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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, April 30, 2010

Frost Moon (Skindancer series Book 1) by Anthony Francis


I've hit another home run with a debut Urban Fantasy series. I wish I could give Frost Moon a higher rating than a 10 of 10, just to show how much I enjoyed the book... the characters, the worldbuilding, the action... I want the second book now.

In Dakota Frost's world the authorities know about the vampires, various were-animals, and magic. There is even a special federal agency to handle crimes by these "edgeworlders" -- the phrase means those who are living at the edge of society's norms. We learn that a lot of weres aren't "out", that they are doctors and lawyers and such without anyone knowing of their other nature. However, there are also a lot of weres who live on the edge of society, as do the vamps. In many ways Dakota lives at the edge of society's norms as well, even though she is human.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Dakota wasn't born magical, but she learned how to create magical tattoos, and she's got a ton of them (more than the cover would have you believe). She can use her magical tattoos in some creative ways, and that gives her a leg up when it comes to dealing with, errr, non-humans. The term Skindancer comes from her ability to have her tattoos move around on her body.

One of the things I loved about Frost Moon was the humor. Much of it was literal laugh-out-loud humor. As an example, Dakota is hearing a lecture about her magical tattoos being evil, and she thinks to herself, "The whole idea of hearing this from a lesbian vampire in a fetish bondage outfit continued to leave me speechless..."

Speaking of fetish bondage outfits... there is no sex in Frost Moon, and yet the author manages to insert various BDSM ideas in several places. There is also mention of an old club in Atlanta called The Chamber, which I know from experience as a club that catered to the BDSM crowd. The Secret Room also got a mention, also a club catering to the BDSM crowd.

While I'm talking about Atlanta, if you've ever spent much time in Atlanta seeking out entertainment, looking for the off-the-beaten-path cool spots, then you'll appreciate some of the descriptions of the city. But if you've just played tourist then you may not recognize the city that Anthony Francis describes.

In a really good Urban Fantasy we get to know more than just the main character. Part of the fantasy is in getting to know various, errr, species, up close and personal. We meet some very interesting characters in Frost Moon, vampires and were-animals (including a species I don't believe I've seen in other Urban Fantasy books) and a witch, along with some darned interesting humans, as well.

The pacing was beyond well done, with the action not slowing down enough for me to be able to put the book down. I read it in one sitting, and I stayed up to almost two in the morning, even though I needed to get up at six the next morning.

I can easily give Frost Moon a 10 of 10.  I won't give it a series rating after one book, but it's tempting.

Book Rating: Frost Moon: 10 of 10

Frost Moon satisfies another book in the Debut Urban Fantasy series challenge I'm doing, which means I've now read five of the fifteen books in the challenge.

1. Frost Moon
2. Blood Rock
3. Liquid Fire

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Debut Urban Fantasy Challenge

Debut Urban Fantasy Challenge

I've read a number of  new  Urban Fantasy series in the past couple of months, and I've really enjoyed them. I went looking for more, and found a Debut Urban Fantasy Challenge. The challenge is to read 15 debut urban fantasy books in 2010.  Of course, much of the suggested reading list hasn't been released yet, which means this isn't a challenge I can just breeze through all at once.

I love the graphic for the challenge - would that be a perfect book cover for an Urban Fantasy or what? Tramp stamp, gun, pants half way down her ass, shirt too far up her midriff, long flowing hair.... the only thing missing is a vampire or an animal (presumably a were-animal) in the background somewhere. Although, when you look at the larger version there is a gargoyle on the building and some bats in the sky... so maybe the vampire and the wereanimal are taken care of, after all. Depends on what world you're in.

