The Naughty Vixen

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Archive for the category “Urban Fantasy”

Trace of Magic by Diana Pharaoh Francis

“You know, ever since I met you, I can’t seem to keep my own clothes on.  Why is that?”

cover52037-mediumTitle:  Trace of Magic

Series: The Diamond City Magic Novels Book #1

Author:  Diana Pharaoh Francis

Rate: A

Even the most powerful tracers can’t track you if the magical trace you leave behind is too old. But I can track almost anything, even dead trace. That makes me a unicorn, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Lock Ness Monster all rolled into one. In a word, I am unique. A very special snowflake. And if anyone ever finds out, I’ll be dead or a slave to one of the Tyet criminal factions.
Riley Hollis has quietly traced kidnapped children and quietly tipped the cops to their whereabouts one too many times. Now she’s on the radar of Detective Clay Price, a cop in the pocket of a powerful magic Tyet faction. When he blackmails her into doing a dangerous trace for him, Riley will have to break every rule that keeps her safe. Or become a Tyet pawn in a deadly, magical war. 

Thoughts:  Trace of Magic starts off what has become one of my new favorite urban fantasy series – and this book definitely leaves you wanting more!  I can’t wait to get more from these characters and this whole intriguing world.  In this alternate, magical universe, we have a world full of magical abilities, intrigue, subterfuge, deception, greed, etc. – and with Riley herself not even sure of the full scale of her powers, I can’t wait to see where things go with this series.  For book one in a new series, it is really off to a strong start, and this is the most excited I have been about a new author in urban fantasy in awhile.

For those wanting to get a feel for her works, I see the book similar to those along the lines of  the Realm Walker series by Kathleen Collins and perhaps the Cassie Palmer series by Karen Chance – if you enjoy those, I think this one might be right up your alley…:)  There are definitely moments where it reminds me a bit of Kim Harrison’s Hollow’s series (although this series is definitely not on that scale yet)….particularly when it comes to Riley’s creative uses for magic.  I think this series really has a lot of potential….and Riley really has the potential to became a huge female character that those long-lasting type series are made out of.  I can’t wait to see what the next book brings!


Ritual Magic by Eileen Wilks

Feelings are not always a guide to truth, and guilt is an indulgence you cannot afford. It clouds the mind.”

81VANeQxSxL._SL1500_Title:  Ritual Magic (World of the Lupi Book #10)

Author:  Eileen Wilks

Rate:  C

In Eileen Wilks’s new Novel of the Lupi, FBI agent Lily Yu is about to confront a power even darker than magic…On her 57th birthday, Lily’s mother suddenly loses all memory beyond the age of twelve. Lily knows her mother was attacked by something more than magic. More . . . and darker.
When Lily and Rule discover that others suffered the same, mysterious loss—at the same time on the same night—their investigation into the darkness begins. Joining them is someone Lily never thought she’d see again: Al Drummond, who once tried to destroy her. He also happens to be dead. But the mysterious attacks were caused by a power strong enough to affect matters beyond the world of the living.
With some victims losing years of memory and others their lives, Lily must discover what on earth—or beyond—connects them. 

Thoughts:  To be honest, I dragged my heels when it came to getting this book….and then dragged them some more when it came to actually reading it.  I absolutely loved this series in the beginning, but it has become one of those series that has started to lose its spark for me.  Part of me feverently hoped that this would be the book that sets it back on track….and yet another dreaded it because I feared it would be the final straw for me with the series.  Unfortunately, it seems to be the latter for me.

With most other series, it usually comes down to just the whole plotline/story just not living up to the spectacular standards set by the previous books.  What makes this series a bit odd for me is instead it seems to be a loss of the integral part of the characters – now, in the tenth book, I honestly have forgotten why I loved these characters so much.  It doesn’t even seem like I am even reading about the same people anymore.  And that is truly a sad state of affairs since the characters used to be so vibrant.  The story is still a good one – but I miss the connection that used to exist for these characters – for example, Lily and Rule could almost be strangers they seem so different from who they used to be.  Not to mention their real, true interactions are few and far between.  It’s almost like now that they are together romantically, the author doesn’t know how to write them anymore.

I doubt I can handle reading another book in this series – it just reminds me of what is missing from those amazing books in the beginning.



The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison

“I like beginnings better than endings.”

91ZrOoT+vXL._SL1500_Title:  The Witch With No Name

Author:  Kim Harrison

Rate: A+

It’s Rachel Morgan’s ultimate adventure . . . and anything can happen in this final book in the New York Times bestselling Hollows series.

