Tag Archive | "urban fantasy"


Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition available now!

Posted on September 23, 2015 by

We’re all mages, we Awakened Ones. Tradition wizards and Technocrats, Mad Ones and Fallen Ones and all the “ones” in between who refuse to choose a side in our demented little War. We’re ALL mages. Many refuse that title, or deny it to others, but that’s what we are: priest-kings holding the keys to reality.

Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition is available now in PDF and Hardcover editions at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop!


Fear and the Familiar, Writing Three Parts Dead

Posted on September 26, 2012 by

Three Parts Dead is an upcoming novel by Max Gladstone. Max is giving us a look into his writing process with this new essay. You can pre-order Three Parts Dead now at Amazon.com and other retailers.

Left to my own devices, I spend a lot of time alone. I’m a writer, so I write and read for fun—I sit in my living room, feet up, with a book, or pen and ink, or a laptop, and I work. I know the sounds of my apartment: cars rumble down the street nearby, tumblers cascade as keys slide into the front door lock, doors slam across the street, a woman laughs. Air whispers over floor exchanges, glass breaks in the bedroom, leaves rustle through the open window…


New series by Chuck Wendig announced by Abaddon Books

Posted on July 10, 2012 by

Don’t look up. Don’t send your prayers skyward. Because the gods aren’t in the sky. They’re here. All of them.

After publishing Chuck Wendig’s debut novel Double Dead, in 2011 Abaddon Books is proud to announce that it is set to publish a brand new title from the inimitable author of Blackbirds.


Flash Fire Mini Reviews: The Edge Series by Ilona Andrews

Posted on January 31, 2012 by

Ilona Andrews is probably best known for her Kate Daniels series, but she is also (along with husband and co-author Gordon) the author of a paranormal romance series about life on “the Edge,” a borderland between a world full of magic (the Weird) and our mundane reality (the Broken). (It should be noted that while I’m classifying the books as paranormal romance, due to the structure of each novel — the books each feature the love story of a couple who end up in a happily ever after at the conclusion — other reviewers have considered them “rustic fantasy” or “unclassifiable.” Thus, your mileage may vary.)


Kiss of Frost Review

Posted on January 19, 2012 by

Gwen Frost is back at Mythos Academy, and she’s got a new attitude. In Touch of Frost (reviewed here), Gwen was a poor little Gypsy girl, stuck out of place at an academy full of warrior kids and wishing for her old life. While Gwen is still no warrior — and still wishes that her mother’s death had never happened — she’s got a new mission: get awesome, fast, so she can live up to the expectations of Nike, her patron goddess. At the end of the first book, Gwen was chosen to be Nike’s champion, and she has no intentions of failing.

Monica Valentinelli

Shadow Fall Review

Posted on September 19, 2011 by

SHADOW FALL is the third book in the Shadowchasers series by Seressia Glass. You can read my review of SHADOW CHASE, the second book in the series, here at Flames Rising.

An exhibit at an Egyptian museum and a dark mystery is the focal point for Kira Solomon and the other characters in SHADOW FALL. The events that happen in this book dive into Kira’s murky background and the reactions of all those around her — which aren’t always positive.


A Brief History of Magic by Michael Jasper

Posted on August 26, 2011 by

Author and comic scribe Michael Jasper is here with a new design essay about his novel A Sudden Outbreak of Magic. Michael tells about the genesis of the idea back in his teaching days and how that initial concept developed into the book that is available now. He even links us to a sneak peek at the follow up book, A Wild Epidemic of Magic, which is currently in development.

Magic is everywhere. You just have to look hard enough to see it.

Magic is contagious. You can get infected it by it just as easily as catching a cold.

Magic is dangerous. You start using it, and all sorts of powerful people will take notice. And they will hunt you down.


Midnight at the Spanish Gardens Review

Posted on August 16, 2011 by

Midnight at the Spanish GardensMidnight at the Spanish Gardens is not the kind of book I normally review for Flames Rising. It is certainly a fantasy novel, but the fantasy elements don’t actually end up being all that important: the book revolves around the choices that people make in their lives, and what they might do differently if they had it to do all over again — or if fate or chance had played out the events differently. But while it’s not truly a dark fantasy, I wanted to review it here after reading an ARC from the author because this is the type of book that held me and didn’t let me go. I actually stood in a doorway the first night I was reading it, intending to walk somewhere to put it down, expecting to head off to bed for the night, but I flipped page after page in my nook and kept reading, standing there, for probably twenty minutes. Then, realizing I clearly wasn’t going to stop, I gave up my rational decision to head to bed and sat down and read more instead. Not only that, but even when I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking about it. That experience tells me that this is a book worth sharing.