Here are the 2010 debut series books I've already read:
  1. Spider's Bite, An Elemental Assassin Book by Jennifer Estep  (my review)
  2. Shadow Blade (Shadowchasers book 1) by Seressia Glass (my review)
  3. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (my review)
  4. Gentlemen Prefer Succubi (Succubus Diaries #1) by Jill Myles (my review)

There are also a number of new series I've read that don't qualify for the challenge, since the first book came out last year. However, since I didn't discover the series until this year, and they are new series this year for me, I'll list them here, even though I won't count them towards the challenge:

  1. Black Sun's Daughter series by M.L.N. Hanover:  Unclean Spirits and  Darker Angels   (my reviews)
  2. Allie Beckstrom series by Devon Monk:  Magic to the Bone, and Magic in the Blood, and Magic in the Shadows, and Magic on the Storm   (my reviews)
  3. Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter:  Skinwalker and Blood Cross  (my reviews)
  4. October Daye series by Seanan McGuire:  Rosemary and Rue, and A Local Habitation, and An Artificial Night  (my reviews)
  5. Jane True series by Nicole Peeler:  Tempest Rising and Tracking the Tempest (my reviews)

Of the series I've read so far, I loved Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin), and the Jane Yellowrock series. I enjoyed everything else, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Here are my ratings for the new Urban Fantasy series I've read (links point to my reviews).

. 5 of 10 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
. 8 of 10 Allie Beckstrom series by Devon Monk
10 of 10 series by M.L.N. Hanover
10 of 10 series by Jennifer Estep
. 9 of 10 series by Nicole Peeler
10 of 10 series by Faith Hunter
. 8 of 10 series by Seanan McGuire
10 of 10 series by Seressia Glass
. 9 of 10 by Jill Myles

To see these ratings at a glance for all series that I've reviewed (not just the new ones), you can go here.

The rest of the books in the official selection list for this challenge are:
And, a few new Urban Fantasy books out this year not listed:
To read other reviews made in this challenge, you can go here.

    Monday, April 26, 2010

    * Anxiously Awaiting as of late April 2010

    Several new things this month, but the biggest news I found while researching this time? It sounds like Moon Sworn is going to be the last Riley Jenson book. Ever.

    Also of note is a new short from the Twilight universe from Stephanie Meyer coming out on June 5.

    I'm deciding which books I need to be re-reading in preparation for upcoming books. I'm thinking maybe the last two Sookie books, the last Kate Daniels book (maybe the last two), and possibly the entire Riley Jensen series since this will be the last book.

