Review: Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep

Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep
Elemental Assassin, Book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback, 432pages
Published: January 26, 2010 by Pocket
ISBN: 978-1439147979
Received From: Purchased

Book Blurb:

"My name is Gin, and I kill people."

They call me the Spider. I'm the most feared assassin in the South -- when I'm not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.

Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my way -- good or bad. I may look hot, but I'm still one of the bad guys. Which is why I'm in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I'm battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction...especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.

My Ramblings:

Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep was one of my most anticipated books for 2010. So when the book finally arrived I dug into it right away, hoping I hadn't put too much anticipation into reading it. Well, I didn't because I ended up loving every bit of this book. I swear there isn't a lot things as satisfying as wanting a book and it turns out as good as you hoped.

Basically Spider's Bite had it all for me. The setting based in Ashland, a fictional city in the Appalachian Mountains was perfect. Ashland reminds me of a southern Sin City, full of corruption on every level of society. I liked that the humans are aware of the elementals, people who possess the ability to manipulate one or two (which is uncommon) of the four elements: Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone, along with vampires, giants, and dwarfs. So as you can see with the supernaturals there comes power and where is power there is bound to be corruption. Yeah, the bad guys here are very much worth fearing.

Gin was an imperfect heroine who blurred the lines between right and wrong. She never seems over the top but actually grounded to reality. And she likes to cook, loved that! But when it came to her job as an assassin, she's tough, efficient and good at it. And she knows she's the best. Gin's assets as an assassin is more then being an expert with knifes, she uses brains over brawn, in other words she fights smart. As for as the relationship between Donovan Caine and Gin went, I thought it was tense, full of want and need.

There are a few notable side characters as well. I enjoyed the teasing banter between Gin and Finn, who was Gin's handler's son. Jo-Jo and Sophia, dwarven sisters as different as night and day. One's a goth and the other is a true southern lady. These two were interesting additions to the story.

The mystery build up around the plot was superb, clues appearing in the right places, making me wish I could read faster. I know a lot of Urban Fantasy novels are described as dark, raw and gritty but I have to say that Spider's Bite is the epitome of that description. I can't recommend reading Spider's Bite enough.

My Rating: Perfect!

Places you can find Jennifer: Web Site | Blog | Facebook

Elemental Assassin Series:

  1. Spider’s Bite
  2. Web of Lies – May 25, 2010
  3. Venom – October 2010

Other Ramblings:

Erica Hayes Giveaway Winner!

 

winner VampFanGirl
she said her favourite UF heroine is …
“Let's see, my fave UF heroine (at the moment that is) is Merit from Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampire series. I love how Merit's found this previously unknown mental and physical strength after being turned into a vampire. This love stems, I believe, from my own wish to have greater inner and physical strength. :)
I also love how Chloe leaves off her books with dozens of questions. Not like she has plot holes but questions over little but important things like the reason for Merit's name choice.
Chloe always leaves you thirsty for more.”

Thank you everyone for stopping by and entering the giveaway.

Thank you to Erica for the terrific post!

Places you can find Erica Hayes: Web Site | Blog | Twitter

Shadowfae

Shadowglass - March 2, 2010

Category: 7 comments

Review: Darklight by Lesley Livingston

Darklight by Lesley Livingston

Darklight by Lesley Livingston 
Wondrous Strange Trilogy, Book 2 
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Published: December 22, 2009 by HarperTeen
ISBN: 978-0061575402
Received From: Media Masters Publicity

Book Blurb:

Faerie can't lie . . . or can they?

Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was a Faerie princess, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved the mortal realm from the ravages of the Wild Hunt. Now Kelley is stuck in New York City, rehearsing Romeo and Juliet and missing Sonny more with every stage kiss, while Sonny has been forced back to the Otherworld and into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the remaining Hunters and Queen Mabh herself.

When a terrifying encounter sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful but destined to be cut short. An ancient, hidden magick is stirring, and a dangerous new enemy is willing to risk everything to claim that power. Caught in a web of Faerie deception and shifting allegiances, Kelley and Sonny must tread carefully, for each next step could topple a kingdom . . . or tear them apart.

With breathtakingly high stakes, the talented Lesley Livingston delivers soaring romance and vividly magical characters in Darklight, the second novel in the trilogy that began with Wondrous Strange.

My Ramblings:

The Wondrous Strange trilogy by Lesley Livingston is a modern day fairy tale surrounding the young and aspiring, stage actress Kelley, who has the world of Faeries thrust upon her very unexpectedly. If you haven't read the first book Wondrous Strange, I highly recommend that you do before reading Darklight.

