Review: Fire Touched {Mercy Thompson #9} by Patricia Briggs


Title: Fire Touched {Mercy Thompson #9}

Author: Patricia Briggs

Published: March 8th 2016, Ace Books

Status: Read February 2016 courtesy Berkley/Netgalley



My Thoughts:

Fire Touched, the ninth instalment of Patricia Briggs urban fantasy series featuring Mercy Thompson, begins with a naked troll released by the Fae Gray Lords, creating havoc on a Tri-Cities bridge. Leaping to the defence of the city, Mercy, Adam and the pack engage in a fierce battle to end the rampage, and wind up indebted to a boy seeking refuge from the fae.

Providing sanctuary to Aiden, a once human boy who is now something Other after having spent years in Underhill, puts the pack in direct conflict with not only the Gray Lords who want him back, but also the humans who fear a supernatural war, and the most powerful werewolf pack in the country.

In addition Adam and Mercy must finally take a stand against the members of the pack who have been unhappy about the influence Mercy wields as Adam’s mate. It’s imperative the pack is united if they are going to survive.

Action packed and fast paced, Fire Touched is another entertaining and creative story. Though some fans have expressed discontent with the focus on the fae of late, It seems as if the author is bringing this thread to a close. As always, I’m already impatient for the next adventure for Mercy, and her friends.



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Review: Devil’s Due {Red Letter Days #2} by Rachel Caine

Title: Devil’s Due {Red Letter Days #2}

Author: Rachel Caine

Published: February 1st 2013, MIRA

Status: Read April 2019, courtesy Harlequin/Netgalley


My Thoughts:

Having raced through Devil’s Bargain, the first book in Rachel Caine’s Red Letter Days series (or more properly duology), I was eager to read Devil’s Due.

Devil’s Bargain introduced Jazz Callender, and Lucía Garcia, once strangers, whose new private detective agency was funded by an anonymous organisation, with a few strings attached. By the end of the novel, Jazz and Lucia had identified The Cross Society as their mysterious benefactor and learnt of its counterpoint, the Eidolon Corporation. Unraveling the motives of both organisations reveals a dangerous game is being played, and Jazz and Lucia are trapped in the middle of it all.

While Jazz is the focus of Devil’s Bargain, Lucia takes the lead in Devil’s Due. Caine barely gives Lucia time to breathe as she is confronted by a series of crisis, including being exposed to Anthrax, stalked by a corrupt cop, abducted, and shot. I like Lucia, she is the calmer and more calculating member of the partnership, drawing on her extensive experience as an operative with a number of shadow organisations, but her vulnerabilities are also explored when she loses a friend, and falls in love with Ben McCarthy.

Devil’s Due is a frantic thrill ride, with several shocking twists, as Lucia and Jazz race to free themselves, their friends, and the world, from the interventions of The Cross Society and Eidolon Corporation. I was very happy that the story arc was satisfyingly finalised offering an appropriately explosive ending to the duology.

The Red Letter Days is an entertaining duology, and I enjoyed it’s fast paced combination of mystery, thriller, paranormal and romance.


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Review: Devil’s Bargain {Red Letter Days #1} by Rachel Caine


Title: Devil’s Bargain {Red Letter Days #1}

Author: Rachel Caine

Published: October 5th 2012, MIRA

Status: Read April 2019, courtesy Harlequin/Netgalley


My Thoughts:

I really should know better than to pick up a book by Rachel Caine with the intention to read just one chapter before bed because the next thing I know the sun is coming up, and I’m trying to decide between getting a few hours sleep or starting the next book in the series.

Devil’s Bargain introduces Jazz Callender, a disgraced ex cop who receives a too-good-to-be-true offer from an elite New York law firm acting on behalf of an unnamed client. In exchange for funding her own private detective agency, Jazz must partner with a stranger, ex spook Lucia Garza, and carry out the occasional task for them, no questions asked.

Devil’s Bargain is a fast paced, action packed thriller with a paranormal twist.

Caine gives us two kick@ss heroines who complement each other both personally and professionally. Jazz is impulsive and rebellious, while Lucía is analytical and decisive. They each have their own reasons for accepting the offer from Gabriel, Pike, and Laskins, though neither are willing to let their employer’s secrets stand indefinitely.

Supporting characters include Manny Glickman, an ex cop and tech genius with his own demons, and James Borden, Gabriel, Pike, and Laskins representative, who serves as a love interest for Jazz. Jazz’s former partner Ben McCarthy also has a passive role as the catalyst for Jazz agreeing to the deal, and her emotional state.

