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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Vision of Murder (Psychic Eye Mysteries, Book 3) by Victoria Laurie

As I finish the third book in the series I'm still enjoying the series as a whole, but I didn't like this book as much as I liked the previous two.

The premise of this book has Abby going into business with her handyman Dave and her sister Cat. The three agree to form a business to buy houses and let Dave fix them up and then sell them for a profit. They buy the first house and it turns out to be haunted. Not just eeery-noises-haunted, but power-tools-flying-towards-your-face-haunted. The way to un-haunt a house is to learn the story and solve whatever issues the dead people had so said dead people can move on to The Other Side.

Which means they have to solve a mystery that started back in World War II.

The plot has plenty of twists and turns and even though I knew who the current-day bad guy was from fairly early in the book, the historic part of the story that told us what everyone was after didn't surface until closer to the end, so there was still a mystery that kept me reading later than I'd planned to stay up.

It's not the plot that I had a problem with. It's the relationship stuff I had a problem with. Abby and Dutch acted like two whiny-assed kids through a good part of the book and it seriously got on my nerves. And even if there were injuries, what is this with going to bed and going right to sleep? And then when there is finally some good stuff, we get a single paragraph that it was good and everything fit? Please. It doesn't have to dip into erotica to give us some details, and that was a pretty crappy way to handle that after the tease of the shower scene earlier. (Select the spoiler text to view it.)

So, the plot gets a thumbs up but the romance portion gets a thumbs down. I like Abby and Dutch in every way except the way they handle their relationship with each other. I hope they grow up between this book and the next. And I will be reading the next book to see if they do or not.

I gave the first two books in this series an 8 out of 10 but this one gets a 6 out of 10. And that brings the series down to a 7 out of 10. The series rating is not an average of the individual books, it's an overall view of how I see the series, and the relationship kiddy stuff in this book annoyed me enough to bring it down to a 7.

I love the premise of the psychic who works with law enforcement, and of the FBI agent forced to accept the supernatural when he falls in love with an actual psychic. But no more hiding keys or hitting potholes on purpose, please. I want them to have an adult relationship, not something out of high school.

Book Rating 6 of 10
Series Rating 7 of 10

Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye
Better Read Than Dead
A Vision of Murder
Killer Insight
Crime Seen
Death Perception

A Hunger Like No Other (The Immortals After Dark Series, Book 1) by Kresley Cole

I'm conflicted about this book. By the end of the book I enjoyed it, but it was hard to get into.

I enjoyed the characters, and I enjoyed the world building. The romance part of it was okay, and the other parts of the plot were fairly well done. But, the romance was.. well, personally, I'm a little uncomfortable with the whole idea of a mate being chosen for you by fate or, whoever or whatever it is that chooses such things. This isn't the only series that does it, and I enjoy some of the other series that do it, but it still makes me uncomfortable. Who knows, maybe it's better that way, for there to be a sign of your one true love so you don't screw it up... but I just really like the idea of free will so you get to choose that person yourself.

I read the first few chapters and then put it down to read something lighter before picking it up to read the rest of the story. I had a hard time dealing with the fact that (in the beginning) neither half of this mated pair liked each other. At all. I mean, sure, there was an attraction. But they didn't like each other.

Fortunately, things do get better, and as more and more of the backstory comes up the depth of the story grows. The author draws from a number of myth's and fairy tails and creates an interesting world of supernatural intrigue. The book has vampires and werewolves and Valkyrie and demons and wraiths and witches and gods and goddesses, and I've probably missed a few critters since that was just off the top of my head. Every 500 years or so they all fight and then one of the supernatural races gets to own the playground until the next time they all fight again. The book starts as the next big fight, or Accession, is on the horizon. I'm assuming that fight is going to be the long term plot of the books in the series.

This is the first book in the series and I enjoyed it enough (once I got into it) that I will be buying the next two books in the series so I can see how much I like them as well. It appears that each book is going to be a romance (ala the Dark Hunter series and the Psy-Changelings series) and the longer term plot of the Accession will stretch across each book and we'll eventually get there.

I can't give it a series rating yet after only one book, but I'll give it a book rating of 7 of 10. The last third of the book was an 8 of 10, but the first couple of chapters were maybe a 5 of 10, so an average of 7 of 10 seems pretty good to me.

Book Rating: 7 of 10

1. A Hunger Like No Other
2. No Rest for the Wicked
3. Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night
4. Dark Needs at Night's Edge
5. Dark Desires After Dusk
6. Kiss of a Demon King (Release date Feb 2009)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Felix Gomez series by Mario Acevedo

This series consists of four books (three are out now). The titles of the books lead one to believe there will be lots of juicy sex going on: The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, X-Rated Bloodsuckers, and The Undead Kama Sutra. But that's not the way it works at all.

Felix Gomez gets turned into a Vampire while fighting in Iraq. He returns home and turns Private Detective. Contrary to what the book titles might lead you to believe, these books are not about sex. He does have sex, but we aren't given details.

In the first book, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, Felix takes an assignment at Rocky Flats to investigate an outbreak of nymphomania, and, well, things get even stranger from there. It's a good book with lots of twists and turns to the plot.

