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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.

Friday, July 31, 2009

* Series Ratings at-a-glance

Listed below are the most recent ratings (shown to the left of the series name) for the series I've reviewed, listed in alphabetical order by genre. Click the series name to go to my reviews of the books in the series.

Urban Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Romantic Urban Fantasy, Fantasy
. 7 of 10 Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs
. 9 of 10 Anita Blake series by Laurel K. Hamilton
. 8 of 10 Blood series by Tanya Huff
. 6 of 10 Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman
. 6 of 10 Dante Valentine series by by Lilith Saintcrow
. 8 of 10 Dark-Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon
. 5 of 10 Delilah Street series by Carole Nelson Douglas
. 7 of 10 The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher
. 7 of 10 Felix Gomez series by Mario Acevedo
10 of 10 Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh
10 of 10 The Hollows / Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison
. 8 of 10 Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole
. 5 of 10 Iron Elves series by Chris Evans
10 of 10 Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
. 9 of 10 Kitty Norville Series by Carrie Vaughn
10 of 10 Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
10 of 10 Meredith Gentry series by Laurell K. Hamilton
10 of 10 Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost
. 8 of 10 Nightcreature/Moon series by Lori Handeland
. 5 of 10 Phoenix Chronicles by Lori Handeland
10 of 10 Psy-Changelings series by Nalini Singh
10 of 10 Riley Jensen, Guardian series by Keri Arthur
10 of 10 Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris
. 9 of 10 Soul Mates series by Jourdan Lane (also listed under Erotica)
10 of 10 Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
. 9 of 10 Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
. 9 of 10 Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong

Paranormal Chik-Lit
. 6 of 10 by Madelyn Alt
. 8 of 10 Bronwyn the Witch series by Candace Havens
. 7 of 10 Caruthers Sisters by Candace Havens
. 7 of 10 Psychic Eye Mysteries by Victoria Laurie

Crime Solving Women

. 8 of 10 Izzy Spellman series by Lisa Lutz
. 6 of 10 Kinsey Millhone Alphabet series by Sue Grafton
. 9 of 10 Nadia Stafford series by Kelley Armstrong
. 7 of 10 Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich

Erotica and BDSM
10 of 10 Butterfly Unpinned by Laura Bacchi and Bonnie Dee
. 9 of 10 Chaos Magic series by Jay Lygon
. 7 of 10 Dark Elves series by Jet Mykles
. 8 of 10 Jarheads series by Sean Michael
. 7 of 10 The Master Chronicles by Jamie Craig
. 6 of 10 Mermaid's Kiss / Daughter's of Arianne by Joey W.Hill
10 of 10 Nature of Desire series by Joey W. Hill
. 9 of 10 Soul Mates series by Jourdan Lane (also listed under Urban Fantasy)
. 6 of 10 Trattenbourgh Affair series by JJ Giles

I realize that there are a good number of 10 ratings in the Urban Fantasy genre, which means I really, really, really, like those series. But, which do I like the most?
  1. Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost is easily in first place.
  2. The Hollows / Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison is in second place, but barely, because
  3. Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews is really good, and might possibly beat The Hollows once it has as many books
  4. Riley Jensen, Guardian series by Keri Arthur is wonderful and I am looking forward to Bound to Shadows and Captured by Vengeance
  5. Meredith Gentry series by Laurell K. Hamilton - can't wait for Swallowing Darkness in November.
  6. Psy-Changelings series by Nalini Singh
  7. Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
  8. Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire by Charlaine Harris - this would have been rated higher a few books ago, and it's still a fantastic series, but is no longer at the top of my list.
  9. Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh - a new series that may very well be closer to the top once we get a few more books
  10. Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer - once upon a time the author talked about writing other books in this series, to tell someone else's story. But she no longer talks about that, so it appears it is now a "dead" series, with no new books forthcoming. It's still a 10 of 10, but without the anticipation of new books, it's hard to place it higher in my ratings.

Cover: Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh

Nalini Singh has posted the cover for her next Guild Hunter novel, Archangel's Kiss.

