Tag Archives: Urban fantasy

Owl and the City of Angels — Kristi Charish

27 Sep



Publisher:Simon and Schuster Canada
Released: October 5th, 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: ARC from publisher


The wild second adventure for unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world—from the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish. For fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and the like.

Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl, international antiquities thief for hire, is settling into her new contract job for Vegas mogul Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon with a penchant for ancient, supernatural artifacts. And now he has his sights set on some treasures of the mysterious Syrian City of the Dead that are sitting in a recluse’s private collection.

There’s just one wrinkle. To stop the resurrection of an undead army that could wreak havoc on Los Angeles, Owl must break into a heavily guarded archaeological sight in one of the most volatile regions in the world. A detour through Libya and a run-in with Somali pirates sends the clock ticking hastily toward total paranormal disaster.

Meanwhile, Alexander and the Paris vampires have stopped stalking Owl’s apartment, but they have by no means forgotten their death grudge against her. To top everything off, Owl finds out the hard way that there is nothing heavenly about the City of Angels…

From Goodreads

I prefer my urban fantasy with a bit of humour, a lot of snark and just a touch of romance. And I got all of these things in Owl and the City of Angels. This was a wild ride with lots of adventure and a heroine that doesn’t always play by the books.

This is the second book in the series and even though I didn’t read the first book, I wasn’t totally lost. There were some moments where I was a bit confused, but I actually like that. I really hate when authors completely rehash previous books in series. There was enough background about what happened in book one that I wasn’t struggling to piece things together but I also felt like if I had read book one, those short background sections wouldn’t have bored me to death.

Owl is a dynamic main character, not always 100% likeable but always relatable in some way. She can sometimes be a bit too independent and struggles with accepting help and also with trusting others. But this added to her character and the plot, because I also didn’t know whom she should trust. The other characters in the book are well-written and each brings their own dynamic to the story. And I have to take a moment to mention the cat. The cat was AWESOME. 🙂

The plot was complex but not convoluted. The pacing was awesome and I loved the mixed of action and character development.

I enjoyed Owl and the City of Angels so much that I’m planning on going back and reading the first book in the series. And I can’t wait for the next book to come out so I can see what Owl is up to.


How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back (White Trash Zombie #4) — Diana Rowland

24 Feb

groovebackPublisher: Audible Studios
Released: July 1st, 2014
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Audio book purchased
Narrator: Allison McLemore



It’s zombie versus zombie as the Saberton Corporation declares war against the Zombie Mafia, kidnapping several of their party. It falls to Angel to lead the remnants of her gang halfway across the country to claw their way through corporate intrigue, zombie drugs, and undead trafficking to rescue her friends – and expose the traitor responsible for their abduction.

From Goodreads


OMG how great is The White Trash Zombie series? So freaking great! This was my introduction to audiobooks and still remains my favourite series to listen to.

Before I get into the book I have to give props to Allison McLemore, the narrator. She is perfection in this series. Not only does she nail the main character’s drawl, but she all the other character voices are distinct without coming off as a parent reading a kid a storybook. (I have a particular love for Angel’s dad’s voice.)

Okay, the book. Holy crap but things have gone to shit in more ways than one. But it wasn’t too much or over the top. With the ongoing story arc of Saberton as the big bad, this was a natural progression. And there are some big, juicy WTF moments that are big, BIG game changers.  A couple of tidbits were thrown at us at the end that left me wondering if one of the secondary characters was going to become a major player in up coming books.

I need to take a second to devote to how much I ship Angel and Phillip. There, I said it. Yeah, Marcus is great, but I really, REALLY want to see something happen between Angel and Phillip.

Angel Crawford is an amazingly fun character. She’s snarky and funny and fearless (usually) and generally doesn’t give a shit what people think of her. She’s had a lot of growth from the first book, but she got a bit annoying in this book at times. She was super insecure through a good part of the book and it turned into whininess sometimes. I understand she was truly out of her element, but the sever insecurity just didn’t feel like it was in tune with what I know of the character. But I still love Angel and will definitely continue with the series.

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

30 Mar

Publisher: Random House Canada
Released: April 5, 2011
Genre: YA paranormal/urban fantasy
For review from publisher.

