Seanan McGuire-Night and Silence

I love Urban Fantasy, and there are a few authors that are auto reads for me. Seanan McGuire is one of those, especially when it comes to her Toby Daye series. She has a couple of other series under her name, as well as one under Mira Grant. That one is a zombie series, and the first book freaking devastated me. But, today we’re here to talk about the latest Toby Daye book, Night and Silence. I haven’t reviewed the entire series here, but I did review the previous book, Brightest Fell here, so there is some history on the blog.

Toby and Tybalt and May and Jazz are trying to put their lives back together after her mother Amandine captured Tybalt and Jazz in order to make Toby look for August, her older sister. As a reminder, Toby is a changeling, her mother, Amandine is one of the First, the progenitor of a species of Fae, a very exclusive species, consisting of Amandine, August, and Toby. Toby’s father was human, but she and her mother left when Toby was 7. These days, Toby has very little human blood, because as part of her innate magic, she can change the balance of her blood and pull out her human-ness.  Tybalt is her Cait Sidhe lover, and the local King of Cats. He has two forms, he can be a cat or he can be a man. They are engaged to be married. May is Toby’s Fetch. A fetch is an omen of death, and yeah, Toby has died, but she got better. May is nearly Toby’s clone, sharing the same memories up until the moment that she was created to be Toby’s Fetch. Now, they are sisters, sharing their lives together. Jazz is a Raven Maid, which means she has two forms, a woman and a raven. Amandine kept Jazz and Tybalt in their animal forms while she kept them captive, and now both of them are having a hard time dealing with it, and haven’t been able to shift back to their animal forms since. They have some serious PTSD going on.

All of a sudden, Toby’s ex and his new wife burst into Toby’s house and accuse her of stealing her daughter, who is now college age and going to Berkley. She’s disappeared, and they want to blame Toby. However, Toby has had nothing to do with it, but being who she is, a private investigator and a knight and hero of the Kingdom of The Mists of Faerie, as well as a mother, even if Gillian hasn’t wanted to see her in years, she will go out and do what she can to find her daughter. And she’ll do what she can to try and help Tybalt get better and hopefully bring him back to her.

Tybalt has been one of my favorite characters from the very first time he burst onto the scene in the first book. Even before he and Toby became lovers, he was always there for her, even when she thought that he hated her. He has always just been a steadfast being, and flamboyant in all the best ways. There’s a novella about him in one book or another, and it’s the history of Tybalt in London in 1666. It was fascinating. This book made me happy and sad for several reasons, but only in the best way. It has brought about a lot of changes and revelations, which ought to be really interesting in the books to come. But now I have to wait for a year to find out what is going to happen. That is so sad. Oh well, Seanan McGuire is totally worth the wait.

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I’m going to be very interested to see how Gillian’s new circumstances are going to work out. I mean, everyone has worked hard to keep her out of Faerie, and now she’s right smack dab in it. And the fact that her step-mother is her immortal great-grandmother and the mother of one of the First? Yeah, that’s going to be so fascinating.

I can’t wait for Tybalt and Toby’s wedding. I hope it is so fantastic! And I hope it’s in the next book.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Ilona Andrews-Iron and Magic

Ilona Andrews is a husband and wife team, Ilona and Gordon Andrews. They write one of my all-time favorite urban fantasy series, the Kate Daniels series. The last book in that world comes out later this year. I’ve had it on pre-order for nearly a year. That’s how much I love this series. So, when they announced that they were writing a story around Hugh D’Ambray, I was excited, because it meant that we would get more of that world, but also I was interested to see how they would take one of the baddies from Kate’s world and make him likable in any way. I have an interesting relationship with Hugh. I both hate him and love him. Hate him because he wants to hurt my Kate and love him because he’s a great bad guy. Horrible things have been happening to Hugh lately, and I wanted to see how well he could manage them. Well, let me tell you, I was not disappointed at all. Iron and Magic was all that I could’ve wanted and even more.

So, here’s where we start. Hugh is drinking himself to death. He’s been abandoned and all he can do is drink to try to feel better, to try to forget, to try to feel anything. The remaining leaders of his Iron Dogs track him down and tell him that he needs to man up, stop drinking, and help them. The Iron Dogs are being hunted, are hiding, running, and starving. When Hugh is sober enough to listen to them, they decide that they need a base, and one of his advisors has found one for him.

Deep in Kentucky, Elara is queen of her castle. She watches over her people to make sure that they are OK and does everything she can to keep them that way. But when Roland’s Legatus keeps trying to buy her castle, she knows that she needs an army to fight him. She doesn’t have an army, but Hugh does. Hugh doesn’t have a base, but she does. It’s a perfectly incovenient marriage made in purgatory.

When I say marriage, I speak literally. In order to bring everything together, they marry to seal the deal, just like alliances have been made over thousands of years. It doesn’t mean that they love each other or that they even like each other. As long as they are married, it’s all good.

The female characters written by Ilona Andrews are generally strong, fearsome, devious, and delicious. See Kate, Nevada, Andrea, Aunt B, etc. Let’s add Elara to that list. She is very strong, both as a character and as a magic user. She knows who she is, what she is capable of, and what she will do in order to keep her people safe. That makes her even stronger, in my opinion. She’s very smart and tends to have plans within plans. She doesn’t let her right hand know what her left hand is doing, or let Hugh know everything she knows. Elara is definitely going in my favorite female characters list.

