Tag Archives: Urban Fantasy

The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1) – Melissa Grey

The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1) – Melissa GreyTitle: The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1) by Melissa Grey
Publishing Info: April 28, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Gift
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 29, 2017

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants…and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

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I’ve heard so many good things about THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT and with having the second and third books on audio from the publisher, I figured it was finally time to buy the first from Audible to get the series binge going!

This book really reminded me a lot of Daughter of Smoke & Bone and The Conspiracy of Us with a little urban fantasy feel. The tone of the book was fun, with Echo’s sass and sarcasm (always something I enjoy as long as it’s done well) and some nice friendships…

… But the ragtag group of misfits don’t really jive. They all have different personalities and they sort of seem to be fighting each other, not outwardly as character arguments but the personalities just aren’t meshing for me. It really does feel garbled together and not like the misfit group of characters like The Dregs, who are all misfits but all have the same goal and same attitude towards life.

THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT was a fun story but it felt sort of… average in a lot of ways. I’ll admit, the hype really got to me after seeing a lot of fan-girling reviews so I had some very high expectations. The story was enjoyable BUT I’m not sure it was really worth the hype. One thing I was really missing was the world-building throughout the entire book. I was all for the worlds of the Avicen and the Drakharin but… why do they exist? What are they all about? Were they always in the shadows of the human world, in hidden places or did they have to move there? How did this whole war get started? Who pissed off who? Tell me more about the magic, the history, the reasoning… We got a little of Echo’s backstory and how she ended up being taken in by the Avicen but, did she never question who they were and why they existed and why people don’t know about t them?

I have some more spoilery thoughts about the romance and the actual hunt of the Firebird, but I do try to keep my blog reviews spoiler-free so if you want to peek at spoilery thoughts, you can go check out my Goodreads review where you can peek behind the spoiler tags!

The more I talk about the book, the more unhappy I am with it. It just didn’t seem to really do much. It wasn’t intolerable and I had planned on continuing the series binge but I picked up the second book and my heart just wasn’t into it. I stopped my journey with this series after book one and I don’t find myself missing anything.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Unique fantasy concepts. The Avicen were an interesting creation and I always like reading about new concepts where I can!
Left Me Wanting More: Base. This book just needed more world-building, a bit more character base, and needed to feel a bit more grounded. It just felt very… new.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

I have some friends who loved this one but this was a very middle-of-the-road read for me that ended up teetering towards the side of indifference. I just didn’t really care to keep going.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

The Edge of Everything – Jeff Giles

The Edge of Everything – Jeff GilesTitle: The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
Publishing Info: January 31, 2017 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 27, 2016

It's been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who's still reeling from her father's shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors' mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods--only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.
X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe's evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands' rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.

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I was fortunate enough to read THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING incredibly early when Bloomsbury asked me to include a blurb for the ARC! (Eee!) it’s a weird thing to sit on a review for half a year but I knew I had to write some things down after reading, otherwise I’d never be able to form coherent thoughts when reviewing!

THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING was a really unique novel for me. If you’re looking for a feel, I’d thrown out EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton (the Underworld aspect) meets DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor (the forbidden romance). THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING is about Zoe, the quirky yet girl-next-door type who meets a bounty hunter from hell —  literally. When Zoe meets X, her entire world is turned upside down in so many ways and it was incredibly interesting to see the ways that she and her family were affected by X’s appearance.

The book started off a little slow for me, but not in a bad way. X appears on the scene and Zoe can clearly see that he’s not quite human so after the first few chapters, the first half of the book is a lot more character development and set-up before it hits some of that world-building that I love. The delay in action really had me focused on the characters and their clear pull towards each other which was definitely important for some plot points down the road! It was also a bit slower, I think, because the concept took a bit of figuring out. This really wasn’t like many books I’ve read before so I was trying to place it into a genre (Fantasy? Paranormal? Mystery?) and figure out how everything really worked. My advice is to just let the book take you where it will and don’t try to put this one in a box! There are lots of elements at work and things came together really well in the second half of the book!