You can read my review of Angel's Blood here. I gave it a 10 of 10. I have high hopes for the rest of the series, too.

Guild Hunter series:
*. Angels' Pawn (ebook only, at Fictionwise or Amazon)
1. Angels' Blood
*. Must Love Hellhounds (short story: Angels' Judgment) (09/01/09)
2. Archangel's Kiss (02/10/10)

Kitty’s House of Horrors Cover

The book cover for Kitty's House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn has been released. I was really hoping for some more hints about the book, but I guess we have to wait a bit for that.

There was an excerpt in the last book, Kitty Raises Hell, but I want more.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Darkness Forged in Fire: Book One of the Iron Elves by Chris Evans

I've had this up in my Currently Reading section for a long time. The reason is that I kept putting it down. It was very hard to get into. And at times, very hard to stay with. There was too much war, too much military, not enough interesting stuff happening. And a lot of politics, but the politics weren't entertaining, they were just aggravating.

The worldbuilding is okay. Not bad, but not great. The characters are interesting but really could have been better formed. The plot didn't really do anything for me. The dialogue was well done in some places and forced in others. And all of the military stuff made my eyes want to glaze over.

And the book does not tie things up nicely. It's Part One of a longer story, not the first book in a series. Huge difference.

Here is the blurb:

We do not fear the flame, though it burns us,
We do not fear the fire, though it consumes us,
And we do not fear its light,
Though it reveals the darkness of our souls,
For therein lies our power.
-- Blood Oath of the Iron Elves

First in a stunning debut series, A Darkness Forged in Fire introduces an unforgiving world of musket and cannon...bow and arrow...magic, diplomacy, and oaths -- each wielding terrible power in an Empire teetering on the brink of war.

In this world, Konowa Swift Dragon, former commander of the Empire's elite Iron Elves, is looked upon as anything but ordinary. He's murdered a Viceroy, been court-martialed, seen his beloved regiment disbanded, and finally been banished in disgrace to the one place he despises the most -- the forest.

Now, all he wants is to be left alone with his misery...but for Konowa, nothing is ever that simple. The mysterious and alluring Visyna Tekoy, the highborn daughter of an elfkynan governor, seeks him out in the dangerous wild with a royal decree that he resume his commission as an officer in Her Majesty's Imperial Army, effective immediately.

For in the east, a falling Red Star heralds the return of a magic long vanished from the earth. Rebellion grows within the Empire as a frantic race to reach the Star unfolds. It is a chance for Konowa to redeem himself -- even if the entire affair appears doomed to be a suicide mission...

and that the soldiers recruited for the task are not at all what he expects. And worse, his key adversary in the perilous race for the Star is the dreaded Shadow Monarch -- a legendary elf-witch whose machinations for absolute domination spread deeper than Konowa could ever imagine....

I hope the second book has less military strategy and positioning, less idiotic politics, and more story.

1. A Darkness Forged in Fire
2. The Light of Burning Shadows

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Destined for an Early Grave (Night Huntress, Book 4) by Jeaniene Frost

The Night Huntress Series is my favorite series. No competition, Jeaniene Frost rocks. Which means Cat and Bones and all of their friends rock, too.

I'll be honest, when I read the blurb and the excerpts for this book ahead of time I was a bit worried that Destined for an Early Grave wouldn't live up to the earlier books in this series. I love Cat and her fiery personality, what if this book spoiled everything? There was no reason to worry. If anything, this book is better than the earlier books, though I wouldn't have thought it possible.

Speaking of the blurb, I should give that now before I start talking about the book:

Her dreams leave her in grave danger...

Since half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her undead lover Bones met six years ago, they've fought against the rogue undead, battled a vengeful Master vampire, and pledged their devotion with a blood bond. Now it's time for a vacation. But their hopes for a perfect Paris holiday are dashed when Cat awakes one night in terror. She's having visions of a vampire named Gregor who's more powerful than Bones and has ties to her past that even Cat herself didn't know about.