Rachel Morgan has come a long way from her early days as an inexperienced bounty hunter. She’s faced vampires and werewolves, banshees, witches, and soul-eating demons. She’s crossed worlds, channeled gods, and accepted her place as a day-walking demon. She’s lost friends and lovers and family, and an old enemy has unexpectedly become something much more.

But power demands responsibility, and world-changers must always pay a price. Rachel has known that this day would come—and now it is here.

To save Ivy’s soul and the rest of the living vampires, to keep the demonic ever after and our own world from destruction, Rachel Morgan will risk everything. . . .

Thoughts:  OMG…that quote is so true, and definitely applies to this book!  Beginnings are better….because seeing this series come to an end really SUCKS.  On an epic scale.  From cracking open that very first book and getting caught up in the chaotic world that is Rachel Morgan’s, I have been addicted to this series.  Every book was a must read – and every one was simply amazing.  This one was certainly not an exception.  Classic Hollows material, with a classy, perfectly fitted ending….it was nothing short of brilliant.  Though I definitely want to cry at the end of such an amazing series of books – I will miss these characters dearly!



Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

 ““Fortune favors the brave,” I told her. It also kills the stupid, but I decided to keep that fact to myself.”

910JVdA9UFL._SL1500_Title:  Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels series Book #7)

Author:  Ilona Andrews

Rate:  A+

No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.  As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…
**Includes the bonus Kate Daniels story Magic Tests** 

Thoughts:  When it comes to a series of books, I have to admit that the Kate Daniels series  is one of my absolute favorites!  For those who follow it, there are so many things that happen in this book that it is simply a must read.  The danger they face is far more potent in this book, as Kate faces not only the not-so-dead Hugh, but also her father.  They finally come face-to-face in this book, and that alone would render it worth reading.  But will Kate finally kill him (as she has been raised all her life to do)?  Or will fate – and Kate’s self-sacrificing personality – choose a different path?  In some ways, the meeting with Roland went kind of how I was expecting (though I think it may surprise a few) – but the decisions that are made after meeting Roland is what surprised me.  And I have to say lead to some super-sweet moments in the book for me.

For those of you new to the series – OMG, you have no idea what you’re missing!  You simply have to read this series – starting from the very beginning!  This is one of those series I definitely recommend reading in order, but it is an amazing series – especially if you love urban fantasy. 

You honestly keep thinking this series just CAN’T get any better – but (as always) with Ilona Andrews, this husband and wife writing team proves that it definitely CAN.

*The bonus story is worth a read, too.  We get a little more insight into Julie and her life, and I look forward to seeing more of her world as well sometime in the future!*

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

91Exu87hJ7L._SL1500_Title:  Night Broken

Series:  Mercy Thompson Series Book #8

Author:  Patricia Briggs

Rating:  A

An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from a stalker. Adam isn’t the kind of man to turn away a person in need—and Mercy knows it. But with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something about the situation isn’t right.  Soon, her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.  Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. Christy’s stalker is more than a bad man—in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies start piling up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart.

Review:  I love this whole series, and this installment is certainly no exception!  No matter how many books you read, you’re hard pressed to find a character like Mercy.  Not only is she this strong bad-a!@ heroine, but she is not invulnerable.  She has faults – and, as we discover in this one, an inherent grace of character as well.  Not many women would accept an ex-wife into the home of their home with them and their husbands – and certainly not with the aplomb that Mercy showed!  I know I couldn’t have been half as nice as Mercy was!  Or as understanding!  Or as sympathetic!  Don’t get me wrong, she is far from a pushover – Mercy finds her own ways of getting her point across!  (Oh, does she ever!…LOL)

If you haven’t read this series, I definitely recommend it!  You won’t want to miss getting to know this fabulous character!  Of course, I definitely recommend reading from the beginning of the series – and you won’t be sorry.  This series is one of my absolute favorites to read!  If your already fans, you already know how great this series is, and this one definitely lives up to the reputation of a Mercy book!

The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison

91Fq-ziH-gL._SL1500_Title:  The Undead Pool

Series:  The Hollows Series Book #14

Author:  Kim Harrison

Rating:  A+

Supernatural superhero Rachel Morgan must counter a strange magic that could spell civil war for the Hollows in this sexy and bewitching urban fantasy adventure in acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison’s Hollows series.  Witch and day-walking demon Rachel Morgan has managed to save the demonic ever after from shrinking, but at a high cost. Now, strange magic is attacking Cincinnati and the Hollows, causing spells to backfire or go horribly wrong, and the truce between the races, between Inderlander and human, is shattering. Rachel must stop this dark necromancy before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and all-out supernatural war breaks out.  Rachel knows of only weapon to ensure the peace: ancient elven wild magic, which carries its own perils. And no one know better than Rachel that no good deed goes unpunished . . . 

