Review: The Black Swan Inheritance by Marigold Deidre Dicer

The Black Swan Inheritance by Marigold Deidre Dicer

Title: The Black Swan Inheritance (The Black Swan Series, 1)
Author: Marigold Deidre Dicer
Genre: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Smashwords Edition (November 2014)
Source: The author/Smashwords
Blurb:

Anita had the kind of reputation in high school that no one wants to carry into adulthood, especially since she wants to be a doctor like her dad. Now at university, she is determined to be good, but one little end-of-semester celebration can’t hurt, right? Well, it can if she ends up having a one-night stand with a werewolf that triggers a dark awakening. Turns out Anita’s over-active libido has become more than something hormonal – it’s magical.
The Black Swan is a powerful legacy that brings both temptation and danger. Having now inherited the title and all that comes with it, Anita finds herself beset upon by ancient abominations that won’t take no for an answer. No wonder the Black Swan had been driven to seclusion and banishment in the past. But Anita is determined not to run away – she is here to help, whether the medieval dragon-wolf or the undead cultists want it or not.
She will be no one’s pawn. She will rise to the challenge.
If she can just manage to deal with her own flaws first. Anxiety, panic-attacks, and bouts of bitchiness does not a successful diplomat make.
Rating: ** (2 stars)
Review:
THE BLACK SWAN INHERITANCE is the first book in Marigold Deidre Dicer’s BLACK SWAN series. The story is set in Australia and follows the story of Anita as she settles into life at university, trying to be a different girl than the one she was in high school. Anita is determined to reach her goal of becoming a doctor like her father. Life, however, decides that her path won’t be quite as easy as she’d like.

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Review: Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

Title: Murder of Crows (A Novel of The Others, 2)
Author: Anne Bishop
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: ROC (4th March 2014)
Blurb:

Return to New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop’s “phenomenal”* world of the Others – where supernatural entities and humans struggle to coexist and one woman has begun to change the rules . . .

After winning the trust of the Others residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murders of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard – Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader – wonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or of a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet – and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

* Urban Fantasy Investigations

Rating: ***** (5 stars)
Review:

MURDER OF CROWS is the second book in Anne Bishop’s fantastic THE OTHERS series. It continues the story of Meg Corbyn, who we first meet in WRITTEN IN RED (review), a cassandra sangue who wants to live a ‘normal’ life. Meg has survived so far, and slowly adjusted to the world outside but prophecy still calls to her, and as events in the world build the desire to cut and see the future grows.

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Review: Kinked by Thea Harrison

Kinked by Thea Harrison, UK cover.

Title: Kinked (The Elder Races, 6)
Author: Thea Harrison
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (5th November 2013)
Blurb:

Two opponents must confront the cause of their obsessive fury in the latest novel of the Elder Races . . .

As a harpy, Sentinel Aryal is accustomed to dealing with hate, but Sentinel Quentin Caeravorn manages to inspire in her a burning unlike anything she’s ever known. Aryal believes the new sentinel to be a criminal, and vows to take him out as soon as the opportunity arises. But the harpy’s incessant wrath has pushed Quentin to the limit, and forces him to make a deadly vow of his own.

To put an end to the conflict, Dragos, Lord of the Wyr, sends them on a reconnaissance mission to the Elven land of Numenlaur. Forced to work together, Aryal and Quentin’s antagonism escalates. Each fight draws forth more passion – culminating in an explosively sexual confrontation. But when their mission reveals real danger, Aryal and Quentin must resolve their differences in ways beyond the physical, before the entire Wyr is threatened . . .

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

KINKED is the sixth book in Thea Harrison’s spectacular THE ELDER RACES series. Set not long after the previous book in the series LORD’S FALL (review), KINKED tells the story of Aryal (no last name) and Quentin Caeravorn two of Dragos’s Sentinels. Their dislike of one another and the ensuing fights force Dragos to send them on a mission to the Elven land of Numenlaur to sort out their differences once and for all. Like the previous books in the series KINKED is very definitely a book which is aimed at an adult audience.

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Review: The Hollows Insider by Kim Harrison

The Hollows Insider by Kim Harrison

Title: The Hollows Insider (The Hollows #9.5)
Author: Kim Harrison
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager (1st September 2013)
Blurb:

ENTER THE WORLD OF THE HOLLOWS LIKE NEVER BEFORE!

In the Hollows, the supernatural Inderlander rule, and humanity must abide by their conventions, or else.

To survive among vampires, witches, Weres, gargoyles, trolls, fairies, and banshees – to say nothing of demons – humanity needs a guide. And now, written by Kim Harrison herself, here is an insider’s look at the supernatural world of the Hollows, from an overarching new story to character profiles, maps, spell guides, charm recipes, secret correspondence from elusive Trent Kalamack, and much more.

