Urban Fantasy

Feast of the Epiphany

Feast of the Epiphany
Publisher:
Published: November 7, 2016
Author's Twitter: @KathrynMHearst
Immortal and a member of the Sinistra Dei, a secret order designed to eliminate threats to the Vatican, Giovanna was created to do the dirty work of the Church. This requires creative thinking and the ability to tap dance on the line between right and wrong. As the commander she loves slowly sinks into insanity, she learns that dark immortals—the Execrati dedicated to destroying her kind— have snuck into New Orlean’s legendary French Quarter to hunt her friends. With the further discovery that one of Rome’s own has faked his death, and the unexpected evolution of her supernatural powers, Gia is no longer able to play by the rules. How can she defy the man she loves, break the trust of a close friend, and explain the new set of wings on her back? The answer is simple… she can’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Core of Stone

Core of Stone
Categories: ,
Author:
Publisher:
Published: March 12, 2016
Author's Twitter: @Dragonwriter14
Stone’s answer to nearly every problem has always been magic — but that’s off the table now. All he’s got are his wits and his courage to keep himself and his friends alive. Can he put aside his pride and bitterness long enough to prove there’s more to him than magic?   Alastair Stone knew it would take a big sacrifice to end the Evil’s hold over our world. He was ready to make that sacrifice — but he expected it to be his life. Never in his worst nightmares did he think it would be his magic. He’s on the fast track to self-destruction when a friend convinces him to take a desperate last chance. He heads to Las Vegas to find the only man who might be able to help him, but instead finds some old allies in dire need of his own help with a deadly — and very magical — threat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prophet of Chaos

Prophet of Chaos
Categories: ,
Author:
Published: March 31, 2016
Author's Twitter: @jayhamlet
Nathaniel is a man of many gifts. First and foremost is the power of Prophecy. Whenever he sleeps, he dreams of possible futures. With that knowledge, he’s thwarted the world-shaking schemes of Angels and Demons alike. Not surprisingly, all of Heaven and Hell’s agents are always hunting him, eager to take down the notorious figure known as The Prophet. He’s spent most of his life as a homeless drifter, hiding. Recently, a series of visions has plagued him, threatening to force him out the shadows. A Senator with presidential aspirations is on one side, backed by Heaven’s forces and seeking to transform the world into a brutal theocracy. Demon-worshipping terrorists also stand ready to launch a bloody revolution through mass murders, demonic possession, and civil war. Nathaniel stands in the middle, struggling to prevent humanity from slipping into a new dark age. And he can’t do it alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Source
Author:
Publisher:
Published: December 15, 2015
Author's Twitter: @Dragonwriter11
The portals are closed. The Evil have lost their pathway between their home and ours. No longer does humanity need to worry about extradimensional bodysnatchers with a thirst for pain and terror pouring through to wreak destruction on Earth. The problem is, while there might not be any new Evil coming through, a whole lot of very powerful, very angry Evil are still stuck on our side. Desperate now, they’re forced to put aside their differences and work together to come up with an ambitious plan to get their pipeline of soldiers up and running. And now they’ve got a dangerous ally on their side: a black mage with a longstanding hatred of Stone. Will Stone and his friends figure out what the Evil are up to before they can set into motion something that can’t be stopped–and that will end up killing thousands of people in the process?

 

Reviewed by Tahlia Newland

Another excellent book book in the Alistair Stone Cronicles. This series is a must read for urban fantasy fans. The author has the wonderful ability to write exciting action-packed books that also give sufficient weight to character development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gifted Thief

Gifted Thief
Categories: ,
Author:
Published: January 29, 2016
Author's Twitter: @HarperFire
Orphan. Runaway. Thief. Since the moment I was ripped from my mother’s womb, I’ve been an outcast amongst my own kind. The Sidhe might possess magical Gifts, unbelievable wealth and unfathomable power but I don’t want a thing to do with them. I ran away from their lands in the Highlands of Scotland when I was eleven years old and I’ve never looked back. I don’t need a Clan. I’ve got my own family of highly skilled thieves who mean more to me than any Sidhe ever could. Unfortunately for me, the playboy heir to the Moncrieffe Clan has something I desperately need. To get it back, I’m going to have to plunge myself back into that world, no matter what the consequences may be. I suppose it’s just as well I have sense of humour. I think I’m going to need it.