Maya lives in a small medical-research town on Vancouver Island. How small? You can’t find it on the map. It has less than two-hundred people, and her school has only sixty-eight students — for every grade from kindergarten to twelve. Now, strange things are happening in this claustrophobic town, and Maya’s determined to get to the bottom of them. First, the captain of the swim team drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. A year later, mountain lions start appearing around Maya’s home, and they won’t go away. Her best friend, Daniel, starts getting negative vibes from certain people and things. It doesn’t help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret — and he’s interested in one special part of Maya’s anatomy: Her paw-print birthmark.

From Random House Canada website.


Oh Kelley, how could you? How could you introduce me to an amazing character like Maya, create such a great story complete with mystery, danger and wildlife, give me a taste and then hang me over a cliff? What’s next? Are you going to give me the world’s best chocolate cheesecake, let me lick the fork and tell me that I have to wait A FREAKING YEAR before I can have more?

Here’s a reenactment of me finishing The Gathering:

“What? That’s the end? No, it CAN’T be. Maybe this ARC is faulty.”

Gets up and checks other ARCS that are for the giveaway.

“AAAAAAARGH!!!!! That IS the ending. I have to wait a year to find out what happens?”

Arms raised to the sky.

“Damn you, Kelley Armstrong! Damn you!”

Face plant flop on the bed where I stay for an hour.

Kelley’s my favorite author. Never once have I read one of her books and thought, “Meh, that was kinda ok.” I’ve loved everything she’s ever written and The Gathering is no different as you can tell from my above spazz out.

I do animal rehab in my offline life, so I  instantly felt a bond with Maya who takes care of all sorts of animals in The Gathering. I actually ended up reading some of the animal rehab related passages to the hubs, since he has yet to read a book by Kelley. (This will change soon: divorce has been threatened.)

I’m such a dork that anytime there was a reference to Kelley’s Darkest Power Trilogy or her Women of the Otherworld series, I couldn’t help but stab at the page with my finger and giggle like a twit. At the same time I love that this could be the first Armstrong that you pick up and you wouldn’t be lost.

I’m not really sure what else to say about The Gathering without just gushing some more. As always the writing was tight and solid and the storyline was amazing. In true Kelley fashion there were more questions than answers. But,I’m sure that those questions will be answered in the next two books.  Now to patiently wait out the year until the next one is released.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: damn you, Kelley Armstrong, damn you. 😛

Review: 13 to Life by Shannon Delany

31 Jan

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Released: June, 2010
Genre: YA paranormal, romance
Gifted from the wonder Bella.

Everything about Jessie Gillmansen’s life changed when her mother died. Now even her hometown of Junction is changing. Mysterious dark things are happening. All Jessie wants is to avoid more change. But showing a hot new guy around Junction High, she’s about to discover a whole new type of change. Pietr Rusakova is more than good looks and a fascinating accent—he’s a guy with a dangerous secret. And his very existence is sure to bring big trouble to Jessie’s small town. It seems change is the one thing Jessie can’t avoid…

From St. Martin’s Press website.

*This review is slightly spoilerish*

While it may seem like I drool over every YA book out there, it’s not true. Honestly. Each year there are actually only a hand-full of YA books that I must read or I’ll die a slow, painful, whinny death. Well, not really but that’s what it feels like. 13 to Life was one of those books that I desperately wanted to read. When Bella from Bella’s Bookshelf sent it to me as part of a book swap I was uber-excited. There may have been some screaming.

Any-hoo I pretty much instantly dug into it and I wasn’t really disappointed. Sure, there were a couple of things that niggled at me a bit, but they weren’t monstrous enough to make me not enjoy the book.

I loved the mystery surrounding the Rusakova family. Who were they? What was their story, really? From the moment we meet Pietr, it’s obvious the boy is hiding some deep, dark secret. And then we meet the rest of the clan, and, well, things get even more secretive.

Jessie was a solid female lead, but, well, she does some things that just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me and seemed a bit mean. And here’s where the spoilery stuff comes in, so if you haven’t read the book you may not want to read the rest of the review.

Jessie likes Pietr. Pietr likes Jessie. But Jessie’s best friend Sarah also likes Pietr. So Jessie says she’s stepping back and tells Pietr to date Sarah even though he wants to date Jessie. He does. But then he spends the rest of the book sneaking kisses with Jessie and spending as much time with her as possible. Not really a nice thing to do to a friend. I mean, if you say you’re going to step back, then step back! I really liked Jessie and Pietr as a couple but I was put off by this weird love-triangle. The reason Jessie does this is explained, but I just didn’t think it was a strong enough explanation.

