Iron & Velvet (Kate Kane #1) by Alexis Hall

Iron & Velvet by Alexis  Hall

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆
Date Read: June 25 to 29, 2018

Kate Kane is a revised version of Sam Spade for our modern times. She’s a private eye living in urban fantasy London and she investigates cases involving vampires, werewolves, the fae, and other otherworldly creatures. The case this time is the murder of a werewolf outside a nightclub, and Kate is asked to look into it by an alluring vampire. She couldn’t resist.

This is a paranormal romance with a lesbian character at the center, and there’s more focus on the romance than the paranormal. Normally this wouldn’t interest me, but Kate is an interesting subject, so I didn’t mind following her around even when the investigation took various detours through her sex life.

The writing style is hardboiled and done very well, and I say that as someone who’s not a fan of hardboiled mysteries. But since I had heard lots of good things about the author, Alexis Hall, there were some expectations. Fortunately, they were met.

Since hardboiled is not my preferred genre, the writing was a little hard to get into at the beginning. I didn’t really get into the rhythm of the narrative or Kate’s voice until more than half the book was over, but by the end, it was an enjoyable read. A little too romance-heavy at times, but not a big deal.

What is a big deal is Alexis Hall not continuing this series. I think there’s a good thing here, and I was hoping there would be more. Oh well.

What stood out the most to me is the queer female detective angle, which I don’t see much in urban fantasy or mysteries in general, and I appreciate the work the author put into this character to make her seem real and not another tough-acting, hardboiled caricature.


Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling #1) by Nalini Singh

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Date Read: May 25 to 28, 2018

A quick, unencumbered read and not bad for paranormal romance. Personally I think Nalini Singh is one of the few better (readable) authors in this genre. If you like PNR, there’s a good chance you’ll like her books, and you’ll have a long back list to enjoy. Her style is very consistent and predictable.

I’ve read 4 books from her Archangel series and thought the first 3 were fine–the 4th was awful but that’s another thing altogether. They’re a bit long and too romance-focused for my liking, but fine overall. She builds unique worlds very well and populates them with striking, beautiful, otherworldly creatures who are as beautiful as they are violent and vengeful, and she adds interesting alternate histories to these worlds and characters. The romance can always be counted on to be hot and heavy and instantaneous, if that’s what you’re looking for. If not, it can be suffocating.

The writing is almost always too focused on the romance for my liking, and I find it weird and awkward whenever it shows up in the middle of intense action scenes, like right in the middle of a chase scene. They’re easily overlooked, though, if you don’t mind these kind of things in your paranormal romances. I, however, do–there’s a time and a place for the sexy times. Not in the middle of a investigation or kidnapping is all that I ask for. How is this so difficult to NOT write…

Anyhow. This book is no different than any of the other books by this author because her writing, themes, and content are very consistent. Only major difference is it leans more towards sci-fi than fantasy and features shifters and characters with mind powers instead if angels and vampires. There are factions and conflicts, an enemies-to-lovers story line, various urban settings, and lots of action and sexual tension as usual. And also as usual, there are a lot of explanations. Every character’s motive and background is explained, as is every thought and feeling they have toward each other; this is another trait of this author’s writing style. You never have to wonder why. Everything is laid out in the open. No sense of mystery anymore; hence the 2-star rating.

Stiletto (The Checquy Files, #2) by Daniel O’Malley


Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Date read: November 21 to December 1, 2017

A rollicking good read. Not a 5-star book, but definitely one I’ll return to for a good laugh. While I didn’t like the first book as much, I found this one hard to put down from the very first moment.

Sometimes when you come across a book that fits your current mood, everything about it makes sense. I was desperately in need of a laugh when I picked up this book and went into it not expecting much, but as I started reading, humor and alt-history got to me. More on that below.

This series–well, just the 2 books so far–is hard to write about without giving to much away, but I’ve found that comparing it to the X-men makes it easier to explain.