I was hoping for a bit more world-building regarding the Lowlands earlier on the book but I’m such a sucker for that kind of stuff that I was just dying to know what it was all about. It’s not quite Hell or the Underworld as we “know” it so I was so curious to explore the different rules and regulations, functionality, and why it was so important in Zoe’s story line. There was a lot to explore there and I was curious to investigate this dark side and how it maintained balance in the world. I will admit that I was hoping for a bit more in this book BUT there is still a lot to explore in upcoming novels which I’m pretty excited for!

I didn’t know this was a series when I started since I read it so early but I’m actually really glad it is! Once I really got into the book, I was so curious about really everything and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next! There’s so much more exploring that I want to do and I’m really excited to see where Jeff Giles takes his readers. I see so much potential for even more development and I can’t wait to see where this story goes!

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Paranormal concepts. This was kind of fantasy, kind of paranormal, kind of urban fantasy…? I loved the unique mix and it was such a unique read!
Left Me Wanting More: Developement. I just wanted a BIT more development of the world and romance!

Addiction Rating
Try it!

This was a really interesting and unique read and I think it’s a great selection for fans of Brodi Ashton and Laini Taylor!

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BOOKS LIKE THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING    DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge – Paul Krueger

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge – Paul KruegerTitle: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger
Publishing Info: June 7, 201 by Quirk Books
Genres: Adult, New Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 23, 2016

A sharp and funny urban fantasy for “new adults” about a secret society of bartenders who fight monsters with alcohol fueled magic.
College grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever—or whoever—is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore.

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I immediately jumped on the chance to read LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE after seeing it in Shelf Awareness and at BEA 2016. Quirk Books asked me to be a part of the blog tour and with a description that calls it “Harry Potter for adults,” naturally I couldn’t refuse. I was also anxious to check out the new adult/adult feel of the book and watch magic and mixology collide!

What I loved the most about this book was the magic of mixology. There’s a magical underground where bartenders are the keepers of the paranormal and mixing just the perfect drink provides them with special powers in the form of some sort of physical or mental strength. I really, really loved this concept because it was something that I’ve truly never seen before. I loved the unique magical system and how there was a real structure for each power that the drink endowed. The type of liquor determined whether an ability was mental or physical and the various ingredients affected, enhanced, or shaped that overall idea. It was so neat and really well done! The only thing was that it was so well structured that I would loved to have had more details on each drink like maybe some sort of chart, or even just spent more time really getting into what each cocktail did. Most of them were mentioned as the characters were using them but I would have loved a little lesson within the book breaking things down even more. It’s the fantasy-nerd and school-nerd in me! If there happened to be a sequel (which I’d totally read), I’d love for even more detail!

I really enjoyed the tone of the book as well! It was quite entertaining and maintained a lighter tone with characters who made bad jokes, silly puns, fun atmosphere, and a just a really great cast. The terrors were dark but the feeling was light and I really love that sort of feel in an urban fantasy sort of setting. The book wasn’t terribly long but it was easy reading that also made it breeze by!

I think overall, LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE could have used a little “more” — a little more background, a little more detail, a little more plot, a little more romance — but despite that, I really did enjoy it! It was still a solid read but if there’s ever a sequel for some random reason, I’d love to see more development come in book two. I guess that means I just have to check out future works from Paul Krueger, which I am definitely interested in doing! 
view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Mixology. I’m not a cocktail girl (I’m a beer girl)  but I loved the involvement of alcohol as a magical element in this book. It was just so much fun and so original!
Left Me Wanting More: Magical details. When it comes down to it, I just really wanted more details on the magic system. I’m nerdy like that and would have loved some sort of chart or a more detailed lesson in the book because it was so cool and I thought it totally deserved some more page time!

Addiction Rating
Read it

This book was just a lot of fun and if you’re up for something not YA and pretty original, you should really check this one out!

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BOOKS LIKE LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

WHITE CAT    HOLD ME CLOSER NECROMANCER

Blog Tour: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger | Guest Post

Blog Tour: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger | Guest Post

Welcome to the blog tour for
LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE

Today I’m sharing my blog post for LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE by Paul Krueger! It’s the perfect book for bookworms who love a good beverage and it’s also billed for adult fans of Harry Potter — so how can you pass that up?? Drinks + magic = my kind of book.