After reading Wondrous Strange, I eagerly went straight to reading Darklight. Darklight had strong character growth, a deepening romance and a darker story line that continued to grab my attention. Kelley had more of an angst attitude and Sonny isn't as trusting as he was before plus fighting the Hunters has giving him a harder edge. These changes in Kelley and Sonny causes tension between them but it also deepens their feelings for one another. I also enjoyed seeing Fennrys in a whole new light, proving he is capable of more then just fighting and growling (Yes, he growls!) as he was previously portrayed.

I found it fascinating how Lesley created hints at parallels in this story to theatre production of Romeo & Juliet. She did the same thing in Wondrous Strange with A Midsummer Night's Dream. Lesley's portrayal of the Faeries, are just as I have pretty much imagined them to be: whimsical, fickle in nature, and loving and hating in the same breath. You never know if you can trust them. This is what makes them so dangerous in this story and antes up the mystery. Oh, and not all the Fair Folk are magically delicious either – the leprechauns are terrifying.

The ending was one I didn't see coming. It left me feeling awed and frustrated in a good way. I'm eagerly looking forward to the final conclusion to this trilogy.

Cover note: I think the covers of the books in the Wondrous Strange trilogy do a terrific job depicting what Kelley looks like. She looks just as I would imagine her to be.

My Rating: Really Liked it

Places you can find Lesley: Web Site | Blog | Twitter

Wondrous Strange Trilogy:

  1. Wondrous Strange
  2. Darklight
  3. TBA

Other Ramblings:

Wanted: Steamed by Katie MacAlister

I've been wanting to read a Steampunk novel for awhile but have yet to do it. I think Steamed by Katie MacAlister will probably be the book that will bring me into this new genre.

Wanted: Steamed by Katie MacAlister

Steamed by Katie MacAlister
Steampunk
Release Date: February 2, 2010

Jack Fletcher's heart is about to get punked.

Computer technician Jack Fletcher is no hero, despite his unwelcome reputation as one. In fact, he's just been the victim of bizarre circumstances. Like now. His sister happens to disturb one of his nanoelectromechanical system experiments, and now they aren't where they're supposed to be. In fact, they're not sure where they are when…

…they wake up to see a woman with the reddest hair Jack has ever seen-and a gun. Octavia Pye is an Aerocorps captain with a whole lot of secrets, and she's not about to see her maiden voyage ruined by stowaways. But the sparks flying between her and Jack just may cause her airship to combust and ignite a passion that will forever change the world as she knows it…

New Release for Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy & YA Fantasy for the week of January 26, 2010

There is a lot to choose from today. Enjoy!


January 26, 2010

Pride Mates by Jennifer Ashley

Pride Mates by Jennifer Ashley
Shifters Unbound, Book 1
Paranormal Romance

Summary:

Twenty years ago, shape shifters of all kinds banded together and announced themselves to the world, only to be shunted to areas no human wanted ("Shiftertowns"). They are forced to wear Collars that control their hunting and fighting instincts (referred to by Shifters as "Taking the Collar").

Liam Morrissey is currently liaison between the Shifters of Austin, TX, and the humans of the city. Kim Fraser, attorney, finds herself in the unique position of having to defend a Shifter on a murder charge.

She ventures to Shiftertown to seek out Liam's help, and there stumbles across too many secrets the Shifters want kept secret. The un-mated Liam is forced to protect Kim against the wrath of his clan leader and his own father, and to his surprise he discovers a powerful attraction to the sassy, sexy lady.

- Reviewed By:


Original Sin by Allison Brennan

Original Sin by Allison Brennan
Seven Deadly Sins, Book 1
Paranormal Romance

Summary:

Haunted by chilling memories of demonic possession and murder, Moira O’Donnell has spent seven years hunting down her mother, Fiona, whose command of black magic has granted her unprecedented control of the underworld. Now Moira’s global search has led her to a small California town that’s about to become hell on earth.

Tormented by his own terrifying past and driven by powers he can’t explain, ex-seminarian Rafe Cooper joins Moira’s dangerous quest. But Fiona is one devilish step ahead. Hungry for greater power, eternal youth, and stunning beauty, the sorceress is unleashing upon the mortal world the living incarnations of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Together with a demonologist, a tough female sheriff, and a pair of star-crossed teenagers, Moira and Rafe are humanity’s last chance to snatch salvation from the howling jaws of damnation.

- Reviewed By:


The Seventh Witch by Shirley Damsgaard

The Seventh Witch by Shirley Damsgaard
Ophelia & Abby Mysteries, Book 7
Paranormal Suspense

Summary:

Small-town librarian and psychic Ophelia Jensen hails from a long line of wise and wonderfully gifted women. There's her grandmother, Abby, a talented witch, and her great-aunt Mary, who's about to celebrate her 100th birthday. But as Ophelia learns, when she and Abby travel to North Carolina for the centennial celebration, their family secrets aren't just magickal—they're murderous.

