from one guy to the next asking for help and answers and every single person gives her the round-about or they outright lie to her.

Character wise, I didn’t really connect with Ronnie, even though she was the narrator. I didn't hate her, but I didn’t really like her either. For a demon, she was too nice and very naive; whether it is from having the hots for both of the angels or blinded to the fact/truth right in front of her. I know she lost her memory and all, but she just came off really whinny. It wasn’t till a little over half way through the book that Ronnie started taking things more seriously and actively trying/forcing people to tell her the truth…because everyone around Ronnie knew exactly who the voice was and how it got there…except for her.

Overall, this was a good book and I enjoyed it regardless of my issue with Ronnie. My favorite aspects of the book were the world and the history of the angels. I also like that this book didn’t follow the whole good versus evil route, which was a nice change for once. Uriel’s Fall is a good start to a new series, and I am looking forward to seeing where the author takes it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Title: Clean Sweep
Author: Ilona Andrews
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #1 

Trade Paperback, 227 pages
Publication: December 20, 2013

Source: Gifted

Buy|Amazon|Book Depo|

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 never read Clean Sweep when it was published as a serial on the authors’ site. But when I found out they were releasing a paperback, I knew I had to read it. When one reads an Ilona Andrews book, you expect snarky characters and unique world building and that is exactly what I got. Clean Sweep was definitely not what I expected, it was a blend of Urban Fantasy and Sci-Fi…which is a rare thing to be seen in books (for me at least). However, the authors made it work and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The idea of Innkeepers is such a refreshing idea. Dina, our main heroine serves as an innkeeper of the Gertrude Hunt Bed and Breakfast. In addition to being a B&, it also serves as sanctuary between worlds for those coming to earth. Yes, you read that right. There are Aliens; that come in the form of werewolves, vampires and other fantastical creatures. Dina and the Inn are magic and are connected in a way…and while we see Dina use her magic and how alive the Inn is, there is still so much more to be seen and learned.

There are many wonderful-colorful characters from Caldenia who is a permanent resident at the Inn because she’s one of the galaxy most wanted, the noisy neighbors, to Dina’s Shih tzu Beast. But the other two main characters are Sean an Alpha strain werewolf and Arland a galactic vampire. I really liked Sean and Arland, the two men who abruptly show up in Dina’s life. And both of them happen to like Dina. I really love the interactions between the three characters; there are so many hilarious dialogues there’s never a dull moment. Overall, Clean Sweep was a great introduction to a new series and I can’t wait to see what happens next. My only complaint is that the book is so short but thankfully the problem of the story is resolved at the end…so, no cliff hanger here.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Night Shift by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin, Milla Vane

Title: Night Shift
Author(s): Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin, Milla Vane
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fiction-Fantasy
Series: N/A, Novellas

Mass Market Paperback, 378 pages
Publication: November 25, 2014 by Berkley 

Source: I received a review copy from publisher in exchange for a honest review.

Buy|Amazon|Book Depo|

Four masters of urban fantasy and paranormal romance plunge readers into the dangerous, captivating world unearthed beyond the dark...

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh delivers a smoldering story with Secrets at Midnight , as the scent of Bastien Smith’s elusive lover ignites a possessiveness in him that’s as feral as it is ecstatic. And now that he’s found his mate, he’ll do anything to keep her.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews’ novella, Magic Steals , when people start going missing, shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau and jaguar shifter Jim Shrapshire must uncover the truth about the mysterious creatures responsible.

From Milla Vane—a warrior princess must tame The Beast of Blackmoor to earn a place among her people. But she quickly discovers that the beast isn't a monster, but a barbarian warrior who intends to do some taming himself.

It’s seer Makenna Frazier's first day on the job at Supernatural Protection and Investigations, and her first assignment is more than she bargained for when bodyguard duty for a leprechaun prince’s bachelor party goes every which way but right in national bestselling author Lisa Shearin’s Lucky Charms .

I don’t read many novellas, but felt compelled to read Night Shift because of the amazing authors attached to the book. I’m a big fan of Ilona Andrews (who isn’t?) and Lisa Shearin’s Raines Benares series so their novellas were what I was most excited for.

Secrets at Midnight: I’ve never read the Psy-Changeling series, but as a shifter lover I was able to enjoy this story. Overall the story was good but it solely focused on Bastien and Kirby’s relationship rather than plot. It was very insta-love because the two are destined to be mates and all. So if you're looking for unique loeads, look elsewhere because the relationship is very formulaic PNR, with goody-innocent girl falling for the dangerous-bad boy.