Reviewed by Katt Pemble

3 Star

Gifted Thief is an enjoyable urban fantasy read with likable and complex characters. It is, for the most part, well written and the action is peppered throughout to allow for a reasonable reading pace.

Why only three stars then?

Unfortunately, the pacing of the story in the beginning dragged quite a lot. The content was interesting, and while most of the detail helped form the rest of the book, it felt stilted and cumbersome, rather than lithe and agile like the rest of the book.

The characters were mostly really well done. Some of the extreme stereotypes were a little annoying, but they worked in most instances.

Where things got really interesting was once Integrity delved back into the Sidhe world. I’ve read a number of Sidhe related books and I’d have to say this one was one of the best for creating a great deal of complexity in their belief and power dynamics. I also quite enjoyed the clan versus clan-less theme that ran throughout. It added another dimension to the story that I’m sure will come into play later in the series.

I will probably read book 2, I am keen to see how things progress, but I won’t rush into it.

A couple of things I noticed:

78% – …now it stood as docile than (delete than, insert as) Barbie.
87% – …The only (one) who thinks you’re…

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book through the Awesome Indies Reviewer program.**

 

The Threshold

The Threshold
Category:
Author:
Published: June 1, 2013
Author's Twitter: @Dragonwriter13
Where do the Evil come from? How did they get here? As Stone, Jason, and Verity dig deeper into these questions, they make a shocking discovery about the nature of the Evil – and what happened that opened the door into our dimension. What they find sends them on a desperate cross-country race from the wilds of West Virginia to the dark neon wonderland of Las Vegas as they attempt to stop the Evil at its source before it’s too late.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Forgotten

The Forgotten
Author:
Publisher:
Published: May 18, 2012
Author's Twitter: @Dragonwriter12
What do you do when you discover an extradimensional plot threatening the safety of the entire world, but you can’t tell anyone because literally anyone on Earth could be part of it?   When Alastair Stone is asked to question a disturbed child who’s committed a horrific act, Stone has no idea what kind of rabbit hole he’s starting down. He uncovers more instances of appalling crimes, all committed by people with no history of violence. Before long Stone crosses paths with Jason Thayer, a young man searching for his runaway sister who might be a victim of the same bizarre affliction. Stone and Jason are embroiled in a network of odd homeless people, strange symbols, and deadly danger. Even if they find Jason’s sister in time, there’s no way to know if they can help her – and it’s soon clear that the problem’s a lot worse than they originally suspected.

Reviewed by Tahlia Newland

5 Stars

This is a wonderful urban fantasy. Great characters, different story line and no vampires! Wonderful. Worth it’s Seal of Excellence.

 

 

 

 

 

Stone and a Hard Place

Stone and a Hard Place
Categories: ,
Author:
Publisher:
Published: March 16, 2015
Author's Twitter: @Dragonwriter11
Dr. Alastair Stone, Occult Studies professor and powerful mage, has his hands full trying to keep the two sides of his life separate as he trains a new apprentice, deals with a malevolent entity trapped in the basement of a wealthy old woman’s massive home, and battles dark mages intent on enslaving it for their own ends. Debut novel of the Alastair Stone Chronicles series.

Reviewed by Katt Pemble

4 Stars

Professor Alistair Stone is a powerful mage, teaching occult studies to mundane (non magical folk) students. When he takes on Ethan, a young mage, as a favour to one of his mage colleagues and friends, Dr Stone embarks on a journey of self discovery as much as Ethan.

The character of Alistair Stone was reasonable, I liked his personality and methodical approach to teaching. He was suitably eccentric enough to keep things interesting, but stable enough to appear reliable.

Ethan is a completely different matter. Ethan is meant to be 18, but the way he conducts himself, especially in relation to women is more fitting for a 15 or 16 year old boy. Bordering on TSTL (Too Stupid To Live), his character was so flimsy he almost doubled as a tool the real characters used to advance the plot. All his internal debating with himself over what to tell Dr Stone and what not to was quite boring and rather immature and annoying.

The start of the story spent a lot time introducing the world and magic rules. It was done by way of educating Ethan, but it allowed for the reader to get a solid understanding. It felt a little longer and a little slower than I’d have liked, but I could see it served a purpose.

The ending of the story was a completely different matter all together. The story was like rolling a giant boulder up a slight incline, only to have it reach the apex of the hill and then have it leave you behind as it roared down the decline on the otherside. The ending scenes were fast, almost too fast, and considering the light style of writing, quite dark and sinister.