So imagine the X-men:
– as a secret government network
– set in London
– protecting queen and country
– while dealing with cases from the X-files
– and paperwork (lots and lots of paperwork)
– oh and there are monsters of both the supernatural and natural persuasion trying to destroy the UK practically every other day

So imagine all of that not as a superhero drama but a comedy with a strong slapstick air, and you get these books. They’re a much-needed break from my daily grind. Their fictional diplomatic and bureaucratic difficulties are hilarious, yet believable, and for a few moments, I get to not think about… current events. And that’s all I’m looking for these days.

Some quotes and highlights:

Felicity preparing for a mission

“It’s my urine?” Felicity said incredulously.
“Don’t think of it as urine,” Pawn Odgers advised her. “Try to think of it as an olfactory disguise.”
Felicity tried and was not measurably comforted. “But where did you get my urine?” she asked.
“The Checquy has samples of everyone’s everything,” said Odgers cheerfully. “Remember, during your time at the Estate, they kept taking specimens of your every fluid and solid?”
“That was for scientific research!” exclaimed Felicity. “And it was years ago!”
“Would someone else’s fresh urine be better?”

the Checquy being the Checquy

If you gave birth to a child whose breath baked bread, it too belonged to the monarch.
Of course, the monarchy didn’t want these people (and creatures) hanging around the palace, being all unnatural and touching the furniture. Thus, the throne delegated this authority of guardianship to the Checquy, so, by royal writ, the Court of the Checquy held the right and the obligation to take into its custody any person on the British Isles who was possessed of supernatural abilities.


Naturally, he broke all the Estate records for the throwing sports (except for the javelin, because one girl in his class managed to fold space so that her javelin landed in China).


She had nine confirmed kills of people and two confirmed kills of creatures who, although they wore trousers, were not counted as people by the Checquy.


There is no way this conversation is not going to get horrible, thought Odette. No situation is improved by the presence of a gigantic anus.
At that moment, the gigantic anus in question trembled and, before anyone could react, unclenched.


“They sounded English,” remarked Bishop Alrich. “Tasted English too.” (Bishop Alrich is a vampire.)


“Louis can draw wasps to him.”
“Very cool,” said Odette. “Wait, so you can both do things with wasps? Are you two related?”
“Oh, no,” said Louis. “Sorry, she does the thing with insects. I can attract white Anglo-Saxon Protestants.”

Ernst being Ernst

“So, you clone things?”
“We can,” said Marcel. “We don’t, though, not usually. Of course, we grow bits of people, but we don’t make whole people.”
“Why not?” asked Eckhart.
“We prefer to have sex,” said Ernst, causing Pawn Clements to choke on her orange juice. “Plus, anyone who wants to clone himself is usually an asshole. You don’t want any more of those running around than absolutely necessary.”

“My fanny”

“So, darling,” he said to Odette, “are you my fanny?”
“I beg your pardon?” she said, completely at a loss.
“Not ‘my fanny,’ you tosser,” said one of the black guys. “Myfanwy.”
“Oh, whatever,” said the first guy. “Like that’s even a name.”

* * * * some spoilers below * * * *

Continue reading

Witches of Lychford (Lychford, #1) by Paul Cornell


Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆
Date read: May 29 to June 7, 2017

Quaint and very pleasant with a touch of autumn chill, like a brisk stroll through the cemetery at sunset when it’s just starting to drizzle. Not exactly what I expected from books with the urban fantasy label, but this was a nice surprise.

If you like charming small-town stories with a cast of oddball, neighborly characters and more magic than magical realism, give this a try.

But by “neighborly,” I don’t mean friendly, although I’m aware that’s how most people will interpret it. What I mean is they’re more like my neighbors and others I grew up with–somewhat hostile and suspicious of people they don’t know, very straightforward, aren’t really aware of personal boundaries or overstepping them, but caring and hilarious once you get to know ’em.

The writing is contemporary fiction loaded with trivial everyday life things–gossip, relationships, falling outs, homecomings, etc etc–but along the side, there’s a heavy dose of magic and other-worldliness for those who could see it and command it.

The town itself is near the border that separates our world from the underworld, so the people here are used to strange things happening without much explanation. That’s just part of the life, along with the gossips and falling outs.