In the Second book, X-Rated Bloodsuckers, Felix takes on a job involving the porn industry. The case involves missing and murdered porn stars, but it doesn't really talk about their actual job too much. It's again a good book, and a decent plot.

The third book, The Undead Kama Sutra, starts out with an alien warning Felix to save the women and to find goodman. Meanwhile, a friend of Felix is piecing together some ancient works to come up with a Kama Sutra for vampires that increases their psychic energies and healing abilities. And then the plot kind of splinters off and there are government conspiracy theories and alien involvement and... well, let me just say that it starts out good but then has some slow parts, though the overall plot is still a good one.

The fourth book is due to be released February 24, 2009. I look forward to it coming out.

The series has vampires (of course) and again there is information about how the vampires police themselves. I've lost track of how many vampire books have some sort of supreme vampire governing body (Anita Blake series, Twilight, etc) and this one pulls that into the mythos as well. There are also other beings in this book that aren't human, including one group I don't believe I've ever seen brought into an Urban Fantasy series before: aliens from outer space.

I enjoyed the series, but it's not in my list of favorites.

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats Book Rating: 8 of 10
X-Rated Porn Stars Book Rating: 7 of 10
Undead Kama Sutra Book Rating: 7 of 10

Series Rating: 7 of 10

1. The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
2. X-Rated Bloodsuckers
3. The Undead Kama Sutra
4. Jailbait Zombie

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Better Read Than Dead (Psychic Eye Mysteries, Book 2) by Victoria Laurie

I finished the second book in this series and I was again pleased with my evening.

It was an enjoyable read with a plot that had enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. I liked the main character as well as the secondary characters, most of which I think are going to be sticking around for a while.

I really enjoyed watching Abby look at the responsibility that her gift gives her. I was a bit uncomfortable in the first book when she used her gift to help her sister with some catty society stuff (helping her beat her SIL to the punch on a party, and outdoing her on a gift for the in-laws). Abby didn't bat an eye at that, but in this book she is seriously concerned with not using her powers irresponsibly. I don't have a problem with any of the ways she uses her powers in the second book. I mean, sure she's into the gray area a few times, but she's up against some very bad people who are wanting to use her abilities for bad things. She's kind of between a rock and a hard place, and she does the best she can.

I gave the first book in this series an 8 out of 10 and I'll give the same to this one. And after only reading two books I'll give the same to the series.

Book Rating 8 of 10
Series Rating 8 of 10

Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye
Better Read Than Dead
A Vision of Murder
Killer Insight
Crime Seen
Death Perception

Friday, September 26, 2008

Acheron (Dark-Hunter, Book 12) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I loved this book. I waited for it, and I wasn't disappointed when it finally came out. But before I talk about the book, I have to talk about the series.

The series is based on the mythologies of a few pantheons (mainly the Greek pantheon), and they manage to pull something in to the mix that could have created the vampire myth.

To try to protect humans from these things that aren't really the vampires of legend, but that do drink the blood of humans, there is a group created to fight them. These Dark Hunters basically lose their soul to become a Dark Hunter, but in exchange they get to take revenge on someone, and they get immortality (sort of, they can be killed, but it's hard, and even if they are killed, they become a shade). Oh, and they get paid very (very, very) well for the work that they do.

But, they aren't allowed a relationship. They go through the centuries alone. They have an assistant (of sorts) assigned to them, but they can't have sex with them or be romantic with them. And the Dark Hunters can't be around each other or their powers are weakened. Kind of a bummer. Though phones and now the internet has helped them at least talk to each other without draining their powers.

The first book in the series doesn't deal with a dark hunter at all, but someone who's been trapped into being a sex slave by one of the ancient gods. He is trapped in a book until someone calls him out, then he is their sex slave for a week. And this has been going on for centuries. It's a decent book, but I'd have stopped there if I hadn't been warned that I needed to read at least the first two books before deciding whether or not to continue.

It's the second book where we begin to learn about dark hunters, and as the series continues we learn more and more about the history that created them, and about their leader, Acheron.

Acheron is a huge mystery. We've been given teasers here and there, but much of who he is and what made him who he is now isn't known until you get to this book.

The Acheron book is actually two books in one. I was shocked by the size when it arrived on my doorstep, it's huge. The first story in the book is a history. We get the history from just before Acheron is born all the way to the present day. It's not pretty. It's very difficult to read, and I doubt I will read it again. But it's important that we understand what has created Acheron. Kind of like the sword that has to go through the fire several times to become strong. Now we know why Acheron makes the decisions he makes, and why he doesn't like to be touched, and a whole host of other things.

The second story in the book is Acheron finding his happily ever after. And I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying that, because when a Dark Hunter (or other being) gets their own book, so far they've all gotten their happily ever after. I was quite pleased with the way the author gave Acheron the love of his life. Someone who isn't scared of him, someone who will stand up to him, and (perhaps most importantly) someone who will stand up for him.

Now we get to the part where I rate the series and the book. The book is easy, it gets 10 out of 10. Though if you hadn't read the rest of the books in the series it wouldn't be anywhere near that high, I don't think.