Someone in the sweet Southern town wants Abby dead. Could it be a rogue witch in Ophelia's own family? A vengeful local witch desperate to settle a bitter feud decades in the making? Ophelia must use all her talents to save her loved ones—before the witching hour comes upon them, and bad blood turns deadly.

- Reviewed By:


Unperfect Souls by Mark Del Franco

Unperfect Souls by Mark Del Franco
Connor Grey Series, Book 4
Urban Fantasy

Summary:

In the Boston neighborhood known as the Weird, a decapitated body floats out of the sewer, and former Guild investigator Connor Grey uncovers a conspiracy that may bring down the city's most powerful elite. As the violence escalates, Connor is determined to stop it-with help from one of the most dangerous beings of Faerie. Even if it means unleashing the darkness that burns within him.

- Reviewed By:


Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep

Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep
Elemental Assassin, Book 1
Urban Fantasy

Summary:

My name is Gin, and I kill people.

They call me the Spider. I'm the most feared assassin in the South -- when I'm not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.

Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my way -- good or bad. I may look hot, but I'm still one of the bad guys. Which is why I'm in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I'm battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction...especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.

- Reviewed By:


Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Incarceron, Book 1
YA Fantasy

Summary:

Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains not only cells, but also metal forests, dilapidated cities, and vast wilderness. Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, has no memory of his childhood and is sure that he came from Outside Incarceron. Very few prisoners believe that there is an Outside, however, which makes escape seems impossible.

And then Finn finds a crystal key that allows him to communicate with a girl named Claudia. She claims to live Outside- she is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, and doomed to an arranged marriage. Finn is determined to escape the prison, and Claudia believes she can help him. But they don't realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost more than they know.

- Reviewed By:


A Tale of Two Demon Slayers by Angie Fox

A Tale of Two Demon Slayers by Angie Fox
Demon Slayer, Book 3
Urban Fantasy

Summary:

Last month, I was a single preschool teacher whose greatest thrill consisted of color-coding my lesson plans. That was before I learned I was a slayer. Now, it's up to me to face curse-hurling imps, vengeful demons, and any other supernatural uglies that crop up. And, to top it off, a hunk of a shape-shifting griffin has invited me to Greece to meet his family.

But it's not all sun, sand, and ouzo. Someone has created a dark-magic version of me with my powers and my knowledge--and it wants to kill me and everyone I know. Of course, this evil twin doesn't have Grandma's gang of biker witches, a talking Jack Russell terrier, or an eccentric necromancer on its side. In the ultimate showdown for survival, may the best demon slayer win.

- Reviewed By:


Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass

Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass
Shadowchasers, Book 1
Urban Fantasy

Summary:

For Kira Solomon, normal was never an option.

Kira's day job is as an antiquities expert, but her true calling is as a Shadowchaser. Trained from youth to be one of the most lethal Chasers in existence, Kira serves the Gilead Commission, dispatching the Fallen who sow discord and chaos. Of course, sometimes Gilead bureaucracy is as much a thorn in her side as anything the Fallen can muster against her. Right now, though, she's got a bigger problem. Someone is turning the city of Atlanta upside down in search of a millennia-old Egyptian dagger that just happens to have fallen into Kira's hands.

Then there's Khefar, the dagger's true owner -- a near-immortal 4,000-year-old Nubian warrior who, Kira has to admit, looks pretty fine for his age. Joining forces is the only way to keep the weapon safe from the sinister Shadow forces, but now Kira is in deep with someone who holds more secrets than she does, the one person who knows just how treacherous this fight is. Because every step closer to destroying the enemy is a step closer to losing herself to Shadow forever....

- Reviewed By:


Ecstasy Unveiled by Larissa Ione

Ecstasy Unveiled by Larissa Ione
Demonica Series, Book 4
Paranormal Romance

Summary:

DEMON ENSLAVED
Lore is a Seminus half-breed demon who has been forced to act as his dark master's assassin. Now to earn his freedom and save his sister's life, he must complete one last kill. Powerful and ruthless, he'll stop at nothing to carry out this deadly mission.

AN ANGEL TEMPTED
Idess is an earthbound angel with a wild side, sworn to protect the human Lore is targeting. She's determined to thwart her wickedly handsome adversary by any means necessary-even if that means risking her vow of eternal chastity. But what begins as a simple seduction soon turns into a passion that leaves both angel and demon craving complete surrender.

Torn between duty and desire, Lore and Idess must join forces as they battle their attraction for each other. Because an enemy from the past is rising again-one hellbent on vengeance and unthinkable destruction.

