Happy Release Day! Bein, Briggs, Carey, Chance, Connolly, Gladstone, Hendee, Hunter, Lebbon, Wiehl, Wilks, Ma, and Harris

Steve Bein – DAUGHTER OF THE SWORD

Cover Copy: Mariko Oshiro is not your average Tokyo cop. As the only female detective in the city’s most elite police unit, she has to fight for every ounce of respect, especially from her new boss. While she wants to track down a rumored cocaine shipment, he gives her the least promising case possible. But the case—the attempted theft of an old samurai sword—proves more dangerous than anyone on the force could have imagined.

The owner of the sword, Professor Yasuo Yamada, says it was crafted by the legendary Master Inazuma, a sword smith whose blades are rumored to have magical qualities. The man trying to steal it already owns another Inazuma—one whose deadly power eventually comes to control all who wield it. Or so says Yamada, and though he has studied swords and swordsmanship all his life, Mariko isn’t convinced.

But Mariko’s skepticism hardly matters. Her investigation has put her on a collision course with a curse centuries old and as bloodthirsty as ever. She is only the latest in a long line of warriors and soldiers to confront this power, and even the sword she learns to wield could turn against her.
Get it – Amazon CA | Amazon US | Kindle | Chapters | Goodreads

Patricia Briggs – ALPHA & OMEGA (graphic novel) – reissue

Cover Copy: The long-awaited collection-the first four issues of the graphic novel adaptation of the #1 “New York Times” bestselling author’s novel “Cry Wolf”
“Cry Wolf” is Patricia Briggs’ “New York Times” bestselling novel about the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. Now, these characters come alive in full-color graphic novels.
Anne never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack…and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack she’s learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males.
Then Charles Cornick-the son of the leader of the North American werewolves-came into her life. He insists that not only is Anne his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And Anna may be the key to stopping a rogue werewolf that threatens the entire pack.

This is a re-issue of Ace’s compilation of the Dynamite Entertainment Cry Wolf graphic series. It contains new artwork and a never-before published version of issue #1. It is NOT identical to the Ace edition though it does have the same ISBN.
Get it – Amazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Goodreads

Jacqueline Carey – DARK CURRENTS

Cover Copy: The Midwestern resort town of Pemkowet boasts a diverse population: eccentric locals, wealthy summer people, and tourists by the busload; not to mention fairies, sprites, vampires, naiads, ogres and a whole host of eldritch folk, presided over by Hel, a reclusive Norse goddess.

To Daisy Johanssen, fathered by an incubus and raised by a single mother, it’s home. And as Hel’s enforcer and the designated liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, it’s up to her to ensure relations between the mundane and eldritch communities run smoothly.

But when a young man from a nearby college drowns—and signs point to eldritch involvement—the town’s booming paranormal tourism trade is at stake. Teamed up with her childhood crush, Officer Cody Fairfax, a sexy werewolf on the down-low, Daisy must solve the crime—and keep a tight rein on the darker side of her nature. For if she’s ever tempted to invoke her demonic birthright, it could accidentally unleash nothing less than Armageddon.
Get it – Amazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Goodreads

Karen Chance – FURY’S KISS 

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

Dory is used to fighting hard and nasty. So when she wakes up in a strange scientific lab with a strange man standing over her, her first instinct is to take his head off. Luckily, the man is actually the master vampire Louis-Cesare, so he’s not an easy kill.

It turns out that Dory had been working with a Vampire Senate task force on the smuggling of magical items and weaponry out of Faerie when she was captured and brought to the lab. But when Louis-Cesare rescues her, she has no memory of what happened to her.

To find out what was done to her—and who is behind it—Dory will have to face off with fallen angels, the maddest of mad scientists, and a new breed of vampires that are far worse than undead…
Get it – Amazon CA | Amazon US | Kindle | Chapters | Goodreads

Tina Connolly – IRONSKIN 

Cover Copy: Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.

It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a “delicate situation”—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.

Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio…and come out as beautiful as the fey.

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.
Get it – Amazon CA | Amazon US | Kindle | Chapters | Goodreads

Max Gladstone – THREE PARTS DEAD

Cover Copy: A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.

Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.

Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.

When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.

Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.
Get it – Amazon CA | Amazon US | Kindle | Chapters | Goodreads

Barb Hendee – GHOSTS OF MEMORIES

Cover Copy: With her vampire protector Philip Branté and their human companion Wade Sheffield, a former police psychologist, Eleisha Clevon searches the world for isolated vampires—and offers them sanctuary. She wants to provide a home where she can teach them to follow the Four Laws that will protect them and their kind.

But not all vampires want to live by anyone’s rules but their own. Christian Lefevre has been posing a psychic, catering to the upper crust of Seattle society by making contact with their dead loved ones—and leaving his clients faint and weak after each encounter. Now Eleisha must confront the most deadly predator she has ever faced—or lose everything she has fought to protect…

Get it – Amazon CA | Amazon US | Kindle | Chapters | Goodreads

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Faith Hunter – DEATH’S RIVAL

Cover Copy: Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker you don’t want to cross—especially if you’re one of the undead…

For a vampire killer like Jane, having Leo Pellisier as a boss took some getting used to. But now, someone is out to take his place as Master Vampire of the city of New Orleans, and is not afraid to go through Jane to do it. After an attack that’s tantamount to …a war declaration, Leo knows his rival is both powerful and vicious, but Leo’s not about to run scared. After all, he has Jane.

But then, a plague strikes, one that takes down vampires and makes their masters easy prey. Now, to uncover the identity of the vamp who wants Leo’s territory, and to find the cause of the vamp-plague, Jane will have to go to extremes…and maybe even to war.

Get it – Amazon CA | Amazon US | Kindle | Chapters | Goodreads

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Tim Lebbon – LONDON EYE

Cover Copy: Two years after London is struck by a devastating terrorist attack, it is cut off from the world, protected by a military force known as Choppers. the rest of Britain believes that the city is now a toxic, uninhabited wasteland.

But Jack and his friends — some of whom lost family on what has become known as Doomsday — know that the reality is very different. at great risk, they have been gathering evidence about what is really happening in London — and it is incredible. Because the handful of London’s survivors are changing. Developing strange, fantastic powers. Evolving.

Upon discovering that his mother is still alive inside london, Jack, his sister, and their three friends sneak into a city in ruins. Vast swathes have been bombed flat. Choppers cruise the streets, looking for survivors to experiment upon. the toxic city is filled with wonders and dangers that will challenge Jack and his friends… and perhaps kill them. But Jack knows that the truth must be revealed to the outside world or every survivor will die.
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Lis Wiehl – DARKNESS RISING

Cover Copy: The evil that’s in East Salem is no longer content to hide in the shadows. The stakes-and the darkness-are rising.

Dani Harris thought there wasn’t much left that could surprise her after serving as a forensic psychiatrist in East Salem. And Tommy Gunderson has faced few challenges in his life that he couldn’t overcome by either physical strength or his celebrity status.

But as they race to uncover what’s really happening behind the high walls of St. Adrian’s Academy, it becomes clear that supernatural forces have been at work here for generations. And now their focus is on making sure Dani and Tommy don’t interfere.

When the unseen becomes seen, faith is the only weapon strong enough to fight in a battle involving not only murder and betrayal-but angels and demons.
Get it – Amazon CA | Amazon US | Kindle | Chapters | Goodreads

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Eileen Wilks – MORTAL TIES

Cover Copy: FBI agent Lily Yu is living at Nokolai Clanhome with her fiancé, lupi Rule Turner, when an intruder penetrates their territory, stealing the prototpye of a magical device the clan hopes will be worth a fortune–if a few bugs can be worked out . . .

But the protoytpe can be dangerously erratic, discharging a bizarre form of mind magic—and it looks like the thief wants it for that very side effect. Worse, whoever stole the device didn’t learn about it by accident. There’s a Nokolai traitor in their midst. Lily and Rule have to find the traitor, the thief, and the prototype. One job proves easy when the thief calls them–and his identity rocks Rule’s world.