Which brings me to rating the series. I don't really like books that are purely romance. The cheesy writing about her heart fluttering in his strong embrace just doesn't do it for me. Not that there is that exact wording, but you get the idea. Also, most of the books kind of go by a formula: Dark Hunter is strong and never before felt anything for female before, now he does, but he doesn't have a soul and it's not allowed and... you get the idea. There are exceptions, but even the exceptions still kind of fit the formula of not being allowed and they have to fight seemingly impossible odds to find a way.

The redeeming quality of the series though is that there is a long term plot going on. Kind of the ultimate fight between good and evil, I think. Except there are gray areas of good and evil. The good side has a lot of bad in it, and the bad side's "Queen" is totally likable. And even one of the worst things she's done, once you understand why she did it, you can totally understand the reasoning behind it. I'm anxiously awaiting the next book in the series, One Silent Night, which is supposed to be Striker's story. Sometimes the next story gives you the next thing that happens, but sometimes we read a new story only to discover it happened at the same time as a previous story so we don't get the next thing that happens at all, though sometimes we learn more about what was happening at the time. I really hope this next book gives us the next thing that happens. I believe it is going to be, the author's page about the book gives a synopsis as well as an excerpt from the book.

So, the series only gets an 8 of 10 for me. But, it's still a recommended series. And if you like all that "romance talk" then the series will probably be a 10 of 10 for you.

Book Rating: 10 of 10
Series Rating: 8 of 10

1. Fantasy Lover
1.5 Dragonswan
2. Night Pleasures
3. Night Embrace
4. Dance with the Devil
5. Kiss of the Night
6. Night Play
7. Seize the Night
8. Sins of the Night
9. Unleash the Night
10. Dark Side of the Moon
11. Devil May Cry
12. Acheron
13. One Silent Night

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye (Psychic Eye Mysteries, Book 1) by Victoria Laurie

I picked up the first book in this series to give it a test drive. Within an hour of finishing it I had the next five books ordered and on the way.

This book is kind of a cross between Stephanie Plum and the Charmed & Dangerous / Bronwyn the Witch series.

It's got a good plot and a cast of characters that is likable. It's funny in places, lighthearted at times and serious at other times.

Abby is single and works as a professional psychic. The real deal, not a poser. She does fairly well for herself, she owns her own home but has a handyman pretty much permanently installed since it was a fixer upper when she bought it. When her best friend moves out of town she joins a dating service. And then things get interesting.

Blind dates, murder, crazy psycho killers, a sexy detective... what else do you need?

I can't rate the series yet since I've only read the first book, but I have hopes that it will be a good series. I can see several directions the author can go from here, all of them good. The rest of the books in the series will arrive next week and I'll let you know once I've read them.

Book Rating 8 of 10

Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye
Better Read Than Dead
A Vision of Murder
Killer Insight
Crime Seen
Death Perception

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Anxiously Awaiting

The following are books I am waiting for, listed in order of their release date.

October 14, 2008
Welcome to the Jungle
Dresden Files
Jim Butcher

October 21, 2008
Living with the Dead
(Women of Otherworld, Bk 9)
Kelley Armstrong

November 4, 2008
A Mermaid's Kiss
(Mermaid Series)
Joey W. Hill

November 4, 2008
One Silent Night
(Dark-Hunter, Bk 13)
Sherrilyn Kenyon

November 4, 2008
Swallowing Darkness
(Meredith Gentry, Bk 7)
Laurel K Hamilton

November 4, 2008
The Demon King and I
Candace Havens

December 30, 2008
At Grave's End
(Night Huntress, Bk 3)
Jeaniene Frost

January 6, 2009
A Witch's Beauty
(Mermaid Series)
Joey W. Hill

January 27, 2009
Kitty / Dead Man's Hand
(Kitty Norville, Bk 5)
Carrie Vaughn

January 27, 2009
Men of the Otherworld
Kelley Armstrong

February 24, 2009
Kitty Raises Hell
(Kitty Norville, Book 6)
Carrie Vaughn

February 24, 2009
Made to Be Broken
(Nadia Stafford, Book 2)
Kelley Armstrong

February 24, 2009
White Witch,Black Curse
(Rachel Morgan, Bk 7)
Kim Harrison

March 3, 2009
A Vampire's Claim
(Vampire Queen Series)
Joey W. Hill

March 3, 2009
Bone Crossed
(Mercy Thompson, Bk 4)
Patricia Briggs

March 3, 2009
Cal Leandros Bk 4
Rob Thurman

March 31, 2009
Magic Strikes
(Kate Daniels, Book 3)
Ilona Andrews

April 7, 2009
Curse the Dawn
Cassandra Palmer, Bk 4
Karen Chance

April 7, 2009
Turn Coat
(Dresden Files, Bk 11)
Jim Butcher

Date not announced
Jim Butcher

Jailbait Zombie by Mario Acevedo, release date February 24, 2009
Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole, release date February 2009
Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh, release date mid-2009
Doom with a View by Victoria Laurie, release date Sept 2009

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Any Given Doomsday (Phoenix Chronicles Book 1) by Lori Handeland

This book is due to be released November 4, 2008. I managed to get my hands on an ARC though, and I liked it. Quite a bit.