Before we jump into the tour, let’s take a second to check out some details about the book:

Blog Tour: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger | Guest PostTitle: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger
Publishing Info: June 7, 2016 by Quirk Books
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 7, 2016
Related Posts: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

A sharp and funny urban fantasy for “new adults” about a secret society of bartenders who fight monsters with alcohol fueled magic.
College grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever—or whoever—is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore.

GUEST POST: WHAT’S ON TAP?

I’d just moved to LA, a city where I had zero job prospects and barely knew anyone, when I first got the idea for Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge. I was going through a lot at the time and knew I’d have to be disciplined in its writing, so of course I lost a whole day creating a fifteen-track playlist for it. It was necessary, okay? 

I’ve gone through some of the list’s highlights here—though they’re all highlights, aren’t they?—so pour yourself a strong drink and follow along. 

“Once Again,” Leftover Cuties
This song and band happened to me right around the time I started writing the very first draft of Last Call. The story’s evolved wildly from draft to draft, but this song has followed it everywhere it’s gone. It’s the perfect combination of sultry, playful, and mournful—like the last whiskey of a good, long night.

“Come On! Feel the Illinoise!” Sufjan Stevens
This song strikes up in my head whenever I land in O’Hare. I love how it starts so upbeat and exciting, then slowly segues into something more relaxed but no less propulsive. The obvious choice from Stevens’ album Illinois would’ve been the radio- and indie movie soundtrack-friendly “Chicago,” but I’m too much of a dirty hipster to go for the low-hanging fruit.

“El Capitan,” Steelwells
Sometimes, you put a song on a playlist so you can look back on it later to remind yourself of what your life was like back when you made it. But sometimes, you put a song on a playlist because it’s just a damn good song. “El Capitan” is a damn good song.

“Alex Chilton,” The Replacements
Paul Westerberg is a raw nerve of a songwriter, and one of the finest to ever come out of the American Midwest. “Alex Chilton” was one of my high school standards, and every time I listen to it my pulse quickens like I’m back in the throes of my first real crush.

“Can’t Face Up,” Sloan
Sloan are the first and last name in Canadian power pop, which is a more competitive category than you’d think. “Can’t Face Up” is, to me, the perfect accompaniment to Bailey and Zane’s relationship: a story of two people who care about each other a lot, and whose respective prides will always stop them from being able to really hear each other.

“Holland, 1945,” Neutral Milk Hotel
Remember earlier when I called myself a dirty hipster? Then this song’s presence on this list probably isn’t that surprising.

“Head Underwater,” Jenny Lewis
Something about the lyric “There’s a little bit of magic//everybody has it” lodged it into my brain from the moment I first heard it. I slipped it into Zane’s dialogue in the book itself, and when I’m absentmindedly humming the song to myself, I’ll still bother to sing that specific lyric, even if I don’t sing any others.

“I Eat Boys Like You For Breakfast,” Ida Maria
Simply put, this is the song I chose for the moment Bailey decides to be 100% over Zane’s bullshit. It’s a little on the nose, but the snarly horns it features throughout more than make a case for it anyway.

“A Dog From Hell (and his good advice),” Damion Suomi & the Minor Prophets
I’ve got more than a few issues with Charles Bukowski as a writer, but I can’t deny his poetry makes for damn fine lyrics when Damion Suomi sets them to music. This is loud and raucous, perfect to throw on when you can get a drunken choir to back you up.

“Stadium Love,” Metric
“Stadium Love” is the ideal capstone to Last Call. It’s big and triumphant as a mascot balloon on parade, and its lyrics are all about animals fighting other animals. It’s just a big, kickass exclamation point of a song, and I knew I wanted it at the end of my sentence.

Paul Krueger is a fantasy writer and cocktail connoisseur whose work has appeared in the Sword & Laser anthology. He lives in Los Angeles.Krueger Paul 2_Credit Canaan Triplett

Don’t miss the rest of the blog tour stops!

A big, big thanks to Paul Krueger for the awesome guest post today and Quirk Books for having me be a part of this blog tour! I hope you guys enjoyed the playlist! I just love it. There are some amazing songs on there!!