As they race to recover their missing property, they find Robert Friar’s sticky footprints all over the place. Robert Friar–killer, madman, and acolyte of the Old One the lupi are at war with–an Old One whose power is almost as vast as her ambition to rock the entire world . . .
Get it – Amazon CA | Amazon US | Kindle | Chapters | Goodreads

Non-Fiction

Roger Ma – THE VAMPIRE COMBAT MANUAL

Cover Copy:  WHEN DARKNESS FALLS… WHEN THE UNDEAD RISE WITH A HUNGER FOR BLOOD… WHEN THE HUNT IS ON—AND YOU ARE THE PREY… WILL YOU BE READY?

In the inevitable event of a vampire attack, the average citizen will be forced to engage in vicious hand-to-hand combat. To avoid serious injury, disfigurement, or death by exsanguination, you need to know the proper combat strategies and techniques to ward off a stronger, faster, more agile undead opponent looking to drain the life from your body. Are you prepared? With detailed illustrations and firsthand accounts from vampire combat veterans—as well as interviews with actual members of the undead—this manual provides you with the information you need to survive with your life and blood supply intact, including:

• Debunking myths, i.e.: vampire flight, animal metamorphosis, physical attraction to humans
• Crafting the most lethal vampire weapons from everyday materials
• The pros—and cons—of decapitation
• Weaponizing Ultraviolet (UV) light against an undead opponent
• Using the Domicile Histodiscordant Reaction (DHR), otherwise known as “The Vampire Invitation,” to your advantage
• Solo attacks, team-based combat, and much more…

The Vampire Combat Manual is your indispensable key to survival, whether in a one-on-one battle for blood or a face-off against multiple attackers. Don’t wait until the sun goes down—prepare yourself now!
Get it – Amazon CA | Amazon US | Kindle | Chapters | Goodreads

Charlaine Harris – THE SOOKIE STACKHOUSE COMPANION – paperback

Cover Copy: Charlaine Harris has topped the bestseller charts and become a nationwide phenomenon, thanks to the unconventional, and otherworldly, life of Sookie Stackhouse. Now take a closer look at Sookie and her family, friends, enemies, adventures, and-of course-the lovers who set her world on fire…

Visit Bon Temps, the small Louisiana town that Sookie calls home, with a detailed map created by Charlaine herself, and learn the characteristics of the supernaturals who live there: vampires, two- natured, and fae. Examine all the branches of Sookie’s family tree. And eavesdrop on the private conversations between rival vampires Eric and Bill.

Also, enjoy the compelling, never-before-published novella “Small- Town Wedding,” in which Sookie accompanies her shape-shifting boss, Sam, to his brother’s wedding in Texas, where happily-ever-after seems very far away….

Exclusive interviews with True Blood creator Alan Ball and author Charlaine Harris-complied from fan questions-will satisfy your craving for all things Sookie, as will trivia questions, recipes (including Caroline Bellefluer’s famous chocolate cake!), and a concordance to the Sookie Stackhouse novels.
Get it – Amazon CA | Amazon US | Kindle | Chapters |  Goodreads

“Embrace the Night” by Karen Chance

Title: “Embrace the Night”
Author: Karen Chance
Details: Cassandra Palmer series, Book 3
Pages: 400
Publisher: Roc

“Embrace the Night” by Karen Chance is the third installment in the Cassandra Palmer series and like the previous two books, shows us a day in a clairvoyant’s life, who yet again manages to get stir riots and tangle herself in a web too closely knit to even cast a warding spell.

This time we find Cassie in a rather larger mess than the usual. Her to-do list involves an ongoing series of suicide missions to stay alive, while her list of arch nemesis keeps growing and growing. After the news of Cassie’s claiming the title, powers and responsibilities of the Pythia, ultimate clairvoyant and a big thing in the magical community, a power play erupts with fractions from the Circle of mages, the Vampire Council, the Dark Fey Court and even the gods wanting her either dead or under their control. Determined to maintain independence Cassie solves her problems by making deals, which cost her a lot and may shorten her live indefinitely. The search for the Codex Merlini to break the geis spell set by Mircea, which mutated into an uncontrollable force threatening to kill both, plunges Cassandra into a very dangerous to the time line time traveling, where a lot of secrets are revealed. The myserious past of her guarding and always pissed off battle Mage Pritkin is revealed as well as ambushes and people from Cassie’s past appear she never expected. A novel with a major boom in the story department.