Of course the big bad that threatens most small towns is a corporate entity. Here, it’s a superstore that wants to build a franchise right on the border, which would destroy it and let all the evil into our world. So the good townsfolk must fend off this superstore to save their town. And a lot funny moments ensue.

The humor is what you’d expect to see from British authors–dry, deadpan, and pointed. Reminds me of The Gates by John Connolly, but with adult characters and adult problems. For those unfamiliar with John Connolly, imagine Terry Pratchett’s humor, but less manic and more evenly paced and with fewer details crammed in.

Out this way there was the lonely last pub, the Castle, which now had an angry chalkboard sign up that said “drinkers welcome” to indicate its dissatisfaction with other establishments’ fads like pub quizzes, bands, food, and, presumably, conversation.


To human beings it won’t look or feel like a war, it’ll be more like… one of those modernist paintings you lot do, if it melted. Inside all your brains. Forever.


Judith hated nostalgia. It was just the waiting room for death.


Judith realised, with horror, that they were heading over to talk to her, and couldn’t find, at a quick glance, anyone else she knew well enough to get into a conversation with. There were, just occasionally, drawbacks to being a nasty old bitch.

Judith is the embodiment of gtfo-my-lawn, and she is very free with her feelings. When I grow up, I hope to be that free.

A couple of years ago, I tried London Falling by Paul Cornell, but couldn’t get into it. It was more like the traditional procedural urban fantasy that I was used to, but I just could not get into the writing. It was too… cold and staccato, too much like a police procedural, and there was nothing about it that pulled me in, not even London itself. So I gave up and didn’t look back. I almost gave up on Paul Cornell altogether, but I’m really glad I didn’t. This book is a gem. So different from that other one in almost every way. Worlds apart even. I’m not sure I believe it’s from the same author…

The Hanging Tree (Peter Grant, #6) by Ben Aaronovitch


Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Date Read: November 14 to December 19, 2016
Recommended by:
Recommended to:

The tag line on the cover says: Back in London, back in trouble which pretty much sums up this book. We’re back in London, and Peter Grant and friends are back in trouble. And it’s the same kind of trouble that’s been plaguing them since Moon Over Soho.

But finally, we stop chasing after ghosts and faceless mysteries and come face to face with the man behind the mask. And there really is a face behind that mask. This reveal was indeed a surprise, but whether or not it does anything for the series’ continuous arc will depend on how it plays out in later books.

This book picks up a month or two following the events in Foxglove Summer, and the trouble all started when one of the Thames sisters called in a favor from Peter. What started out as a simple, straightforward investigation into whether a teenage girl’s drug overdose was accidental or deliberate turned into a huge Falcon case, uncharacteristically complete with a huge revelation at the end. Not as big, imo, as the ending of Broken Homes, but it’s relatively seismic as far as revelations go in this series.

With that said, I must admit I’m mostly lukewarm toward this book in particular, and I’ve been mulling over it for a few months now, trying to figure out why that is. The writing isn’t that different from previous books.

“So when a bunch of fucking kids waltz into the building, the DPG wants to know how. And I get woken up in the middle of the fucking night,” said Seawoll. “And told to find out on pain of getting a bollocking. Me?” he said in outrage. “Getting a bollocking? And just when I thought things couldn’t descend further into the brown stuff–here you are.”

As a matter of fact, it’s very much in line with previous books in terms of quality, plotting, pacing, humor, adventures and misadventures. Peter and the rest of the gang are developing and progressing at their usual pace–I very much enjoyed every scene with Seawoll and Stephanopoulos.

“So he’s a French fairy tale,” said Seawoll and turned to look, thank god, at Nightingale instead of me. “Is he?”
“That’s a difficult question, Alexander,” said Nightingale.
“I know it’s a difficult question, Thomas,” said Seawoll slowly. “That’s why I’m fucking asking it.”
“Yes, but do you want to know the actual answer?” said Nightingale. “You’ve always proved reluctant in the past. Am I to understand that you’ve changed your attitude?”
“You can fucking understand what you bloody like,” said Seawoll. “But in this case I do bloody want to know because I don’t want to lose any more officers to things I don’t fucking understand.” He glanced at me and frowned. “Two is too many.”