Review:  This is the book I have been waiting for!  For those of you who follow this series, you are already well aware of the sparks between itchy-witch Rachel Morgan and elven prince Trent.  While we have been tortured through numerous books on the yay-nay of a possible romance between these two, we actually get a book focused mostly on those feelings and desires – and I was in seventh heaven.  If you had asked me in book one, I would have said I didn’t see them together, but which each passing book I began rooting more and more for them!  In this one, they finally start really facing their feelings for each other – and realizing what lengths would be required of each for them to actually make it work.  And I relished every minute of it!

Of course, a Hollows book wouldn’t be the same without the requisite cast of characters – Ivy, Jenks, Biss, etc. – and the gang is certainly all here in this one.  Not to mention all of Rachel’s antics and luck!  You don’t want to miss the wild roller coaster ride that is a Rachel Morgan book – whether your an old fan or a new one.  Fans will love, love, LOVE this installment!  And if your new to her?  I definitely recommend this series – it is one of my absolute favorites!  You definitely want to read it from the very beginning, but trust me – it’s well worth it!

Realm Walker by Kathleen Collins

cover36155-smallTitle:  Realm Walker

Series:  Realm Walker Series Book #1

Author:  Kathleen Collins

Rating:  B+

An estranged mate, a mangled body and a powerful demon who calls her by name…

As a Realm Walker for the Agency, Juliana Norris tracks deadly paranormal quarry using her unique ability to see magical signatures. She excels at her job, but her friends worry about her mysterious habit of dying in the line of duty without staying dead. That’s only the first of her secrets.

Most people don’t know Juliana became the mate of master vampire Thomas Kendrick before he abandoned her seven years ago. Most people don’t know the horrors she endured at the hands of the vampire he left in command. Most people don’t know her true parentage, or why a demon on a world-threatening rampage has taken a personal interest in her…

Even as Juliana pursues the demon, it goes after all she holds dear—including Thomas, who is back to claim her for his own. But if she can’t reconcile her past and learn to trust herself again, she will lose him forever.

Review:  Realm Walker was a great start to a new urban fantasy series.  It fits right into that genre, and I think fans who enjoy Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series, Kalayna Price’s Alex Craft series, and other books similar to these will really jump right into this series.  Collins wastes no time, jumping right into the action – while at the same time giving us a chance to get to know these characters and get caught up in their story.  It’s fast paced, intriguing, and filled with werewolves, trolls, demons, and other beasties – while jumping right from one action packed scenario to another.

In a way, the book ‘feels’ almost like the second book in the series, rather than the first.  There is a lot of back history when it comes to Juliana and Thomas, and one of your first thoughts as your reading will probably be that your missing a book somewhere.  I know I did.  However, the author chooses instead to feed you bits and pieces over the course of the story.  Once the story really starts to flow, you wind up gathering more information as the story progresses and it becomes less and less of an issue.  Although be warned – this is the beginning of a series so you’re not given all the answers…but you do start to feel a little less lost and more a part of the story as it unfolds.  I would have really enjoyed reading about the events in their past as they happened, but either way it’s still a good story – and this way we got to jump right into it without a lot of build up.

I did think the characters could have used a bit more depth, and it could have bit a bit more emotionally gripping, but I definitely see potential in this series.  Can’t wait to see where book two takes us!

Shadow Fall by Erin Kellison

cover35733-mediumTitle:  Shadow Fall

Series:  Shadow Series Book #2

Author:  Erin Kellison

Rating:  B-

Sacrifice…Custo Santovari accepted pain, blood, even death, to save his best friend. But a man with all his sins just isn’t cut out to be an angel.

Mystery…One moment he’s fleeing Heaven; the next, he’s waking up stark naked in Manhattan. In the middle of a war. Called there by a woman who’s desperately afraid of the dark.

Shadow…It gathers around Annabella as she performs, filled with fantastic images of another world, bringing both a golden hero and a nightmare lover.

Wolf…He pursues her relentlessly, twisting her desires even as she gives herself to the man she loves. Because each of us has a wild side, and Annabella is about to unleash the beast.

Review:  This is my first experience reading a book written by Erin Kellison.  The plot sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a try.  I enjoyed her take on this world involving wraiths, angels, banshees, etc. was really interesting.  It is definitely original when it comes to the ploy.  I also liked the characters – both the main ones featured in this story, as well as Adam and Talia from a previous book.  I particularly liked Annabella though.  Even though she is this delicate ballerina, she doesn’t let anything hold her back.  Even after being attacked, she takes the knowledge she has obtained (that these attackers fear the light) and she walks around carrying a huge flashlight with her everywhere she goes.  She doesn’t take anything laying down!