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Necromancer #1) – Lish McBride

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Necromancer #1) – Lish McBrideTitle: Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Necromancer #1) by Lish McBride
Publishing Info: October 12, 2010 by Macmillan
Source: Purchased
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 26, 2015

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he's doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.
Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.
With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with new-found friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

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When I first received FIREBUG as a review copy from Macmillan, I hadn’t realized it was tied into Lish McBride’s previous two Necromancer books. Once I did, I quickly purchased them and put FIREBUG on hold… and like many books I purchase, there they sat for a long time. When we designated HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER as an On the Same Page read, I was excited to finally dive in and it proved to be a really fun read just like I had hoped!

NECROMANCER was the perfect read for around Halloween (which was when we read it for On the Same Page)! It was such a fun combination of paranormal, horror, and comedy (which is really how I like my horror… I’m such a chicken) and I instantly picked up on the humor. The levity of the tone made it a quick and easy read and if I didn’t have a reading schedule planned for the rest of the year at that point, I probably would have sailed right on through NECROMANCING THE STONE and FIREBUG too!

NECROMANCER was a totally addictive read. The characters were so much fun and I adored Sam and his friends. They had a great report and always kept me laughing but at the same time, you could easily see strong their friendship was and how much they cared for each other. We also get to see some of Sam’s family when he goes to his mom and sister for help later on in the book and I really loved their bond as well. Each character really brightened the book and pulled me further into the story!

I don’t really read a lot of paranormal and/or urban fantasy any more but when I do, this is totally my type. Usually it gets a bit silly when there are so many “supes” (supernatural beings, you know) but since NECROMANCER was already designed to be humorous, Lish McBride does a great job at combining all of these supernatural aspects into one book and is able to poke fun at some of the characters and how they come together. It actually came together really well for me and since I was already enjoying the comedy, I really had more of an “anything goes” attitude instead of trying to take the book more seriously and analyze why or why not something might work.

This book was really so much fun and I love snarky and hilarious leads. Sam really carried the book and each character just made the book that much more enjoyable. I’m definitely a new fan of Lish McBride and I can’t wait to read more from her!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

necromancer gr updates

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Sam // Character Obsessions: Friends, loyalty, figuring out his powers. 
Sam was just SUCH a fun character. I loved his mix of sarcasm and humor. He was apathetic at times but he still had a strong loyalty and emotional connection to his family and friends. I really enjoyed getting to know him in this book!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Urban Fantasy. I’ve sort of fallen out of love with paranormal and urban fantasy (maybe the whole over-saturation of vampire books killed it… even though I did love vampire books at the time) so I don’t pick up too many any more… But since I’ve been pickier, it seems like I’ve made a few good choices! I tend to like the lighter urban fantasy more than serious.
Left Me Wanting More: Surprises. Really, I didn’t feel like the book was lacking anything BUT the only thing I could think of would be if there were a few more twists/shocking moments/surprises. That could have added an extra “wow” factor!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This book was so much fun. It’s great if you’re hesitant about paranormal or urban fantasy and are willing to give it a shot. I love the male POV in combination with the humor and sarcasm too. This book totally nailed it for me.

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BOOKS LIKE HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

WHITE CAT    STEELHEART


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I read HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER with my gals from On the Same Page! Don’t miss Amy and Alyssa‘s posts today as they feature the book in different ways!

Mini-Review: Black Heart (Curse Workers #3) – Holly Black

Mini-Review: Black Heart (Curse Workers #3) – Holly BlackTitle: Black Heart (Curse Workers #3) by Holly Black
Publishing Info: April 3, 2012 by Source: Audible
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 6, 2015
Related Posts: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, White Cat (Curse Workers #1), Red Glove (Curse Workers #2)

Cassel Sharpe has the most deadly ability of all. With one touch, he can transform any object - including a person - into something else entirely. And that makes him a wanted man. The Feds are willing to forgive all his past crimes if he'll only leave his con artist family behind and go straight. But why does going straight feel so crooked?
For one thing, it means being on the opposite side of the law from Lila, the girl he loves. She's the daughter of a mob boss and getting ready to join the family business herself. Though Cassel is pretty sure she can never love him back, he can't stop obsessing over her. Which would be bad enough, even if her father wasn't keeping Cassel's mother prisoner in a posh apartment and threatening not to let her leave until she returns the priceless diamond she scammed off him years ago. Too bad she can't remember where she put it.
The Feds say they need Cassel to get rid of a powerful man who is spinning dangerously out of control. But if they want Cassel to use his unique talent to hurt people, what separates the good guys from the bad ones? Or is everyone just out to con him?
Time is running out, and all Cassel's magic and cleverness might not be enough to save him. With no easy answers and no one he can trust, love might be the most dangerous gamble of all.