As usual Miss Chance has vacuumed insane quantities of story arcs, which can never be interpreted fully in the reviews, ever, but as a whole I have to say that once the chess table has been set, the players and strategies introduced, it’s a lot easier to follow what happens and by now the readers are expecting the fast pace. The major strengths in the Cassandra Palmer series are ever present. We watch Cassandra struggle with each task at hand. Each new deal she closes opens a new one, which pushes her to her limits and beyond, forcing her to grow. The theme in “Embrace the Night” is maturing, showing Cassie gradually acting as the Pythia rather than experiencing the power burst. The story progresses by itself without something ever being forced. The choices she makes and the consequences from them no matter how viewed are the only ones to make, thus offering us a real organic feel and a domino effect on nitroglycerine. Since the series deals with time, we finally glimpse into Cassandra’s life on the streets, thus adding another dimension to her personality. The same goes for Pritkin too, who suddenly picks up importance and is revealed to be so much more.

But the biggest treat comes during the adrenaline scenes, when we the readers are treated to a more thorough look through the magic of this alternative world. The limelight falls on time traveling and manipulation as the main power of the Pythia. Time is all not that simple and messing with it can be tricky. Cassandra learns that the hard way. Ley lines make their appearance here as well and an ancient spell, which can mean the doom of humanity. On the funny side though, we get to share a laugh with a wicked fashion designer’s enchanted dresses and Cassandra’s miserable attempts to reconcile with her inner grace.

“Embrace the Night” is definitely a tangled novel, unlike any other so far in the urban fantasy genre and a worthy sequel to the first two in the Cassandra Palmer series. I had a really great time, the point I wanted to write fan fiction. Giving the series a try is essential.

What Other People Are Saying:
1) Darque Reviews
2) Bitten by Books
3) Bookspot Central
4) Romance Reviews Today

Priginally posted at Temple Library Reviews

Interrogate the Author: Starring Karen Chance

In this issue of “Interrogate the Author” I have yet another urban fantasy diva to present you and namely Karen Chance. Thank you Karen for your cooperation in this interview, otherwise we reviewers would be left with very little to do with our spare time. Now let’s proceed to the best part aka the questions, where Karen leaves everyone in suspense with short, but very promising answers about her writing career.

1. Hello again Karen. Let’s cut straight to the chase and start with the writing questions. So how and when did it occur to you to start writing?

My first book was published in 2006 and written the year before that. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but for years I was a full-time student and also worked a full-time job, leaving me little time for it. Then I graduated and went to teach history in a university in Hong Kong for a couple of years, and discovered that there weren’t many recreational activities in the immediate area (I was in Tuen Mun, which is sort of the back 40 as far as HK is concerned). So I used my free time to begin writing for pleasure and things just evolved from there.

2. What did you originally write? Was it urban fantasy or something else?

I’ve always done fantasy thrillers with a little romance and a little mystery thrown into the mix. They end up shelved in a variety of different genres, including even horror occasionally. But I think they fit the fantasy genre best.

3. How did the idea for the Cassandra palmer series come to you? The usual answer is a dream like with Jeaniene Frost and Stephanie Meyer. Did the awesomeness visit you during your sleep as well?

No, I can honestly say I have never dreamt up a storyline in my life. I suppose the idea grew out of my background in history and my desire for a different kind of character. No one in urban fantasy was doing much with seers, and I thought it might make for a fun dynamic. And the time travel aspects open up a huge range of potential plots.

4. As far as my Greek mythology knowledge goes Cassandra is one of the most talented seer back in her time. As the myth goes she was cursed by the gods to make the greatest premonitions and yet no one to believe her. Is there some parallel between this Cassandra and your Cassandra?

