Posts Tagged ‘Urban Fantasy’

Immortal Unchained Argeneau 25 Lynsay Sands

November 14, 2017 - 10:42 am No Comments

Immortal Unchained
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: 369pp
Release date: 28th March 2017
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

The Argeneau Vampires rule the world – well, not literally, but they are top players in all forms of modern industry – particularly blood banks.
In Lynsay Sand’s ever expanding world (this is book 25), the Argeneau family is governed by Lucian Argeneau who represents them on a council of immortals – nano engineered ‘vampires’ who are refugees from Atlantis – who need blood to stay at peak fitness level.
There are certain rules the immortals have to follow. To control population they are only allowed to turn one human in their long lives, this person normally being their life mate. They also survive on bagged blood, and eating ‘on the hoof’ or from the tap as it were, is only permitted in emergencies. The immortals can read and control others’ minds, unless drugged, but the single person they can’t hear is their future life mate.
During the last few books, immortals have been mysteriously disappearing. It was at the end of the last big where we had the big reveal – the name of the villain. So – SPOILERS HERE …
No surprise once you start reading – it’s Dr Dressler.
Dressler has invited celebrated chef Domitian to work for him on his island. Domitian is convinced his identity as an immortal is secure, so when a helicopter arrives he climbs on board but is immediately drugged.
Back on the island, police officer Sarita, is growing impatient waiting for a helicopter to take her to the mainland to see her grandmother who has had a fall.
Finally having enough, she storms into Dressler’s lab to find him, but finds a body cut in two instead: the torso strapped down on one small table, the legs strapped to another.
Dressler and his assistant walk in, use Sarita to help put the pieces of the tables back together, like a demented magician, pouring blood on the corpse until the pieces stitch back together to form a screaming, writhing man.
Two seconds later she’s drugged, unconscious, then waking up in the weirdest, white honeymoon paradise lodge stuck in the middle of the jungle island.
She’s alone.
But she won’t be for long.
In this, the 25th Argeneau novel, Sands again delivers a fun blend of romance, sexual chemistry, adventure, danger and humour.
Where it switches up though, is in the inhabitants of this mysterious island where Sarita finds herself imprisoned. Problem is, I just can’t tell you more! Because the surprise in store is worth it. Whole new story arcs will emerge I think, n the back of this book, and the end has another cliffhanger to potentially lead to more avenues.
I loved this book, and can’t wait to read the next one.
5/5

Night Stalker(Dead Loves Life Book 1) by RL Weeks

August 31, 2017 - 5:55 am No Comments

Night Stalker (Dead Loves Life Book 1) by RL Weeks

Published on 31st August 2017

151 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

When Casey and her boyfriend George visit Aokigahara, also known as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees in Japan, she thought she was just seeing the sights. However, George a lover of the supernatural had other ideas. Whilst on one of their hikes, she thought she sensed that someone was following them. After a disturbed sleep when she thought she dreamt of a woman in the room, they flew back to Pleasant Springs, where once they arrived George was involved in an accident. One year later Casey is being stalked in her dreams, and now wants to move on with her life.

Casey is a very non-descript character, a normal girl from a normal family, torn up by grief after the accident. It is not till further into the book that Casey’s heritage slowly starts to reveal itself and you see the glimpse of the type of girl I hope she will eventually become. Her stalker is a man of mystery, from the outside he appears to be a nice guy in a bad situation, but as the story progressed, there are things he is not telling Casey.

RL Weeks is good a telling a story and I love her attention to detail, information Casey needed was found whilst reading an ancient book and not from someone telling her. The underworld she created reminded me of the city from Total Recall, where the lower class (humans) were being abused for the pleasure of other. You can already feel a connection between Casey and the mystery man and although she does not trust him, you just know something will happen. The introduction near the end of a strong female demon adds to Casey predicament, but as it finishes on a cliff hanger I will have to wait till Night Wanderers is out in December. Once you have finished the book carry on reading as the Author’s notes are interesting to read and explains how she came up the with idea, also there is a creature of the night glossary explaining all the paranormal creatures in the book   

The Vanishing Throne (Falconer 2) Elizabeth May

August 4, 2017 - 6:36 pm No Comments

The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer Trilogy: Book 2)
Author: Elizabeth May
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: 362pp
Release date: 18th Nov 2015
(The third book The Fallen Lingdom was released 15th June 2017) Grab it now!


