Showing posts with label Urban Fantasy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Urban Fantasy. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

First November 2023 New Releases are in...

November is already feeling kind of spicy and exciting. Don't quite know where to start. But these are at least four books on my November 2023 Reading Menu! FYI. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros made a surprise TBR visit, after having been recommended/suggested to me multiple times by different people since its release back in May. For once--which rarely EVER happens--I decided to bite the bullet and see what all the hype is about. Either way, let's go NOVEMBER Reading!

Edit: I'm about to go finish playing Alan Wake II while I'm between books!

Monday, December 26, 2022

An Anita Blake Limited Edition Lot Find I REFUSED to Leave Behind

Okay. Okay. Okay. So, Anita Blake and I have beefed back and forth for years. I stopped reading the series for a few years, jumped back on, stopped again, and recently decided to jump back on to catch up on Blake's (and Hamilton's) latest offering with 2020's Sucker Punch and 2021's Rafael. I had some deep, ripping issues with 2018's Serpentine; I welcome you to find the video in which I shared my concerns.

Nevertheless, my continuing to read Hamilton on and off is driven chiefly by the state of nostalgia her work generates. Summer of 2007. Just discovering how the urban fantasy/action woman stories stretched outside Buffy meant everything during that time. Not to mention how incredible the first nine Anita Blake books were (though I've gradually become accustomed to the tone change after book nine).

Friday, September 16, 2022

Friday Friends of the Library Shopping

SOMEBODY COME OVER HERE AND STOP ME! Dude, listen. I am STILL on this “reaching to reclaim urban fantasy” nostalgic reading kick.

Even though half the books I have attempted to read and/or revisit have not worked out. Yet, here I am with this again. Though, truthfully, it happens; one week you’re into this, another week you’re into that. With that said, I went to the library early in the afternoon and just HAD to stop by the Friends of the Library Bookstore. What else would one do with $5 in his pocket, right? Well, yeah. Subsequently, this is the urban fantasy madness that followed…

Urban Shaman by C. E. Murphy has been on my reading wish list since 2007 (which I think admitting is part of my problem). Anyway, the story features a woman ex-cop named Joanne Walker who is part Native American and I believe Irish. The dilemma consists of Joanne attempting to save a woman fleeing a Celtic god who is running what we all understand as the folkloric Wild Hunt. Either way, I crave the adventure of it all. Don't know why. But I do.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Sailor Moon & Mini (mini) Book Haul & Possible Karen Chance Reading

Tuesday seemed like a day for some minor retail therapy. It appears the stars have aligned for some small, small fortunes.

I went to Gamestop early in the afternoon looking for some of those thumb grippers for an Xbox Series X controller. And while that mission was successful, I happened across these Sailor Moon travel hand sanitizer sleeves (or whatever). Now, for any other item/IP/brand/whatever I wouldn't even look twice at purchasing something unnecessary like this. But finding these stacked up shook me to my core. So much so that I knew right away if I didn’t buy one of each character now, I ran the risk of never finding them all at once again. Therefore, I got one of each and kept it moving. The guy at the register was pretty much like "you ain't playing around." Never with Sailor Moon, buddy. Never!

Thursday, September 8, 2022

CHOP IT UP: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

"When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.
The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way..."

Oh, MAN! Check this out, I tried to read this book back some almost-decade ago when I was still in my urban fantasy reading bag. Back then, I couldn’t seem to get around the first chapter. Now–as of my writing this–I’ve read the book page for page successfully. And I have to say the delay wasn’t worth it. Though I have to admit it's one of those books I've been curious about since, and am now happy the experience is behind me. Still, the Kate Daniels series is certainly popular with at least ten books released since her story's 2007 debut. However, I don't feel any desire to go further than said debut, Magic Bites.

So what happened to me with Magic Bites?

For starters, the first 100 pages had it going on. There was a crime scene. Murders to investigate. A law enforcing institution of sorts that's geared toward investigating and solving paranormal/preternatural crimes. Then there's Kate, our local mercenary heroine. She steps on stage appearing as clear-headed and competent in bringing justice to a crime that has unfortunately resulted in the murder of her guardian. So, off the bat, she has a closeness and even deeper stakes in solving this case ("story" box checked). Furthermore, she came armed with a directive and motive as a character ("plot" box checked).

