And Now For Something Completely Different Reviews Volume 1

June 29, 2014 Review, Something Different 1

Even the most diehard urban fantasy and paranormal romance fans have to read something different every once in a while to shake things up! This series, which we hope will become an every-so-often feature here on All Things Urban Fantasy, will showcase some of our recent reads which don’t generally fit with our normal genres.

Something Different

Don't Look BackDON’T LOOK BACK by Jennifer Armentrout

Published April 15, 2014 by Disney-Hyperion

There’s a definite UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER feel to this story, especially where mirrors are concerned, but they’re so much freakier in DON’T LOOK BACK. This story picked me up, sat me down and promptly informed me that I wouldn’t be doing anything, including sleep, until I finished it. Then, when I did (around 1.30am) I found myself dreaming about Sam and her mystery. The lack of anything overtly paranormal about the story doesn’t stop it from being a cleverly crafted and truly look-over-your-shoulder creepy at times. My attempts to figure it out were sometimes rewarded, sometimes thwarted, and fully satisfying at the end. ~Libbie

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void PACKING FOR MARS: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

First published January 1, 2010 by W. W. Norton & Company

My love of science fiction TV and movies spills over into loving all things about space exploration and those shiny lights in the sky we call stars. Mary Roach explores the on-the-ground research performed to simulate the realities and dangers of space. She is a hilarious writer and in PACKING FOR MARS she gives an insightful and quirky description of how we learned to live in space. This book gives you an insight into the dirty and dangerous aspect of what it takes to keep astronauts alive in space and gives me even more respect for what they do.  ~Kristina

Beautiful Bastard (Beautiful Bastard, #1)The Beautiful Bastard series by Christina Lauren

BEAUTIFUL BASTARD, published January 1, 2013 by Gallery Books
BEAUTIFUL STRANGER, published April 16, 2013 by Gallery Books
BEAUTIFUL PLAYER, published October 29, 2013 by Gallery Books

When this series started, the business setting of BEAUTIFUL BASTARD got washed away in my 50 SHADES OF GREY “keep-your-hands-off-my-romance” funk.  Anything that smacked of an office romance or BDSM went way on the back burner of my interest.  A year later, I read BEAUTIFUL BASTARD in one sitting, then jumped immediately into BEAUTIFUL STRANGER, and then again finished BEAUTIFUL PLAYER in one breathless marathon.  No matter what the premise, what the kink, the writing duo of Christina Lauren writes interesting characters and steam-rising-off-the-page chemistry that is just unbelievable.  While the tropes in these books are familiar territory, the skill of the execution is a rare treat.  It is just that quality that makes me prefer the full length books over the novellas in this series.  Such hot, hot sex scenes need the high caliber character development to balance out the story, something the books do exceedingly well and the novellas miss (leaving them feeling more like generic erotica than another glimpse into beloved characters’ lives).  Christina Lauren is firmly on my pre-order list, and I find myself handing out copies to anyone interested in reading romance with some real heat. ~Julia

Wild Justice (Nadia Stafford, #3)WILD JUSTICE (Nadia Stafford #3) by Kelley Armstrong

Published November 26, 2013 by Plume

Cop-turned-contract-killer, Nadia Stafford, remains one of my favorite Kelley Armstrong characters.  Quiet, meticulous, and utterly ruthless, Nadia’s brand of detective work/ assassination feels both believable and satisfying.  I’m so glad Armstrong came back to the series to offer this finale.  All the usual romance issues is ever so much more entertaining when there are contract killers involved.  As restrained as any police procedural, Nadia Stafford is a mystery series for rule breakers. ~Julia

PanicPANIC by Lauren Oliver

Published March 4, 2014 by HarperCollins

Lauren Oliver is one of the elite when it comes to YA fiction.  She writes with a painful honesty that imbues her characters with a life that lingers long after the last page.  In her newest YA, PANIC, she steps away from the high concepts that distinguished BEFORE I FALL and the Delirium trilogy for a straightforward contemporary YA that unfortunately doesn’t come close to resonating emotionally the way her previous books have. The storyline is rather weak in PANIC.  Kids compete in various panic inducing challenges in order to win money.  It’s all very secret and dangerous, but the problem is that it’s really not handled well.  There are tons on unexplained questions (like how does the prize money get secretly collected?  If no one knows who is running Panic, than who continues it each year?).  But mostly, the challenges are lame and unimaginative, and they feel like background stuff for the rather uninspiring characters. Poor, abused and/or neglected, it was all sad and pitiful but neither Heather nor Dodge (the two protagonists) made me really care about them in an active way.  The romantic interests were even less interesting.  All in all, PANIC doesn’t feel anything like a Lauren Oliver book.  It’s not panic inducing on almost any level, it’s just rather dull and ultimately forgettable.  ~Abigail

One Response to “And Now For Something Completely Different Reviews Volume 1”

  1. Melanie Simmons (@mlsimmons)

    I love the Nadia Stafford series by Kelley Armstrong. I picked it up because, she is one of my favorite authors and I was willing to leave my paranormal favorites for an author like her and I was not disappointed. It is everything you would expect from an Armstrong novel, just no werewolves.

    I’ll have to look at giving the others a try. Thanks.