Tag Archive | "urban fantasy"

Street Magic Fiction Review

Posted on June 13, 2009 by

There are some rare talents in fantasy these days whose words coast along like poetry while depicting a world full of dark and terrible dangers: drugs, monsters, and magic among them. Crafting a balance between artful and gritty writing – such that the language doesn’t shy away from either side of the equation – is incredibly difficult. Caitlin Kittredge has mastered it.

To my shame, Street Magic, which I received earlier this year as an electronic advance copy, is the first novel I’ve read by Kittredge, despite the fact that I own some of her earlier books. They’ve been sitting on my TBR pile, just waiting for me to catch up with other review titles and series titles that always seem to come first. I can tell you with great confidence: no longer. I’ll be picking one up to read as soon as I finish this review.


Chapter One of Amazon Ink by Lori Devoti

Posted on May 31, 2009 by

Meet Mel: Business owner. Dedicated mom. Natural-born Amazon.

It’s been ten years since Melanippe Saka left the Amazon tribe in order to create a normal life for her daughter, Harmony. True, running a tattoo parlor in Madison, Wisconsin while living with your Amazon warrior mother and priestess grandmother is not everyone’s idea of normal, but Mel thinks she’s succeeded at blending in as human.

Turns out she’s wrong. Someone knows all about her, someone who’s targeting young Amazon girls, and no way is Mel is going to let Harmony become tangled in this deadly web…

Flames Rising is proud to present the first chapter of Amazon Ink written by Lori Devoti. Lori wanted to express that she’s very excited about the debut of Amazon Ink and wanted to thank her readers for their support. When we asked Lori about what readers can look forward to, she said that you’ll read about “the story of a woman coming to grips with who she is while battling an unknown and deadly adversary. Plus magic and action and some truly tough chicks of all ages.”

We hope you enjoy the first chapter of Amazon Ink!


Blood Groove Chapter One Preview

Posted on April 28, 2009 by

Flames Rising has been offered the chance to bring you a preview of Alex Bledsoe’s new vampire novel Blood Groove.

When centuries-old vampire Baron Rudolfo Zginski was staked in Wales in 1915, the last thing he expected was to reawaken in Memphis, Tennessee, sixty years later. Reborn into a new world of simmering racial tensions, the cunning nosferatu realizes he must adapt quickly if he is to survive.

Finding willing victims is easy, as Zginski possesses all the powers of the undead, including the ability to sexually enslave anyone he chooses. Hoping to learn how his kind copes with this bizarre new era, Zginski tracks down a nest of teenage vampires. But these young vampires have little knowledge of their true nature, having learned most of what they know from movies like Blacula.

Forming an uneasy alliance with the young vampires, Zginski begins to teach them the truth about their powers. They must learn quickly, for there’s a new drug on the street—a drug created to specifically target and destroy vampires. As Zginski and his allies track the drug to its source, they may unwittingly be stepping into a fifty-year-old trap that can destroy them all . . .


Wolfsbane and Mistletoe Fiction Review

Posted on February 25, 2009 by

Tracy Benton reviews Wolfsbane and Mistletoe

Because, after all, nothing goes with Christmas like werewolves, right?

As a follow-up to Many Bloody Returns (vampires and birthdays), editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner bring us Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (2008), an anthology of stories starring werewolves and set at Chrismastime. (To give them credit, the editors state in the introduction that they rejected the zombies-and-Arbor Day combination.) I was sufficiently intrigued by this concept to read the book, and I was also attracted by the array of authors, which, oddly enough, are mainly mystery writers.


Mean Streets Fiction Review

Posted on January 29, 2009 by

The best paranormal private investigators have been brought together in a single volume—and cases don’t come any harder than this.

This book offers something a little different from the several Urban Fantasy anthologies that have hit the shelves over the last couple of years (Blood Lite and Many Bloody Returns for example). Instead of a collection of short stories by a bunch of different authors, this book has four novellas. The novella allows the authors a chance to develop the plot a bit more and occasionally drop a few more twists and turns into the mystery.


Eve of Darkness Review

Posted on January 16, 2009 by

I’m not entirely sure why Eve was Marked. Since sinners are drafted to kill demons, her sin must be…rooting Reed in the stairwell after they just met, and maybe didn’t know each other’s names. I’m not quite clear on that, or maybe because she “tempted” both brothers. I must have forgotten this detail, or it wasn’t explained well enough, which is a problem when your protagonist is a “chosen one” – readers want to know why.

The series concept seems so obvious in hindsight, it’s actually a surprise that no one thought to do it before. The author’s angels and demons are well-crafted and original, as is the world-building. But then when witches and werewolves come into the picture…it seems a bit kitchen sink.

Review by Tez Miller


Dresden Files Audio Promotion!