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Just a mini-review today for BLACK HEART! I finished Holly Black’s Curse Worker series and really enjoyed it all throughout, but I sat down to write my review for BLACK HEART and found myself at a loss for words! Really, it’s just a bit of a recap of the whole series, a lot of which I said in my RED GLOVE review:

  • I really love the overall tone of these books! I don’t know if I’d call Cassel and anti-hero but I DO love how he’s not all “good guy”. There are definitely many shades of gray when it comes to doing the morally right thing and what exactly it means to be “right” (Legal? Illegal? Right for his family? Right for his friends? Right for himself?) and I loved that the answer wasn’t always clear!
  • Magic + mobsters = so much fun. I’m don’t think I’ve read many books with a mobster story line (most crime-family themes have been in passing in the books I’ve read) but this one was fun! I really liked how that played into the entire plot and involved Cassel’s family and therefore ended up pulling him into it.
  • I really enjoyed the magical elements of this book too! It was interesting that the Curse Workers really got pushed into crime families and it was more organized crime than vigilante justice or individual villains. And that it was hard to identify someone as a Curse Worker unless you witnessed them using their powers or that you were wearing an amulet that broke after they tried to curse you! It was a great take on the concept that really made it more urban fantasy rather than paranormal.

Overall, the series had some really interesting twists that I enjoyed BUT I also thought there was room for a few more twists. I really enjoyed everything from start to finish, though! I constantly loved the feel of the books and couldn’t praise that enough throughout my reads and reviews. The audio was a ton of fun with Jesse Eisenberg narrating and it’s one I’d recommend for a fun, snarky, and a little bit of a dark read!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

black heart gr updates

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BOOKS LIKE BLACK HEART

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN     POSSESS

Red Glove (Curse Workers #2) – Holly Black

Red Glove (Curse Workers #2) – Holly BlackTitle: Red Glove (Curse Workers #2) by Holly Black
Publishing Info: April 5, 2011 by Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 21, 2015
Related Posts: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, White Cat (Curse Workers #1), Black Heart (Curse Workers #3)

After rescuing his brothers from Zacharov’s retribution, Cassel is trying to reestablish some kind of normalcy in his life. That was never going to be easy for someone from a worker family that’s tied to one of the big crime families—and whose mother’s cons get more reckless by the day. But Cassel is coming to terms with what it means to be a worker, and he’s figuring out how to have friends.
Except normal doesn’t last very long. Soon Cassel is being courted by both sides of the law and is forced to confront his past—a past he remembers only in scattered fragments, and one that could destroy his family and his future. Cassel will have to decide whose side he wants to be on, because neutrality is not an option. And then he will have to pull off his biggest con ever to survive….

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I’ve always been fairly picky about my urban fantasy but I picked up WHITE CAT last year when I was looking for an audiobook to borrow from my library and it sealed the deal when I found out that Jesse Eisenberg narrates! I loved the book but definitely wanted to continue on audio so it took me a while to finally read RED GLOVE because my library never got it in! I gave in and used an Audible credit because I was in the perfect mood to fall back into this world and I’m so glad I picked it back up!

The thing I love the most about these books is really just the feel. Like I said, I’m not a huge urban fantasy fan but I really love how the magic system and curse working just fits so perfectly into the normal world, like that’s the way life really is. (Also loved the line in this book about alternate universes and how somewhere there’s a universe where this magic doesn’t exist. Hee! Ours!!!) The tone of the book is just excellent. I love Cassel’s sarcasm, the sneakiness of his family, and the sliminess of the crime families. Mob + magic is a great combination and I love the way they blend here!

I really enjoy the sort of gray area that is pervasive throughout the book. There is obvious bad but Cassel is always somewhere sort of in the middle. His family isn’t full of bad people but they don’t always do good things and when you’re a worker, it’s hard not to get mixed up in the underbelly of society with crimelords bidding on your talents. I really liked witnessing Cassel’s actions and decisions as he keeps all of this in mind. He errs on the side of good but I just love that little gray area that makes it okay to root for a con artist, bookie, and liar.