Magic Steals: I loved Dali ever since she made an appearance in Magic Strikes (from what I remember). She is hilarious and unconventional, as she is a semi-blind vegetarian magic user shifter. The story follows Dali and her boyfriend Jim (Curran’s right-hand man) as they investigate a black magic disturbance. It was great learning more of Dali’s magic and Indonesian hertitage/background and seeing a softer side to Jim whom is usually dead serious. Andrews did an amazing job in packing so much information and creating an intricate plot and characterization in so few pages. I was laughing-out-loud from start to finish, and other times teary during the heart-felt scenes that made my heart swell. Magic Steals is the best novella of the four, and I loved every minute of it.

Lucky Charms:
I’ve haven’t gotten around to reading The Grendel Affair yet, but thought Lucky Charms would be a great introduction to Shearin’s new series. However, A few pages into the story I stopped reading it­­. I felt like the main heroine here, Mac, was trying way too hard to be funny. There was one-linear every couple of sentences and too many pop-culture references that were a bit too much for me. The story wasn’t engaging nor was the characters. It wasn’t a good thing that I found myself rolling my eyes more than the times I laughed (or snickered).

The Beast of Blackmoor: Unlike the other three stories which were urban fantasies, The Beast of Blackmoor was more of a dark fantasy. The story itself was good, the world very interesting but I wasn’t a fan of the two leads. They were both great warriors that help those that can’t defend for themselves but they just rubbed me the wrong way. Kavik has been dreaming of Mala for years and apparently loves her (I don’t know why because he never met or talked to her), but then when he does meet Mala in the flesh and finds out the real reason for her quest, Kavik’s every interaction with Mala was to minimize her self's worth and to degrade her…even the sex. And boy was there a lot of it. However, Mala didn’t mind being treated like crap and beneath him…even though she's practically his equal. The whole interaction was off-putting, and no surprise… the two have a happy ending together regardless. Bleh.

Overall Night Shift was a good anthology with some novellas better than others. Other readers obviously enjoyed this way more than me, and again like I said, I don’t read many anthologies/novellas. So with that said, I’d say check out more reviews on the book or if you can borrow this one from a friend/library if you’re interested in reading it.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Most Anticipated books of 2015

Ah, a New Year brings another plethora of new book releases! The following books are my most anticipated books of 2015 (not in any particular order)! There are more, of course, but I'm behind on a lot of series.

 January 27, 2015
Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal penal colony of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the fugitives are still missing and she is the most wanted person in London.

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.

Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided. Will Paige know who to trust? The hunt for the dreamwalker is on.

 February 10, 2015
 After the grisly murder of a dirty magic coven leader, Kate Prospero and The Magical Enforcement Agency team up with the local police to find the killer. But as the infighting between covens turns ugly, an all-out war brews in the slums of Babylon.

When a tenacious reporter sticks her nose in both the investigation and Prospero's past in the covens, old ghosts resurface. The team will have to use all the weapons in their arsenal to stop the coven war and find the killer before the case brings down all their careers - and their lives.

  February 24, 2015
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.

 March 3, 2015
Matilda Case isn’t normal. Normal people aren’t stitched together, inhumanly strong, and ageless, as she and the other galvanized are. Normal people’s bodies don’t hold the secret to immortality—something the powerful Houses will kill to possess. And normal people don’t know that they’re going to die in a few days.

Matilda’s fight to protect the people she loves triggered a chaotic war between the Houses and shattered the world’s peace. On the run, she must find a way to stop the repeat of the ancient time experiment that gifted her and the other galvanized with immortality. Because this time, it will destroy her and everything she holds dear.

Caught in a cat-and-mouse game of lies, betrayal, and unseen foes, Matilda must fight to save the world from utter destruction. But time itself is her enemy, and every second brings her one step closer to disaster....

March 10, 2015
Brianna Hai runs an occult shop that sells useless trinkets to tourists—and real magic supplies to witches and warlocks. The magical painting that hangs in Brianna's apartment is the last portal between the fae and human worlds.

A shocking magical assault on her home reveals to Brianna that her father, High King Liu of the Fae, is under attack. With the help of her gargoyle, Pug, her friend David, and Angelo, a police detective who doesn't believe in magic, Brianna recovers what was stolen from her and becomes an unwilling potential heir to the throne.