The mystery surrounding the firm, and their client, begins to unravel about halfway through the book, introducing the paranormal element. It’s an interesting idea that Jazz and Lucía struggle to accept, even as it grows increasingly more difficult to dismiss. I think it’s quite an original concept, I understand the characters disbelief but also find the idea somewhat plausible.

Even though it’s one of Rachel Caine’s earliest published books, Devil’s Bargain is almost as polished as her later work, much of which I also love. I really enjoyed the combination of mystery, thriller, paranormal and romance in this book, and I’m eager to start the next, though as there is just the one, I’m hoping Devil’s Due won’t leave me hanging.


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Review: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

Title: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

Author: Paul Krueger

Published: June 17th 2016, Quirk Books

Status: Read April 2019- courtesy Quirk Books/Netgalley


My Thoughts:

“The knowledge contained herein has two applications. The first is to arm humanity against the forces of darkness, which manifest in the shadows and conspire to undo all that we have built and cherish. If the few brave souls who learn the mixological arts stand like a wall between the happy whole of humanity and its complete ruination, the wisdom of these pages is the mortar that holds its bricks together.

The second application is to provide humanity with some rather tasty inebriates to make the whole thing more enjoyable.” (From the Devils Water Dictionary}”

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge is a fun urban fantasy novel, with a unique take on the more traditional magic system.

Having finished her Ivy League education and returned to her home town, Bailey Chen is is ready to launch into, what she is certain will be, a successful future. But while she is waiting for her real life to start, she needs a job, any job, and Zane, her high school friend, is willing to give her a chance as a barback at the Nightshade Lounge. It’s not exactly challenging work, that is, until she learns the bartenders secrets.

In Krueger’s Chicago, monsters, called Tremens, lurk in the shadows waiting to prey on drunken souls. It is the task of the Bartenders of Chicago to protect their patrons from a grisly death, and they do so with magic. Mixing, and imbibing, the perfect cocktail, gives the bartenders supernatural powers, such as super strength, telekinesis or the ability to manipulate fire, for as long as the alcohol lasts in their system, that they can use to kill the Tremens.

The plot has its flaws but, fast paced, with plenty of action, Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge offers some exciting battles between the Bartenders and Tremens, and builds to an explosive climax as Bailey uncovers a nefarious plan by one Bartender to concoct the mythical Long Island Ice Tea, said to bestow immortality. There is also wit and humour, and touch of slightly awkward romance to be found in the story.

Perhaps somewhat cynically, Kruger’s characters cover the spectrum of political correctness. Bailey is Chinese American, Vincent is blind and in a gay relationship, Bucket is transsexual, and Mona is is a black woman. As the main character, Bailey is likeable but portrayed inconsistently, which was occasionally frustrating.

As a final touch, chapters are Interspersed with the ‘magical’ cocktail history of, and recipes for fourteen ‘magical’ cocktails, such as Screwdriver’s (super strength), Martini’s (invisibility) and the Gold Rush (telepathy).

I enjoyed Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, it was a quick and entertaining read, with an creative premise, though possibly it would have been more impressive if I had a cocktail in hand.

“Booze is universal, it brings people together, and a lot of times it results in the creation of more people. What could be more magical than something that does all that?”

Read an Excerpt


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Review: Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett

Title: Kindling the Moon {Arcadia Bell #1}

Author: Jenn Bennett

Published: Pocket Books, June 2011

Status: Read July 2018


My Thoughts:

The Arcadia Bell series is another urban fantasy series that languished on my TBR list for far too long. I read the four books, Kindling the Moon, Summoning the Night, Binding the Shadows and Banishing the Dark, over a period of about a week.

Kindling the Moon introduces part owner of the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge., and magician, Arcadia ‘Cady’ Bell. For the last seven years Cady has kept a low profile, avoiding the notoriety of her parents, two runaway renegade occultists accused of heinous crimes, but when they resurface her peaceful life is shot to hell. Ordered to prove her family’s innocence, or suffer punishment in their place, Cady has a near impossible task in front of her, one that may cost her everything.

The plot in Kindling the Moon is fast paced and offers plenty of action. Cady is not only challenged by the need to track down an elusive Æthyric demon, but also navigate complicated politics within the occult society, evade a ruthless bounty hunter, and master newly emerging abilities, all with a time frame of just two weeks. The main storyline is resolved with Kindling the Moon, though there are threads loosened which are picked up in later books. I did think the ending was somewhat anticlimactic but it was satisfying nevertheless.