Generally when you’re interviewing somebody and they seem remarkably calm about one crime, it’s because they’re relieved you haven’t found out about something else.

Plus, there are plenty of humorous moments scattered throughout the book, and Peter is still his usual funny, likable self. So it’s just like previous books.

Bollocks, I thought, or testiculi or possibly testiculos if we were using the accusative.


“What I’m saying here,” Seawoll had said, “is try to limit the amount of damage you do to none fucking whatsoever.”
I don’t know where I got this reputation for property damage, I really don’t–it’s totally unfair.


“I’m planning to blow up some phones for science.”

And yet…

Something’s missing. Something’s not quite there anymore. And I don’t know why.

Maybe the timing wasn’t quite right when I read it. Or maybe I’m just tired of chasing after faceless nemeses–both of ’em.

I’m all for more Peter and more (mis)adventures in London. But more faceless mysteries and/or conspiracies? Nah, that’s okay.

I could read back to back stories of Peter running around London solving all sorts of mysterious happenings, and they may even be unrelated to each other and the series’ arc, and that would be fine. Actually, I would love that. But more mysterious faceless happenings? Thanks, but no thanks.

However, I am looking forward to the next installment and being back in London and back in trouble because, honestly despite the gripe, this series is still one of best urban fantasies out there, and every single book is a blast.

Review: Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic (The Dowser #1) by Meghan Ciana Doidge


Rating: ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆
Date Read: February 04 to 06, 2016
Recommended by: Vaginal Fantasy Group
Recommended to:

A few good things about this book is that it’s a quick read, doesn’t take much effort, and currently free in ebook form. Can’t say I enjoyed it, but I didn’t hate it either. It’s just okay and I’m mostly neutral toward the story as a whole. Well, I’m mostly neutral toward a lot of things these days, and this book just happened to catch me at a bad time.

I’m currently going through another reading slump and haven’t found anything un-put-down-able yet, so I’m picking up and putting down a lot of different books in a short amount of time, hoping to find one that’ll capture my interest for more than a few pages. This book did okay even with those odds against it. Although to be honest, I might not have finished if it hadn’t been a book club pick because of the writing. It’s very derivative and you can tell it’s heavily influenced by more famous urban fantasy series featuring female leads with unique powers that all the paranormal guys wanna get with. Primarily Sookie Stackhouse and whoever are the stars of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s and Kresley Cole’s books come to mind. So it’s very noticeably derivative in most, if not all, PNR sense.

But it’s got one thing going for it that other “edgy” series lack, and that’s an undertone of sweetness to the main character and setting–there’s a reason the cover features a cupcake. She’s sweet but rather naive about the world in which she lives. But don’t they all start out this way though?

So if you like baking, sweets, baking sweets, Vancouver, and some romance and magic in your urban fantasy, then you might like this book. You might even think it’s cute, and I suppose it is. It’s a light fluffy dessert that, while not a good fit for my particular salty palate, can be enjoyable for people who like Sarah Addison Allen’s books.

Review: Archangel’s Blade (Guild Hunter, #4) by Nalini Singh


Rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Date Read: January 24 to 27, 2016
Recommended by:
Recommended to: no one

There was a good reason for my abandoning this book a couple of years ago: too much pain and suffering, which isn’t exactly what I have issue with. It’s the way these things are written about that bothers me. You can’t slip in sexy times or eye-sexing in between episodes of PTSD, or while on a hunt for a depraved killer, and expect me to take the story seriously. Bad timing is incredibly bad here.

So many issues, but where to begin. I have to emphasize one thing right away though. This book is not representative of the previous three, which were good. They have their own issues, but they’re good (for PNR). This one though… There’s something about it that’s quite disjointed. It was not so much content but the pacing that did it for me. I kept getting pulled out of the story every few pages. It was to either roll my eyes or facepalm because of all the inappropriately timed sexing going on. Like seriously, is that all these characters think about? Even while chasing a bloodthirsty psychopath?