In those first 100 pages, Kate was doing the damned thing; researching, interviews, morgue visits, document gathering, deducing, analyzing, and determining her next angle/action. I was all in, thinking to myself how nice it was to see an urban fantasy character doing actual investigative and procedural work that made sense. No illogical and desperate conclusions. Not too much fumbling. But actual steps. Now I held my breathe a bit because I knew soon she would be swayed to have sexy time with a local vampire or pack leader, per urban fantasy tropes (especially given the book's 2007 publication)! Yet, it was undeniable how Kate in motion provided a level of groundedness to the story, as well as character.

Sadly, the bottom fell out somewhere around 100 pages...

That’s when all I can describe as an over-the-top freakshow extravaganza hijacked Kate's investigative journey, and Kate herself. Now you can take my use of the term "freakshow" as either good or bad when you consider how we're talking about urban fantasy books where werecreatures and vampires generally take center stage. Yet, for darn sure, this change in tone seen in Magic Bites made for a disappointing and unpleasant reading affair.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

No Jane For Me

"Jane Yellowrock is the last of her kind—a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she desires and hunts vampires for a living. But now she’s been hired by Katherine Fontaneau, one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans and the madam of Katies’s Ladies, to hunt a powerful rogue vampire who’s killing other vamps.

Amidst a bordello full of real “ladies of the night,” and a hot Cajun biker with a panther tattoo who stirs her carnal desire, Jane must stay focused and complete her mission—or else the next skin she’ll need to save just may be her own..."

Another urban fantasy is an unfortunate non-continuing. About 65 pages and I was rather done with Jane Yellowrock. Her vibe was… unusual. I could only see hot leather and a motorcycle fantasy. And an extraordinarily beautiful tough woman who easily woos the extraordinarily handsome number of men who breathe near her ecosphere. Everybody was hot and hot to trot and rather over-the-top. And much of this spinning of who can be the most desired and sexiest one in the room was all a distraction from a pretty decent plot involving a rogue vampire who is fighting death by draining the blood of many New Orleans relatives. But… but… if only the story, characters, and Jane could have remained focused on this detail.

Don't get me totally wrong, as I thought Jane had an engaging mystery provided within her backstory. And I did like her ability to shift shapes (though I question the Native American angle the author used to shape this). But, overall, the book read too much like hot girl/bad boy. Leather and night teddy for the girls. Tight white t-shirts (with rolled-up sleeves) and ass-hugging jeans for the boys.

If only. If only.

The author was less compelled to enforce those areas instead of the plot.

Keep the plot/story moving.

Stop getting distracted.

Stop with the desperate, romantic side drama…

Leave it to authenticity.

Or give it time to cultivate.

Then again.

Everybody is super hot in looks, as well as desire.

Oh, and don’t forget the sexy energy behind a motorcycle.

Friday, September 2, 2022

#WEEKENDREADS: Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older

In all my latest desires to dive back into reading urban fantasy, I've finally fallen onto my copy of Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older. It's the first book in this Bone Street Rumba series (two other books were released), featuring the first-person narrative of a Puerto Rican man named Carlos Delacruz. Carlos is half-dead. Or what they call an inbetweener. He works for an organization called Council of the Dead. I'm going to spare you and myself in trying to round out and encapsulate what each "inbetweener" and "Council of the Dead" conceive of. Just know Carlos is like an agent of sorts ushered out to put a stop to supernatural problems. In the case of the first book, he has to stop a sorcerer who is also an inbetweener. As well as put a stop to a slew of ngks attacks. Ngks are a phylum of imps. Only they cause plagues and a host of other fatal disturbances. When we’re first introduced to one, it’s actually rather creepy.

