Archive for April, 2015

Kelley Armstrong Duo

April 21, 2015 - 10:19 pm No Comments

Men of the Otherworld
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Orbit
Release date: 29 Jan 2009
Page count: 369pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

I’m currently watching the Armstrong produced series Bitten, based on the Women of the Otherworld book series. Season one kicked off with an introduction to Elena Michaels and her relationship with Clay Danvers, as well as a glimpse into how they met at University with Clay seeking a PA. In series two of Bitten we get a further glimpse into Clay’s history with flashbacks of him as a child. From Clay to Antonio, to Malclom and Jeremy, the Men of the Otherworld are fascinating, so I was looking forward to finding out more about them. Best of all, the proceeds from this collection go to Workd Literacy of Canada, a worthy cause.
The collection starts with ‘Infusion, 1946’ in which Dominic has a newborn baby son Antonio. Here we find out more about Malcolm’s motivation behind his desire to be Alpha and succeed. He’s also desperate for a child, so starts to woo the Japanese serving girl at Vinnie’s bar, hesitant partly because of associations with Pearl Harbour. After a night of unbridled passion, Malclom follows the girl, just in case she has given him a boy. Father a son and you must claim him for the Pack.
The next story jumps to 1967, ‘Savage’. Young Clay is wandering the woods if Baton Rouge on his own at night. He’s been following a man he knows us a werewolf and decides he wants to become one, but doesn’t quite get what he’s bargained for. As a feral boy werewolf, Clay is found by Jeremy, who shows extreme patience in cajoling and nurturing the wild creature, eventually taking him back to Stonehaven.
This is a marvellous story which reinforces the strength of the relationship between Clay and Jeremy. All told through the point of view of the starving, scared boy. There are also some really humorous bits as Clay studies the school pets for ways to kill them, which the teacher mistakenly finds adorable.
The third story is ‘Ascension 1972’. Here we see Clay enter his teen years, deal with puberty, learn to fight and struggle to protect Jeremy from the mutts and his father Malcolm.
In ‘Kitsungari, 2007’, Jaime and Jeremy manage a stolen weekend together. But something is troubling Jeremy, a feeling of being watched.
This is a great collection and adds to the whole dimension of the Otherworld. It’s particularly fun to spend time with the ‘boys’, so well worth a read.

Waking the Witch
Women of the Otherworld (12)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Orbit
Release date 27th Jul 2010
Page count: 325pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

In the twelfth Women of the Otherworld book, Savannah Levine, daughter of Eve and Nast takes the lead. Paige and Lucas have gone off to Hawaii for a holiday leaving Savannah in charge of the business, so when she receives a visit from half demon PI Jesse who needs help with an investigation in Colombus, she sees it as the ideal opportunity to go solo for the first time. She heads off to the small town and starts to investigate the murder of three women hat could be linked to a mysterious local cult. Savannah identifies with young Kayla, nine-year old daughter of one if the victims, Ginny, intent on finding out who killed her Mom. Savannah too, remembers the loss of her Mom at a very young age and it brings up all sorts of memories.
Blending a murder mystery thriller with magic, with fast and Savannah’s own survivor’s guilt, this is another great outing for the Women of the Otherworld. The youngest Levine has come of age, is fighting her feelings for Adam Vasic whilst exploring dating with detective Michael and is trying to prove her worth and independence. But nothing can prepare her for the shock that awaits her in the finale. Gripping and engaging, this is another great book in this very popular series.

Urban Shaman

April 17, 2015 - 1:57 pm No Comments

Walker Papers Book 1
Author: C E Murphy
Publisher: Luna Press
Release Date:
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

“An announcement of impending death sure could take a girl’s appetite away.”
And that’s exactly what Joanne Walker (Walkingstick) is about to face. Part Native American, part Irish, Joanne is returning from her mother’s funeral in Dublin, when from the plane window she spots a woman running, being chased by a man and a pack of dogs. Desperate to find out what’s going on, Jo gets off the plane, dives in a taxi and with Gary the taxi driver, finds the church she saw the woman fleeing towards. The woman is Marie a mystical banshee/fae creature who is on the run from The Wild Hunt and an immortal God, and she needs Jo’s help. But just as she tells Jo the help she needs, she sees something that scares her. She can see when someone is going to die, and right now she sees Jo’s death on the cards.
It turns out that Jo is a Shaman; a healer and protector and it’s her job to find out why five people have been murdered in similar ways.
This book is the poster child for diversity: as well as Jo’s own mixed race heritage, one of her partners on the police force Billy, is a cross dressing detective.
There are some editorial issues with this novel, which jar a little as you’re reading but don’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the book. Written in the first person, the tone is playful but also very personal and immediate, delivered in what C E Murphy herself calls “first person snark”, which probably gives you an idea of what to expect here.
Some of the more esoteric scenes go on a little bit longer and are imbued with an overwrought sense of the dramatic, but again, as a first book in this series it’s certainly worth a try as Jo’s antagonistic love/hate relationship with boss Morrison, her burgeoning magic and her buddy relationship with taxi driver Gary who can’t resist being pulled into the mystery adds extra dimensions to the book. I’d possibly rate this at 7/10. Good, but I expect improvements in the next book.


