ARMAGEDDON RULES follows in FREE AGENT’s footsteps as an action-packed, roller-coaster ride of a novel, full of drama and never letting the reader catch a breath. While sometimes this works, in this case, the entire novel became a bit difficult to follow, with multiple plotlines and many similarly named characters offering the opportunity for confusion.
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OF SHADOW AND STONE isn’t at all what I expected from the description. I was expecting an action packed paranormal romance. However, this book has almost no action, and the romance was also almost non-existent.
In GRETA AND THE GLASS KINGDOM, Chloe Jacobs has created a fun and unique world, filled with lots of interesting characters. The main character, Greta, starts off with lots of problems to overcome, and they all seem to get worse quickly. Yet despite that the book starts out very slow, taking far too long to get the ball rolling.
While I’m always eager to open up a new Jeaniene Frost, BOUND BY FLAMES just didn’t do it for me as much as previous installments of the Night Prince series or the Night Huntress series did. Part of this had to do with some of the content of the book, but part of it also was that this book felt very much like a middle of a series book. It dragged a little and though part of the conflict was resolved by the end of the book, some of it was left with a big giant cliff-hanger that didn’t feel necessary.
In THE WITCHES OF ECHO PARK, Amber Benson introduces us to the Southern California “blood sisters” who, along with other covens across the globe, keep the world in balance. When coven leader Eleanora informs her great-niece that she’s dying, Lyse abandons her life in Georgia to fly to Los Angeles – and, unknowingly, to take her great-aunt’s place as an Echo Park witch. Benson channels Alice Hoffman in this novel, painting the Echo Park neighborhood in a way that should delight locals, and inform strangers. Though I found the first half of the book a little overly descriptive, the narrative overall reflects the dreams that are central to the story – including that feeling that the dream never quite reaches its conclusion.
THE FAIRYLAND MURDERS was a interesting mixing of noir detective stories with fairy tales. With this mixture of a gritty murder mystery with light fanciful fairies and princesses you get an at times bizarre world filled with some hilarious interactions between characters. There are some neat references to fairy tale characters and fairy tales.
SUSPICION by Alexandra Monir, is pitched as a modern version of the classic thriller Rebecca, and it definitely creates that vibe, along with a pretty solid mystery, and a dash of The Princess Diaries. Between that and the romance of reconnecting with a first love, this book didn’t need anything else – but it’s ‘urban fantasy,’ and so magic must appear. It’s rare for me to wish a story lacked a supernatural element, but with SUSPICION (a nonsensical title for the novel) enough is happening that the subplot about an ancestor with an unusually green thumb and the inheritance of “Elemental” powers just unbalances the plot.
THE HIGHLAND DRAGON’S LADY is a good gothic ghost story combined with dragons because why not! I enjoyed the way the mystery of the spirit haunting the house started to unravel with a classic seance gone wrong scene but the worldbuilding was a bit hard for me to grasp.
In this retelling of ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,’ Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Day Al-Mohamed have mixed a little machinery with magic while delving into the Arabian culture, and bringing us a protagonist whose heroism is in his dedication – dedication to his craft, his family, and his desire to to what’s right. BABA ALI AND THE CLOCKWORK DJINN is a breath of fresh desert wind, and if the book suffers from some plotting and pacing missteps, it’s still a charming oasis for fantasy lovers looking to enjoy something a little less Western.
BLACK DOG, book one in the Hellhound Chronicles, had some aspects I definitely was not a fan of. However, for the most part, BLACK DOG is a dark urban fantasy, packed to the brim with characters, plot lines and action, and is a wild ride through a new world Kittredge has created.