The premise is a psychic who has had some job troubles because of her gift. Liz was once a cop but is working as a bartender when we meet her.

We learn that she grew up in a foster home, with a wonderful foster mother. When her foster mother is murdered Liz gets thrown into the middle of things and discovers that humans aren't as close to the top of the food chain as she'd believed.

This book has werewolves and vampires and dhampirs and skinwalkers and a whole host of creatures from the bible and various mythologies and even a few fairy tales just for good measure.

Plenty of action and adventure, some violence, some gore, some mystery, some romance, and some sex. I appreciated the characters. And I really enjoyed learning things as Liz learned them. This is a new series, so we're learning the rules of this universe at the same time the main character is learning about things she would really rather not know. I enjoyed watching her learn, since the teaching process here was a good bit different than we've seen in other series.

Series Rating: This is the first book of the series so I can't give it a level yet. The first book had a great plot, and I can see a million different ways for the author to continue on with this series and keep things fresh and new. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Book Rating: 8 out of 10 

Books in The Phoenix Chronicles
1. Any Given Doomsday November 2008
2. Doomsday Can Wait   May 2009

Monday, September 15, 2008

Nature of Desire Series by Joey W. Hill

This is an incredible series. You don't expect BDSM erotica to have the level of character development and emotion and thought and, well, plot, as these books have.

And the scenes. My goodness, the way the scenes are put together, the way the Doms work the subs. BDSM is more mental than physical. Don't get me wrong, it is physical, but the mental is just as important, maybe more important. And these books have those elements. The physical is used as a doorway into the mental and emotional stuff.

But in between the heavy stuff we have light stuff. In Holding the Cards there is the scene on the beach making sand castles and sand sculptures, in Natural Law there is the picnic and the conversation in the car. The characters get to know each other outside of the scenes. That's important.

Series Rating 10 of 10

In Holding the Cards we see a damaged male submissive and an emotionally injured female Dominant find each other and get some healing in the process. And a friend who is there who also needs some healing manages to open his eyes, but we don't find out about that for another couple of books. This is a beautiful story on a private island surrounded by ocean.

Book Rating 8 of 10
Heat level 4 of 5


In Natural Law we have an Alpha male who happens to be a sexual submissive, and a tiny female Dominant who is looking for a "pit bull" of a submissive. The Alpha male in the story happens to be a detective who is investigating a series of "S&M Murders". This is one of my favorite BDSM books.

Book Rating 10 of 10
Heat Level 5 of 5


Ice Queen and Mirror of my Soul have to be read together. Two characters we've met earlier in the series, both Doms, kind of get thrown together. This is a very deep story. The BDSM is intense, but there are other elements even more intense. It's first and foremost a story of people and pain and healing and connections. The BDSM isn't the biggest part of the story (though, make no mistake, the BDSM is huge, can't be anything else with Tyler involved). This is another of my all time favorites.

Book Rating 10 of 10
Heat Level 5 of 5


I did not like Mistress of Redemption. I love Joey W. Hill, but this is one book I'd have done just as well without reading. I'm not really big on non-consensual BDSM, even when the asshole deserves worse than he's getting. So, the story was good, but I just couldn't get into some of it. Others might be fine with it, but it worked against my psyche.

Book Rating 4 of 10
Heat Level 5 of 5


But then we get to Rough Canvas. Oh. My. Goodness. This book is hot. It's two gay guys, so if that's not your thing then this one's not for you. But the love between them, and the Dom/sub dynamic, and the creative things Marcus does. Wow. The BDSM is heavy (and creative) in places, but this is a story about two men who love each other.

Book Rating 10 of 10
Heat Level 5 of 5


1. Holding The Cards
2. Natural Law
3. Ice Queen
4. Mirror of My Soul
5. Mistress of Redemption
6. Rough Canvas

The author says she has plans for at least two more books in this series.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich

No vampires in this series. No werewolves, no ghosts, no fairies, no trolls. The most supernatural thing that happens is Stephanie's intuition when she's on a case.

Well, wait a minute. That's not entirely true. The "between the numbers" books do deal in the supernatural. But the main numbered books do not. Unless you want to consider that Ranger might be more than human, but there has only been one hint of that (Diesel and Ranger apparently know of each other, and how would that be unless... or, maybe not.)

At any rate, the "between the numbers" books were basically just holiday books and really aren't worth reading. So for all intents and purposes, the main part of the series does not deal in the supernatural.

Stephanie Plum starts out unemployed and then becomes a bounty hunter, finding people who skipped out on bail and returning them. As a former lingerie buyer for a department store, she's not really qualified to be a bounty hunter, but she needs the money. Between the gossip she gets from her mother, grandmother, cousins, and friends she manages to pull enough clues together to get her guy (or gal). And when gossip doesn't do it, surveillance and asking questions of strangers and good old women's intuition do it for her. Not to mention dumb luck.

This series has no underlying themes of good vs evil, or the shades of gray in between. Nothing to make you think much about stereotypes. And the kick-ass female isn't often kick-ass, and when she does manage to kick ass, it's usually by accident.

