Tag Archives: urban fantasy

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Book Review: Bad Girls Drink Blood, by S.L. Choi

S.L. Choi‘s Bad Girls Drink Blood has been featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight a couple times and, somewhere along the way, I ended up with an ecopy of it. I think I probably won it in one of the giveaways.bad girls drink blood cover
Part sun fae, part blood fae, all abomination.

There is only one hybrid fae in existence, and that dishonor goes to Lane Callaghan.

After a life spent dodging slurs, threats, and assassination attempts, Lane gave her past the one finger salute and ditched her former fae home for good. The detective agency she and her sisters run on the edge of Las Vegas continues to limp along, with Lane doing more debt collecting and intimidating than investigating, but anything to pay the bills. Between working for low-lifes to bring down even lower-lifes, eating cheesy poofs by the bucket, and flirting with the criminally attractive bartender where she conducts business, life is good.

That ends when a routine job goes sideways, leaving Lane with a sack full of stolen sun shards—the source of sun fae power. Without the shards, the sun fae face giving up their magic completely, or risk death if they use their power. Considering they would rather see her dead, good riddance, as far as Lane’s concerned—except her father and adopted sister are sun fae. Lane must choose—return home to save the fae bastards that almost killed her, or let them burn.

my review
I generally enjoyed this. I liked that Lane was a strong female lead, despite her personal insecurities. I appreciated her love and loyalty to her family and that, considering two of the three sisters were adopted, it’s very much a found family. Teddy made for a good romantic partner. I especially liked how he supported her without every trying to stifle her more dangerous tendencies. The world(s) seemed interesting, the plot moved along at a nice clip, and the writing was pretty clean. So, lots of good stuff here.

I did think it was longer than need be—maybe tried to cover too much ground—there were a couple notable inconsistencies, and I felt a little cheated out of the romance. I liked Teddy and Lane, but we didn’t really get to see them falling in love or either one romancing the other. It seemed to have happened prior to the events of the book. As such, I wasn’t overly invested in them as a couple.

However, if there are future books, I’d be up for reading them.

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Other Reviews:

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Book Review: Broken Moon & Blood Moon, by Laken Cane

I borrowed audiobook copies of Broken Moon and Blood Magic, by Laken Cane, through Hoopla.


About the book:

I’m a wolf shifter… who can’t shift.

Twelve years ago, I was hobbled by my alpha, cast out of my pack, and forced into an unfriendly world without any protection.

But I’m not exactly helpless.

Despite being unable to shift, I have talents the others don’t have. I can see the spirits of dead people, for one. And I have a knack for fighting rogue supernaturals.

My ex-alpha will never let me back in, but there’s another alpha in the city.

Something has been killing his wolves, and he wants me to destroy it before it takes another one. He’ll triple my going rate–but that’s not the thing that makes me agree to help him.

He says he can free my wolf.

It’s not possible, but…
What if it is?

I’ll help him, either way. Monster hunting is what I do, and if there’s a monster killing wolves, I will stop it. Because those two warring alphas might believe the city is theirs, but this is my territory.

The city embraced me when the packs wouldn’t have me, and I will protect it–with or without my wolf.

my review

I quite enjoyed this. Those familiar with the urban fantasy genre won’t find too much new here. But those of us who are familiar with the urban fantasy genre generally read it because we enjoy it and don’t mind a little more of the same. And this is my experience with Broken Moon. I recognized all of the elements that it is made of, but I savored them all the same.

I liked Kait. She’s a strong lead. I did occasionally feel like she was just a little too capable, triumphing against great odds when maybe she shouldn’t have been able to. I also felt like Cane stepped away from some of the most important fight scenes—creating a distance in their writing—rather than allow the reader into the thick of it and this removed quite a bit of the tension.

There’s a possible future love interest here. But there is no romance in the book. So, if you like your UF romance free, this is a safe book to pick up.

Sierra Kline also did a nice job with the narration.


audiobook blood magic coverAbout the book:

My new alpha did the impossible. He freed my hobbled wolf.

And though I’ve craved a pack and an alpha since I was a rejected kid, I rebel against being anything less than his equal–even as my wolf worships the very ground he walks on. It makes for an interesting dynamic.

Flung headfirst into the supernaturals’ world, I am no longer a lonely, agonized outcast running from the moon. My power is growing, I have amazing people around me, and the grateful mayor has set me up with an office and a legitimate job.