Gregor believes Cat is his and he won't stop until he has her. As the battle begins between the vamp who haunts her nightmares and the one who has her heart, only Cat can break Gregor's hold over her. She'll need all the power she can summon in order to bring down the baddest bloodsucker she's ever faced ... even if getting that power will result in an early grave.

The real problem with talking about Destined for an Early Grave is that I don't want to give any spoilers. And let me tell you, there are some humdinger things that happen in this book, some of which come completely out of left field. In a good way, though. Not in a bad way. Well, one bad thing. One really bad thing, actually. But bad things happen in real life, so I suppose they must also happen in fiction.

So, I'll talk in generalities so I don't give any spoilers: Cat and Bones are still strong and powerful, each in their own way. We see a lot of Mencheres and Spade, and Ian and Vlad are around some as well. We even get to see Don and Cooper and Juan and Tate enough that we know they are still doing their thing.

Even though there is only one main plot, a whole lot happens in this book. Five books worth of things happen in this book, and it's all crammed into one really good novel.

After sitting here motionless for a few moments, I'm realizing that I can't write much about Destined for an Early Grave without spoiling it, and I don't want to do that. So you'll just have to take my word for it: If you haven't read this series, you should. And if you've read the series and are wondering how good this book is, it is better than all of the other books that came before. On a scale of One to Ten, this book is about a Fifteen. But I guess I can't do that, so I'll just have to give it a 10 of 10. And a note that of all of the series that I read, this one is my favorite.

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

The end of the book gives us more information about the first spin-off book from this series. Spade is going to get his own book, and it will be called First Drop of Crimson

Night Huntress Novels
1. Halfway to the Grave (2007)
2. One Foot in the Grave (April 2008)
3. At Grave's End (December 2008)
4. Destined for an Early Grave (July 2009)

Night Huntress Universe Series
1. First Drop of Crimson (Feb 2010)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blood Pact (Blood Series Book 4) by Tanya Huff

Blood Pact, the fourth book in the Blood series, did not have an episode of Blood Ties (the TV show) based directly off of it. In fact, because of what happens in this book, I don't believe we can have any more books based off of the TV series.

Here is the blurb for this book:

Vicki Nelson has received the call that no daughter ever wants to receive—that her mother has died. Marjory Nelson’s coworkers at the Queen’s University Life Science Department told her that she suffered a heart attack, and that they’d be waiting for Vicki to arrive in Kingston to make the funeral arrangements. But what begins as a personal tragedy turns into the most terrifying case of Vicki’s career, when her mother’s body disappears mysteriously from the funeral home. Someone at the University is determined to learn the secret of life after death…and they’ve decided to make Vicki’s mother part of their horrifying experiments.

This book was better than previous books in this series. The love triangle gets a lot more attention, for one thing, but mostly I think the pacing seemed much better in this book.

I can't really talk about the final couple of chapters in this book without giving away spoilers. I will just say that I had not expected what happens, that what happens is BIG, and I look forward to seeing what comes next in Blood Debt.

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


The Blood Series
1. Blood Price
2. Blood Trail
3. Blood Lines
4. Blood Pact
5. Blood Debt
6. Blood Bank

Lifetime still has the episodes up, if you want to watch the TV series, go here. Or, you can follow the links above to buy the DVD's. It is kind of a pain to watch online with the commercials, and having to click between the online "chapters", but it's free.

* Anxiously Awaiting late July '09

I am so excited that we are finally so close to the release of Jeanine Frost's Destined for an Early Grave. I've tried very hard to get my hands on an ARC, but was not successful. So, I wait.