Like the first book, I was never totally blown away but my interest was always held! There’s just something about this series that has me hooked. It doesn’t hold the most twists out there but there are definitely some good surprises and it was great to be kept guessing! view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Cassel Sharpe // Character Obsessions: Bets, magic, family, Lila.
I really like Cassel a lot! That male POV… I just love sarcastic and witty male leads and that is Cassel in a nutshell! As I said before, I also really love how he falls in this gray area. He’s been growing up with crime all around him and despite it all, he really is leaning towards the good… but not TOO good because we still get to see him participate in a lot of hijinks!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Urban Fantasy. I don’t really read a lot of urban fantasy. I’m not sure why but it just doesn’t always appeal to me so I usually pick those reads very carefully! (Maybe all the vampire books wore me out? I’m not sure.) I’m so glad I picked up this series because I just LOVE the feel of the books and the characters are so fantastic.
Left Me Wanting More: OMG moments. The plot is great BUT if there was anything I would wish for, it would be a couple more twists or surprises. I don’t think it really needed it but that definitely would have hooked me that much more!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

These books are just so much fun. If you haven’t read them yet, definitely get them on your TBR!

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BOOKS LIKE RED GLOVE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN     POSSESS

On the Same Page: Sunshine by Robin McKinley

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ON THE SAME PAGE: SUNSHINE by Robin McKinley
Relationships with a Vampire

Some might say the vampire trend is dying out — maybe some people are sick of the fad, others were never crazy about it in the first place, or it’s just been overdone — but reading SUNSHINE this month with my gals from On the Same Page reminded me what’s so fun about vampires and urban fantasy! One thing that really sticks out to me friendship that Sunshine and Constantine formed. I really loved their interactions and I definitely felt a combination of both suspense and that sense of attraction as well  — something about the combination of this and how their relationship came to be just clicked for me. I can already heard the immediate groans just THINKING about other vampire relationships/romances (*cough*Twilight*cough*) and fair enough! So it got me thinking exactly what DOES work when reading about romancing the undead (at least for me) and I had a lot of fun with that!

SUNSHINE + CONSTANTINE: SUNSHINE

Sunshine and Constantine had a… symbiotic relationship. Yes, they had a bit of an attraction to each other but they really ended up depending on each other to survive and avoid/defeat Constantine’s rival vampire gang and I really felt like Sunshine’s attraction to Con was also in part due to her fascination of him. He was a vampire and the one anomaly that seemed to actually see humans AS humans. He tried to treat Sunshine with respect and on more than one occasion had her remind him of her humanity so he wouldn’t be tempted to… er… destroy her. Relationships are partnerships and I think especially hard to start up a paranormal-with-human relationship because — sorry, human… you’re just not doing much except for being vulnerable and looking pretty. Sunshine and Constantine just made a good team and their abilities really complemented each other. Obviously there was a sexual tension there (Constantine’s quiet strength. Eep.) but I really felt like they worked best when they were more friends and partners in crime than looking to start a romantic or sexual relationship. They worked together and were able to see eye-to-eye on some major things BUT I mean, it’s hard to get over that whole vampire thing unless you are a vampire, am I right? Anyway. I really loved their relationship (friendship… whatever you want to call it) and how they worked together. It was really fun to see everything play out and their interactions (especially with Sunshine’s inner monologue) kind of cracked me up!

Would they last?
Romantically? Hard to say, but I thought they made a great team, romance aside. THAT is something I could see lasting.

BELLA + EDWARD: TWILIGHT

Yes, yes, I hear your groans… But I grew up (well, not grew up. I was in college when I read these) loving Twilight. I even re-read them multiple times! But looking back NOW? I’m not sure if I could. I’ve read far too many books with kickass heroines who not only stand up for themselves but really DO something for their love interests or are on the same level. Bella and Edward are just so not. She really just gets in the way a lot and not only jeopardizes her life AND Edward’s but also his family AND the wolves… and she has nothing really to contribute (I guess until she has her own powers in the final book). Anyway. She’s just a bit too damsel-y at times so after reading so many take-charge gals, I’m gonna say this vampire-human relationship doesn’t quite work!

