Tag Archives: urban fantasy

Review of Midnight’s Daughter (Dorina Basarab #1), by Karen Chance

I borrowed an audio copy of Karen Chance‘s MIdnight’s Daughter through Hoopla and my local library.

Description from Goodreads:

Dorina Basarab is a dhampir-half human, half vampire. Subject to uncontrollable rages, most dhampirs live very short, very violent lives. So far Dory has managed to maintain her sanity by unleashing her anger on those demons and vampires who deserve killing.

Now Dory’s vampire father has come back into her life. Her Uncle Dracula (yes, the Dracula), infamous even among vampires for his cruelty and murderous ways, has escaped his prison. And her father wants Dory to work with gorgeous master vampire Louis-Cesare to put him back there.

Vampires and dhampirs are mortal enemies, and Dory prefers to work alone. But Dracula is the only thing on Earth that truly scares her, so when Dory has to go up against him, she’ll take all the help she can get… 

Review:

I’ve got to be honest and say I didn’t love this. It felt all over the place, Dory randomly running from one fight to the next and meeting characters who play no further role in the book. Ironically, I also felt like there were fights we should have seen (because they were more relevant to the plot) and we were only told she blacked out and woke up having killed everyone. In the end, she didn’t even fight Dracula, as the blurb suggests, but some other random villain, while someone else took Drac. (Actually that’s a perfect example of the book, the focus slipping off somewhere else with the important stuff happening in the background.)

Further, the way the book set up the evil family and then tried to redeem them didn’t work for me and I was bitter that the whole thing basically came down to an “Oops sorry.” 

I did appreciate that men were sexualized and victimized. I know that seems an odd thing to praise, but usually it’s ONLY WOMEN who get this treatment and it was nice to see a little parity. And I can also imagine some of the problems of this book being because it’s the first in a series and had to set everything else up. Despite not liking it much, I might be willing to give book two a chance to see if the things that annoyed me so much don’t carry over.

I did think Joyce Bean did a fine job with the narration.

Review of Wicked Never Sleeps (Mysteries from the Sixth Borough #1), by Gina LaManna


I borrowed an audio copy of Gina Lamanna‘s The Hex File: Wicked Never Sleeps through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

Wicked—the paranormal sixth borough of New York—is home to witches and goblins, werewolves and necromancers, elves and vampires…and former Detective Dani DeMarco. Dani’s busy with the grand opening of her family’s pizza parlor, when a knock on the door leaves her face to face with the stunning, yet lethal vampire in charge of the NYPD’s supernatural branch—Captain Matthew King. 

There’s been a high profile double homicide in the Sixth Borough, and Dani’s peculiar talent is the only hope to untangle the web of lies and magic connecting the dead victims. As the case spirals into a pulse-pounding chase, Dani’s not sure what’s worse: the fact that a ruthless killer has his sights set on her, or that her feelings for New York’s most infamous vampire have returned… 

Review:

This was…well, sorry, but this was just not very good. It read problematically like the second book in a series and the lack of a first book was VERY felt. The plot was all over the place. There were inconsistencies. The dialogue was too formal and often awkward. It swerved into the ridiculous on occasion. There is no romance (when you sense there’s meant to be). Danni was supposed to be all tough and capable, but instead she seemed like a kid playing detective and you definitely felt that she was being coddled by the men. And in the end she didn’t even solve the case. The villain just randomly showed up and spewed the plan all over her. The “Hex Files,” important enough to name the series after, play no role and the reader finishes the book not knowing what they are. And there are hints of a possible future love triangle. All in all, I didn’t much enjoy this. I also didn’t care for the narration. But I don’t know if this is a failure on Ryan’s part or if she did the best with the material provided her.

Review of The Reluctant Sacrifice (The Aramithians), by Kerr-Ann Dempster

I In March of 2017 The Reluctant Sacrifice, by Kerr-Ann Dempster, was free on Amazon. I picked up a copy of it at that time.

Description from Goodreads:

Centuries ago, sibling rivalry tore Aramith apart. As punishment, the losers were stripped of their immortal birthright and banished to Earth. There, they wasted away from old age and diseases. However, there is hope… 

If a Shaw child, born on the 12th day of the 12th month offers her soul in a public sacrifice, then the exiles will be forgiven and welcomed home to Aramith. 

Aubrey Shaw is that child, but dying for the exiles is not on her to-do list. Using her gift as a Jumper, Aubrey leaps between bodies to escape relentless shape-shifting hunters. Only, shedding her skin is not enough. Not when Joshua, her best-friend-turned-hunter, is hell-bent on dragging her to the altar. 

Will Aubrey’s love for Joshua change his mind? 

Or, will she have to trust the scarred stranger who shows up out of the blue cloaked in lies and secrets? Doing so means giving up on Joshua. But betting on Joshua’s love could do more than break her heart. 

It could kill her.

Review:

This wasn’t bad, so much as just uninspired. It has all the cliched YA tropes people are tired of seeing: the love triangle, the chosen one, the ‘let me throw myself at a boy sexually to forget my problems,’ the heroine who doesn’t do her hair or make-up normally, the prom-style dress that makes her a pretty-pretty princess for a night, the sassy best friend, etc. There’s nothing new or exciting here.

The writing was perfectly serviceable, but again, not anything marvelous. And there were a few big editing mishaps, like someone touching the exposed skin above a waistband, when we’d been told the character was in a dress. However, there was also a lot left too shadowed in the universe and plot. So much feeling and decision-making is supposed to hinge on the feelings and events from childhoods that we don’t see that it felt baseless.

There were also some strange things going on with age. 12-year-olds French kissing, 15-year-olds expertly manipulating people with sex, and no one questioning how a 16/17-year-old has numerous tattoos, for example. Not that such things can’t happen, it’s just that they felt truly strange and out of place here. Like the author imagined all her characters as just a bit older than she made them and then forgot.

I’d have said this was just a meh book, if not for one big problem. The whole premise that puts the three main characters together is preposterous. To say I was incredulous that the character that wanted Aubrey dead as badly as he did would have the compassion to allow the events of this story is putting it mildly. I suspect it was supposed to make him a grey character, instead of a villain. But it just red as wishy-washy and unbelievable. And if the very bedrock a book is build on is as shaky as this, nothing else stands on it. The book is supposed to be about life and death and a fight to survive, but the things that actually happen….a party, and getting to school everyday, and flirting, and going to work. None of it really hung together, I’m sorry to say. And then the unfounded mysticism was dropped in at the end. Nope, none of it worked.