I did find the world a bit confusing at times though, and even though it is a stand alone novel, I definitely feel like I would have enjoyed it better if I had read the previous book.  There were also a few moments where the story hit a bit of a lull, and the “bad guy” was a bit too predictable and bit too much like a stereotypical villain.  But what it lacks in these areas, it more than makes up for with creativity.  I find myself interested in getting the back story on Adam and Talia, so I will more than likely go back and read the first book in the series – before I continue on with the next one.  Definitely recommend reading them in order!


Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McQuire

915PAxzh1VL._SL1500_Title:  Chimes At Midnight

Series:  The October Daye Series

Author:  Seanan McQuire

Rating:  A

Things are starting to look up for October “Toby” Daye. She’s training her squire, doing her job, and has finally allowed herself to grow closer to the local King of Cats. It seems like her life may finally be settling down…at least until dead changelings start appearing in the alleys of San Francisco, killed by an overdose of goblin fruit.

Toby’s efforts to take the problem to the Queen of the Mists are met with harsh reprisals, leaving her under sentence of exile from her home and everyone she loves. Now Toby must find a way to reverse the Queens decree, get the goblin fruit off the streets–and, oh, yes, save her own life, since more than a few of her problems have once again followed her home. And then there’s the question of the Queen herself, who seems increasingly unlikely to have a valid claim to the throne….

To find the answers, October and her friends will have to travel from the legendary Library of Stars into the hidden depths of the Kingdom of the Mists–and they’ll have to do it fast, because time is running out. In faerie, some fates are worse than death.

October Daye is about to find out what they are. 

Review:  I have to say that Seanan McQuire has done it again!  Chimes is another wonderful addition to the series.  I discovered the series about a year ago, and it didn’t take long before I quickly read the whole series – I mean who can resist reading more about October after reading about how she got turned into a fish for 14 years!  I was just simply hooked from that moment on, so I have been waiting anxiously for this book to come out.

But as with a series of books that I have enjoyed as much as this one, I always have that questioning in the back of my mind wondering if the next one can live up to the expectations that I have.  I’m sure we have all had an author that you love and read book after book, only to stumble into one that just falls short.  Sometimes more than one, and they can never seem to get that oomph back into the series.  But I can honestly say that is not the case with this one…:)

If you’ve been a fan of the series, I have to say that this one is everything we have come to expect.  It’s another wild roller coaster ride of adventure with October and her band of misfits (including Tybalt of course!)  And somehow McQuire still managed to have me gasping in surprise and crossing my fingers throughout the whole thing!  This is definitely a book not to be missed!

If you’re new to the series, I really recommend going back and starting from book one.  You miss so much of this series and it’s wonderful characters without it.

As usual, my only complaint is how long I have to wait to read the next one!

Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson

cover22023-mediumTitle:  Hot Blooded

Series:  Jessica McClain Book #2

Author:  Amanda Carlson

Rating:  B

It hasn’t been the best week for Jessica McClain.

Her mate has been kidnapped by a Goddess hell-bent on revenge — but Jessica is playing for keeps.

Because she’s the only female werewolf in town…it comes with its own set of rules…and powers.

Aided by two vamps, two loyal Pack members, and one very reluctant human, Jessica must rescue her man while coming to terms with what being a wolf really means.

All in a day’s work for a girl.

The second novel in the Jessica McClain series is a full on action adventure featuring one angry Goddess and plenty of monsters, demons, and a few newly risen beasties…


Review:  After reading the first book in Carlson’s Jessica McClain series, I really had no other choice than to read this one as well.  Especially after the ending we were left with.  I have to say though that I would advise readers to read the previous book first before moving on to this one.  While things are explained/recapped in the book, and I don’t believe you would be overly lost and/or confused when it comes to keeping up with what is happening in the novel.  However, I do feel that you miss out on some of the critical character building and back story for the series.  For me, without reading book one, you would miss on getting to know some of the characters better.

That being said, I still love Carlson take on the paranormal genre – as well as the world and characters she has built for us.  It was almost as good as the first.  For me, it seemed to hit a lull in the middle – I was a bit frustrated with how long it was before they reached selene’s stronghold.  I wasn’t expecting it to be easy, but it started to become a bit tedious for me (especially as I was anxiously awaiting Rourke’s re-appearance!).  But it definitely picked back up toward the end and I managed to fall right back into the fabulous story Carlson wove.

Also, while the book does still end with an obvious set-up for book number three, it doesn’t quite drop you off completely like the first one.

All in all, looking forward to Cold-Blooded, due out October 8, 2013!

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