March 17, 2015
When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) is given an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female would under similar circumstances - names it the Spotted Crumpet and floats to India in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea. But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier's wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis and an embarrassing lack of bloomers, what else is a young lady of good breeding to do but turn metanatural and find out everyone's secrets, even thousand-year-old fuzzy ones?

May 5, 2015
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

June 9th 2015
Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she's too busy trying to actually survive. Her town's population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she'll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie's sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can't survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.

June 23, 2015
Jeremy Gallow is just another construction worker, and that's the way he likes it. He's left his past behind, but some things cannot be erased. Like the tattoos on his arms that transform into a weapon, or that he was once closer to the Queen of Summer than any half-human should be. Now the half-sidhe all in Summer once feared is dragged back into the world of enchantment, danger, and fickle fae—by a woman who looks uncannily like his dead wife. Her name is Robin, and her secrets are more than enough to get them both killed. A plague has come, the fullborn-fae are dying, and the dark answer to Summer's Court is breaking loose.

Be afraid, for Unwinter is riding...

August 4, 2015
Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.

Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.

But when the Veil threatens to shatter completely, Claire and Liam must work together to stop it, or else New Orleans will burn…

Friday, January 02, 2015

Tainted Blood by M.L. Brennan

Title: Tainted Blood
Author: M.L. Brennan
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Generation V # 3

Mass Market Paperback, 306 pages
Publication: November 4, 2014 by Roc

Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

Buy|Amazon|Book Depo|

Former film student Fortitude Scott is finally gainfully employed. Unfortunately, said employment happens to be with a group of sociopathic vampires—his family. And as much as Fort is loath to get too deep into the family business, when his brother, Chivalry, is temporarily unable to run the territory, it’s up to Fort to keep things under control.

So when the leader of a powerful faction of shifters turns up murdered, Fort finds himself tracking down a killer while navigating dangerous rivalries, longtime grudges, and hidden agendas. Even with the help of his foxy kitsune sidekick, Suzume, he’ll need to pull out all the stops to hunt for the paranormal assassin.

But as he calls on fairies, witches, and ghouls for help, he discovers that the problem is much bigger than a single dead werebear. The supernatural community is preparing for a massive shift in power within the Scott family leadership—and Fort has landed right in the middle of the gathering storm.…

Brennan certainly doesn’t disappoint! Tainted Blood is another excellent installment in the Generation V series. Just when I thought I’ve seen all that this series can offer, the author surprises me yet again with her expanded world building; this time…the introduction of the metsän kunigas (werebears) which is another underrated supernatural (awesome). And like Brennan’s vampires and elves, the werebear community is just as fascinating. So most of the territories dealings are handled by Fort’s brother Chivalry, but Fort is taking the reins this time around as Chivalry deals with his wife’s death, plans her funeral and looks for a new bride. And Fort’s first real assignment is to find out who killed the leader of the metsän kunigas.

Fort is definitely coming into his own person. He is still that awkward guy that everyone fell in love with but not so much of an underdog anymore. With more responsibilities with the family business, Fort is slowly gaining favor among the different supernatural sects, especially with the fragile and ending reign of Madeline. I love seeing Fort’s interaction with his family and the different supernatural sects in Madeline’s territory. Brennan’s takes on vampires never ceases to amaze me. We learn something new with each book about the vampire ways, and it is so original that it makes reading about vampires exciting again.

The plot was engaging and fast-paced making it a quick read. The plot mystery with the werebear leader was well done, but halfway through the book I figured out who the killer was. I knew it couldn’t be that easy! Good try, good try. My favorite part of the book was the banter between Fort and his siblings and the always tricky fox Suzume. Fort and Suzme’s relationship is moving beyond partners, and while I like them working together; I kind of don’t see them together-together. They’re two different type of people, and in my opinion don’t complement each other. I don’t know, maybe I’ll have a change of heart as I see more of their relationship as it is new. We’ll see.

Tainted Blood was a great read, and it met all my expectations. I love everything about this series and the perfect balance of serious-dark moments and humor. This is a one-of-a-kind urban fantasy and I highly recommend it! I can’t wait to see what happens next in the fourth book. While the first three books take place in the Scott’s territory, the author briefly talked about other leaders and their territories…so I hope we see beyond Madeline’s boundaries…I’m very intrigued!