One misfired spell that burned off his hair is all it took to send investigative reporter Devin Crossman on a mission to uncover all the secrets of Rachel Morgan and expose them to the world.

Collected here are all his notebook entries and a treasure trove of evidence, including maps, species profiles, magic spells, documents from Inderland Security, Takata’s song lyrics, Betty Bob’s recipes, Ley Line Charms, entries from the Were Registry, articles from The Hollows Gazette, and many more documents that cast light into regions of the Hollows that have never been revealed.

But Crossman’s one-man war has not gone unnoticed . . .

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

THE HOLLOWS INSIDER by Kim Harrison is a guide-book come side story to her superb Urban Fantasy series THE HOLLOWS, which follows the story of Rachel Morgan. THE HOLLOWS INSIDER tells the story of investigative reporter Devin Crossman, who gets caught in a misfired spell. The book documents his research into the witch who cast the spell (Rachel Morgan) and the conclusions he draws. Unfortunately, Crossman’s research does not go unnoticed.

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Review: Ever After by Kim Harrison

Ever After by Kim Harrison (US edition cover)

Title: Ever After (The Hollows #11)
Author: Kim Harrison
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager (22nd January 2013)
Blurb:

The ever-after, the demonic realm that parallels our own, is shrinking, and if it disappears, so does all magic. It’s up to witch-turned-daywalking-demon Rachel Morgan to fix the ever-after before the fragile balance between magic users and humans falls apart.

Of course, there’s also the small fact that Rachel is the one who caused the ley line to rip in the first place, and her life is forfeit unless she can fix it. Not to mention the most powerful demon in the ever-after – the soul-eater Ku’Sox Sha-Ku-ru – has vowed to destroy her, and has kidnapped her friend and her goddaughter as leverage. If Rachel doesn’t give herself up, they will die.

Forced by circumstance, Rachel teams up with elven tycoon Trent Kalamack – a partnership fraught with dangers of the heart as well as betrayal of the soul – to return to the ever-after and rescue those she loves. One world teeters on the brink of interspecies war, the other on the brink of its very demise – and it’s up to Rachel to keep them both from being destroyed.

Rating: ***** (5 stars)
Review:

EVER AFTER is the eleventh installment of Kim Harrison’s fantastic THE HOLLOWS series. At this point in the series Harrison is starting to wrap things up, and answer some of the threads that have been left dangling in previous books in the series – I believe there will only be thirteen books to the series. In this book Rachel Morgan has to deal with the repercussions of her fight with Ku’Sox and trapping him in the ever-after, as he is not a demon to cross lightly – he threatens to destroy everything with his desire for revenge.

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Review: Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton

Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton (UK edition)

Title: Affliction (An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Novel, #22)
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Headline (2nd July 2013)
Blurb:

HAD EVERYONE BITTEN TONIGHT CAUGHT THIS? THE OTHER BITES HAD NO LOOKED LIKE VAMPIRE BITES. THEY’D BEEN ZOMBIE, OR HUMAN LOOKING. WAS THIS INFECTION SOMETHING THAT VAMPIRES AND SHAPESHIFTERS COULD CATCH? IF IT WAS, THEN IT WAS SOMETHING NEW.

Some zombies are raised. Others must be put down. Just ask me, Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter.

Before now, I figured I could handle them. Before now, I had never heard of them causing human beings to perish in such agony. But that’s all changed.

Micah’s estranged father lies dying, rotting away inside from some strange ailment that his doctors whispering about ‘zombie disease’.

I make my living from zombies – but these aren’t the kind I know so well. These creatures hunt in daylight, and are as fast and strong as vampires. If they bite you, you become just like them. And round and round it goes . . .

Where will it stop? Even I don’t know.

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

AFFLICTION is the twenty-second book in Laurell K. Hamilton’s epic ANITA BLAKE, VAMPIRE HUNTER series. It has been twenty years since the first book in Hamilton’s series GUILTY PLEASURES was published in 1993, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for writing this series for so long. In AFFLICTION the action hits a little too close to home. Anita gets a phone call from Micah’s estranged family that his father is dying from a strange rotting disease and has days to live. Once out there, Anita gets dragged into a very strange case.

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Review: Lord’s Fall by Thea Harrison

Lord’s Fall by Thea Harrison

Title: Lord’s Fall (A Novel of the Elder Races, 5)
Author: Thea Harrison
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (6th November 2012)
Blurb:

In the latest Novel of the Elder Races, two mates find themselves on different paths, torn between their duty to the Wyr and the passion that binds them . . .