There were things that bothered me about this series as a whole, but the world building and mythology were interesting enough that they overshadowed them. This book, though again, I don’t know. It feels to me like Nalini Singh took all the problems of the previous books and ramped them up, but she neglected to bring back the things that made the previous books memorable. So all that’s left is pain and misery… and a lot of–angsty?–sex*.

As interesting as the world and mythology and angels are**, I cannot put up with Singh’s oversexed writing style anymore. It’s just so over the top and takes itself too seriously. It’s ridiculous and quite comical how dramatic everything is. Doesn’t help that the main characters keep stripping each other with their eyes. *facepalm* These two really know how to ruin a moment… and a whole book.

A big thanks to Milda for reading this book with me because otherwise I would have abandoned it for the second time.


* There isn’t really that much literal sex. It just feels like there is because Dmitri and Honor keep thinking about it.

** They really are–so much so that I wish another author had written this series


The more I think about it, the more I think this series could be amazing in Max Gladstone’s hands.

Review: A Kiss with Teeth by Max Gladstone


Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Date Read: October 13 to 15, 2015
Read Count: 1
Available on

A delightful little story that goes well with this time of year. Only downside is it’s too short. I hope Max Gladstone decides to expand on it because there are enough ideas here for a delightful full-length novel.

So. Ever wonder what Vlad the Impaler would be like as a family man going through a mid-life crisis? OF COURSE–that was how this story got me.

After hundreds of years as a vampire, Vlad falls for a human woman and decides to settle down and build a home with her. Together they have a son who is now 7 years old and has been having problems in school. Other than that, the family seems very happy, if only on the surface.

The story opens with Vlad bored out of his mind with domesticity. He misses his old life–blood, gore, and all, especially the blood–and reminisces constantly throughout the day. Pretending to be human used to be fun, because it was a game to him, but now after ten years, it’s a life (that often feels like a life sentence). The novelty has worn off some time ago, and Vlad begins to feel his old self trying to come back. He doesn’t let it though; he’s got too much to lose.  There is, however, one bright spot in his dull existence, and that’s his son’s teacher. He meets with her every week to discuss the boy’s schoolwork, and the more time he spends with her, the more he feels his old urges returning.

This story did not go where I thought it would go, which was a nice surprise. It makes me like it all the more for breaking out of the tired old urban-vampire trope. What I enjoyed most about this story, even more so than Vlad, is the prose. There’s a natural flow to it that’s pleasant to read, but at the same time, it’s got a bite to it, not unlike Vlad’s real teeth. There’s a sharpness and crispness to the structure that appeals to me.

Vlad no longer shows his wife his sharp teeth. He keeps them secret in his gums, waiting for the quickened skip of hunger, for the blood-rush he almost never feels these days.

The teeth he wears instead are blunt as shovels. He coffee-stains them carefully, soaks them every night in a mug with ‘World’s Best Dad’ written on the side. After eight years of staining, Vlad’s blunt teeth are the burnished yellow of the keys of an old unplayed piano. If not for the stain they would be whiter than porcelain. Much, much whiter than bone.


A game, he tells himself. Humans hunt these days, in the woods, in the back country, and they do not eat the meat they kill. Fisherman catch fish to throw them back. And this night run is no more dangerous to him than fishing to an angler. He leaves his oxfords on the schoolhouse rooftop and runs barefoot over buildings and along bridge wires, swift and soft. Even if someone beneath looked up, what is he? Wisp of cloud, shiver of a remembered nightmare, bird spreading wings for flight. A shadow among shadows.


He can’t go on like this. Woken, power suffuses him. He slips into old paths of being, into ways he trained himself to forget. One evening on his home commute he catches crows flocking above him on brownstone rooftops. Black beady eyes wait for his command.

This is no way to be a father. No way to be a man.

But Vlad was a monster before he was a man.


“Might as well kill me now.”

“I won’t.”

“I’m a monster.”

“You’re just more literal than most.”

Other than Vlad’s false teeth, nothing is conventional about the domesticity in this story.


Instead of accountant, Vlad should have been a dentist. I mean, come on, huge missed opportunity there.