Kitemaster and Other Stories Fiction Review

Posted on August 11, 2011 by

If you follow Jim Hines’s blog, you know he’s been experimenting with electronically self-publishing short stories, many of which originally appeared in print publications. His first collection, Goblin Tales, did well enough that he’s releasing another group of six tales, Kitemaster and Other Stories, in mid-August. I caught Jim’s note for reviewers and volunteered, and I think this is another strong group of stories, mostly for the lighthearted fantasy crowd. Three of them I’d previously purchased via fictionwise, and have been favorites of mine since the first reading, but three were brand new to me, and I think all are solid stories — even the one that left me with something akin to the willies over a series of puppet deaths. But we’ll get there in a minute.

Monica Valentinelli

Ghost Story (Dresden Files Book 13) Review

Posted on August 8, 2011 by

Hot off the presses, Ghost Story is the 13th installment in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. At this point in the series, I would like to point out that if you haven’t read Changes or some of the earlier books, then this review will likely contain ***spoilers***. Be kind to the reviewer, folks.

First things first: due to the way characters are interwoven throughout the fabric of the plot, I would recommend that new readers do not pick up “this” book as the first one. While Butcher does a fine job of trying to facilitate the back story to remind readers who some of the existing characters are, the emotional gut-wrenching reaction that you may have as a reader will fizzle and pop like a dud firecracker.

As the title suggests, this is a Ghost Story.


Operation Backpack August 2011 Fundraiser

Posted on August 2, 2011 by

August usually means back to school shopping for most Americans. But each year, thousands of children living in homeless shelters and foster care return to school without even the most basic of necessities. Operation Backpack, a program operated by Volunteers of America, helps provided these needed supplies to our country’s most vulnerable students and gives them a chance to continue their education.

In an effort to support this wonderful project, Bards and Sages has partnered with other independent authors and publishers to create a special charity ebook bundle. 100% of our profits from this bundle will be donated to Volunteers of America to support Operation Backpack.?

Operation Backpack August 2011 Fundraiser is available at DriveThruFantasy.com.


Exploring the Mythos Academy with Jennifer Estep

Posted on July 21, 2011 by

Our design essay series continues with a new essay from Jennifer Estep. Jennifer is the author of the Mythos Academy series (check out Alana’s recent review of Touch of Frost).

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to thank the folks at Flames Rising for having me on the blog today. Thanks so much, guys!

Today I was asked to talk a little about the creative process behind Touch of Frost and the rest of my Mythos Academy young adult series. The series focuses on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the gift of psychometry, or the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. After a serious freak-out with her magic, Gwen is shipped off to Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors like Spar tans, Valkyries, Amazons, and more.

Monica Valentinelli

Shadow Chase Fiction Review

Posted on July 20, 2011 by

Shadow Chase is an urban fantasy novel written by Seressia Glass. While this book follows the events of Shadow Blade in the author’s series, I felt the story — which dives deep into Egyptian mythology — stands on its own.

Glass writes believable characters that we can all relate to by focusing on their internal struggles. I really liked reading about the emotional impact of the “things gone wrong.” When someone dies? We feel it. When Kira, the main character, makes a mistake? We experience her guilt. By focusing on what makes these characters human, in spite of their supernatural powers, I feel the author takes some risks because we don’t always see the “cost” of magic in our world. However, these risks are what makes the story and its characters more believable, because those emotions help us identify with them — regardless of their ethnic or cultural background.

Kira Solomon is a Shadowchaser. Although she’s human, she serves the Light and dispatches the Fallen. Although a lot of the worldbuilding was inspired by Egyptian mythology, the battle between good and evil takes center stage.


Touch of Frost Fiction Review

Posted on July 13, 2011 by

Gwen Frost, a gypsy, doesn’t know where she fits in, and she doesn’t really want to. She came to Mythos Academy after the death of her mother — for which she blames herself — and doesn’t understand what she’s doing there. She’s no warrior, and her gift of psychometry, the ability to read emotions and history off of objects, mainly helps her find lost things. She doesn’t really believe in the Pantheon or the Reapers, and she’s got no interest in fighting those battles even if they are real.

But then Queen Bee Jasmine gets brutally murdered in the library, where Gwen works, and everything changes. Unwilling to let Jasmine’s death go unmourned — when not even Jasmine’s friends seem to feel grief at her murder — Gwen is determined to discover the identity of Jasmine’s killer. And in the meantime, she ends up finding out a lot about what it is that brought her to Mythos Academy in the first place.