We end up with kind of a love triangle going and Stephanie has two very hot guys in her life. But I can't talk about that without spoiling if you haven't started on the series yet, so that's all I'll say about that.

This series is just an enjoyable read. Entertainment that doesn't make you think too hard, but makes you laugh. A lot. It's kind of the book form of the sitcom.

The biggest thing the series has going for it is that it is funny. Not just LOL funny, but laugh until tears are streaming from your eyes funny. Laugh until you can't breathe and you get lightheaded, funny. Laugh until you have to run to the bathroom so you don't wet yourself, funny.

Much of the humor comes from Stephanie's grandmother. Some of it comes from Stephanie's inability to keep a car. They keep getting blown up, or stolen, or set on fire. It's never her fault, but she just doesn't keep a car for very long. Some of the humor comes from her friends and other family members and various characters she runs across (or who run across her).

I had a hard time getting started on the first book. The first time I read it I didn't finish it. But after a few more recommendations I tried it again and liked the first book okay once I'd gotten a few chapters into it. I'm glad I kept going. It's a really enjoyable series, and the farther you get into it, the better it gets. Even after you've read it, it's something to pull out again if you just need a good laugh.

As I noted before, the 'number' books are the main ones. I haven't even linked to the 'between the number' books, though I did list them at the bottom. If you want me to rate the holiday between the numbers books they get a 2. Don't bother with them. They were ridiculous little holiday novels, they are short and more than a little disappointing when compared to the numbered books, so stick with the numbers.

I've linked to the boxed sets below that include three books at a time, but the individual books are also available if you prefer. The books are written in a way that when you finish one book you want to just pick up the next book and keep going, so the boxed sets are handy for that.

Series Rating: 9

One For the Money (1994)
Two For the Dough (1996)
Three to Get Deadly (1997)
Four to Score (1998)
High Five (1999)
Hot Six (2000)
Seven Up (2001)
Hard Eight (2002)
Visions of Sugar Plums (2003) (don't bother)
To the Nines (2003)
Ten Big Ones (2004)
Eleven on Top (2005)
Twelve Sharp (2006)
Plum Lovin' (2007) (don't bother)
Lean Mean Thirteen (2007)
Plum Lucky(January 2008) (don't bother)
Fearless Fourteen (June 2008)


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rachel Morgan, The Hollows Series, by Kim Harrison

In this reality there was a problem with genetically modified tomatoes. This problem killed off large numbers of humans but didn't affect most of the supernatural community. The supernaturals realized that they now outnumbered the humans, and they decided to come out of the closet. This is called The Turn. The series picks up several decades after The Turn.

Despite the supernaturals in the story, this series is about friendship. And about choices. The choices we make kind of define us. Don't they?

It's also about the grey areas between black and white.

And it is about looking at what made the bad guys make the choices they made (and continue to make). It humanizes the bad guy. The author introduces you to the villain and makes you hate him, and then shows you what made him the way he is and what his motivations are. He's still a villain, but it makes it harder to hate him when you can sympathize with him. (Hard to imagine? We hated Darth Vader until we met Anakin Skywalker, right?)

I enjoy so many of the characters in these books. I like the drama Ivy brings, the humor Jenks brings, and the intensity Trent brings.

I was shocked at the ending to The Outlaw Demon Wails, but I can't wait to read the next book, White Witch, Black Curse (due February 2009).

As the titles of the books suggest, two of the supernatural races that are in these books are witches and demons. There are also vampires (two kinds, one kind has a soul and the other does not), pixies, elves, fairies, leprechauns, banshees, gargoyles, trolls, and werewolves. The series takes a very hard look at what constitutes "good" vs "bad". It uses the extra abilities of the supernatural races to look at this, but it also uses the various personalities of the people as well. Some of the decisions made are decisions a human could make, so it isn't all about being a supernatural.

If you want it to be, this is probably one of the deeper series in this genre. Lot's of thought provoking stuff. But the first couple of books can also just be a fun summer read if you want them to be.

The Hollows Series has great characters that come alive as you read them, wonderful plot lines, humor that will have you laughing out loud, and lots of great adventures. It just doesn't get much better than this.

This is another of my top five favorite series.

Series Rating: 10


There is a short story about Ivy and Kisten in this anthology. If you are a fan of the Hollows Series, you should read Dates from Hell. It helps explain some of the choices made in the series.

If you are a fan of Kelley Armstrong, there is also a short story showing you how two of her main characters first met. And it gives you some serious background about those characters as well.

* Dead Witch Walking (April 2004)
* The Good, The Bad, And The Undead (January 2005)
* Every Which Way But Dead (June 2005)
* A Fistful of Charms (June 2006)
* For a Few Demons More (March 2007)
* The Outlaw Demon Wails (February 2008)
* White Witch, Black Curse (February 2009)

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden is a wizard. He lives in Chicago and he advertises in the yellow pages. This is another one that takes place in a hypothetical real world where humans don't know supernatural things exist.

This series eventually pulls in pretty much every supernatural critter out there: wizards, vampires, incubi/succubi, trolls, fairies, werewolves, ghosts, demons... and many more I'm sure that I'm missing.

Some are Harry's friends, but most are not. Most are creatures he has to fight in order to save humans. Or, often, to save himself.