- Reviewed By:


What A Demon Wants by Kathy Love

What A Demon Wants by Kathy Love
Paranormal Romance

Summary:

A bodyguard? Why in the world would a demon need a bodyguard? Yes, it's true Ellina Kostova is only half demon...and an author with a cult following, but that just means strange stuff happens. She isn't in real danger. Heck, she's in more danger from Jude Anthony, the guy her brother has hired to protect her. In big danger, actually. Because she just cannot be attracted to...well, anyone. She's too much of a demon in bed. No, really. Jude has grown accustomed to being an outcast, adrift in both the mortal and preternatural worlds. Being a paid fighting machine isn't glamorous, but he does it - and many other things - spectacularly well. And man does Ellina Kostova need a lot of protection. But he needs protection, too. She's making him remember what it feels like to be human. And he's already learned no good can come of that. Especially when he's been hired not only to protect her - but also kill her.

- Reviewed By:


Night Tides by Alex Prentiss

Night Tides by Alex Prentiss
Lady of the Lakes, Book 1
Urban Fantasy

Summary:

One by one they go missing. And in the lake a voice cries out: “Save them. . . .”

In the darkness, in a lake in the middle of a prosperous college town, Rachel Matre feels the water caressing her bare skin, teasing her senses, drawing her body into a lush erotic embrace. For twenty years she has communed with the lake spirits this way—and told no one. The price is simple: She must help those in need.

But now a series of young women have gone missing. The police don’t have any bodies, or even a single suspect. Only the spirits seem to sense the truth. Through them, Rachel finds herself drawn into a madman’s web. She alone can save the missing women. But who can save her?

- Reviewed By:


Twice as Hot by Gena Showalter

Twice as Hot by Gena Showalter
Tales of an Extraordinary Girl, Book 2
Paranormal Romance

Summary:

Set the world on fire? With Belle Jamison, it’s always a possibility.  Literally.

Planning a wedding is tough.  Especially when the bride can shoot fireballs from her eyes and accidentally torches her dress, the groom returns from a dangerous mission with selective memory loss and the man responsible now desires Belle for his own.

Any other time, Belle would turn to her ultra sexy fianc√© Rome Masters for comfort.  But the only thing he can’t remember is her – and now his ex is determined to win him back.  With the help of her trusty empath sidekick, an optimistic Belle continues to plan her wedding, fight a new band of supervillans, and tries not to accidentally on purpose start too many fires. . . except when she gets Rome into bed. . .

- Reviewed By:


If you have a book review for any of the new releases listed here, link it in comments and I will be happy to add it to this post. Or if I missed a new book release, please let me know so I can add it also.

-- Summaries are from Amazon.com unless otherwise stated.


Giveaways I’ve come across:

Original Sin by Allison Brennan – Winner!

winner

Razlover's Book Blog 
Said the worst of the Seven Deadly Sins is...
”I think gluttony would be the worst of the seven deadly sins.”

Thank you everyone for stopping by and entering the giveaway.

Razlover please contact me with your mailing address, my email address is at the top of this blog, click on the ‘CONTACT ME’ link.

Original Sin by Allison Brennan

Original Sin by Allison Brennan 
Seven Deadly Sins, Book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Thriller

Places you can find Allison Brennan: Web Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Category: 1 comments

Review: Ecstasy Unveiled by Larissa Ione

Ecstasy Unveiled by Larissa Ione

Ecstasy Unveiled by Larissa Ione
Demonica Series, Book 4 
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: Paperback, 432 pages
Published: January 26, 2010 by Forever
ISBN: 978-0446556828
Received From: Hachette Book Group

Summary:

A DEMON ENSLAVED
Lore is a Seminus half-breed demon who has been forced to act as his dark master's assassin. Now to earn his freedom and save his sister's life, he must complete one last kill. Powerful and ruthless, he'll stop at nothing to carry out this deadly mission.

AN ANGEL TEMPTED
Idess is an earthbound angel with a wild side, sworn to protect the human Lore is targeting. She's determined to thwart her wickedly handsome adversary by any means necessary-even if that means risking her vow of eternal chastity. But what begins as a simple seduction soon turns into a passion that leaves both angel and demon craving complete surrender. Torn between duty and desire, Lore and Idess must join forces as they battle their attraction for each other. Because an enemy from the past is rising again-one hellbent on vengeance and unthinkable destruction.

My Ramblings:

This story is based on the traditional plot of the good girl falling for the bad boy, but Larissa Ione has added her own brand of intrigue that keeps this passion filled story so very interesting. I found myself immersed into the story of Idess and Lore because it goes from complicated to critical fast at the very beginning and just builds from there. Throughout the book I kept thinking how's this new kink going to get work out. The characters are not perfect and they are flawed in such a way I found myself emotionally tied to each one. I found Idess to be the just right combination of tough, soft and just a little of a bad girl. Lore was self-sacrificing for those he loved, and perfect for Idess.