Quite a bit, in fact. Cassie came by her position in a roundabout sort of way, and as the series begins, few in the supernatural community are willing to accept her or pay much attention to anything she has to say. Also, the original Cassandra wasn’t cursed by the gods so much as cursed by a god, the lover she’d spurned. He’d given her her ability and expected to control her, although that didn’t turn out quite like he’d planned. Something similar happens to Cassie, who also tends to be rather independent minded.

5. “Claimed by Shadow” in my opinion competes for most dynamic novel. Can you describe the process of vacuuming so much action in just 371 pages? Was it layouts, clipboards or something else?

I don’t write out elaborate plans for my stories. I normally have four or five main plot points that I know need to be in each book, and the challenge is to present them in the most interesting way possible. But that tends to evolve naturally. I have more fun with it that way, and I think it makes for a stronger end result. The few times I have tried to force myself to write to an outline have not gone well.

6. Mythology seems to play a vital part in the series. How much of it featured is actual researched myth and how much is fiction? In particular the Pythia, Graeae and the runes.

All of the points you mention are my interpretation of older myths. The Pythia’s position in ancient Greece was that of the most respected seer in the county, but she wasn’t a time traveler, obviously! I embroidered on the myth to create an unusual heroine. The Graeae, likewise, were the guardians of Medusa as stated in Claimed by Shadow, and their names and some basic physical features are as the legends describe them. But, of course, I gave them their distinct personalities and their quirks. The runes are actual Scandinavian runes and the story I included on their origin is also as legend describes. However, there are no such things as battle runes outside fiction, so that was my twist on the old tradition.

7. How did you decide to involve famous characters from fiction such as Dracula, Casanova and real people like Rasputin and Bram Stoker? Were there any copyright issues? I have always been curious.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is in the public domain, so copyright no longer applies (books lose their claim to copyright 75 years after the death of the author). Anyone can legally write a Dracula story, and many have done so. However, even were that not the case, I highly doubt that anyone would bring a case against Claimed by Shadow! It bears little resemblance to anything Stoker wrote.

As far as using real historical characters is concerned, especially those hundreds of years dead, it’s open season. Anyone can incorporate them in books with no legal issues arising. Few people do so because they don’t want the research headaches that come with the decision. But I have a Ph.D. in history; research for me comes under the heading of ‘fun.’

8. Well I am happy that at least one person enjoys digging up info. I usually get sidetracked by colorful art sites. Apart from Merlin, who I feel might make an appearance during Cassandra’s time shifts, do you plan to enter any more celebrities?

That’s pretty much a given. Cassie will meet many more people, both vampires and not, who may be familiar to some readers.

9. I think that we shall be having some “Guess the Historical Celebrity” moment. I am up for that. So now let’s wind time forward. How many books does the Cassandra Palmer series have until the end? And what are your future plans after that?

I originally envisioned nine books–three trilogies each centered around a different theme. The first trilogy is now complete, concerning Cassie becoming Pythia. The second one begins with Curse the Dawn, out in April 2009. How many books there will end up being, however, I can’t say. That depends on how many it takes to tell the complete story.

As far as my future plans, I’ve begun a second series, which together with the Cassie books should keep me busy for quite some time!

10. Speaking of your new series, what is “Midnight’s Daughter”, the first novel, about? As far as I can see it is set in the same world as Cassandra Palmer series. What are the prospects for this idea?

I think the best answer to that is the back cover copy:

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 the 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, and when Dory has to go up against him, she’ll take all the help she can get…

11. From what I gathered so far during the first two installments in the Cassandra Palmer series, there is this strange geometrical love figure between Cassandra and Tomas, Mircea and even Pritkin for a moment. Do you plan to elevate this to a 3D figure like a cube?

No. Cassie may have more than one man in her life, at least for a while, but it won’t be quite that complex!

12. So now let’s get a tad serious. Do you think that with the number of paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels increasing every year, the market will saturate fast? I ask this because there are already several categories of clichés established.

Are there? You know, I don’t have time to read much in my genre anymore, which is a shame. I have a rather large TBR pile, but with two books out a year, I haven’t had time to make much of a dent in it. As far as saturation is concerned, I think that fantasy is a strong genre and will continue to be so. Writers who don’t do their research or take time with their novels probably won’t last, of course, but that’s true in any genre. But good, well-written, fun books will always be popular.