These books are written by a man, where most of the books of this genre are written by a woman. And I think it makes for a refreshing change. While there is some romance, it's not an over riding theme, and what is there is more matter-of-fact than sweep-you-off-your-feet. These books are primarily about action and danger and consequences. And there is a lot of all of that.

This is also one of my top ten favorite series.

Series Rating: 7


Backup is due to be released this fall, and is supposed to be written from the perspective of Thomas instead of Harry.


The Sci-Fi channel did one season. They went away from the books in several different ways, but it was still a decent series. This is a DVD of the entire first (and only) season.

1 Storm Front (2000)
2 Fool Moon (2001)
3 Grave Peril (2001)
4 Summer Knight (2002)
5 Death Masks (2003)
6 Blood Rites (2004)
7 Dead Beat (2005)
8 Proven Guilty (2006)
9 White Night (2007)
10 Small Favor (April 2008)
11 Turn Coat (April 2009 )

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong

This series is not in my top five, but not too far away from it, either.

Kelly Armstrong approached this series a bit differently in that the same character does not narrate each book. You get a different viewpoint, depending on who the main focus of the book is. The series starts with Bitten and Stolen, both narrated by Elena, the only female werewolf. It took me a little while to get into that first book, but once I did, I enjoyed it.

In the second book our cast of characters grows, and even though Elena is still telling us the story, we begin to understand how it may work for there to be different narrators. I didn't think I would like the change, but it works for this series. I think my favorite books are probably books 3 and 4, Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic. Though I also liked... oh, I liked them all. I don't know if I can say I have a favorite.

But one of the cool things about this series is that once the author lets two people get together, she doesn't seem to have a problem letting them live happily ever after. So many authors have to put people together and apart and together and apart so that the drama can continue. But in this story the drama is in the storyline, the thing they are trying to solve, and we get to see couples working together instead of against each other.

This series deals with the various races helping each other.. so far there are werewolves, vampires, half demons (demon father impregnated female mother and then skedaddled), necromancers (people who can talk to the dead), witches, sorcerers, ghosts, and shamans. I've probably missed at least one race in there. This series also deals with a bit of prejudice.. witches (females) and sorcerers (males) don't like each other at all. And sorcerers and vampires seem to be in the same boat. So when individual people like each other, but based on their races they are supposed to hate each other, how do they manage that? So far they haven't dealt with how humans might feel about these supernatural races. Of course, they can't, since humans don't know about them.

But, a big part of the series is that when there is a supernatural problem that the supernatural world is going to have to handle because the human world can't - the various races are capable of working together to solve the problem. Mostly capable, anyway.

If you've read the books and haven't played around on Kelley Armstrong's site, you should. She's got a lot of online fiction up, I love this page that goes back in time and gives some backstory for some of the characters.

In February of 2009 her Men of the Otherworld anthology is supposed to be released. I think these stories used to be available online, and if so, then I've read them. But it's been a while and I'm not terribly sure. I do know that there used to be more stories about some of the guys, and now they are gone.

The next Women of the Otherworld book is due out this fall, on October 28, and I've already got it pre-ordered.

Series Rating: 9

1. Bitten (2001)
2. Stolen (2002)
3. Dime Store Magic (2004)
4. Industrial Magic (2004)
5. Haunted (2005)
6. Broken (2006)
7. No Humans Involved (2007)
8. Personal Demon (2008)
9. Living with the Dead (October 28, 2008)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Kitty Norville Series by Carrie Vaughn

This is a series about a werewolf. Her name is Kitty Norville and she's a DJ at a radio station.

One night Kitty starts talking and taking phone calls instead of playing music, and before she knows it she is hosting a radio show that talks about supernaturals. As a werewolf she's pretty qualified to have such a show... but she doesn't tell her listeners what she is. At some point most of them figure she's probably some sort of supernatural something or other though, and that's part of the story.

There are four books in the series so far (plus two due out early next year) and the author manages to make each book take off in a different direction. It's not like one long story broken up into four books, though obviously there are some things that we have to wait from one book to the next to find out. Kitty grows stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally. And we get to hang on for the ride.

One of the books, Kitty goes to Washington, explores in depth how human society might deal with supernaturals coming out of the closet, so to speak. If humans suddenly had to deal with the fact that there were such things as werewolves and that a coworker or a neighbor or maybe even their doctor was one... how would they react? That is there in the other books in smaller amounts, but the second book takes a hard look at that in particular.

I didn't read these books for a while because the titles just didn't sound like something I would want to read. When I finally did get around to the series though, I enjoyed it. Kitty is her name, short for Katherine, and that was her name before she was turned into a werewolf. But yes, she hears more than once about the humor of a werewolf named Kitty.

This series has werewolves and vampires in it. And another sexy hitman who specializes in monsters. Not quite as scary as Edward from the Anita Blake series, but maybe a little more realistic.

Series Rating: 7

1. Kitty and the Midnight Hour (2005)
2. Kitty Goes to Washington (2006)
3. Kitty Takes a Holiday (2007)
4. Kitty and the Silver Bullet (2008)
5. Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand (February 2009)
6. Kitty Raises Hell (March/April 2009)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Exit Strategy (Nadia Stafford Series 1) by Kelley Armstrong

I'll review Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series at some point, but I figured I would throw a non-vampire, non-werewolf, not-a-shred-of-supernatural-anything book out there for a change.