As a subplot to Estasy Unveiled, there is an angry disturbance causing the spirits to be agitated at Underworld General, a medical center under the city of New York for vamps, demons, werewolves, well pretty much all paranormal beings. This disturbance also starts to flow over and effect the people who visit and run the hospital. Things start to get pretty tense around Underworld General and angry emotions start to fly.

Also, when you get to end of the book and you're thinking about how you want more, there is an excerpt to the next novel in the Demonica series.

After reading Ecstasy Unveiled, the fourth book in the Demonica series, I have come to expect to be captivated by Larissa Ione's writing. Yes, in my opinion, Larissa Ione is the mistress of world building and  scorching love scenarios with endings that leaving you feeling beyond satisfied.

If you have been reading the Demonica series then you do not want to miss Ecstasy Unveiled. Or you haven't started this series yet, don't wait another day but I recommend you start with the first book, Pleasure Unbound.

My Rating: Really Liked it

Places you can find Larissa: Web Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Demonica Series:

  1. Pleasure Unbound
  2. Desire Unchained
  3. Passion Unleashed
  4. Ecstasy Unveiled

Other Ramblings:

Feeding the Need to Read(5)

I hope everyone’s weekend has started out right, my certainly has. The FedEx man brought my pre-order of Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep to me!!! I love when that happens—early delivery. When I get back from watching Legion today, you can bet I’ll be popping open and settling in to read Spider’s Bite.

To be truthful, I’m exciting about all of these books. I’ve already read and enjoyed Darklight; look for a review coming next week.

FeedingTheNeedToRead5 Feeding the Need to Read:

Bought:

For Review:

I received the following books unexpectedly for review and since they are outside of the genres that are read and reviewed here at Fantasy Dreamer’s Ramblings, I have passed these books on to my friend Dottie at My Blog 2.0 for review:

2fer Review: Firespell by Chloe Neill

Firespell by Chloe Neill

Firespell by Chloe Neill 
Dark Elite, Book 1
Genre: YA Paranormal
Format: Paperback, 256 pages
Published: January 5, 2010 by Signet
ISBN: 978-0451228864
Received From: Purchased

Summary:

As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face—but oh, how wrong she is.

When Lily’s parents decide to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she is not happy. Lily’s classmates are the ultra rich brat-pack type—and if that isn’t enough, she’s hearing and seeing bizarre things on St. Sophia’s creepy campus.

The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird—she keeps disappearing late at night. When a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout, who’s  running from a real-life monster.

Scout is part of a splinter group of rebel teens who protect Chicago from demons, vamps, and the gone-to-the dark-side magic users called Reapers. She lets Lily in on her secret, even though Lily has no powers of her own…or at least none that she’s discovered yet.

My Ramblings:

Chloe Neill has fast become one of my favorite writers so when I saw she had a new book coming out, I just knew I had to pick it up. Plus, I thought Firespell was such an enjoyable read that I'd share it with my 13 year old stepdaughter, Jessica. And I figured it would be a neat idea to have a review here by a person in who is in the targeted audience for this book. Below my ramblings is Jessica's thoughts on Firespell.

I liked that this story is based in the bustling, windy city of Chicago in an old gothic style school. It was so easy to imagine the numerous tunnels running under Chicago, filled with things unimaginable. This set the atmosphere for me, giving everything a since of old mysteries waiting to be discovered.

The story itself had many interesting and mysterious twists that keep me interested. For the most part I enjoyed reading Firespell. The beginning half of this book moved at a slower pace than I would've liked but the last half picked up the pace with an exciting ending. And there is twist to plot about the use of magic itself, that I'm very curious as to how it will pan out in the end for all the characters involved.

Again the best part of a Chloe Neill novel for me was the characters. I love Chloe's ability to create companion characters that you can't help but feel the same passion and closeness as you do for the main characters in a story.

This first novel has certainly laid the ground work for the next in the Dark Elite series and I look forward to seeing where it goes.

My Rating: Liked It

Jessica’s Ramblings:

I have to say Lily was one of my favorite characters. If she's being challenged by the brat pack or even a bunch of monster she doesn't back down even if she wants to. Scout was another one of my favorite characters. She was very unique and I just couldn't wait to see what funny thing she had in store for me next.

There aren't a lot of books that make me want to read them over and over again but Firespell has me hooked in like a fish. If I could I'd read it again and again until I knew every line.

Jessica’s Rating: Perfect!

Places you can find Chloe: Web Site | Blog | Twitter

Dark Elite Series:

  1. Firespell
  2. Book 2 – TA
  3. Book 3 – TA

Other Ramblings:

Guest Author & Giveaway: Erica Hayes

Today, I’m happy to have Erica Hayes here to talk about how she picks her heroines. Erica Hayes is the author of the dark and sensual Shadowfae Chronicles. Shadowfae, the first book, is now available and you can read my review here. Next in the series Shadowglass will be releasing this coming March, and is a book I’m very much looking forward to.