Posted on January 14, 2009 by

We have a special deal for our readers today!

Buzzy Multimedia is offering 10% off any purchase to Flames Rising fans for a limited time. Drop by the Buzzy website to check out some very cool deals on Dresden Files audio books read by James Marsters (Spike from Buffy: the Vampire Slayer).

Get 10% off any purchase at the Buzzy Multimedia Store until February 28th. Simply type “FR10” in the coupon code section during your checkout to get the deal.


Unshapely Things Fiction Review

Posted on January 12, 2009 by

The setting is an area of post-Convergance Boston known as the Weird. Having lived in Cambridge and worked in Boston, I was hoping for more sights and sounds that I would recognize, but other than the lack of complaint about traffic, the Boston that del Franco creates feels real. (The most difficult parts of the novel to believe were the sections where Connor Gray and his police detective companion Murdock were driving without any substantial effort through sections of Boston that I remember being constantly backed up.) It’s changed, mostly due to the growing population of Fae: fairies, druids, elves, and dwarves, who have bought high rises, businesses, and other city assets. (Maybe they’re one of the factors in the lack of obnoxious traffic!)


Undead on Arrival Fiction Review

Posted on January 7, 2009 by

There’s a war brewing between Shadow Wolves and Werewolves in L. A. Banks’ Undead on Arrival.

Genetics, the military and the paranormal all feature in this third instalment of the Crimson Moon series. Newcomers will easily get lost trying to figure out the differences between clans and packs, Shadow Wolves and Werewolves, and who’s related to whom. In addition, some characters have different names for their different forms (human and wolf), and others are simply referred to as “Hunter’s mother” or “Shogun’s mother”. And since relations are a big issue here, this is rather confusing.

Review by Tez Miller


Any Given Doomsday Fiction Review

Posted on January 5, 2009 by

In my review of Key to Conflict, I expressed dismay at the use of forced sex by a ghost to move forward the plot. In Any Given Doomsday, the one feature that’s keeping me from recommending it is the repeated use of sex under duress (or sex under the influence) to propel the character forward. Elizabeth Phoenix, former cop and a psychometric, is dragged into a world of supernatural demons and the battle between good and evil kicking and screaming. Her foster mother gives her the “gift” of becoming a seer, one of the guides for demon killers who identifies threats to be eliminated, with her dying breath.

Review by Alana Abbott


Dog Days Fiction Review

Posted on December 30, 2008 by

Dog Days gets off to a somewhat awkward start with too much exposition during an action sequence to make the action feel immediate, but as I got accustomed to the voice of Mason, the hero and jazz/magic improvisation master that narrates the book, the world and story both began to come together. As a practitioner, Mason isn’t much good at the actual practice implied by such a title. His real talent is improvisational magic–something that most people never master at all. Other practitioners use spells to control magic, but Mason can pull energy from the surrounding environment, using ideas and archetypes and emotions to craft the effects he desires. He also has Louie: an Ifrit (named after the djinn, though no one is sure if they’re related) who takes the form of a small, mini-doberman like dog.

Review by Alana Abbott


Dresden Files Audio Books at Buzzy!

Posted on December 22, 2008 by

Jim Butcher, New York Times best selling Fantasy & Science Fiction author has many interests and they all season his fiction. Jim is a multi-discipline martial arts enthusiast, skilled horseman,and enjoys gaming,fencing, singing, and bad Science Fiction movies.

The Dresden Files are about a wizard who works in Chicago solving supernatural crimes and assisting the Special Investigations Unit of the Chicago Police Department. It has large helpings of action, humor, and old fashioned chivalry in a very modern world.


Storm Born Fiction Review

Posted on December 22, 2008 by

I love Richelle Mead’s stuff, so I was completely ready to be won over by the new series, “Dark Swan,” from the first time she posted an excerpt on her site. Both the excerpt and the novel, Storm Born, begin with shaman Eugenie Markham, also known as Odile Dark Swan, exorcising a shoe. What’s not to like? Eugenie is a lonely heroine working in a sort of mercenary line of demon slaying–taking calls, getting rid of spirits by banishing them either to the Other world or the world of the Dead, and getting paid. She doesn’t make friends easily, and has only her assistant Lara (most often a voice on the phone rather than human contact) and her roommate Timothy “Red Horse” (who masquerades as an “authentic” Native American, despite his Polish heritage).

Review by Alana Abbott


The Darkest Kiss Fiction Review

Posted on December 15, 2008 by

Riley Jenson hunts down two serial killers, in Keri Arthur’s The Darkest Kiss.

One of the murderers is targeting Melbourne’s rich and powerful; including the infamous Toorak Trollops (they’re not prostitutes, just skanks). The other murderer is hitting closer to Riley. All their security systems can’t save the high society types from gruesome deaths. Among the charity functions and whatnot, I almost expected Lillian Frank to pop up and spout something about polo.