The first book in this series ‘The Falconer’ introduced us to a post-Regency world of early polite 19th Century society in Edinburgh, where Lady Alieana Kameron plays the game of ‘lady’ whilst tinkering with inventions.
On meeting pixie Derrick and Fae Kiaran, she discovers she is the ‘Falconer’ – the one who is strong enough to fight the fae – who wish to destroy the human world. There is much more to the first book (death, betrayal, love, passion, magic) but – spoilers darling!
Now, in the second book, having failed to save the world in a very Buffy-like manner – she is half dead and prisoner of Lonnrach – a baobhan sith – a vampire-like fae who holds Alieana in the faerie realm sucking her memories dry to find the information he needs to take a throne. The Vanishing Throne.
Time moves at a different pace in the Sith-bhruth – a week there can be months in the world of humans. But every day in her faerie prison is a day of torture – Lonnrach’s bite leaving physical and emotional scars, as his venom runs through her veins. But it is the guilt that consumes her, as much as the need to escape – she is shown visions of a desolate Edinburgh and knows she failed to save it.
Thankfully help comes in the form of Kiaran’s sister Aithinne.
There’s a nice little nod to The Princess Bride in here as Alieana escapes through the forests and rocks with Aithinne.
Though the imprisonment and escape is tense, emotional and intriguing, it was great to move on into Alieana’s normal world to see her reaction, and to see some old favourite characters.
Derrick the tiny winged pixie is particularly funny, as is Aithinne’s jubilant use of ‘normal’ swear words (implied at and stopped at just the right moment rather than expressed) and her sibling rivalry with Kiaran. Never mind Alieana’s love for Kiaran- a powerful fae she is only just getting to know.
When Derrick is drunk on honey he is very productive and at one point makes new clothes for Alieana- who huffs – to which Derrick replies “so just because the world ends you can’t dress fancy anymore?” Point made! I can almost feel Joss Whedon’s influence here, in reflect of sparkling dialogue at the least.
As for Kiaran, he has taught himself not to feel compassion after centuries in faerie, but seeing Alieana again stirs something deep inside, and when she is hurt at one point by another character his anger is cold. Bound from killing humans he still points out, “It’s incredible what the human body can endure without dying.” He’s your ‘Angel’ to Alieana’s Buffy; sexy, brooding, stalwart, strong – and lethal.
As a team, our heroes are formidable adversaries for Lonnrach, each character having different attributes to bring to the party; carrying on with the Buffy analogy – the ‘Scooby Gang’, each one valuable in their own right, with believable personalities to match.
With the gang and the surviving humans forming a truce with the pixies, we see an extraordinary underground city; glittering quartz domes, bee hive shaped houses, obsidian buildings, and food from everywhere in the world, which the pixies can create from nothing. But the sparkling fae disturb Alieana who still bears the scars of her torture.
However, for the reader, the city is awesome; you can smell, taste and feel this place. Stunning. Yet for Alieana there’s something missing that the real world has. Yet that real world is shattered and can’t be returned to right now. That won’t stop Alieana from trying to save the world that exists now – with a fairy killing gun (a blunderbus of her own design) her own innate powers and her team as back up.
This is a hero I can get on with. And here’s why;
“No – I don’t want balls (now now trader! not that type), or parties, or dresses again. No elevenhours or fourhours or being forced into marriage.
Those things all kept me caged …”
This is an awesome blend of Austen-era bad-assery heroines, magical steampunk, fae legend and urban fantasy.

Dance of the Butterfly by Scott Carruba

August 3, 2017 - 7:58 pm No Comments

Dance of the Butterfly by Scott Carruba

Published by Optimus Maximus Publishing on 5th July 2016

337 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Skothiam is on a quest for 3 ancient books, his research leads him to a prestige university. Meeting Lilja the curator of the university, she has a passion for the old books and a secret that she wants to keep. Also going on in the town is a vigilante trying to stop Gnegon a crime lord who is involved in human trafficking and a serial killer.