Cady is an appealing heroine, with strengths and flaws which are well balanced. She is unique within her world, for her ability to kindle Heka from the moon, and her ability to see halo’s which identify Earthbounds. I enjoyed her wit, and her talent for kicking butt. She is strong and independent, but willing to accept help when she needs it. As her power develops, she also finds new reserves of fortitude and potency.

In Kindling the Moon, Cady reaches out for help to demonologist, Earthbound, photographer and single father, Lon Butler. It’s no surprise that Lon plays a role of ongoing significance in the series. He and Cady develop a mutual respect that soon turns into a romantic affection. I liked the relationship between the two of them, it’s a little different than the usual trope, particularly in that it involves Lon’s preteen son, Jupe, a fantastic character in his own right.

As a whole I thought the world Bennett created for her series to be imaginative and interesting. Set on the northern coast of California in a mid sized city, the population includes non magical humans, magicians and Earthbounds, Magicians, like Cady, use Heka (found in fluids such as saliva and blood) to power spells, and limited access to the Æthyric plane, while Earthbounds have knacks – a special skill or talent of varying strength.

In all, Kindling the Moon, and the rest of the series featuring Arcadia Bell, was an enjoyable read, that urban fantasy readers should enjoy.

Jenn Bennett is now making her name in YA fiction with titles like Night Owls and Serious Moonlight.

Review: Wickedly Dangerous by Deborah Blake

Title: Wickedly Dangerous {Baba Yaga #1}

Author: Deborah Blake

Published: Berkley, September 2014

Status: Read on May 26, 2018


My Thoughts:

Wickedly Dangerous is the first book in Deborah Blake’s urban fantasy romance trilogy drawing on the legend of Baba Yaga, with a unique contemporary twist.

Barbara Yager is only one of several Baba Yaga’s, whose role it is to keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world. Instead of a cabin on chicken legs,as in legend, Barbara travels her territory in an Airstream with a mind of its own, accompanied by a dragon-turned-dog, Chudo-Yudo. When she needs backup she calls on the Riders, a trio of men/dragons who serve her bidding.

In Wickedly Dangerous, Barbara is summoned when a child goes missing in a small community in Upstate New York. Using her guise as a researcher, herbalist and healer, Barbara investigates, tangling with handsome local Sheriff Liam McClellan, soon divining the disappearance has a mystical cause.

To be honest, the mystery plot is a little uneven, the cause of the disappearance is solved fairly quickly, but it takes some time for Barbara to resolve things. While this gives Blake time to introduce her world, the main plot suffers somewhat for it.

I liked the character growth, which mainly stemmed from Barbara’s relationship with Liam. No longer really human, Barbara has closed herself off to the possibilities of normal friendship and love, but the Sheriff finds a way through her defences. I liked the way in which the romance developed between the two.

I enjoyed Wickedly Dangerous enough, that I followed up with Wickedly Wonderful and Wickedly Powerful, both of which have similar themes, featuring two other North American Baba Yaga’s.

Light and fun, the Baba Yaga series was a pleasant read, combining romance with fantasy, for me over a rainy weekend.



Review: Scourged by Kevin Hearne

Title: Scourged (Iron Druid Chronicles #9)

Author: Kevin Hearne

Published: Del Rey, April 2018

Status : Read April 25th 2018

My Thoughts:

I began reading Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles in 2011, devouring Hounded, Hexed, and Hammered almost consecutively, and Tricked and Trapped on their release. Despite purchasing the last four book in the series as they came out, I just didn’t find the time to read them. I finally rectified this last year by reading the entire series consecutively from the first, to the last book, Scourged, in less than a week.

The grand finale, Scourged, sees Atticus battling the Norse Gods of Asgard, trying to prevent Ragnarok, aka the Apocalypse, which he had unwittingly instigated in a careless moment.

There is plenty of excitement, adventure and humour to be found in Scourged, as immortal is pitted against immortal in the bid to destroy, or save, Gaia. The various battles are epic in scale, though sometimes awkwardly brief, and on occasion, seemingly superfluous.

A variety of supernaturals, including the reoccurring characters of Coyote, The Morrigan, and Jesus, have their roles to play. Granuaile is her kick-a@@ self, Owen is hilarious, and though Oberon is largely absent given the circumstances, he is never forgotten.

I admit to being somewhat disappointed by the direction Hearne took in this last book, Atticus’s final moments of the series were not the triumph I was anticipating, but instead, rather maudlin. Nevertheless, I was sad to leave Atticus and his world behind. I still rate Iron Druid Chronicles among my favourite urban fantasy series, and one I recommend.