Erica has generously offered to giveaway one of her books, the details are at the end.

Howdy Erica!


How do you pick a heroine?

Urban fantasy heroines are special ladies. Not just any kick-ass paranormal chick will do. She has to be resourceful enough to survive in a magical world where all hell could break loose at any moment. She has to have goals, even if she doesn't quite know it yet, and she has to want them badly enough to persist through hellish adversity. But she needs to be vulnerable somehow, too, or she won't be very interesting – where's the fun in a heroine who takes everything in her stride? Especially when it comes to romance.

It's difficult to take those elements — strength, determination and vulnerability — and combine them into a realistic and sympathetic character. Readers have to like her. It's a fine line between sassy and bitchy, kick-ass and uber-violent, determined and annoyingly hard-headed. How many times have you put down a book or a series, not because the story was boring, but because you just didn't like the heroine? Happens to me a lot. I'm picky :)

Gosh. So many factors to consider. Luckily for me, the heroine for Shadowfae popped into my head pretty much fully formed. She's a succubus, I thought. She uses her hellish powers of seduction to entrap men and send their souls to hell. But she can't be a demon, because that'd be too easy for her… no conflict. Hmm. I know! She's a human, in thrall to a demon for a thousand years. But she's over it, see, and she's longing to escape and lead a normal life. And there's this once-off magical-sexy-ritual-thingy that will set her free, only there's this guy who wants to do it too, cause he's an incubus, and… oh, look, the hero. {fans self} I am so writing this story right now…

ShadowglassBig Ice, my book 2 heroine, is a little different. She's a fairy, and in the Shadowfae world, fairies aren't powerful or dangerous (with a few exceptions, of course… can't give too much away…). Ice is a petty thief, a nobody. So she has to work a lot harder to survive when her light fingers get her into trouble. Steal a magic mirror from a demon's lair? Great idea. Now she's only being chased by feuding demons, creepy earthbound angels, a shadowy serial killer, and a disturbingly attractive metalfairy thief.

But even though she's just an ordinary girl, Ice doesn't shrink away from the chaos she's made. She steps up. She faces her mistakes. She deals.

And that, for me, is the key to a great UF heroine. When the grunge hits the fan, she doesn't stand around wringing her hands and crying 'woe is me'. She summons all her resources—whether they're physical, intellectual, emotional or magical— and fights back.

Some heroines seek out bad guys to hunt. Others need to be dragged into the action kicking and screaming. But in the end, it's what they make of their troubles that counts.

So who's your favourite UF heroine? Mercy Thompson? Sookie Stackhouse? Riley Jenson? Do you like it when she's a human with paranormal powers? Or do you prefer your heroines to be vamps, fairies, werecats or wolves?


Places you can find Erica Hayes: Web Site | Blog | Twitter

Shadowfae Chronicles:

  1. Hellcursed – Free Prequel
  2. Shadowfae
    Steal souls. Live in hell. Never die.

    In a city infested with psychotic fairies and run by sadistic vampire mafiosi, life as a soul-sucking succubus rarely involves lacy lingerie, hot guys or great sex.

    Enslaved by a demon lord, Jade must spend her nights seducing vampire gangsters and shapeshifting thugs. After two hundred years as a succubus, she burns for freedom and longs to escape her brutal life as a trophy girl for hell's minions.

    Then, she meets Rajah, an incubus who touches her heart and intoxicates her senses. Rajah shares the same bleak fate as she, and yearns just as desperately for freedom. But the only way for Jade to break her bonds is to betray Rajah—and doom the only man she's ever loved to a lifetime in hell.
  3. Shadowglass - March 2, 2010
    A seductive magic mirror, deep in a demon's lair.

    A simple warning: don't stare at the glass.

    A light-fingered fairy who can't resist.
    For Ice, a compulsive fairy thief, life is a wild party of magical confidence scams. She's never cared for rules, so when she filches a demon's beguiling magic mirror, she can't resist a peek.

    Malicious magic strikes, and Ice can no longer tell a lie. If she can't undo the spell, she'll have to turn respectable.

    Two words: no way.

Erica, thank you for guest posting and sharing your thoughts on what makes a great heroine.

~*~*~*~*~*~* This giveaway is now closed ~*~*~*~*~*~*

Giveaway:

Thanks to Erica’s generosity one lucky commenter will win a copy of Shadowfae*. But if the winner already has this book, Erica will pre-order a copy of Shadowglass instead. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Answer one of Erica’s questions at the end of her post in the comments.
  2. For an extra entry, spread the word about this giveaway: Blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. - leave a link in the comments.
  3. Leave your email with your comment ONLY IF it is NOT part of your profile.
  4. This giveaway is open to Everyone.
  5. Giveaway ends on Wednesday, January 27th at 8PM CST.