If you have a thing for Edward in the Anita Blake series, or Cormac from the Kitty and the Midnight Hour series, then you might find a few characters in this book that are also a bit interesting.

Basically, Nadia Stafford is an ex-cop turned professional hitman, and she ends up in a situation where she's working with several other hitmen. Talk about looking at the shades of gray that exist between good and bad, this is a book where the professional hitmen are the good guys.

This isn't anything like the Women of the Otherworld series. Well, except for the author not being scared to use strong, kick-ass women in this story, either. Yeah, women, plural. Not just the lead character. But they aren't so strong and kick-ass that they get on your nerves. You get to see the weak parts as well as the strong parts. Real women on the inside with normal wants and needs and hopes and fears and idiosyncrasies, who happen to be able to handle themselves in almost any situation.

As for as genre, I'd guess that this is a crime thriller. As of now there are two books planned for the series and as soon as the second comes out I'll be buying it. Kelley Armstrong says that whether she writes more after those two will depend on how well the series is doing.

Book Rating: 9

Nadia Stafford Series
1. Exit Strategy
2. Made to Be Broken (February 2009)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Anita Blake Series by Laurel K. Hamilton

Most people seem to like the first books in the series, but once you get past Obsidian Butterfly there are people who are really really really angry with Laurel K. Hamilton for taking the series in the direction she did.

If graphic sex turns you off then you probably need to stop after Bloody Bones or maybe The Killing Dance. Obsidian Butterfly is fairly non-sexual and one of my favorites, but the books after Obsidian Butterfly jump into a whole 'nother world.

The only book in the series that I absolutely did not like was Micah. Now, don't get me wrong, I like the character of Micah, but I hated the book. Hated it. I was so afraid that Blood Noir was going to be like Micah (going out of town with one guy), but thank goodness it was not. I liked Blood Noir. Didn't love it, but I liked it.

Remember how I talked before about how an author gets to let her characters grow and change and evolve when she has so many books to work within? Well, this is the perfect example of that. Anita grows in ways that are, well, mindboggling.

Laurel K. Hamilton created a wonderful alternate world where the Vampires and Shapeshifters have come out of the closet and live side by side with humanity. And she brings it all alive. Very alive.

But what I think Laurel K. Hamilton may have done better than almost any other author is to fully explain the duality of the shapeshifters. To understand how their human parts and their beasty parts manage to survive inside of the same psyche.

She does the same thing with the vampires, too. She gets across the idea of bloodlust, of how a vampire feels when they want to feed. The visual of the artery in the neck moving around like a cherry, just wanting to be bitten. Maybe that visual doesn't work so good here on the blog, but when Mrs. Hamilton writes it, you get it.

This is also one of my top ten favorite series.

Don't read them out of order, though. The books must be read in the proper order or they will make no sense. I'm not going to rate each book individually for that reason. If you're going to read the series you can't skip books (with the exception of Micah) or you'll miss very important long term plot points.

I'm giving this series a nine in large part because of the earlier books. I don't enjoy the later books as much as I did some of the earlier ones, though I'm not one who hates the later books. I may not like them as much as I liked some of the earlier ones, but Anita and her guys are still growing and learning and having adventures and I'm still interested in where the series is going.

Series Rating: 9

Anita Blake series

   1. Guilty Pleasures (1993)  
   2. The Laughing Corpse (1994)  
   3. Circus of the Damned (1995)  
   4. The Lunatic Cafe (1996)  
   5. Bloody Bones (1996)  
   6. The Killing Dance (1997)
   7. Burnt Offerings (1998)
   8. Blue Moon (1998)
   9. Obsidian Butterfly (2000)
  10. Narcissus in Chains (2001)  
  11. Cerulean Sins (2003)
  12. Incubus Dreams (2004)  
  13. Micah (2006)  
  14. Danse Macabre (2006)  
  15. The Harlequin (2007)  
  16. Blood Noir (2008)  

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Alpha and Omega Series by Patricia Briggs

This is a spin-off series to the Mercy Thompson books.

The beginning of the story is part of an anthology, which I'm a bit conflicted about. But, no one asked me. It's a good story, but having it as part of an anthology made me 1) pay full price for a short story and 2) makes it hard to sort on my bookshelf (do I put it with the Karen Chance books or the Patricia Briggs books or the other anthologies? For now it's with the other Briggs books).

The first full books is Cry Wolf and it picks up as Alpha and Omega from the anthology ends.

I didn't enjoy these books as much as I enjoyed the Mercy Thompson books, but I will continue to read them because they give the backstory to some of the characters that are important to Mercy.

Story Rating of Alpha and Omega: 8
Book Rating of anthology On the Prowl: 4
Book Rating of Cry Wolf: 7
Series Rating: 7

Alpha and Omega Series
1. Story started in Alpha and Omega in On the Prowl
2. First novel, Cry Wolf

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mercedes Thompson Series by by Patricia Briggs

Mercy is short for Mercedes.