Available to Purchase at your preferred retailer

Review: Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti


Title: Mercury Striking {The Scorpius Syndrome #1}

Author: Rebecca Zanetti

Published: Zebra: Kensington Jan 2016

Status: Read from January 28 to 29, 2016 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

A fast paced, action packed dystopian romance, Mercury Striking is the first in a series from Rebecca Zanetti.

After the world is devastated by a mutated alien virus that usually either kills it’s victims or turns them into psychotic killers, Lynn Harmony, a former director at the CDC, is probably the only person left alive who can find a cure. She desperately needs information from a lab in Los Angeles but to get there she has to safely traverse the dangers of the lawless country while eluding the President’s men and then beg favour from Jax Mercury – nicknamed the King of L.A.

Zanetti has created a rich and intriguing world, the population of America all but decimated by the Scorpius Syndrome. Of the few that survive the virus most become ‘Rippers’, uncontrollable serial killers, but a handful recover most of whom develop varying degrees of sociopathic behaviour.

Small enclaves of survivors fight to endure the destruction of society and its infrastructure across the US including the stronghold ‘Vanguard’ in L.A. led by ex special ops soldier and former gang member, Jax Mercury who protects a group of around 500 men, women and children.

Jax is the only one placed to help Lynn find ‘Myriad’ and complete an important task but with the stain of her glowing blue heart and a presidential bounty on her head she is taking a huge risk when she seeks his help. Jax grants her request for asylum under strict conditions as eager as she to find a cure, but neither is prepared for the relationship that develops between them or the consequences of their relationship.

This is story with plenty of grit, involving plenty of action including deadly firefights and chases, and with some brutal scenes of violence and death, but at its heart Mercury Striking is a romance. . It’s all very ‘alpha male’ meets ‘feisty damsel in distress’ but I enjoyed the development of their relationship and the physical intimacy between Lynn and Jax sizzles (though I really could have done without the spanking scene).

The secondary characters, both allies and enemies, add interest and breadth to the story. I’m guessing that Raze and Vivienne will be the couple to feature in the next book to continue the series.

A quick, exciting, escapist read with an interesting premise and appealing characters, I enjoyed Mercury Striking and I’ll be looking for the next in The Scorpius Syndrome series.


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Paranormal Romance

Review: Night Study by Maria V Snyder


Title: Night Study {Soulfinders #2; Study#5; The Chronicles of Ixia #9}

Author: Maria V Snyder

Published: Harlequin MIRA Jan 2016

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Status: Read from January 25 to 26, 2016 — I own a copy

My Thoughts:

Shadow Study ended on a cliffhanger so I’ve been looking forward to Night Study, the second installment in the Soulfinders trilogy, the fifth book in the ‘Study’ series, and the eighth installment in ‘The Chronicles of Ixia’ series.

I don’t want to spoil the many surprises Night Study has in store for fans with a lot of personal upheaval for Yelena and Valek against the background of escalating tension between Sitia and Ixia.

Perhaps it’s enough to say there is plenty of excitement and action – a terrible conspiracy is discovered, and there are some game changing moments for several of the characters. I raced through the book caught up in the adventure and mystery, entertained by the humour and made breathless by the emotion.

A great read for fans like myself, I’m looking forward to (and slightly dreading) the epic conclusion in Dawn Study.

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also reviewed at Book’d Out


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Review: Reap the Wind by Karen Chance


Title: Reap the Wind {Cassandra Palmer #7}

Author: Karen Chance

Published: Signet November 2015

Read an Extract

Status: Read from November 07 to 08, 2015 — I own a copy

My Thoughts:

Reap the Wind is the seventh installment featuring Cassandra Palmer, the somewhat reluctant and hapless Chief Seer for the supernatural world. Desperately trying to save John Pritikin sees her skipping wildly through time in search of the mage’s soul, dragging Pritikin’s demon dad along with her.

While there isn’t a lot of progress in terms of the series story arcs, the pace is breathtaking as Cassie lurches from one time, and crisis, to another, frustrated by angry colleagues, elves, Pythia wannabe’s, overprotective vampires and Mircea’s libido. Her journey is chaotic, hilarious and there is a surprising amount of sizzle.

I really enjoyed reading Reap the Wind, I was horribly sick at the time but I still didn’t want to put it down. I do want some more overall progress though and I hope Ride the Storm delivers it.

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