*I had Shadowfever listed here but it should have been Shadowfae. Sorry for the typo.

Good Luck!

New Release for Urban Fantasy for the week of January 19, 2010

I wonder if Google Docs’s ears were burning last Friday? Because they were on my %@#@ list. I guess they were upgrading my Google Docs account and I lost my 2010 New Release document that I used to keep track of upcoming books. I swear my face felt hot then cold then back to hot again. There was probably steam coming out of my ears too. Luckily, while I was ranting about it on Twitter, Kat from Fantasy Literature offered me a copy of her new release list. What a life saver Kat was for me. Thank you, Kat! So now, I feel a little better and I have list to build a new one from and a lesson learned: Backup then Backup again SOMEWHERE ELSE.

Onward...

Not much in new releases this week but the lone book listed here is a definite buy for me. I read Gentlemen Prefer Succubi by Jill Myles over the holidays and I really liked it. A lot. It was a fun, sexy read that had me laughing then fanning myself - repeatedly. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Succubi Like It Hot.

**Added more new releases. Thank you Sara ( Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog ) for letting me know about The Mark.


January 19, 2010

Succubi Like It Hot by Jill Myles

Succubi Like It Hot by Jill Myles
The Succubus Diaries , Book 2
Urban Fantasy

Summary:

NOBODY SAID SUCKING WAS EASY.

With a hot new figure, her dream job as an archaeologist, and two gorgeous boyfriends to scratch her seductive Itch -- an angel and a vampire -- Jackie Brighton is totally getting the hang of life as a succubus. Then she accidentally knocks the pizza guy unconscious with her touch. Great -- she's cursed. After striking a deal to get the curse lifted by a crafty demon, Jackie and her best friend Remy take a road trip to deliver a cryptic message to the nation's oldest succubus. Unfortunately, neither of her jealous lovers is talking to Jackie right now, and due to the curse, she's desperate to get her Itch scratched very soon. Their journey gets weirder with every mile -- demonic possession, a charming stalker, a cryptic warning -- and when they get to New Orleans, Jackie discovers a dangerous catch to her supernatural bargain. Someone wants her dead -- again. Can a brainy vixen in a miniskirt outsmart the forces of evil?

- Reviewed By:


The Mark by Jen Nadol

The Mark by Jen Nadol
YA Paranormal

Summary:

Cassandra Renfield has always seen the mark—a glow around certain people reminiscent of candlelight. But the one time she mentioned it, it was dismissed as a trick of the light. Until the day she watches a man awash in the mark die. After searching her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person’s imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.

Armed with a vague understanding of the light, Cassie begins to explore her “gift,” seeking those marked for death and probing the line between decision and destiny. Though she’s careful to hide her secret—even from her new philosophy-obsessed boyfriend—with each impending death comes the temptation to test fate. But so many questions remain. How does the mark work? Why is she the only one who sees it? And finally, the most important of all: If you know today is someone’s last, should you tell them?

- Reviewed By:


January 21, 2010

Undead Much by Stacey Jay

Undead Much by Stacey Jay
Megan Berry, Book 2
YA Paranormal

Summary:

Q: How many guys does it take to make your boyfriend wild with jealousy?
A: Only one, if he's UNDEAD.

Megan Berry had a perfectly average new-sundress-and-boy-obsessed life--until her power to settle the Undead returned. Oh, and then her best friend tried to kill her--and ruin homecoming--with a bunch of black magically raised zombies. At least she got a spot on the pom squad and a smokin' boyfriend (Ethan). But now Megan is in deep fertilizer all over again.

Why? Well, let's see...

· Feral new super-strong zombies? Check.

· Cheerleader vs. pom squad turf war threatening half time as they know it? Check.

· An Undead psychic hottie (Cliff) who's predicting a zombie apocalypse--and doing his best to tempt Megan away from Ethan? Yum. I mean, Check.

· Earth-shattering secrets that could land Megan in Settler prison for life? Um, IT WASN'T ME!!!

Everyone thinks Megan's at fault for the new uber-zombie uprising. Looks like she'll need the help of both Cliff and Ethan if she's going to prove her innocence before it's too late...

- Reviewed By:


Here’s a few giveaways that you might be interested in:


If you have a book review for any of the new releases listed here, link it in comments and I will be happy to add it to this post. Or if I missed a new book release, please let me know so I can add it also.

-- Summaries are from Amazon.com unless otherwise stated.

Giveaway: Original Sin by Allison Brennan

~*~*~*~*~*~* This giveaway is now closed ~*~*~*~*~*~*

Original Sin by Allison Brennan

Thanks to Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc., one lucky person has a chance to win a copy of Original Sin by Allison Brennan (read my review).