For a minute, everything is quiet. Too quiet. Even the demon seems to have disappeared. And all that peace is just a little unsettling.

But then a human hires me to go after the vampires–specifically the county master–and my world explodes into chaos.

Good thing I like chaos.

But when the demon returns with a vengeance, the council makes me an offer I don’t want to refuse, and an infamous and scary as hell hunter blows into my life, the peace and quiet starts looking pretty damn good…

my review
I have to admit that, while I still liked this, I didn’t like it quite as much as book one, though it is an arguably more robust book. Kait is definitely coming into her own and strengthening her place in society. But her tendency to be the strongest badass around is also strengthening and eventually, from a reader’s perspective, this becomes redundant. There’s no real tension left if she’s so strong she can easily overcome even the steepest odds.

I also kind of feel like she’s creating a harem. Like book one, there basically isn’t any romance in the book (though you know who she’d choose if there were). But she seems to be collecting useful, powerful men (but only men, with the noted exception of her mother and roommate). And I’m starting to wonder if Cane isn’t falling into the age-old literary trap of creating interesting fictional worlds, but still not being able to imagine them full of and equal number interesting, three dimensional women as men.

I did feel some of the conclusions were a little anticlimactic—the end of the demon from book one especially. Regardless, if a third book had been available to me through Hoopla, I’d have continued the series (and still might at some future point). I like Kait. I like her found family. I’m interested in how some of the dangling plot lines conclude. And Sierra Kline again did a good job with the audio.

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Other Reviews:

🎧 Broken Moon by Laken Cane

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Book Review: Magic Dark, Magic Divine – by A.J. Locke

I borrowed an audio copy of A.J. Locke‘s Magic Dark, Magic Divine through Hoopla.

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Falling asleep for almost 300 years was never part of Pennrae’s plan.

Of course, when you’re a mercenary with magical abilities and defy a spellbinding prophecy…bad stuff happens.Now, magic is long gone from the world. So Penn works as a karate instructor, trying very hard to dodge her hot, flirty, and super annoying colleague, Callan. All is well until a Jigori—a nightmarish magic-eating monster—shows up at a New York City street fair, forcing Penn to use her Shaper magic, which allows her to transform wood and metal into deadly weapons.

Now, the Jigori’s master has her scent, and their eye on stealing her 300 years of life. If they succeed, Penn succumbs to centuries of sleep again, and magic will be unleashed on a completely unprepared world.

And to add to her ridiculously complicated life, something isn’t quite right with Callan. Which she could figure out if it weren’t for that evil, apocalyptic plot she’s trying to stop. But Penn may not have a choice—Callan could be the secret weapon she needs to save the world…

my review

There is a lot to appreciate about Magic Dark, Magic Divine. Not least of which is the awesome cover. The main character is likeable. The world is creative and Locke has obviously put a lot of thought into it. The side characters are fun. And I really appreciate the way they’re all immigrants of one sort or another. One is a castaway in time, another an adoptee, a third the son of actual geographic immigration, the fourth a refugee from a secret, cloistered culture. They’re all outsiders of a sort and, partly as a result, the found-family aspect of the book is very strong.

However, I need you to understand that I am a binger. When I read a book or series I like to do it in as few sittings as possible, one being the most ideal. So, when I tell you that I had to TWICE check this audiobook out from the library (21 days each time) before I managed to finish it, you should understand this to mean I was super disengaged. It took me almost a month to finish this book and I just wasn’t bothered that I’d not finished it for most of that time.

I think the biggest issue for me was boredom. The book felt overly long and the pacing off. As I said, Locke obviously put a lot of thought into the magic systems and mystical creatures, etc. But all the way up to the end of the book the reader is still being told this leather comes from such and such animal, etc. It felt like the world-building never quite finished. Then, the villain (who had been a mere shadow throughout) was defeated quite anti-climatically and everything wrapped up pretty as a picture.

It wasn’t necessarily bad, just too slow for me, I think. In a sense, I set myself up for the disappointment. I didn’t recognize the author as someone I’ve read before (way back in 2016). I didn’t get along with that last book either.

The narrator (Bianca Drew) did an OK job. I thought sometimes she did great and other times her narration felt choppy, with pauses in odd places in sentences. Now that could be how it’s punctuated in the book. In which case that’s not her fault.

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Other Reviews:

Magic Dark, Magic Divine by A.J. Locke (Review)