Before she met Dragos, half-human/half-wyr Pia Giovanni was alone and on the run. Now she’s mated, pregnant and heading south to repair the Wyr’s frayed relationship with the Elves. Being separated from Dragos is painful, but for the good of the Wyr demesne they need to figure out how to be partners – in more places than just the bedroom.

In New York to preside over the Sentinel Games, Dragos is worried about his mate, but knows that finding two replacement sentinels is essential to show the rest of the Elder Races just how strong and brutal the Wyr demesne can be. But as the games heat up, Pia’s negotiations with the Elves take a turn for the dangerous, straining her bond with Dragos and threatening everything they hold dear . . .

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

Lord’s Fall is the fifth book in the Novel of the Elder Races series and it takes place six months after the events in the preceding four novels, and features many of the characters that appear in them. Having lost two of his seven sentinels Dragos is forced to replace them not only to keep the Wyr demesne functioning but also to prove to those watching that he is still a force to be reckoned with. Pia takes the opportunity of the Sentinel Games to try to fix the trouble she and Dragos caused with the Elves in Dragon Bound. Like Dragon Bound, Storm’s Heart, Serpent’s Kiss, and Oracle’s MoonLord’s Fall is very definitely a book – and a series – which is aimed at an adult audience.

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Review: Serpent’s Kiss by Thea Harrison

Serpent’s Kiss by Thea Harrison

Title: Serpent’s Kiss (A Novel of the Elder Races, 3)
Author: Thea Harrison
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (5th July 2012)
Blurb:

In the lastest Novel of the Elder Races, a queen on the brink of sanity has no one to rely on except the Wyr warrior whose conviction is every bit as strong as his passion . . .

In order to save his friend’s life, Wyr sentinel Rune Ainissesthai made a bargain with vampire Queen Carling – without knowing what she would ask from him in return. But when Rune attempts to make good on his debt, he finds a woman on the edge.

Recently, Carling’s power has become erratic, forcing her followers to flee in fear. Despite the danger, Rune is drawn to the ailing queen and decides to help her find the cure for the serpent’s kiss – the vampyric disease that’s killing her. With their desire for each other escalating just as quickly as Carling’s instability spirals out of control, the sentinel and the queen will have to rely on each other if they have any hope of surviving the serpent’s kiss . . .

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

Serpent’s Kiss is the third book in the Novel of The Elder Races series, although it is not a direct sequel to either Dragon Bound or Storm’s Heart. Instead Serpent’s Kiss takes characters from both books and draws them on to the centre stage. We see Rune in both Dragon Bound and Storm’s Heart, though Carling doesn’t appear until Storm’s Heart. It is interesting to see both Rune and Carling step forward and become the protagonists in Serpent’s Kiss, and to read Harrison fleshing the characters out. Like Dragon Bound and Storm’s Heart, Serpent’s Kiss is very definitely a book – and a series – which is aimed at an adult audience.

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Review: Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE MERCY THOMPSON SERIES AS FROST BURNED IS THE SEVENTH BOOK IN THAT SERIES.

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs (UK edition)

Title: Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson novel, 7)
Author: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit (5th March 2013)
Blurb:

MECHANIC. SHAPESHIFTER. FIGHTER.

Now that she’s the mate of Alpha werewolf Adam, Mercy Thompson’s life finally seems to be calming down – but not for long. After a traffic accident, Mercy suddenly can’t reach Adam or the rest of the pack. All she knows is that Adam is angry and in pain.

If Adam’s disappearance has anything to do with the werewolves’ fight for public acceptance, it means the entire pack is in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy will have to seek help from an unlikely ally – no matter how grave the consequences.

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson Novels is one of my favourite urban fantasy series, so when the seventh book was published I snapped it up. One of the things I most enjoy about the Mercy Thompson Novels is the way Briggs uses humour: Mercy (or, to use her full name, Mercedes) is a Volkswagen mechanic. That just makes me smile.

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Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Title: Written in Red (A Novel of The Others, 1)
Author: Anne Bishop
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: ROC (5th March 2013)
Blurb:

No one creates realms like New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop. Now, in a thrilling new fantasy series, enter a world inhabited by the Others, unearthly entities – vampires and shape-shifers among them – who rule the earth and whose prey are humans.

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut – a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard – a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide whether she’s worth the fight between humans and Others that will surely follow.

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

Having read Anne Bishop’s The Black Jewels series and loved the first books, but been left pretty ambivalent about the later ones, and read her The Tir Alainn Trilogy and thought it was okay when I heard the first whispers of Written in Red I was intrigued. Once I read the blurb I knew I wanted to read to read the book, and I was not disappointed.

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