Skothiam is a mystery man and its only as the story progresses do we find more about his life. A man of means he does not flash is cash and is very unassuming. Lilja was a confident, strong woman but only at work, when she was with Skothiam she was unsure of herself and in some case quite naïve, especially when she was discussing BDSM.

At the start of this book I kept wandering were the author was taking me, as you had Skothiam’s story and the vigilante’s story running alongside each other and when a serial killer turned up in the book I was still having my doubts, but the author managed to interweave these stories together to make this an absorbing read. The author had an eye for detail and throughout this book even the smallest feature was explained. It brought a smile to my face whenever the character had a lip ring as their characteristics were so like my daughter who is always chewing on her lip ring.  With human trafficking a major part of the story, there are some dark scenes however this is necessary to the story and explains a lot at the end. This is definitely a book for the adult market, however the sex scenes were tastefully written and did not read trashy, in fact they reinforced the bond between Skothiam and Lilja. As I finished this book I was hoping that I could read more of Lilja and Skothiam as they made a good team and I was pleased when I saw Sword of the Butterfly already to purchase. A great read with a touch of fantasy

The Spawn of Lilith – Dana Fredsti

July 26, 2017 - 8:56 pm No Comments

The Spawn of Lilith
Author: Dana Fredsti
Publisher: Titan Books
Page count: 400pp
Release date: 20th June 2017
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

 

Lee Striga is a stunt woman at the top of her game, working with the legendary Katz crew; the equivalent of stunt person royalty. Her crew is going great until someone places her landing air bag in slightly the wrong position, during a routine high fall.
Lee does the drop, and wakes up in hospital with recent memories eradicated and her body in pretty bad shape. But as she heals, she longs to get back into the business; a business where shifters, fae, goblin and all sorts of supernatural creatures work in Hollywood.
On the road to recovery, Lee gets the chance to work on a film with a semi-decent budget as a stunt worker for annoying pain in-the arse actress Portia. But of course, things dont go quite as smoothly as they should, and pretty soon, people on the set are dropping dead, torn to pieces by god-knows-what sort of being.
Fredsti nails the cheap ‘bad’ film experience complete with ‘script’ excerpts with predictably villainous dialogue from – well – the villain. Think Ming the Merciless on a budget. As for attitude towards females in the industry, never mind the so-called ‘concubines’ in the film Lee is working on, she sees herself as curvy, which is fine but she’s regarded as too big to be a leading actress at a size 8, bearing in mind that’s USA ‘8’ which equates to a ‘6’ in the U.K. The sad thing is that Lee’s observations on the industry are based on Fredsti’s many years as an actual stunt woman. As Lee puts it, when being fit for a costume, “eight wasn’t exactly the gargantuan size she was implying.”
There’s a refreshing honesty here.
Axel the horny demon (literally) makes for great comic relief, but also, unfortunately, an indication of how some men in the industry treat women. Thankfully, all of the men aren’t shallow has-beens; Ben being an example of a solid actor and downright nice guy.
On a set later in the book, past the halfway mark, there’s some great banter between Lee and the producer Dobell about low budget SF/horror movies and being a lover of those films, I instantly recognised the kind of films and could guess the studio she is on about when gems such as “Crocksnake” and “Arachnogator” are mentioned – you might say, the well known low budget studio is kind of a “refuge” for B-Movie actors. There are so many pop culture references and ‘in jokes’ about LA and the movies but the kind a reader will easily get, because they are based around some accepted stereotypes. Which, by the way is when this book gets scary, because Fredsti actually worked in the industry meaning a lot of the arseholes she’s talking about? Yeah, they’re probably real. Sheesh.
As for Lee’s ‘voice’ – well – it hits 10 on the sarcasm Richter scale and I literally snorted my coffee out a couple of times through laughter. You’ll see what I mean when she describes actress ‘Portia’.
In a world where parking meter gods get bribed with Hershey Kisses, burly red-headed bar tenders hide secrets and creatures hide in the dark, Fredsti offers a brand new take on the Urban Fantasy genre.
I adored this book; the humour, the mayhem, the characters and the underpinning mystery.
This is a million shades of movie madness awesome. 5/5