Review: Fated (Alex Verus #1) by Benedict Jacka


(tentative) Rating: ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆
Date Read: September 19 to 23, 2015
Read Count: 1
Recommended by: Gergana
Recommended for: people who’ve never read Harry Dresden
(not) Recommended for: fans of Harry Dresden

In many ways this book is what I wanted from the Dresden Files: Dresden’s world and magic minus Dresden himself. I’m sure if I’d read it before Storm Front, I would’ve liked it more because it’s urban fantasy in the traditional sense with a mystery and a reluctant protagonist with magical abilities caught in the middle of a magical war between two opposing sides.

I’m conflicted though…because I actually kind of like this book and I kind of hated Storm Front. The problem is I’ve never liked a–plagiarized? carbon-copy? fan fiction?–inspired work more than the original before, so I’m very conflicted.

Alex Verus is a mage living in London who dabbles in magic and does his best to avoid other mages. He’s currently not attached to any magical factions and would like to stay that way, but that doesn’t stop trouble from finding him. Fated opens with Lyle, an old acquaintance and aid to a respected but shady light mage, requesting his help with a mysterious artifact. The light mages can’t open this thing and would like to know if Alex knows a way to crack it. He turns Lyle down at first since he’d rather keep his distance from mages in general. However, Lyle seeking him out means the light mages are out of options, and he owes it to them to help. At first he is reluctant, but is soon pulled into the job when his close friend’s life (Luna) is threatened because of her connection to the artifact. What starts out as a simple job turns into a race to keep the artifact out of the wrong hands.

It’s hard to judge this book on its own merits because there are echoes of Dresden all over the place. Benedict Jacka borrows quite a lot from Jim Butcher–too much, in my opinion; an embarrassing amount, in my honest opinion–but I do prefer his writing style over Butcher’s because I sort of like Alex Verus. Not enough to continue the series, but a whole lot more than Dresden. Let’s compare the two, shall we.

Alex Verus is a diviner (pre-cog; clairvoyant), otherwise he is very much like Harry Dresden, almost in every way except he has a more toned-down personality and his casual chauvinism isn’t flaunted about like a hockey stick. And Alex Verus’ world, though set in London, is very much inspired by Harry Dresden’s Chicago, from the urban magic to the magical politics to the magical factions–light mages vs. dark mages. Just like Harry, mages from both sides seek out Alex’s services. Just like Harry, he is a reluctant player/pawn in their games. Just like Harry, he has a dark mysterious past. Just like Harry, the light side avoids dealing with him because of his past. Just like Harry, he leans more toward dark than light. Just like Harry, he suffered for years under the tutelage of an abusive mentor, and just like Harry, he overcame the abuse to pave his own way in the magical world. What he did to his mentor is not quite the same thing Harry did to his, though the result is the same. Oh, and the light mages have a council called the light council. Of course they do.

When you lay it all out like that, it’s hard to ignore the overlap, and the overlap is strong in this one. Of course there are differences between the characters too, but they seem rather inconsequential in light of all these “similarities.” However, Jim Butcher isn’t bothered, so I suppose I shouldn’t be either. I mean, it’s not like I’m a fan of the Dresden books or anything. It makes no difference to me how much this book is “inspired by” Dresden; it’s just too hard to ignore these things.

So if you like the Dresden Files, there’s a good chance you’ll like this series. If you’re a big fan of Dresden, you might be offended on Butcher’s behalf. Or you might not. Who knows. If you’ve never read Dresden, even better. Overall though, this book is not a terrible read.


People point to this line as the tip of the hat to Butcher:

“I’ve heard of a guy in Chicago who advertises in the phone book under “Wizard”,though that’s probably a urban legend.”

But I think it’s actually this line that’s the true homage:

Luna didn’t look up and I rolled my eyes heavenwards, just barely stopping myself from saying something that I knew would make things worse. First I had to drag her here, now she was refusing to leave. I can see the freaking future and women still don’t make sense. 