13. Very well said. Class is difficultly destroyed. And to further the topic of clichés, what do you think are the most wide spread clichés in those genres and what are your pet peeves, when reading such novels? And on the opposite side, what is your favorite scenario?

As far as clichés go, the only one I can think of that really bugs me is picking up a book that is advertised as a fantasy only to discover that it is something else entirely. This happens most often with romance books that have a few fantasy trappings scattered around (because that’s what is selling right now), but which are clearly not fantasies. Of course, that may be more of a problem with marketing departments misrepresenting a book than with the writers.

14. If the market does saturate and you find yourself with a literary niche, do you have a backup genre you want to write in?

Historical mysteries would be fun. I like Lyndsey Davis’ Falco books and the Cadfael mysteries, so doing something along those lines would be fun.

15. Here comes the last question in the bunch. What kind of writing advice can you give to aspiring writers apart from writing and reading constantly, which is the most commonly used advice?

Well, it helps to get out and see and do as much as possible. At least, it does for me. The more I travel and experience, the better I tend to write. You just have so much additional material to draw on.

But, of course, persistence pays, too. People tend to think that you are born with the ability to write or you aren’t. There are prodigies out there, certainly, and also people who are never going to make writers no matter how much time they spend on it (rather like me trying to play music—I just don’t have the talent). But I suspect that many people fall somewhere in the middle. They have ability, but it needs to be fostered and trained. But a lot of them won’t stay with it long enough to gain any polish. It’s a shame, because there are probably a lot of good stories out there that aren’t getting told.

As the traditional finishing touch of “Interrogate the Author” I have included Karen’s site: Take a Chance or as I like to call it: Spooky Castle. There a very inviting demon will welcome you with open arms to Dante’s.

[Review] CLAIMED BY SHADOW by Karen Chance

Title: “Claimed by Shadow”
Author: Karen Chance
Pages: 374
Publisher: Roc

“Claimed by Shadow” by Karen Chance is by far one of the strongest titles in the urban fantasy genre or perhaps the paranormal romance. I didn’t quite catch how people labeled the Cassandra Palmer series. To include a synopsis for a novel, whose pace threatens to break the sound barrier, is a bit of a challenge. The innocent 374 pages long novel manages to pull off a marathon through all kinds of hellish situations and sceneries such as Las Vegas casino under siege, magical tattoo parlor, 19th century England and a different realm.

“Touch the Dark”, first installment in the series, left Cassandra on the hunt for Antonio, the vampire, who raised her in his court. Unfortunately she is on the run from the American Vampire Senate itself; the Circle (mages organization) and Rasputin, who has coupled with the homicidal and careerist clairvoyant Myra. In between maneuvering around these fractions to stay alive and get the information she needs, Cassandra has to deal with the power of the Pythia, which acts on its own sending her back through time. On her list are included dealing with her ghost in a necklace Billy, convincing bounty hunter mage Pritkin she is not evil and babysitting ancient Greek demigods.

I personally don’t mind dynamics and diversity in sense of speedy changes in situations, introductions of new characters, ideas, magic and mythology. However the tricky thing to vacuum so much action in one book no matter the length is that it can backfire. My main issue was that I couldn’t quite follow the line of thought after I have paused for the day. There is too much happening to remember it all, no matter how thrilling and ingenious it was. The next problem appears actually getting tired from reading. Cassandra Palmer goes through several days on the run and around the middle, when another monster decides to attack her, I really started asking myself how is it plausible for Cassandra to physically operate. Good thing Karen Chance caught on the same issue as well and knocked her out along the way, while Cassandra admitted that her body was not functioning properly.