Would they last?
Pre-vampire Bella? Not likely. Post-vampire Bella? They’re stuck for eternity.

TANA + GAVRIEL: THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN

Another vampire-human relationship. Well… I think the same thing goes with the Twilight concept. Hard for a vampire and a human to stay in a relationship. Let’s just say that I liked Tana but she also put herself in jeopardy a few too many times without any real skills or abilities to help her out of a compromising position. Oh, and of course there’s the whole vampire-may-want-to-snack-on-you thing, no matter how much he actually cares or is attracted! I enjoyed their relationship but I’m not quite sure how well that would go.

Would they last?
Possibly.

LISSA + CHRISTIAN: VAMPIRE ACADEMY

A vampire-vampire relationship! Oh ho! I actually really liked the two of them together. The interesting thing about VA for me was that their relationship wasn’t scandalous because one was or was not a vampire but rather because of the standing of their families. And really normal human main characters were almost non-existent with the majority being dhampirs or Moroi. The Moroi-dhampir relationship is actually more scandalous and I think it’s basically unsaid (or is it said somewhere) that a Moroi-human relationship is nearly unheard of except for producing dhampirs. (Although that would have been a really cool spin-off too…)

Would they last?
Probably!


There are a LOT more vampire books that I’m sure you guys have feedback on, so let me hear it! Dracula. Anne Rice’s books. Even tell me your thoughts on Twilight! There are so many vampire books I haven’t read and I’d love to hear your thoughts and theories on what work and why other romances tend to be irritating or fall apart!


Don’t forget to check out Alyssa’s and Amy’s posts about Sunshine today too!
Alyssa (Books Take You Places)
Amy (Tripping Over Books)

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) – Holly Black

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) – Holly BlackTitle: White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black
Publishing Info: May 4, 2010 by Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 17, 2014
Related Posts: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Red Glove (Curse Workers #2), Black Heart (Curse Workers #3)

    Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn’t fit in at home or at school, so he’s used to feeling like an outsider. He’s also used to feeling guilty—he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas—and a plan to con the conmen.

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Abilities. Cons. Male POV. Cats. Okay, well one cat. This book immediately had me hooked. WHITE CAT was my kind of book. I actually didn’t start it until I was looking for a new audiobook and saw that Jesse Eisenberg was the narrator — I just love him so I was really excited to find an audiobook that he narrated, and one that I really wanted to read, no less!

This book just worked for me on all levels. I loved the characters, I loved the feel, I loved the plot, I loved the twists. I really enjoyed the urban-fantasy feel, which isn’t always a genre that works for me. I loved how it was the world as we knew it, except with the large factor of Curse Workers — people with specific powers who can perform specific abilities — and they’re everywhere. Not every family has a Curse Worker, but they’re commonplace enough that the general population wears gloves at all times to prevent unwanted curses since the strongest curse can be performed with a simple touch. It just so happens that Cassel comes from a whole family of Curse Workers and somehow he’s the only one who doesn’t have any powers… Although he does have the memory of murdering his best friend Lila three years ago… So there’s that.

I just clicked with Cassel’s character. He’s not quite a loner but he doesn’t really do so well with friends. His mom was a Curse Worker (emotions) and a con artist so Cassel happened to take after his mom with his ability to con since he had no supernatural abilities to fall back on — and you know I love a good con artist. I like that Cassel really kept to himself but he did still have his roommate who he considered kind of a friend and over the course of the book, he begins to open up to others just a little bit more. He’s always there for his family — even when he doesn’t want to be — and he’s got a great sharp tongue that always kept the dialogue light and fun.