Sneak Peak: Read chapters 1-4 of Original Sins

Summary:

Haunted by chilling memories of demonic possession and murder, Moira O’Donnell has spent seven years hunting down her mother, Fiona, whose command of black magic has granted her unprecedented control of the underworld. Now Moira’s global search has led her to a small California town that’s about to become hell on earth.

Tormented by his own terrifying past and driven by powers he can’t explain, ex-seminarian Rafe Cooper joins Moira’s dangerous quest. But Fiona is one devilish step ahead. Hungry for greater power, eternal youth, and stunning beauty, the sorceress is unleashing upon the mortal world the living incarnations of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Together with a demonologist, a tough female sheriff, and a pair of star-crossed teenagers, Moira and Rafe are humanity’s last chance to snatch salvation from the howling jaws of damnation.

Giveaway Details:
  1. In the comments, tell me which one of the Seven Deadly Sins you think would be the worst to have an encounter with: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.
  2. For an extra entry, spread the word about this giveaway: Blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. - leave a link in the comments.
  3. Leave your email with your comment ONLY IF IT IS NOT part of your profile.
  4. This giveaway is open to the US and Canada.
  5. Giveaway ends on Monday, January 25th at 8PM CST.
  6. The winner’s book will be sent to him/her by Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.
Good Luck!
Category: 41 comments

Review: Original Sin by Allison Brennan

Original Sin by Allison Brennan

Original Sin by Allison Brennan 
Seven Deadly Sins, Book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Thriller
Format: Paperback, 464 pages
Published: January 26, 2010 by Ballantine Books
ISBN: 978-0345511676
Received From: Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.

Summary:

Haunted by chilling memories of demonic possession and murder, Moira O’Donnell has spent seven years hunting down her mother, Fiona, whose command of black magic has granted her unprecedented control of the underworld. Now Moira’s global search has led her to a small California town that’s about to become hell on earth.

Tormented by his own terrifying past and driven by powers he can’t explain, ex-seminarian Rafe Cooper joins Moira’s dangerous quest. But Fiona is one devilish step ahead. Hungry for greater power, eternal youth, and stunning beauty, the sorceress is unleashing upon the mortal world the living incarnations of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Together with a demonologist, a tough female sheriff, and a pair of star-crossed teenagers, Moira and Rafe are humanity’s last chance to snatch salvation from the howling jaws of damnation.

My Ramblings:

When I first heard about Original Sin by Allison Brennan I was intrigued by it but I wasn't prepared to be blown away. There are two primary things that can keep me glued to a book, one the story revolves around the paranormal and two there is enough mystery to keep me to locked in suspense. Original Sin by Allison Brennan did both. If I could have read this book in one sitting, I would have.

This book had a very different view on witches then what you ordinarily see in Urban Fantasy. There are no good witches. The premise here is that any magic is bad and there is no such thing as good magic. And so the suspense starts to build from the very beginning because how is an ex-witch suppose to battle her super powerful, wicked witch of a mom without magic? What can Moira use to stop her mother Fiona from opening the gates of Hell and save the world from the Seven Deadly Sins?

What made this story click for me was the building suspense as I read, the realistic characters and the men of St. Michael's Monastery. Moira seems liked damaged goods with need to atone for the past but she is resilient and strong. Rafe has an air of strength and mystery about him while at the same time he seems vulnerable. Anthony comes across as a hard-case, not willing to give Moira the benefit of the doubt because as far as he's concerned once a witch always a witch. Skye is tough and dogs the witches' evil plans right along with Moira, Rafe and Anthony. Then there's Fiona and the minions of her coven. I found Fiona to be a treacherously, evil character and her diabolical plans had me gripping the book tight as I read.

I mentioned the men of St. Michael's Monastery as being one of the high point for me, the reason being it's been awhile since I've read a story where supposedly ordinary men, who were not a super-being such as a vamp or a shapeshifter, has captured my attention. Both Rafe and Anthony are men of St. Michael's Monastery. Ms. Brennan has weaved such a strong air of mystery around these men that I'm dying to know more about them. They each seem to possess qualities of being more than just ordinary but it's just not blatantly obvious what it is.

Original Sin by Allison Brennan was a terrific mixture of suspense, mystery and a lot of action with a hint of romance told from the different characters' perspectives. I found myself repeatedly surprised by the turns in the plot. I have definitely been pulled into the world of the Seven Deadly Sins and I cannot wait until Cardinal Sin releases later this year.

Sneak Peak: Read chapters 1-4 of Original Sins

My Rating: Perfect!

Places you can find Allison Brennan: Web Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Seven Deadly Sins:

  1. Original Sin – January 26, 2010
  2. Cardinal Sin – June 22, 2010
  3. Mortal Sin – September 28, 2010

Other Ramblings:


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