But getting around those problems is easy and beyond that we see the greatness of Chance’s work. The angle I enjoyed most so far has been the constant exposure to the paranormal world and every page brings a new creature, spell or myth to the pile. Every author can do it, true, but Chance adds her own flavor to what she includes from the world culture. I particularly enjoyed her portrayal of the incubus, which doesn’t actually own a body of its own, but has to possess a human body with natural charms. Then again come my favorites for this book, the Graeae – the three old women with one eye and tooth shared between themselves in Greek mythology, who protected Medusa’s island. Quite the cast of celebrities also airs in this novel starting with Rasputin, Vlad Dracula, Bram Stoker and a hint that perhaps Merlin will make an appearance in next installments.

Karen Chance has gathered the best from Greek, Norse mythologies, the stories told during the Middle Ages and even modern myths. Cassandra has her hands on an arsenal of weapons, which catch the reader’s attention and leave him/her imagining what the possibilities for mass destruction might be. I know I have. The spotlight however is taken by the Pythia’s power, the most potent clairvoyant gift. As it happens the gift chooses its next inline initiate and Cassandra happens to be it. I am thrilled with what Chance has done with such a passive power such as clairvoyance, giving it importance, hiercharchy, which dates back to the Delphi oracles.

All in all, you won’t make a mistake with this series and every book gets better and better. This reviewer was a very happy camper with this novel in his hands.

Romantic Times Book Reviews for October

The Romantic Times links to their October Book Reviews are now available.  Here are the UF/Paranormal Romance books that made their Top Picks List:

Untamed by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Midnight’s Daughter by Karen Chance

Bite the Bullet by L.A. Banks

Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon

HBO’s True Blood Series Casting News and More!

BOOK REVIEWS
Kimberly reviews the Weddings from Hell Anthology with stories by

  • Maggie Shayne
  • Jeaniene Frost
  • Terri Garey
  • Kathryn Smith

Kimberly also reviews Spectre by Phaedra Weldon and Night Child by Jes Battis.
Literary Escapism reviews The Darkest Kiss by Keri Arthur.
Sacred Monsters reviews Magic Bites and Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews, The Anna Strong Vampire Series by Jeanne Stein, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo, Night Life by Caitlin Kittredge, The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson and Dog Days by John Levitt.
Antick Musings reviews Small Favor by Jim Butcher.
The Book Girl reviews Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready.
Dear Author and Thrifty Reader review From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris.
Love Vampires reviews Embrace the Night by Karen Chance.
CheriPie’s Books reviews The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo.

INTERVIEWS
Darque Reviews interviews Jeri Smith-Ready.
Jeri Smith-Ready and Wyrdsmiths interview Tate Hallway.
Jackie Kessler as Jezebel interviews Charlaine Harris as Sookie Stackhouse over at Cat and Muse.

TELEVISION NEWS
From Literary Escapism:

Nothing is officially confirmed, but according to one of my groups, Kristin Bauer has been cast to play Pam in the HBO series True Blood. Bauer has been around for awhile, guest starring in a number of television shows such as: Crossing Jordan, Bones, CSI, and Boston Legal to name a few.

Again, nothing confirmed, but my source is saying True Blood will air on HBO September 6th.

CONTESTS
The League of Reluctant Adults is having a contest to celebrate their new additions! They are giving away lots of books and swag. All you have to do is identify whose picture is missing from their new header! Contest runs through Monday, May 12.

Rachel Vincent is giving away a signed copy of Jeri Smith-Ready’s Wicked Game along with some Godiva Chocolate to one lucky commenter. The giveaway ends on Thursday, May 8th at 11:59 p.m.

This Week on the NYT Bestseller Lists

Here’s a look at how urban fantasy titles ranked on the New York Times Bestseller Lists this week:

HARDCOVER FICTION

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9 SMALL FAVOR, by Jim Butcher

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PAPERBACK MASS MARKET FICTION

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4 CREATION IN DEATH, by J. D. Robb

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16 EMBRACE THE NIGHT, by Karen Chance

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35 MIDNIGHT RISING, by Lara Adrian

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CHILDREN’S BOOKS

CHAPTER BOOKS

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5 CITY OF ASHES, by Cassandra Clare

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PAPERBACK BOOKS

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3 CHOSEN, by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

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7 FROSTBITE, by Richelle Mead

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8 I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU, by Ally Carter

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