Urban Fantasy Pt. 1

Urban fantasy is also called urban horror or some mash-up between the two. It’s a relatively new genre, having only been around about 20 years or so. One of the pioneers in the genre is Laurell K. Hamilton, with her Anita Blake series.

When most people think about fantasy, they tend to think about JRR Tolkien, elves, hobbits, barbarians, and sorcerers. That’s not what urban fantasy is. Well, UF does have some of those things, but they are taken out of the realm of Middle Earth and moved into the mid-city. Traditional horror characters like vampires, zombies, ghouls, and were-creatures move into the mid-city as well.

UF worlds are generally alternate Earths. On that Earth, magic exists, and all sorts of magical creatures live in the same world as you or I do. In some universes, all the creatures and magic users are open knowledge. For example, LKH’s Anita Blake series is one of these ‘verses. That series is based in St. Louis. Anita Blake is an animator, someone who raises zombies. It’s an inborn power, and if she doesn’t use it, then it just oozes out of her and zombies are accidentally raised. Everyone knows about vampires and various flavors of shifters. While some of the magical people still live in the broom closet, so to speak, the fact that there are werewolves or fairies, as a species, is well-known. In this world, werecreatures and vampires are created in the way that we would expect, although there are some that are born that way. They also have the traditional weaknesses that we would think of, silver, holy water, crosses, etc.

Then there are the other ‘verses. The ones where all those magical creatures exist, but they are a secret. Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files is an example of one of these worlds. Harry Dresden is a wizard, who actually advertises in the phone book, which is a whole different story. There are elves, fae, vampires, Knights of the Cross, and a whole host of other bad guys, who are all magical but the world doesn’t know about them. There are a few non-magical people who do know about them, like Dresden’s police pal, Karen Murphy, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

UF is really popular, with a plethora of authors and series out there. Part of the reason is that it is really accessible. It’s easier for people to relate to St. Louis or Chicago than it is for them to relate to Middle Earth. They also tend to cross genre a lot. You’ll see a lot of UF fiction, especially if it’s written by female authors and feature a female protagonist, marked under romance as well. Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels gets this treatment. Because of that, a lot of people who wouldn’t ordinarily read books that feature magical mercs and pushy lion shifters pick up the books and get hooked on the series.

I really like urban fantasy, and I read a lot of it. Thursday, I’ll list up some of my series and authors.

Advertisements

Off Duty

Off Duty is a book written by Lucas Black and Ellie Masters. It’s about a doctor and a paramedic who end up getting together in a D/s relationship. Today is its Release Day. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I will be buying it and reading it in the next week. The reason I’m sharing it today is that Black and Masters are donating proceeds of this book to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The book is only $4.99, so check it out.

Hell Squad

Ready to go to hell? Hell yeah, the Devil needs an ass-kicking!

Anna Hackett has several sci-fi romance series, one of which is the Hell Squad series. Hell Squad takes place on an Earth that has more advanced tech than we have, and where countries have banded together to form larger unions or coalitions. Think the EU or the Commonwealth, but with one common government. The US and Australia, among other countries, are in one such group.

The series takes place in Australia, where, incidentally, Anna Hackett is from. Dinosaur-esque aliens called the Gizzida have invaded the Earth, and killed large percentages of the population. They have taken other humans for terrible experiments. The majority of the infrastructure is gone, including reliable contact with other countries. Most of the military are gone, because of course, the aliens are going to attack military bases first, just to make sure that no one can fight back. Wouldn’t you? Anyway, there are some surviving members of the military who managed to escape to a secret, hidden base called Blue Mountain, located somewhere near Sydney. The base is run by a surviving general, Adam Holmes. The military survivors are broken up into small squads of 8-9 people who go out to fight the Gizzida, rescue people, etc. The premier squad is Squad 6, run by Marcus Steele, also known as Hell Squad. Through the series, we learn about other squads, such as Squad 9, which is mostly made up of women, and Squad 3, the Berserkers, who are made up of mercs, motorcycle club members, enforcers, and other people of questionable origins. The name Berserkers fits them, because they are quite wild, generally riding into battle on modified motorcycles and wearing minimal body armor. Crazy but fun.

The military survivors are broken up into small squads of 8-9 people who go out to fight the Gizzida, rescue people, etc. The premier squad is Squad 6, run by Marcus Steele, also known as Hell Squad. Through the series, we learn about other squads, such as Squad 9, which is mostly made up of women, and Squad 3, the Berserkers, who are made up of mercs, motorcycle club members, enforcers, and other people of questionable origins. The name Berserkers fits them, because they are quite wild, generally riding into battle on modified motorcycles and wearing minimal body armor. Crazy but fun. Later books focus on members from those squads, but the first books focus on Hell Squad.

While some of the other books I’ve talked about are kink and sex heavy, these books have minimal kink and fewer sex scenes. That doesn’t mean no sex scenes or that the sex isn’t hot because there are totally great scenes in these books. I mean, you get a bunch of Alpha males and strong women together, and nature is going to take its course. They aren’t insta-love stories, most of the romances are people who have known each other and worked together for some time, however, there are a couple of stories where people get into relationships shortly after meeting. None of the relationships start easy, with one person or the other fighting the pairing, for whatever reason. I’m looking right at you, Hemi and Cam. But each one ends in an HEA.

The books in this series can be read as stand-alones, it really isn’t recommended. That’s because there is an overarching storyline that builds on each book and characters do show up from one book into the next.

All the books in this series are on Kindle Unlimited, start with Marcus. They are nice, easy reads, with good plotting and good writing. If you like sci-fi and romance, these are a good choice. If you like Anna Hackett’s books, you can try  Phoenix Adventures, which aren’t on KU, and Galactic Gladiators, which are.