The other books I am anxiously awaiting release are:

07/28/09 Destined for an Early Grave (Night Huntress, Bk 4) Jeaniene Frost
08/04/09 Bad Moon Rising (Dark Hunter Book 17) Sherrilyn Kenyon
08/04/09 Beloved Vampire (Vampire Queen Series) Joey W. Hill
08/25/09 Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega, Book 2) by Patricia Briggs
08/25/09 Unbound
(Anthology) Kim Harrison, Vicki Pettersson, Jeaniene Frost
08/25/09 Mercy Thompson Homecoming (Comic) Patricia Briggs, Francis Tsai
09/01/09 Must Love Hellhounds (Anth.) Ilona Andrews, Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh
09/01/09 Doom With a View (Psychic Eye Mystery) Victoria Laurie
09/15/09 The Lost Symbol (DaVinci Code series) by Dan Brown
09/29/09 On the Edge (The Edge book 1) by Ilona Andrews
09/29/09 Frostbitten (Elena & Clay) (Women/Otherworld) Kelley Armstrong
10/06/09 A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse) by Charlaine Harris
10/13/09 A Deep Kiss of Winter (Anthology) Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter
10/27/09 Bound to Shadows (Riley Jensen, Guardian, Book 8) Keri Arthur
10/27/09 Never After (Anth.) Laurel K. Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, Marjorie M. Liu, etc.
11/03/09 Blaze of Memory (Psy-Changelings, Dev's book), Nalini Singh
11/03/09 Apocalypse Happens (
Phoenix Chronicles, Bk 3) Lori Handeland
11/03/09 Skin Game by Ava Gray
11/24/09 Vampire Sunrise (Delilah Street: Paranormal Investigator) Carole Nelson Douglas
12/01/09 Angelic (Women/Otherworld) Kelley Armstrong
12/08/09 Divine Misdemeanors (Meredith Gentry #8) Laurell K. Hamilton
01/01/10 Kitty's House of Horrors (Kitty Norville Bk 7) by Carrie Vaughn
01/19/10 Pleasure of a Dark Prince
(Immortals after Dark) Kresley Cole
02/09/10 First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World, Bk 1) Jeaniene Frost
02/23/10 Black Magic Sanction (The Hollows Rachel Morgan, Book 8) by Kim Harrison
02/??/10 Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter, Bk 2) Nalini Singh
02/??/10 Captured by Vengeance (Riley Jensen Bk9) Keri Arthur
03/02/10 Roadkill (Cal Leandros book 5) by Rob Thurman
03/09/10 Werewolf Smackdown (Felix Gomez 5) Mario Acevedo
03/16/10 The Spellmans Strike Again (Spellman Files, Book 4) Lisa Lutz
03/16/10 Voices of Dragons (new YA series) by Carrie Vaughn
03/30/10 Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson, Book 5) Patricia Briggs
Spring/10 Chaos Bites, (Phoenix Chronicles, Bk 4) Lori Handeland
04/06/10 A Witch In Time (Bewitching Mysteries Book 6) by Madelyn Alt
04/13/10 Tales of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong
Changes (Dresden Files 12) Jim Butcher
05/??/10 Magic Bleeds, (Kate Daniels Book 4) by Ilona Andrews
08/??/10 Alpha and Omega series, Book 3 Patricia Briggs
Skin Starved (Wicked Lovely Book 4) Melissa Marr
??/??/?? Scars and Souvenirs (Dark Hunter Book 18) Sherrilyn Kenyon
??/??/?? Not That Innocent (Anthlgy) Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kresley Cole...

Not all of the series I keep up with have another book listed as coming out. The authors have stated there will be more, but to my knowledge they haven't said when, or given a title name. I've listed those series below.
* Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris
* Queen Betsy series by MaryJanice Davidson
* Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton
* Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich

* Caruthers Sisters series by Candace Havens

Below are series I follow, but it is unclear whether there will be more books in the series:
* Bronwyn the Witch series by Candace Havens
* Nightcreature / Moon series by Lori Handeland
* Nadia Stafford series by Kelley Armstrong

You can read an excerpt of many of these books, to see my list of excerpts please go here.

If someone wants to send me an ARC of one of the books on my Anxiously Awaiting list, I will read it within a day or two of it arriving (assuming I'm home and I'm not sick or anything), and will get a blog post up of it as soon as I've finished reading it. You may send me a digital version at chained lightning at g mail dot com, or to send a hard copy you may contact me at that email address to ask for a shipping address. If you have an ARC you would like to send that is not on my Anxiously Awaiting list I will attempt to read and review it in a timely manner but it probably won't be placed topmost in my TBR pile.