I’m 100 pages into the book and, while I don’t follow 100% with the story, I’m enjoying this book a lot more than I thought I would. I was hesitant over the years, but Half-Resurrection Blues is winning me over so far. Placing some of the issues I have so far aside, I think I like the voice of Carlos. There’s a bit of Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins in it–to a degree (I stress “degree”). Carlos is smooth and charismatic. Though, most of all, he cusses. With him in the lead, the story just kind of propels and glides me forward. Even and despite the work it takes to understand and conceive the urban fantasy landscape the author has built. Now in terms of urban fantasy, Carlos is obviously in the minority as a male protagonist and triple as a man of color. And can't I express how MUCH I appreciate a voice similar in likeness to my own. Call it swag or vernacular or whatever. I just appreciate it and it is what’s largely keeping me engaged.

Still got 226 pages left to see how much happens. And, of course, I’ll always be the first to drop out and say if and why something doesn’t work. But as of now, this is my #WEEKEND READ.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

No Greywalker For Me


"Harper Blaine was your average small-time P.I. until a two-bit perp's savage assault left her dead for two minutes. When she comes to in the hospital, she sees things that can only be described as weird-shapes emerging from a foggy grey mist, snarling teeth, creatures roaring.

But Harper's not crazy. Her "death" has made her a Greywalker- able to move between the human world and the mysterious cross-over zone where things that go bump in the night exist. And her new gift is about to drag her into that strange new realm-whether she likes it or not."

Whew, chile. What and where do I go from here? Listen, I got about 51 pages into FINALLY reading Kat Richardson's Greywalker before I decided to bail. And I mean my reading spirit was absolutely flooded to the brim with disinterest along this 51-page mark. Despite desiring to read the book for years (and owning it for probably longer), things just didn't work.

So where did it all go wrong for me, personally?

  • Harper Blaine is the first-person main protagonist, and had a voice about as gray as the title itself. Some books can have a decent voice but a good premise to work with. Sometimes it's the opposite, but the voice keeps you glued. Here, Ms. Blaine didn't seem to come alive on the page. It's one of those cases where the author sees his or her character's liveliness differently than the reader, for sure. Which is natural, just like the impression of his or her character will not land with all readers. Blaine didn't land with me. I get the hard-boiled outlook, but she wasn't giving me much else. 

CHOP IT UP: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

In my recent travels to help satiate this nostalgic need to read urban fantasy books–per my discovery of the genre in 2007–I have finally read Seanan McGuire's Rosemary and Rue. This is the first book in her October Daye series. Ms. Daye is a half-human half-fae P.I. residing in San Francisco. Nonetheless, being born a mixture of the two, October lives between both the human world and the fae world. P.I. profession aside, there was a time she was a check-out clerk at a local grocery store, alongside a time when she could travel through gateways into fae dwellings. Cool stuff. Right? Well, indeed it was–though I had some problems. 

As far as plot/story, the prologue gives readers a moment into October's role as a P.I. She's on a tracking mission, which ultimately finds her cursed into the body of a koi fish for fourteen years. In the meantime, she's lost her family, which consists of her human husband and child. Essentially, it is believed she ran away from her family or was killed. Anyway, fourteen years later the curse has lifted and she's back in the world anew. And while her family has moved on, October has to start completely over without them. With the help of one duchess-like fae woman named Evening, October slowly gets back on her feet. And it's here that the same woman who helped October finds herself hunted down and assassinated. But not before cursing October to solve her murder and bring her killer(s) to fae justice. Or, heck, justice in general.

So, what were my aforementioned problems?

·    There was a big deal about how October was a private investigator who did pretty dang well for herself. Well, having taken on this new mission to solve a fellow fae's murder, October seemed rather sloppy as a detective to me. Blame it on her being in the body of a koi fish for fourteen years. Blame it on her readjustment to not being so. Blame it on something. Sure. But, otherwise, she wasn't so great at it. To me, she couldn't seem to infer much. Was constantly caught off guard. Suffered multiple bullet wounds and continued to fight her way through bleeding set piece moments. No discernment. No intuition. But there is a reason for that: the actual investigation and plot lacked much for her to even work with. Even so, I wasn't being sold on October's detective abilities. It came across as a vanity title stitched along like many urban fantasy protagonists.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