Instead, we get Quinn O’Conor, the vampire Riley was emoing over in the previous novel, Embraced by Darkness. Their relationship seems rather superficial, so why they seem so tied to one another, I don’t quite understand. But Riley’s relationships have never been a series drawcard for me: the mysteries are.


Justin Achilli’s Demimonde Now Available!

Posted on November 16, 2008 by

Game Designer and author, Justin Achilli, (Vampire, Changeling, Scion) has a new novel available now at DriveThruFantasy.com. Sex, drugs, and theological schisms…. Demimonde is the story of Brandon Arthur, a freelance industrial designer whose introduction to a glitzy, invisible subculture precedes a holy war that tears this secret society asunder. As the conflict worsens, Brandon […]


Cry Wolf Fiction Review

Posted on November 11, 2008 by

Patricia Briggs takes a break from the Mercy Thompson series and gives readers a more detailed look at the Marrok’s world in Cry Wolf: An Alpha and Omega Novel. In this novel, the lead female is Anna Latham, a former Chicagoan who, with the help of the Marrok’s pack, is able to escape an abusive upbringing and to redefine her life. The cover art by Daniel Dos Santos is a solid depiction of the character Briggs brings to life throughout the course of the novel.

I picked up this novel because of the Mercy Thompson series. I am not a huge fan of werewolf fiction; however, the urban fantasy environment Briggs created in the before mentioned Thompson series continues to develop interestingly as new facets of the reality are revealed. That said, I am a fan of this novel. The chief reason for my conversion rests in Brigg’s ability to write convincing characters.


New Chapters Available Now at Monica Valentinelli’s Violet War Website!

Posted on November 9, 2008 by

The ongoing urban fantasy novel series, Violet War, by Monica Valentinelli has new chapters to explore!

Monica gives her readers a little teaser on the new material:

One of the key concepts in this chapter, is that we read about the concept of “The Condemned.” In the magic world, there is a series of Oaths that bind and tie each and every entity within the magical community together. These Oaths are a complex network of promises and “social contracts,” replacing the need for written laws. Oaths are binding and brutal, for many concepts like “free will” go right out the window once an Oathbringer brands the oath into their mind–literally. The strength of the Oath depends upon a lot of factors including the magical prowess of the Oathbringer, the resiliency of the person’s mind, how many people are branded, etc.

Visit www.violetwar.com for the latest updates.


Savor Me Slowly Fiction Review

Posted on November 4, 2008 by

A beautiful, newly discovered alien race is spreading a virus that turns its victims into cannibals, in the third part of Gena Showalter’s Alien Huntress series.

They’re called the Schön, and both Alien Investigation and Removal and Mishka Le’Ace’s boss want them investigated, captured and killed. As always with this series, the world-building is outstanding and the Schön case is intriguing…but it’s only a subplot. And if you’d read the back cover copy, you wouldn’t know about this storyline at all.


Key to Conflict Fiction Review

Posted on October 9, 2008 by

Welcome to the Gillian Key Admiration Society–that is, if you’re male, paranormal, and exquisitely handsome, as all the men in Talia Gryphon’s Key to Conflict seem to be. From ghosts to vampires to werewolves and dark elves, everyone wants to get retired marine and paramortal psychologist Gillian Key into their bed. Some of them succeed, to a greater or lesser degree (the ghost having to resort to sleeping with her in incredibly erotic dreams, so she won’t know she’s being screwed, if you can forgive the pun–and the forced-love aspect of the novel). While there’s also a plot, it doesn’t really pick up until page 227 of 325, when we meet Gillian’s old marine special ops unit, who gather to rescue a kidnapped vampire. The first 227 pages set up the world in a somewhat haphazard fashion: paramortals went public twenty years ago. Or they were creatures of legend up until the Human-Paramortal War a few years ago.

Review by Alana Abbott


Mercy Thompson: Homecoming Preview

Posted on September 30, 2008 by

Homecoming is an original four issue miniseries by Patricia Briggs and Francis Tsai

Dabel Brothers Publishing is excited to premiere the first eleven pages of the much-anticipated Dabel Brothers project, Mercy Thompson: Homecoming. Artist Francis Tsai beautifully illustrates all the covers and interior pages to this series, with Briggs herself penning the original story. Place your orders today before the first issue ships this November.

Francis Tsai (Marvel Adventures, Impaler) is one of the few artists who can fully paint his interior pages and his style is a perfect fit for the project. As these first eleven pgs show, he’s done an amazing job and will continue to impress as the series goes on. Author and Mercy creator Patricia Briggs has been absolutely thrilled with the results so far.


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