Tag Archives: Urban Fantasy

Nice Dragons Finish Last

I don’t remember who recommended this Rachel Aaron series to me. I resisted because paranormal and I don’t see eye to eye. That was a mistake which I rectified once I got a sample of this one.

So Julius is a dragon who can’t change from his human form. This isn’t actually a problem because he lives in the Detroit Free Zone where being a dragon could get him killed. That’s just the first of his problems. They get more complicated – and often funnier – as the series goes along.

This is popcorn reading. I read the heck out of the series and loved every popcorn-minute of it. Maybe you will, too. Why not grab a sample and try it out for yourself?

ETA: Greg Lynn has some salient points to add in the comments. Because of those points, I changed the genre to Urban Fantasy.

About the reviewer:

NathanLowell_150x150Nathan Lowell has been writing science fiction and fantasy most of his life. He started publishing in 2007 and has no intention of stopping any time soon.

Learn more about Nathan Lowell and his works at http://nathanlowell.com

[Note: You’re seeing more reviews from me because fellow authors aren’t sending reviews of the books they like. If you’re an author, consider the submitting a review about an indie book you loved. The submission guidelines link is at the top of this page.]

Ink Witch

ink_witchInk Witch is an urban fantasy without the worn-out tropes I see everywhere else. No vampires, no werewolves, and no zombies. Instead, she is a Nejeret, a goddess of time and immortal – mostly. She’s also a retired assassin, doing her best to hide out from the other Nejerets and an extended family that’s spans a few thousand years. Her particular power is in fortune telling, via tarot and other inks that morph to reveal hidden truths to her. Thus, she has earned the nickname Ink Witch by the Seattle locals.

Then years after comfortably hiding, a cousin-of-sorts finds her to ask her help. Other Nejerets have gone missing, and the powers that be have been unable to find them. She’s done with working for those powers (the mysterious Senate), but when she finds out that one of the missing is her half-brother and mentor, she’s on board. But she’s still distrustful and wants to work alone. You can guess how that turns out.

She runs into conspiracies, secrets, and old friends who might no longer be on her side. Will she find her half-brother in time to save him? And if she can’t, will he be forever lost, or can she use her talents with inks to hang on to a piece of him? It’s a fun romp through magic and mayhem that I had a hard time putting down.

I should say up front that this story caught me off guard, because it really did seem to be starting right in the middle of things, or perhaps, just after some serious stuff has just happened. Well, it turns out it had. While this is book 1 of a trilogy, it turns out that it’s also kind of book 4 of the Echo Trilogy that preceded it. However, you can be sure I’ll be going back to read that trilogy soon as I wait for the rest of this new trilogy to finish up.

About the reviewer:

dan_thompsonDan Thompson started writing fiction at the age of ten. Luckily for the world, all copies of that early Star Wars rip-off have been lost to time and Sith retaliation. Moving on from that six-page handwritten epic, he has self-published two books with more on the way – honest!

He lives near Austin with his wife and three children, drives old police cars, wears kilts when the weather permits, and is generally considered to be the weirdo next door. Fortunately, the neighbors don’t know how weird he really is.

Find out more about Dan at http://www.danthompsonwrites.com

Liquid Gambit

81jH9oa5p1LI am already a fan of Milani’s, and I’ve always had a soft spot for werewolves who are not teen/angst/love characters, so I started off with high hopes, and I was overjoyed that the potential for a fun read was not only met, but exceeded. This was a good story that caught and transported me into a taut and well-paced story.

OK, so the protagonist was not a werewolf of lore but rather a Lupan, a genetically modified being with genes of 20-some predators that had been crafted to make a race of super-warriors. Stuck running a bar on an independent station without extradition treaties with the worlds where he has a price on his head, Rick is safe from their reach as long as he stays to the station. But is he safe even there with station security breathing down his neck and searching for an excuse to take him down?

With the obvious nod to Casablanca, Milani takes the story further, exploring subjects such as slavery and how people react to it. This was a fun ride, but it also had an underlying current of serious philosophy that lent the story more than a bit of gravitas.

I totally enjoyed this story, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to others.

About the reviewer:

larryscatJonathan Brazee is a retired Marine infantry colonel who after years of writing non-fiction, wrote his first novel while serving in Iraq. He independently published it, hoping to sell a few copies to friends and family, and was pleasantly surprised when the book gained traction among the general reading public. Twenty-three novels later, he is now winding down his post-military career overseas to become a full-time writer. A majority of his books have a military bent in science fiction, paranormal, historical fiction, and general fiction, but he has also written non-military scifi and paranormal. He writes three to four hours each day with the help (or despite) the attention of two rescue cats who insist on sitting on his lap or keyboard.
Jonathan is a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, the US Naval Academy Alumni Association, the Disabled Veterans of America, and is an officer in the VFW’s Department of the Pacific.

Learn more about Jonathan and his work at http://www.jonathanbrazee.com

Hush Money

hush_moneyHush Money is the promising debut of Susan Bischoff‘s Talent Chronicles series, a YA urban fantasy series that — rather refreshingly — avoids any mention of vampires or sparkling (because teens are interested in more than just blood-sucking).

High school girl Joss has done everything in her power to go unnoticed. She eats alone, carefully controls her grades, and doesn’t even think about talking to her crush. Because Joss has a terrible secret: she’s has a Talent… and kids with psychic abilities tend to mysteriously disappear. Then new girl Kat joins the school, and puts herself into harm’s way whilst rescuing Joss from the school bully. In a world in which psychic abilities are punishable by imprisonment, Joss must choose between keeping her secret and doing what’s right to save a friend.

Susan Bischoff has played her cards right: she has managed to write a captivating, engaging tale perfect for teens as well as all of us who… errr… aren’t quite teens any more. In a YA market over-saturated with the same old stories,Hush Money is a breath of fresh air and more besides: it is a fast-paced, engaging introduction to the Talent Chronicles series which will leave you hungry for the sequel.

What truly sets Hush Money apart from its contemporaries are the characters. You’ve got the high school loneliness and angst of early Smallville, the large crew of cool X-men like-powers, but most importantly you have teenagers who are three-dimensional believable people. Joss and her crush Dylan are the protagonists, with the story alternating between their points of view, but the strong character depth extends beyond the main players, creating a fully-fleshed setting which you’ll enjoy sinking into. Furthermore, there is none of this “we were destined to be together” malarkey — in true awkward teen style, the romance is light-hearted, bumbling, and achingly sweet.

The plot had a good mixture of high school drama and larger overpowering (governmental) threat, and while the issue is partially resolved, Susan Bischoff has planted many small seeds which will lead to a gripping, addictive series. After all, while Hush Money is dedicated to introducing the characters, world and dangers, the novel hints that there will be far more at stake in times to come.

My only nitpick? While I enjoyed the alternating points of view — particularly because they were so distinct, and true to each character — the initial few pages felt a little forced. Joss’ use of ‘like’ felt a little contrived, a little “trying too hard to be a teenager”… but either the voice improved, or the story sucked me in soon after, because it didn’t bother me throughout the rest of the novel.

Overall, Hush Money is just the tip of what might become a very huge iceberg. Be careful if you skim past this novel, because even with the smallest scratch you might find yourself sinking right in.

About The Reviewer

AMHarteA.M. Harte is a London-based speculative fiction enthusiast and chocolate addict whose work includes the dark fantasy novel “Above Ground” and the zombie love collection “Hungry For You”. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and enjoys procrastinating at http://amharte.com