    04/27/10 Chaos Bites (Phoenix Chronicles, Bk 4) Lori Handeland
    04/30/10 Running with the Pack (Anth) by Carrie Vaughn, Laura Anne Gilman, C. E. Murphy
    05/04/10 Vampire Mistress (Vampire Queen, Book 5) by Joey W. Hill
    05/04/10 Dead in the Family (
    Sookie Stackhouse Bk 10) by Charlaine Harris
    05/04/10 Magic on the Storm (Allie Beckstrom Book 4) by Devon Monk
    05/25/10 Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels Book 4) by Ilona Andrews
    05/25/10 Moon Sworn (Riley Jensen Bk9) by Keri Arthur
    05/25/10 Web of Lies (Elemental Assassin Bk 2) by Jennifer Estep
    06/01/10 Bullet (Anita Blake Book 18) by Laurell K Hamilton
    06/01/10 Chimera by Rob Thurman 
    06/05/10 The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (An Eclipse Novella, Twilight Series) by Stephenie Meyer 
    06/22/10 Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum 16), by Janet Evanovich
    06/25/10 Infinity (Chronicles of Nick Book 1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
    06/29/10 Kitty Goes to War (Kitty Norville, Book 8) by Carrie Vaughn
    06/29/10 Tracking the Tempest (Jane True book 2) by Nicole Peeler
    07/06/10 A Glimpse of Evil (Abby Cooper Bk 8) by Victoria Laurie
    07/06/10 Bonds of Justice (Psy/Changeling #8) (Max's Book) by Nalini Singh
    07/06/10 Undead and Unfinished (Queen Betsy book 9) by MaryJanice Davidson
    07/06/10 Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn 
    07/20/10 Dark and Stormy Knights (Anthology) by PN Elrod, Ilona Andrews, Jim Butcher, Carrie Vaughn, etc.
    07/27/10 Shadow Chase (Shadowchasers Bk 2) by Seressia Glass
    07/27/10 Eternal Kiss of Darkness, Mencheres' book (Night Huntress World, #2) Jeaniene Frost
    07/27/10 Waking the Witch (Savannah) (Women/Otherworld Bk 11) Kelley Armstrong
    Death's Excellent Vacation (Anth) by Charlaine Harris, Jeaniene Frost, Greg Herren, etc.
    08/03/10 Burning Up (Anth)
    Nalini Singh, Angela Knight, Virginia Kantra, Meljean Brook
    08/03/10 No Mercy (Dark Hunters #19) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
    08/24/10 Demon from the Dark (Immortals After Dark Bk 10) by Kresley Cole
    08/24/10 Kisses from Hell (Anth) by Kristin Cast, Richelle Mead, Kelley Armstrong, etc.
    09/07/10 Dexter Is Delicious (Book 5 of the Dexter series) by Jeff Lindsay
    09/07/10 Vampire Trinity (Vampire Queen Book 6) by Joey W. Hill
    09/07/10 An Artificial Night (October Daye book 3) by Seanan McGuire
    09/14/10 Wicked Appetite (Diesel, Book 1) by Janet Evanovich
    09/28/10 Venom (Elemental Assassin Bk 3) by Jennifer Estep
    09/28/10 Naked Heat (Nikki Heat Bk 2) by Richard Castle
    09/28/10 Bayou Moon (The Edge series Book 2), by Ilona Andrews
    10/05/10 Never After (Anth) by Laurell K. Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, Marjorie M. Liu, etc.
    10/26/10 Haunted by Your Touch (Anth) by Shayla Black, Jeaniene Frost, Sharie Kohler, etc.
    10/26/10 Side Jobs (Anthology of Dresden short stories) by Jim Butcher
    11/02/10 Marked By The Moon (Nightcreatures #9) by Lori Handeland 
    11/02/10 Play of Passion (Psy/Changeling #9, Indigo's Book) by Nalini Singh
    11/02/10 Magic at the Gate (Allie Beckstrom Book 5) by Devon Monk
    11/30/10 Vicious Grace (Black Sun's Daughter Book 3) by M.L.N. Hanover
    11/30/10 Silver Zombie (Delilah Street #4) by Carole Nelson Douglas
    11/30/10 Counterfeit Magic (Women of the Otherworld Novella) by Kelley Armstrong
    12/14/10 Killing the Cobra-Chinatown Trollop (Felix Gomez-Comic Book), Mario Acevedo, Alberto Dose
    12/28/10 Mercy Burns (Myth & Magic Bk 2) by Keri Arthur
    12/28/10 My Fair Succubi (Succubus Diaries Bk 3) by Jill Myles
    12/28/10 Deep Kiss of Winter by Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter
    01/01/11 Tempest's Legacy (Jane True book 3) by Nicole Peeler
    01/04/11 Mercy Blade (Jane Yellowrock, Book 3) by Faith Hunter 
    ??/??/11 Supernaturals on Vacation (Anthology)
    ??/??/?? Dark Angels (Risa Book 1) by Keri Arthur
    02/01/11 Invincible (Chronicles of Nick Volume 2) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
    02/22/11 Cat and Bones #5 - Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost
    Spring/11 (Mercy Thompson, Book 6) Patricia Briggs
    ??/??/11 Psy/Changeling #10 (Hawke's book) by Nalini Singh
    04/04/11 Unnamed, Caillen's Story (Dark Hunters) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
    07/??/11 Eye Spy (Abby Cooper #9) by Victoria Laurie
    FALL/11 Alpha and Omega series, Book 3 Patricia Briggs
    10/01/11 Alpha, Daria's story (Dark Hunters) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
    ??/??/12 Unnamed Jaime story (Women/Otherworld Bk 13) Kelley Armstrong
    09/01/12 Daemon's Angel (Dark Hunters) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

    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.
    * Caruthers Sisters series by Candace Havens
    * Meredith Gentry series by
    Laurell K Hamilton
    * Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh
    The Hollows Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison
    * Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman
    Daughters of Arianne series by Joey W. Hill 
    * Dresden series by Jim Butcher 
    * Bewitching Mysteries series by Madelyn Alt

    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
    * Nadia Stafford series by Kelley Armstrong
    * Nature of Desire series by Joey W. Hill

    * Felix Gomez series Mario Acevedo
    * Spellman series by Lisa Lutz

    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 may not be placed topmost in my TBR pile. Feel free to email me to see if I'd be interested in reading something, as well. I've found a few authors that way that I may not have read had I not received a review copy from the publisher. And now I'm hooked on a few of those series, just waiting for the next book.