(2) Last Year's Disappointing Reads | Serpentine by Laurell K Hamilton

I.  Have.  Got.  To.  End.  Reading.  This.  Series.

Serpentine (Anita Blake #26) by Laurell K. Hamilton
"A remote Florida island is the perfect wedding destination for the upcoming nuptials of Anita’s fellow U.S. Marshal and best friend, Edward. For Anita, the vacation is a welcome break, as it’s the first trip she gets to take with just wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel. But it’s not all fun and games and bachelor parties…  
In this tropical paradise, Micah discovers a horrific new form of lycanthropy, one that has afflicted a single family for generations. Believed to be the result of an ancient Greek curse, it turns human bodies into a mass of snakes.  
When long-simmering resentment leads to a big blowp within the wedding party, the last thing Anita needs is more drama. But it finds her anyway when women start disappearing from the hotel, and worse, her own friends and lovers are considered the prime suspects. There’s a strange power afoot that Anita has never confronted before, a force that’s rendering those around her helpless. Unable to face it on her own, Anita is willing to accept help from even the deadliest places. Help that she will most certainly regret—if she survives at all, that is…"


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Recent Thriftbooks Book Haul

I haven’t done a book haul in a hot minute.  I haven’t actually WRITTEN a blog post in an extra hot minute.  So I said, “what the hee-hah”.  I’ll combine the two forces (go Captain Planet), and see what the hell I can get out of the experience.  Mainly, I’m looking for my mojo for writing blog posts back.  I miss it.  And, considering in July I paid for another year of ownership of my domain name, I’ve got to get something here back in order...

(Already it feels good pounding on the keys.) 

So I’m going to share my recent purchases from Thriftbooks.  I have a few criticisms with the site–as a consumer.  Yet, I still use it because the books are in fairly good condition.  Also they're cheap and you get free shipping on orders $10 and over, which takes some of the guilt of purchasing books you'll take forever to even read away.  So they–essentially–have your ass over a barrel.  Anyway, I was inspired by these picks for a few different reasons, and I’ll share those reasons as I move along in the post.  And as always, for those of you who are familiar with the books, drop me a comment concerning your thoughts (though try not to spoil them) on each.  I always love hearing from other readers.

So one overarching reason I purchased at least three of the books is because I checked them out from my public library–though I never found myself in the mood to read them.  Or, in the case of Moon Called, I started reading the book a day before J. D. Robb’s latest release [Leverage in Death] came out.  Which, essentially, halted the whole process because everything stops with a new In Death release.  And I mean EVERYTHING, bih.

Nonetheless, here goes…

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What? Some Fantasy Novels...?

I told myself “what the hell” today and grabbed these two fantasy novels out of the library used bookstore for a $1 apiece.  As mentioned in the past, the fantasy genre isn’t my strong suit; Urban Fantasy I can nail, given the right ingredients.  Nonetheless, high fantasy–as I’ve learned in the past–takes me an unbelievable amount of energy to focus and survey my way through.  Seriously, with high fantasy you’re thrown into a whole different world of concepts, systems, and ecospheres that allows you little to no reference points to consider.  So I find it troublesome when I attempt to unfold the author’s imagination through my own–at the same time.  Or at least that’s how it feels to me when an author is pounding descriptive exposition of a fantasy empire built onto a water way; congregated by humanoids and humans with varied ascetics not remitting my needing a visual clue.  So it always feels like a gamble when I take on these books.  A gamble of cohesion and comprehension of the events and narrative flow through an author's particular style.
Yet, there’s a wall I want to break to get into these alien and fantasy worlds.  And that’s how I browsed my way to Jude Fisher’s Sorcery Rising (Book One of Fool’s Gold) and the infamous Mercedes Lackey’s The Serpent’s Shadow.  Both their selling points: they feature female leads.  Nonetheless, The Serpent's Shadow's lead is a half-Indian woman named, Maya Witherspoon.  Which really caught my attention.  Other than that, both leads partake in an adventure of some sort.  Oh, and magic will be had.
So it’s going to take some patience keeping up with their respective world-building, politics, and rules of etiquette.  As well as the patience I’ll need to roll my tongue/mind in attempts to correctly pronounce names like “Sanctuarii”, “Arahai”, and “Fotheringay.”
Oh, boy.
But here goes!
Should I jump ship for whatever reason, everyone will be the first to know.
Share your thoughts on high fantasy and these authors.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sisters in Urban Fantasy

I need to do a quick share of two urban fantasy African American writers writing African American women in leads.  Both these series are on-going with me, and I'm desperately in need of reawakening my thirst.