Oh, Alex. So close, so damn close. You almost had me until this part. Just like Storm Front, casual chauvinism is thrown in as part of characterization, but here in Fated, it happens less frequently and is more toned-down when it surfaces. For much of the book, I was willing to overlook stilted prose, long expositions, awkward dialogue, cartoonish villains, several plot holes (especially the multiple-futures one), and even plagiarism because I knew this was a first book and first books are often not good, but I can’t overlook casual chauvinism as part of characterization. It grates on me like nails on a chalkboard. So lifting so much from the Dresden books without adding anything new to it, while keeping Dresden’s obnoxious chauvinism seems, like a missed opportunity.


So enough of that. Now that my reading slump has lifted, I’m gonna stop dawdling and really get down to business.

UF series I’m looking forward to explore next are (in no certain order):

  • The Others by Anne Bishop
  • Agent of Hel by Jacqueline Carey
  • California Bones by Greg van Eekhout
  • Fated Blades by Steve Bein
  • Caeli-Amur by Rjurik Davidson
  • Chronicles of Elantra by Michelle Sagara (West)

These have been on my mind for some time now and I have a feeling they’re all amazing, but I’ve been putting them off with the excuse of “saving” them for a better time. But there’s no time like the present, and it’s unlikely that I will get any time off in the near future to really enjoy these books, so onward already to amazing UF’s. What I get to first will depend on what’s available at the library.

Review: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs


Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Date Read: July 16 to August 24, 2015
Read Count: 1
Recommended by: friends
Recommended to: people who like PNR that’s heavy on the PN and light on the R

I’m always on the lookout for urban fantasy series that look interesting or might be good, always hopeful that the next series I pick up is The One. In my search for such books, I’ve stumbled on quite a few duds, most of them being formulaic paranormal romances where the heroine is a special magical something who draws the attention of almost every beefy alpha male werewolf, fae, vampire, garden gnome in the vicinity. I’ve read enough of these to know why they’re popular, but they’re not for me because the focus is on romance and so everything else–setting, world building, mythology, magic, actual paranormal things–takes a backseat to the romance. And so, I’ve come to not expect much from urban fantasy or things marketed as “urban fantasy” but are actually romance with some paranormal stuff thrown in.

With that said, Moon Called is mostly UF with quite a few classic PNR features, and it’s also one of the better written first books/intros in UF-PNR. I find it good overall but slow to start and took me a long time to get into. I didn’t get pulled in until near the end, and I almost gave up several times. Glad I pushed on, but it makes me not want to pick up the next book. If it’s anything like this book, I would probably DNF early on.

In spite of not being able to get into it, I did like many parts of this book, and the book as a whole would most definitely be a good read for urban fantasy/paranormal romance romance lovers. The writing is solid: interesting setting (Pacific Northwest), interesting magic and mythology (Native American shapeshifters, European vampires, fae of mysterious origins), strong female lead with an interesting background (she’s a were-coyote), and a ton of paranormal activity (mostly werewolf politics, power struggles, and conspiracies).

I liked much of this book, mostly because it has all the ingredients that appeal to me, or I should say ingredients that should appeal to me, but there’s just no heat, no pull, almost no connection–not referring to the lack of sexy times. I feel no sense of urgency to start the next book. What I do feel is an overwhelming lukewarm feeling. I mean, I appreciate Mercy as a character (auto mechanic with a degree in history) and her struggles as she live among werewolves in their male-dominated world. And then there are the worlds of the fae and vampires which she has to navigate through. We only see glimpses of fae and vampires in this book which I hope to see more of, should I continue the series.

All of this should be very interesting to me, and it is. But again, no chemistry nor urgency. I feel no desire to continue Mercy’s journey.

But in spite of that, there are a few notable moments to break up the slow pacing.

I have a degree in history, which is one of the reasons I’m an auto mechanic.




“Mine,” he said.

Adam’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t think so. She is mine.”

It would have been flattering, I thought, except that at least one of them was talking about dinner and I wasn’t certain about the other.


My mother once told me that you had to trust that the first thing out of a person’s mouth was the truth. After they have a chance to think about it, they’ll change what they say to be more socially acceptable, something they think you’ll be happier with, something they think will get the results they want.


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