OK, next week will be urban fantasy week. UF is one of my favorite genres. Some of the books and authors started in the romance genre and are listed under both romance and urban fantasy. It’ll be fun, so make sure to check it out!

Executive Decision

I have come to an executive decision. The urban fantasy blog will come up next week instead of tomorrow. Mostly because I wasn’t happy with it. It’ll be better next week. Tomorrow I’ll be talking about something. I’m sure it will probably be good. At least, I hope it will be good. Just as soon as I get an idea.

Scammers Break The Kindle Store

Pay attention to the numbers on Kindle Unlimited. It matters. Also, watch out for pirates on iTunes if you order books from them. They are undercutting the real authors and quite literally stealing money right out of their pockets. Best way to avoid buying from a pirate is to check out the publisher’s name.

 

Source: Scammers Break The Kindle Store

Top Ten Part 2

Here we are again folks, back to my Top Ten darkest and fucked up reads. These are books 6-10. You’ll notice that one of my Top Ten has more than one book, but that’s because it’s a trilogy. There are also two instances where an author has two books on my list. I think that they all fit on my list quite well, so there’s that. So, without further adieu, let’s dig back in.

Comfort Food

Comfort Food is the first book I ever read by Kitty Thomas. She is an author that Addison Cain introduced me to. Comfort Food is an interesting book, very dark, and with a fucking great twist in the tail. Emily Vargas is an inspirational speaker who is kidnapped. She’s kept in a cell by a beautiful man who never speaks to her and won’t feed her anything but chicken and noodle soup and water. This book explores what happens when what is supposed to be comforting turns it into a punishment. So good, and so dark. I love the ending.

Big Sky

Big Sky is another Kitty Thomas book. She really does write some really dark and fabulous stuff. I love the way that her mind works. Tabula Rasa and her newest one Persephone are really good too. I love the Persephone and Hades myth, and Kitty’s retelling is amazing.

Anyway, back to Big Sky. Veronica is a big ad exec, making a lot of money. On the surface, she looks like she has a great life. In actuality, she is deep in debt, at risk of losing her job, and keeps spending. She loses her job and loses her apartment. She runs into a real life cowboy, Luke, who offers to help her and take her to his ranch in Vermont. Luke has plans for her since she looks remarkably like his dead wife. It is a good mind fuck. A really good mind fuck. There really isn’t an HEA here, more like a happily for now maybe. Or closer to Veronica coming to a place she can accept.

Fear and Desire

Dan is undercover, trying to bust a human trafficking ring. He and his partner are both Doms, trying to figure out how to help the women that get taken while staying in the good graces of their boss. Then the woman Dan loves, Laura, gets taken. They end up having to walk a very narrow line to make sure that they don’t blow us cover or end up dead.

Fear and Desire by Sophie Kisker is a brand new entry on my list. Mostly because I just finished it a couple of days ago. It’s a fabulous book, as is every Sophie Kisker offering I’ve ever read. It is hard for me to figure out whether it’s strictly non-con or whether it’s non-con with some consensual non-con tossed in. I’m leaning towards the latter. If you read it, you’ll see where I think there may be some consensual non-con in there. The line is really blurry though and open to personal interpretation, which I really like.

Pretty Little Dolls

Pretty Little Dolls is a series that’s written by Ker Dukey and K Webster. There are currently three books, with a fourth coming out in the near future. The series, as it currently stands, is made up of Pretty Stolen Dolls, Pretty Lost Dolls, and Pretty New Doll.

In PSD, we meet Benny, who is obsessed with dolls, Jade, and her little sister Macy. Benny steals them away and keeps them for years. After spending years in captivity, 18 year old Jade, Benny’s Dirty Little Doll, manages to escape, leaving her sister, Macy, in Benny’s hands. She gets hit by a car and can never find where she was being kept so that she can rescue her sister.

Fast forward a few years, and Jade is now a cop, and is obsessed with her sister’s case. When something pops up that is too similar to what happened to her, she has to investigate it, with her partner, Dillon. The first book ends on a cliffhanger, and the second picks up right after. All the twists in these books are fabulous. PND takes place 3 years later, and the focus is less on Jade, Dillon, and their family, and more on Elizabeth, who is a camgirl who dresses up like a doll and goes by the name Pretty New Doll. PND ends on a cliffhanger too. I had to ask K Webster and Ker Dukey if they were trying to kill me, because I’m pretty sure that they are.

Whispers and the Roars

Number 10 is another entry from K Webster. I cannot give you any description of this book, and I recommend that you do not read any of the reviews about it. I can’t emphasize this enough. This book is twisty, twister, and twistiest. It is a true mindfuck. I love how K Webster handles the story. There are some graphic parts, especially about abuse, that could trigger people, but the story is rich and well-written. Again, don’t read any reviews.

Well, there you are. My Top Ten darkest, twistiest, what the fuck did I just read books. I highly recommend each and every book on this list. There are plenty of others that I recommend as well, but these are the current ones on my list. I have read some that are darker, like the Beautiful Evil series by B. B. Blaque and the Dollar series by Pepper Winters, but they don’t quite make my current Top Ten. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t like them, I did, they just didn’t hit my list. I will probably talk about those series sometime in the near future, because they are good.

Thursday is going to be all about urban fantasy/horror/whatever you want to call it. I expect next week to be about some of my favorite authors in that genre.

New Doctor Who!

On top of reading a lot of science fiction-y goodness, I also love to watch science fiction-y goodness. I am a huge Doctor Who fan, and they just announced the new Doctor today. Congratulations to the fantastic Jodie Whittaker on being the new Doctor. It is really cool that they have chosen a woman to be the 13th Doctor!