I also found the pacing a bit off at places. Things happened quickly and emotions and feelings changed in the blink of an eye. And before anyone says anything, I know teens can be moody little beasts, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I found at certain parts of the novel (like the Homecoming dance) that it went from crying to laughing to angry back to crying way too fast for me to feel vested in any of it.

With that being said, I really, really enjoyed 13 to Life. The plot and, like I said, the mystery of the story kept my attention. In fact, I stayed up until 4 am finishing the book in one sitting. It ended in a major cliff hanger and even though I’m on a bit of a book buying ban, I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel, Secrets and Shadows, when it comes out in February.

Oh, and I in case you aren’t quite sure how much I liked this book, I’m also part of the MAX-imum Exposure Tour. On February 1tth, I’ll get the chance to interview Max, Pietr’s older brother. Tres cool.

Review: Dust City by Robert Paul Weston

26 Oct

Publisher: Penguin Canada
Released: October,2010
Genre: YA  fantasy, urban fantasy
One sentence summary: Disney gone bad, but in a good, good way
Review copy from publisher.

Henry Whelp is a big bad wolf—or will be,someday. The only son of the infamous Red Riding Hood Killer, Henry is worried that he may be following in his father’s violent footsteps. He tries to distance himself from his past, and avoids the other teens at St. Remus Home for Wayward Youth, a detention centre in Dust City—a rundown, gritty metropolis known for its production of fairydust. But when Henry’s psychiatrist turns up dead, Henry finds himself on a trail of clues that may lead to proof of his father’s innocence—and the horrifying secret behind fairydust.

From Penguin Canada website.


Holy shit Dust City is all kinds of twisted. And I liked it! I mean, first of all, this book is gritty and dirty and violent and oh-so much FUN! I read a lot of urban fantasy and I love when I stumble across one that really knocks my socks off, you know?  This one was very different from the usual YA urban fantasy that I read.

I’m not going to go into the plot or the characters, which sounds kinda funny for a review, but there are so many surprises and wonderful “a-ha!” moments throughout  Dust City that I don’t want to ruin it for you guys. Part of the appeal and fun of the book was figuring out who characters where, what they were up to.

I loved the writing style of this book and I think that it fit in perfectly with the gritty story-line. I haven’t read a lot of old fashioned  murder mysteries, but that’s kinda what the writing reminded me of.  You know, the whole “a dame walks into my office” kinda deal. And I guess that’s another reason why this was such a  cool, unique book: it had both an urban and an old school feel to it.

So, yeah, I have all kinds of love for this book. Really. I think anyone who enjoys fantasy, urban fantasy, murder mysteries or just a well told tale will dig Dust City.


Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

8 Oct

Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Release year:2010
Genre: YA  paranormal
One sentence summary: Girls just wanna have paranormal fun (oh, and save the world, too)
Rating:5 out of 5
Purchased for KoKo my Kobo ereader

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

From HarperCollins Canada website.


This review is going to be full of the gushing. I can’t help it. I am so in love with this book that I want to stand on a mountain and sing about it. I want to hold up a ghetto blaster and blare Peter Gabriel.  I want to change from the nerd I am into a cheap tramp to get its attention. Yes, folks, that’s how much I love this book.

I had heard great things about Paranormalcy, but I had no idea what to expect. I knew it was a paranormal YA book and by the cover I figured I was in for another epic, sweeping, oh-so-serious tale of struggling love and Big Danger. After I read the first, oh, three sentences I knew that I was in for a treat.

This book was FUNNY. And cute. Evie is such a fun, sarcastic character that I loved her instantly. Really, you can’t help but root for her. She’s been dealt a pretty crappy hand, but she does her best to rise about it. And – this is the part that made me squee all over the place – she does it without the usual “woe-is-me” dramatics that a lot of other paranormal heroines get caught up in. When she comes across an obstacle she doesn’t crumble on her bed or bitch and moan through three chapters. Nope, she tries to find a way around the obstacle. Or through it.  Don’t get me wrong, serious stuff happens and she does have moments of self-doubt and she does cry. But there is so much more to Evie than the distraught heroine.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am getting a bit tired of love triangles in YA. And also the whole love at first sight soul-matey thing that can be great when done well, but is a bit over done right now in my opinion. There is boy stuff in Paranormalcy. Evie likes a boy. She isn’t sure if that boy likes her back. There’s flirting, their friendship, their uncertainty. In other words it’s a pretty normal teen-age relationship. Evie’s relationship with Lend the shape shifter is, perhaps, the best written boy-girl-are-they-friends-or-more relationship I have read in a paranormal YA book in a Hell of a long time.