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Pocket Apocalypse

April 14, 2015 - 5:32 pm No Comments

Author: Seanan McGuire
Publisher: DAW
Release date: 3rd March 2015
Page count: 352pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

The fourth novel in the Incryptid series, Pocket Apocalypse kicks off seven years earlier when Verity’s brother Alex Price (aged 19) battles werewolves. And boy, does he detest those buggers. So when girlfriend Shelby Tanner says her family in Australia is in danger from werewolves, Alex begrudgingly agrees to go Down Under with her. Coming on the trip with Alex are six Aeslin mice (talking pantheistic rodents that worship Alex’s family as gods) though he does have to leave behind his pet griffin.
Filled with McGuire’s usual wit, pace and fun, Pocket Apocalypse proves that the Incryptid series can go ever on gaining strength with every instalment. As well as hunting werewolves which are highly infectious, Alex has to fight a battle of wills with Shelby’s father Riley, who has a problem with anyone bold enough to date his girl. He also gets to meet her mother Charlotte and her two intimidating sisters, Gabby and Raina, who challenge him in every which way.
Alex is an engaging personality and the bond he shares with Shelby, a strong, vibrant female protagonist, is palpable. The novel also deals with racism and prejudices as the Tanners do not involve non human cryptids in their world, treating them as less than human and certainly not equals. Shelby, who grew up in that world, has changed since her stay in America and getting to know Alex and his family, so she attempts to change their old fashioned views. Alex also faces prejudice as ‘Covenant Boy’. Although his family left the brutal Covenant generations ago, he still retains the stigma that the Thirty Six Society of Australia hold against him.
There are a whole host of enjoyable characters in this book, and the wild setting adds to the sense of danger. Another brilliant Incryptid book.

Cover Reveal Phoenix Rising

April 8, 2015 - 5:32 am No Comments

Cover reveal for Bryony Pearce’s new YA novel, Phoenix Rising, out in June. Are you #PhoenixCrew or #BansheeCrew? I’m #PheonixCrew

Phoenix Rising Cover - Final

Justice Calling

April 8, 2015 - 5:17 am No Comments

Justice Calling
Author: Annie Bellet
Publisher: Doomed Muse Press
Release Date: 2014
Page count: 152pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

With art imitating life, rather than the reverse, the main character works in/owns a comic and games shop. Hugo award nominated Bellet is a major self proclaimed nerd and gamer. As Jade says at one point, talking about the variety of consoles in her home, “A girl needs options. To me, video games are like shoes. But with more pixels and a plot, so I play a lot of video games like Overwatch, and even go online to find the different price for Overwatch boosting so I can improve on them faster.
In Wylde, Idaho, most of the non-college inhabitants aren’t wholly human, so when the six foot six Norse god lookalike walks into her store, her wards humming, Jade Crow twigs straight away that Aleksei isn’t human. He’s a Justice of the Council of Nine, and has just accused Jade of being a murderer. The thing is, he senses the truth in her denial. The Justices are judge, jury and executioner for shifters, powerful God-like shifters ordained to keep the peace among the shifter population and keep the existence of shifters secret from humans. Jade is a sorcerer, though no one knows this as their reputation is less than savoury.
As she enters Ciaran’s shop with best friend Harper, Harper sees a stuffed fox, realising with horror it’s her fox-shifter Mom in fox form.
Brimming with fun, witty dialogue and punchlines, this novel is full of brilliant characters. Particularly entertaining is Ciaran the leprechaun, yes, a real live leprechaun! And the diversity here is great, as Jade herself is Native American and the twins Ezekiel and Levi are too. And Ezee (Ezekiel) is as, quote, “gay as Neil Patrick Harris). The diversity enriches the story (it’s great not to read novels with all white, make leads) and to see our multicultural and sexually diverse culture reflected accurately, but not done as tokenism. These characters simply are what they are.
Particularly enjoyable is the sizzling chemistry between Aleksei and Jade, plus her fear that violent, evil ex Samor will show up to kill her. She has been on the run too many times.
Sexy, sassy and excellent fun, this novel has now become one of my firm favourites, and Bellet is an author to watch.