Mercy is a Volkswagen mechanic. Irony, anyone? Maybe not as Ironic as a werewolf named Kitty (we'll save that review for another day), but still.

This is another series that has a plethora of supernaturals including werewolves, vampires, and fairies. While all three of the books out so far have a little of all of the races, the basic storyline in each book deals with a different race. So Moon Called deals more with werewolves, Blood Bound has a vampire theme, and Iron Kissed takes us into the world of the Fae.

The next book in the Mercy Thompson series is called Bone Crossed (out in February of 2009) and is expected in February of 2009. It is supposed to delve back into the Vampire world and we get to see a lot of Stefan again. Patricia Briggs has stated that she is under contract for three more Mercy books after Bone Crossed.

As with most of the series, you really need to read them in order, don't skip around.

This series also has a variety of supernatural critters and we see not only how each race organizes itself, but also how the various races interact with each other.

I don't always like the heroines of these books. I mean, I like Anita Blake's guys a lot more than I like Anita and if I were to meet her in real life we'd probably end up sniping at each other. As for Queen Betsy, if I met her in real life I might just poke myself in the eye. Others, like Sookie Stackhouse and Stephanie Plum, might get on my nerves but I'd like them as a person. But, I really like Mercy Thompson. If I met her in real life I would have no problems spending time with her.

Series Rating: 9

Mercedes Thompson Series
1. Moon Called (2006)
2. >Blood Bound (2007)
3. Iron Kissed (January 2008)
4. Bone Crossed (expected February 2009)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Breaking Dawn (Twilight Saga 4) by Stephenie Meyer

This is one of my top ten favorite series.

Breaking Dawn is the fourth and final book in The Twilight Saga. The author has said she may write more books set in this universe, but this is Bella's final chapter.

I thought I had an idea of how the fourth book was going to play out. I was surprised though because the author took off in a direction I hadn't even imagined possible. Very pleasantly surprised. I loved the book, and I love the way the series ended. Had this book not been well done then it would have messed up the other books for me (for later reading). But now, knowing how it ended, when I go back and reread the series later I'll be able to enjoy them just as much as I did the first time. Maybe more, since the second book doesn't hurt as bad to read it now as it did that first time.

I'm not sure if this series is first a romance and second a vampire story, or first a vampire story and second a romance. Either way, I love both the happy parts and the sad parts, though I hated most of the sad parts as I was reading them.

This is another series that is being taken beyond the realm of books, but this one is headed for the big screen, opening day is December 12th of this year.

The Twilight Series is technically a young adult series (so no graphic sex in these books), but as with Harry Potter I think as many adults have read it as teens. Maybe more.

For those who have read the books, you may be interested in reading the first chapter of Midnight Sun that is up on the author's website. It is the story told in Eclipse, but told from Edward's point of view. The link to the first chapter is at the bottom of the page. I'm hooked and can't wait for her to write the rest of it... but I'm appreciative of this little bit, as it helps me understand Edward so much more. (Don't read this if you haven't read Eclipse. You aren't supposed to understand Edward this well until you are a good ways through Eclipse.)

The books are long. Really long. Each book took me about as long to read as it usually takes me to read two or even three books. But they are incredible. I highly recommend them.

Series Rating: 10 out of 10
Book Rating: 10 out of 10

The Twilight Saga
1. Twilight
2. New Moon
3. Eclipse
4. Breaking Dawn

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris

The thing I like about books in a series is that when a new book comes out it's kind of like catching up on old friends. And the books can concentrate on what's happening instead of describing everything in such detail since most readers already know what the houses and characters look like. Also, when an author has that much time to spend with her characters she (or he) can dig deeper into their psyche and let us watch the characters change and grow over time.

And that's the way it is with the Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris. I've loved watching Sookie (and a few of the other characters) grow and evolve as the series has progressed.

I'll eventually get around to reviewing the individual books, but for now I'm just going to review the series as a whole.

I mentioned earlier that I picked up a bit of a discrimination food-for-thought angle to Jeanine Frost's Night Huntress Series, but Charlaine Harris has actually said that she is using Vampires and shapeshifters as a metaphor to explore discrimination. She is exploring whether it is okay to kill someone just because they happen to be a vampire, or whether you look at the vampire and see what kind of person/vampire he or she is. Same with shapeshifters (werewolves and such), is it okay to kill them just because they are part animal? Does the fact that they are part human not mean anything? Charlaine Harris has it as an undercurrent, but the new HBO series based on the books is putting that out there front and center.

This series has great character development and pulls from various mythologies and fairy tales to bring in a variety of supernatural beings. Some books have better plots than others, but most of the plots (and subplots) are well done.

This series get a 10 purely for the enjoyment and entertainment level of them. If I were to rate individual elements (plot, characters, humor, etc.) then each element would get an 8 or 9, but the totality of all of that is that I enjoyed the books and will buy the next one as soon as it's available.

Series Rating: 10

Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire Series
1. Dead Until Dark
2. Living Dead in Dallas&
3. Club Dead
4. Dead to the World
5. Dead as a Doornail
6. Definitely Dead
7. All Together Dead
8. From Dead to Worse