First is Kira Solomon, the lead of Seressia Glass’s Shadowchasers series.  The series is only three books long.  Though I have the first two, I’ve only (shamefully) read the first.  Don’t judge.  I may just not want the series to end so quickly.  (At least I told myself that after reading the first book back in 2012.)  Anyway, here’s the synopsis…
Kira's day job is as an antiquities expert, but her true calling is as a Shadowchaser. Trained from youth to be one of the most lethal Chasers in existence, Kira serves the Gilead Commission, dispatching the Fallen who sow discord and chaos. Of course, sometimes Gilead bureaucracy is as much a thorn in her side as anything the Fallen can muster against her. Right now, though, she's got a bigger problem. Someone is turning the city of Atlanta upside down in search of a millennia-old Egyptian dagger that just happens to have fallen into Kira's hands.  
Then there's Khefar, the dagger's true owner -- a near-immortal 4,000-year-old Nubian warrior who, Kira has to admit, looks pretty fine for his age. Joining forces is the only way to keep the weapon safe from the sinister Shadow forces, but now Kira is in deep with someone who holds more secrets than she does, the one person who knows just how treacherous this fight is. Because every step closer to destroying the enemy is a step closer to losing herself to Shadow forever....
First, we still love and cherish you L. A. Banks.

While I’ve devoured the hell out of Banks’ Vampire Huntress series, I’ve yet to fully eat her Crimson Moon titles.  Pitiful of me, I know.  I’ve gotten through the first two books, and have yet to follow through with the third in her six-book series.  Nonetheless, Banks is a writer that stays on my heart, and I one day plan on tackling this series into completion.
The synopsis of the first book:
Sasha Trudeau knows all about working beneath the shadows, back-alley deals, and things that go bump in the night. She also knows that the world is unaware of the existence of the paranormal―and that the government would like to keep it that way. 
As a highly trained Special Ops soldier, Sasha and her team are an elite group of individuals who are survivors of werewolf attacks, now trained to be loyal to only to each other and their government. But when she returns from a solo mission, she finds that her team has mysteriously gone missing. Shocking government conspiracies, double-dealing vampires, and a host of stunning revelations about who―and what―she really is are only just the beginning…
That’s all for today, guys.  I just wanted to share these authors/books to remind us that our Sisters does do urban fantasy just as well.  And with that said, share any black female writers you know who have found or taken over an avenue of this sub-genre.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My Kim Harrison Reads Are Suffering...

If only I could find my way back to this series.  Especially considering it ended back in 2014.  You'd think I would run to wrap it up–you know, having read 9 out of the 13 books in the series.  But I just can't seem to get with Rachel Morgan again.  Yet, as this post may indicate, she keeps crossing my mind.  Over and over again.  Her voice speaks from the bookshelf grave, asking me to pick up book 10.  And actually get past the first twenty pages.  The echo of her voice is desperate for me to finish her bounty hunter/witch/demon story.  I sigh in a mix of pain and relief of my escape.  But I'll never forget those 2007 afternoons where I had an hour or two between school and work.  I would sit down at McDonald's and read these books.  Actually, I would gobble them up!  If only Rachel spent a little less time negotiating over her hormones, then things would've turned out differently.
Oh well.  Maybe this summer I'll finally pick up the series where I (swiftly) jumped ship from.  And... well... try again.  Maybe with a glass of wine to go along with the reading.  A sip for every occasion Rachel slobs all over herself over a shirtless man.  Who happens to be an elf-thing.  Who happens to be a killer somehow in need of the reader's sympathy.  The details get fuzzy as the years go by, but the inner ache remains the same.
Aw, hell.  Forget that noise!  Maybe I'll try again when I have nothing else available to read.  (Ah, let's go to Barnes & Nobles and order books today!)

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