Unholy Ghosts Fiction Review

Posted on March 17, 2011 by

It isn’t often that I pick up a book (this one purchased with my own cashy money) where it’s got so much going on, I’m not sure how to start a review. Stacia Kane’s Unholy Ghosts is like that. This isn’t just a ghost story — though it works admirably (and scarily) well in that area. It’s not just postapocalyptic, though again, the brave new (scary) world that Stacia imagines is an amazing one. And though it’s not really a private investigator story, it’s got a lot of similarities to that genre, as the main character goes about solving a mystery and, eventually, confronting a threat that could destroy the world as she knows it. So it’s got epic scope, but the characters aren’t your typical heroes — in fact, they’ve got more in common with your typical villains, and that’s one of the areas where Stacia really succeeds: making characters you don’t really want to trust, but can’t help but like. Or, at the very least, sympathize with.


As Lie the Dead Review

Posted on March 1, 2011 by

Kelly Meding, I have a bone to pick with you. After introducing a seriously awesome minor character in Three Days To Dead, you neglected to include even one scene with Smedge the Bridge Troll in the sequel. Sure, you gave us a seriously hot shape-shifting osprey who can go into angel mode with Phin. You introduced us to a sweet-yet-strong kestrel shifter, who alternates between protected and protector in Aurora. You brought in the mysterious shifter lawyer with a talent for vague clues with Michael Jenner. So, one could say that the new awesome outweighs the old awesome.

But I miss Smedge. I just want that out there.


A Brush of Darkness Review

Posted on February 8, 2011 by

Not long ago, I signed up for a very cool program with Simon & Schuster called “galley grab,” which allows participants to read e-book galleys in full for a limited amount of time. I’ve loaded up several titles on my nook and am trying to get through them before my time runs out!

One of my first priorities on the list was A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang, which I’d seen previews for over at Pocket After Dark. There are all sorts of marketing sayings about how many times you have to see something before it sticks, or if you touch something some large number of times, you’ll buy it.


Three Days to Dead Review

Posted on January 31, 2011 by

When Evy Stone wakes up in a morgue in a different body than the one she remembers, with no memory of the few previous days, she knows she’s in for a hell of a time. What she does remember is this: her teammates from her bounty hunting career were murdered, the were-people with whom she took asylum were slaughtered by her former bosses, and the only person she thought she could trust was her handler. She has to make contact, convince him that she’s still Evy (despite the new body), and avoid being entangled in the life of the girl who used to live in this frame. Not to mention, as she discovers more about the reasons she ended up in a new body, saving the world. All in a three day time frame. But hey, she’s been through worse. Probably.


Ashley J. Barnard tells us about Scaring the Relatives

Posted on December 2, 2010 by

Novelist Ashley J. Barnard has a new novel called Shadow Fox from Champagne Books. In this design essay she tells us about that initial fear of releasing her work to friends and family.

How a Nice, Shy Girl Passes Off Dark Fantasy to Her Family

One of my older sisters recently compared me to Giselle from the movie Enchanted. It’s a fair comparison; I sing when I clean the house, I love animals, I’m a hopeless romantic and I have a bright and sunny disposition. I want everyone to love me so it’s shocking to me when I annoy someone. The biggest difference between Giselle and me is that Giselle doesn’t write dark contemporary fantasy with heroin use, violence, occasional S&M and a liberal sprinkling of the F-bomb throughout. And if she did write it, she’d probably use a pen name and would die before letting anyone read it.


A Touch Of Dead Review

Posted on November 3, 2010 by

With the new season of Trueblood beginning soon, I thought it was a good time to take a look at the books that inspired the popular HBO series, starting with a collection of short stories – an excellent way to evaluate the world of Sookie Stackhouse for one’s self.

For those who may not know, True Blood is based on a series of novels by Charlaine Harris. The main character of these books, Sookie Stackhouse, is a barmaid in a fictional Northern Louisiana small town called Bon Temps. Sookie has a rare talent; she’s a telepath. As much curse as blessing, her telepathic ability meant she always knew what everyone around her was thinking – both god and bad. Sookie had resigned herself to a lonely existence when “V-Day” happened. Japanese scientists perfected a synthetic blood, and vampires – no longer needing to attack humans to survive – one day formally announced themselves to the world, along with their intention to live side-by-side with humans.


11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

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