The ending left me feeling like it was more of an anti-climax than a climax. The unanswered plot threads left to dangle in the smoke and haze, intending to lure you onto reading the next book. While the main story plot was completed, these smaller threads were left unanswered, almost like a tiny little hook. Daring the reader to take a bite out of book #2.

The story was interesting and engaging, the writing style mostly light and extremely easy to read. R.L. has a solid grasp on good English and uses those skills to keep the reader interested in the story. If you’d like to try an urban fantasy story with some sinister dark elements, give this book a try. I will be reading book #2 at some point in the future for sure.

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of the book in return for an honest review**

 

The Commons: Book 1: The Journeyman:

The Commons: Book 1: The Journeyman
Series:
Publisher:
Published: June 19, 2014
Author's Twitter: @michaelapeck
 “Paul Reid died in the snow at seventeen. The day of his death, he told a lie–and for the rest of his life, he wondered if that was what killed him.” And so begins the battle for the afterlife, known as The Commons. It’s been taken over by a corporate raider who uses the energy of its souls to maintain his brutal control. The result is an imaginary landscape of a broken America-stuck in time and overrun by the heroes, monsters, dreams, and nightmares of the imprisoned dead. Three people board a bus to nowhere: a New York street kid, an Iraq War veteran, and her five-year-old special-needs son. After a horrific accident, they are the last, best hope for The Commons to free itself. Along for the ride are a shotgun-toting goth girl, a six-foot-six mummy, a mute Shaolin monk with anger-management issues, and the only guide left to lead them. Three Journeys: separate but joined. One mission: to save forever. But first they have to save themselves.

Reviewed by Katt Pemble

4 Stars

I don’t really know what to say after finishing The Journeyman… my mind is still whirring around putting things together, rehashing scenes from the start that held hidden meanings that only revealed themselves after you’ve finished the book.

My first thought was around how instantly engaging and interesting the story was, even though it began as a slice-of-life type of story. The first few chapters welcomed the reader into Paul’s world, showed a young man who had struggled through life, had been beaten to the curb time and time again.

Annie and Zach also added to the delightfully well-constructed characters. I especially liked that they were both a bit different from the traditional characters. Zach appeared to be on the spectrum, while Annie is a strong minded, single mother, data analyst and injured war veteran.

Brilliantly different and yet, someone that just about anyone could relate to on some level.

The idea of a purgatory or interim afterlife has been done before, but not with this sort of fantastical element. When the book changes from slice-of-life to The Commons the whole world is turned on its head. This left me a little lost as to what was happening, and while a little disorienting, the fast pace meant you really couldn’t stay focused on that for too long.

This will either encourage the reader to just ‘go with it’ or potentially put them off completely (which is what I’ve seen in a couple of the other reviews). For me, the unanswered questions around what was happening and who all the new people were, was more intriguing than annoying. But I can completely understand how some people would get ‘over it’ quickly.

My biggest criticism, and probably the only one really, is to do with the pace of the book. The action starts at chapter 5, and it does not stop until you read the last line of the book. Now, at times, this works brilliantly. The epic battles and racing through dark tunnels was fantastic at a frantic pace, but normally as a reader you need some slower parts. Parts that allow you to digest what has happened and to form intricate and emotional bonds with the characters; It’s a part that was almost missed because of the frantic pace.

The emotional impact of one of the pivotal sad moments in the story was a mere molehill to me because of my lack of emotional attachment to the characters. The reaction that should have occurred was nowhere to be seen because my level of emotional commitment to the character was still in its infancy. Had there been a few softer, quieter moments with this character, ones to forge emotional bonds with, then I’d probably have been crying like a baby at that climatic scene. I wanted to, I really did.

Are you crying?

This isn’t to say that Michael can’t make the reader care about the characters, because he does. I really felt for little Zach and felt my heart lurch along with Annie’s as she worked her way through the puzzles along her journey, but these scenes were about characters that’d been with me the whole way through the book. I knew something of them, I wanted to read more about them and experience things with them.

When it comes to antagonists, Michael really shone. Mr Brill was insidious in his evilness and yet, still not out and out creepy. There was an intelligence about him and a polished exterior that was somewhat misleading. I also liked his little side-kick Gerald Truitt, he was an interesting character. I can see bigger things for him too.

All in all, this is a fantastic book. One that is well written, flawlessly edited and thoroughly engaging. If you want to try something that’ll get your imagination flowing, pick this book up today, you will not be disappointed.

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review***