Despite the humorous, light moments, this book wasn’t all fluff. There’s serious stuff that happens and some pretty cool supernatural folks to boot. The bad guys are beyond bad, and you aren’t always sure who they are. There are twists and turns a-plenty and White kept me guessing until pretty much the end of Paranormalcy and then I howled and shook my fists angrily at the gods because the book was over. But then I discovered there’s a sequel and I called down. A bit, anyway.

I think everyone should read this book, especially if you’re a fave of YA or urban fantasy or paranormal stuff.

I’m off to write my love sonnet to Paranormalcy. Catch ya all later. 😛

Review: Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

31 Aug

Publisher: Random House Canada
Release year: 2010
Adult, urban fantasy
One sentence summary:
Kick-ass heroine,kick-ass plot, kicked ass writing all rolled into one kick-ass book.
5 out of 5
Review copy from publisher

The new novel in Kelley Armstrong’s bestselling Women of the Otherworld series showcases the fascinating Savannah Levine, a powerful young witch with a rebellious past and a troublesome heritage.

The orphaned daughter of a sorcerer and a half-demon, Savannah is a terrifyingly powerful young witch who has never been able to resist the chance to throw her magical weight around. But at twenty-one she knows she needs to grow up and prove to her guardians, Paige and Lucas, that she can be a responsible member of their supernatural detective agency. So she jumps at the chance to fly solo, investigating the mysterious deaths of three young women in a nearby factory town, as a favour to one of the agency’s associates. At first glance, the murders look garden-variety human, but on closer inspection signs point to otherworldly stakes.

Soon Savannah is in over her head. She’s run off the road and nearly killed, haunted by a mystery stalker and freaked out when the brother of one of the dead women is murdered when he tries to investigate the crime. To complicate things, something weird is happening to her powers. Pitted against shamans, demons, a voodoo-inflected cult and garden-variety goons, Savannah has to fight to ensure her first case isn’t her last. And she also has to ask for help, perhaps the hardest lesson she’s ever had to learn.

From Random House website.

CHARACTERS: If I use kick-ass again, it’ll be a bit too much, won’t it? Okay, thinking up another word to describe Savannah. Thinking, thinking……nope, it looks like it’s gonna have to be kick-ass. I love all of Kelley’s female leads. She always writes strong women who are also vulnerable and very, very realistic, and Savannah is in no way different.  Savannah is the youngest female lead in the series right now (although I am crossing my fingers that this series goes on long enough that we get a book about Elena and Clay’s twins. Hint, hint Kelley.) As I read Waking the Witch and learned more about her, Savannah fast became one of my favorite characters in the series.

PLOT : I am a huge fan of books surrounding a character coming into their own. With Savannah taking front and center in Waking the Witch, taking on a case by herself, we see her make the step from child to woman. And the twists and turns in Waking the Witch were dizzy-making. There is one serious WTF moment that had me shaking my head, laughing and applauding Kelley all at the same time. And the ending! OMG the ending. I won’t give anything away, but kudos Kelley, kudos.

WRITING: Seriously, what can I say? Kelley is one of my all-time favorite writers and she never disappoints. Since this book is from Savannah’s point of view and written in first person, the writing was a bit different than the other books in the series. It was looser, fresher, younger and a bit “dirtier”. (Not sex dirtier, thank God. Like gritty dirtier, if that makes any sense.)There was more slang, more cursing and the writing seemed faster paced. It was perfect and I really feel like I got to know Savannah. I’ve read all of Kelley’s books, and I think that Waking the Witch is my favorite so far, beside Stolen.

WHO I WOULD RECOMMEND WAKING THE WITCH TO: It goes without saying anyone who even remotely enjoyed any of the other Women of the Otherworld books will love Waking the Witch. As will anyone who is a fan of urban fantasy.