The book also had some great twists. Some were mildly predictable. Others not so much. No matter where the plot was going, it was always moving and I was always interested. I was fascinated by the family dynamic and how that dynamic really revolved around the family members’ abilities and the way that they used them. All of the characters were just really great and I felt like I really got to know the family.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I read this book on audio specifically because I found out Jesse Eisenberg narrated and I just love him. He did a really great job with the narration, but sometimes I just have small issues (with any narrator really) when I think that that’s not how the character would really say something — but I can’t complain, really, when I give up the narrating to someone else! His voice and performance is exactly what you’d expect from Jesse and he was a great person to narrate Cassel’s POV because I can totally see them as the same personality — wickedly smart, sly, and not always fond of others. He wasn’t always the most dynamic voice to listen to but I enjoyed it all the same!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Cassel // Character Obsessions: Cons, odds, Lila, dreams. 
I loved Cassel. I’m always a sucker for a good male POV and Cassel was the perfect character for me to connect with. He was smart, clever, and well-spoken. He didn’t always have a lot of friends but the ones he did make, he found out that he was strangely loyal to them. Probably because his family was always very loyal to each other and yet there was still a volatile family dynamic as well. Very excellent.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Urban fantasy. If you just said “urban fantasy” and pointed a book at me, chances are I’d turn you down… But WHITE CAT wasn’t the stereotypical urban fantasy like I picture it. It was really just a world almost identical to our own except for these powers that just exist and are commonplace. It was very cool and I loved that it just fit so well, without question.
Left Me Wanting More: Secondary character development. I totally connected with Cassel but I would have liked to know a bit more about his family and his friends. We do get some development from the secondary characters but I think I just wanted to inhale the story and really feel like I was a part of it. I just wanted to know them a bit more, but it really was fantastic.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I really, really enjoyed WHITE CAT. I honestly can’t wait to keep reading this series. It feels like just the series I would enjoy and I hope the rest of it goes well too!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE WHITE CAT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

       The Raven Boys     Bloodlines

Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) – Richelle Mead

Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) – Richelle MeadTitle: Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) by Richelle Mead
Publishing Info: August 23, 2011 by Penguin
Source: Library
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 13, 2013
Related Posts: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2), Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3), Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4), Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5), The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2), The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3), Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6), Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1), The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1)

    Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning... 

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BLOODLINES is a great spin-off series from Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series (And may I say, you really HAVE to finish VA first as there are some major plot points as spoilers from the last book that you will be missing if you don’t). We get to follow the story of Sydney Sage and her duties as an Alchemist, viewing the very anti-vampire feelings that the Alchemists hold dear. It was really interesting to see this side of the story with Sydney bridging the gap between the vamp-hating Alchemists and her duties to protect a Moroi, constantly debating whether she should feel bad for being friendly with Moroi and dhampirs or if maybe it was time for a new wave of acceptance to come through.

I actually felt like the story line was just a bit slow for my tastes after the constant rush and excitement of the Vampire Academy series BUT I do remember reading book one of VA and remeber that one being slower than all of the other ones that followed it. Maybe it was just that we needed to take book one to really establish some of hte new characters and fit the familiar characters into a new surrounding? I’m not really sure. I was just hoping for a tiny bit more action and maybe we’ll see that in book two since we have our series plot line all set up.

Guys. GUYS. With BLOODLINES, I’m finally understanding the Adrian-factor! I think in VA I was just too blinded by Dimitri. I mean, how could you not be? So I never really gave Adrian a fair shot and I felt like he always kind of fell to the background. BLOODLINES, however, totally delivered a fun, snarky, and charming Adrian character. I can’t wait to see more of him as a prominent character.

I think I was just missing a little bit more action from BLOODLINES and felt like some of the plot turns were a little bit predicatable whereas with VA, Mead always found a way to knock me off my feet. I’m still really excited for the upcoming books and can’t wait to see where else this series goes!

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Sydney Sage: I definitely see similarities and differences all at the same time between Sydney as a main character and Rose as a main character. I was glad, though, that for as much as the other characters tease Sydney about being uptight, she’s definitely not boring! She’s strong and has a mind of her own, refusing to blindly believe everything that the Alchemists follow. I’m really looking forward to seeing her character develop throughout the series.
Adrian Ivashkov: FINALLY. I GET IT!!!! I loved Adrian in this book. He was funny, snarky, witty – everything that he was in VA, but this time he gets a spotlight and has several hilarious lines in the book. I’m still not quite feeling the possible romance between him & Sydney but I don’t doubt that that’ll quickly change.
Eddie: I loved that Eddie is a part of BLOODLINES. He was a great secondary character in VA and here we get to see his character shine a bit more. What a great addition to this ensemble!

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Read it!

This was a really fun first book in a new series from Richelle Mead. I had a lot of fun reading this one and I’m definitely looking forward to more in this series!

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