Hugh is different from the Hugh D’Ambray we know and loathed/loved in the previous books. He’s rebuilding himself, and figuring out who he really is and what he really wants to do. Elara makes him think certain things through and figure certain things out, which I didn’t even see until Elara shoved them in Hugh’s face, and then I was like damn, how’d I miss that.

Their marriage is like a crazy monkey knife fight sometimes. It’s awesome to watch. I can’t wait to see where it is going.

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Oh so many things that I could say down in my lovely spoiler section. Hmmm… What shall I say?

I need to know more about Elara. She’s hiding so much. Who and what is she?

OMG, Erawan. That was fucking awesome. Just so fucking awesome.

Hugh and Roland. Wow!

I want to see Hugh and Kate and Curran get together and talk somehow. I think that would be epic. Especially after the epiphanies that he’s had.

OK. That’s all for this one. If you love Kate Daniels, urban fantasy, sword and sorcery books, this is a must have. Go check it out. It’s available at all the booksellers. Happy reading!

Parker Sinclair-A Darker Fall

This is one of the stories from the anthology The Aching Darkness. Full disclosure, I haven’t read the entire anthology, but it has been added into 234879805 book long TBR. I have different lists of them. I mean, how else is a girl supposed to keep track of her books? You should see my TBR collection on my Kindle, which I’ve decided to alphabetize by author. I like a nice organized library. Anyway, that doesn’t get us to our review of the day. It’s a novella, so it’s not going to be anything long since I don’t want to give anything away. So, without any further digressions, or too many, at least, let’s get to A Darker Fell.

Parker has described ADF as a dark fantasy, and I’ll agree with that. If you ask me, it also fits in with paranormal and urban fantasy. There are romantic parts to it, so I think it also fits in the romance categories too. I like stories that defy simple classification, and in my opinion, this does that.

Ilese is a Dark Angel. Her job is to fight the powers of evil and the spawn of the Fallen. I bet you can guess who the Fallen is. Could it be… Satan? Those Fallen come in different categories, Queens, S2, and S1. The latter two are also called the Walking Hollow by Ilese and her team.

Ilese is stronger than human and her Dark Angel-ness lets her disintegrate her enemies after she’s killed them. If a Queen is able to get to a human, they are able to turn that human into a Walking Hollow. That has happened to too many of her team. When her second-in-command, Josh, is captured by one of the Queens, Ilese runs to the rescue. Luckily, she’s able to get to him before the Queen can do anything to him, but something else happens, something potentially dangerous.

And that’s where I’m going to leave you because you need to go read this story. The book is on KU and it’s only 99 little pennies, so it’s not going to break the bank for you to buy it. I don’t know if it will stay available for a long time since I know Parker is going to continue to the story, so I don’t know who holds the rights to the story and all that. I know that this may give you the wrong idea when I say this, but for me, the end of the story was what made the entire story. That doesn’t mean that the rest of the story was bad, in fact, it wasn’t, but the big final fight is what really makes it.

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OK, she may not look like a traditional angel, but every time I look at this picture, I see her as a fallen angel, so in my head, Ilese looks similar to this. If she doesn’t look like this to you, I don’t want to know. Except, since she’s a fighter, maybe not the dress, but you get the idea, right?

There really isn’t too much I can day down here since it’s a novella and I don’t want to spoil anything. However, there were some mysteries brought up that I have theories on. Of course, I’m not going to tell you my theories, go read the story yourself, and then we can talk. However, one of the Queens tells Ilese that they want something she’s created, and I wonder if it’s something that she may have had help creating this particular something. That would be really, really interesting, in my opinion, especially in relation to things said earlier in the story.

I also have a theory that Ilese’s basic nature may change because of certain events, so I will be looking forward to the rest of the story.

So, we have fun stuff coming up in the next few days, including a new SEAL story, and hopefully something from the twisted brains of Lee Savino and Renee Rose. Meanwhile, happy reading!

Haven Handel-Princess of the Pack

Haven Handel is a pen name for Shanna Handel. She’s writing paranormal romance under this name. Of course, just because she’s writing in a new genre with a new pen name doesn’t mean that she got rid of the spanking and domestic discipline that go along with her other books.

In Princess of the Pack, we meet a new cast of characters. There’s Cassandra and Deo, her husband, and all of his family. Deo’s family are interesting, but we’ll get to them later. Right now all you need to know is that they are Greek and they all look like they stepped down off Mount Olympus.

So, Cassandra and Deo have been married for 10 years. In fact, the story starts out the day before their 10th wedding anniversary. However, in the past few months, their marriage hasn’t been good. They have been fighting and arguing and just pulling away from each other, in general. During a big argument that night, Cassandra tells Deo that she is leaving. It’s that exact point in time when everything changes. Deo tells her to go to his office, tells her to get undressed, and then takes her over his knee, after she laughed in his face, which meant she got spanked even worse.

The next day she goes to work late, so she wouldn’t have to sit down at her meeting, and tells her friend Cynthia what happens. Then she goes out to lunch with her friend Andrew, when Deo shows up. Bye-bye Andrew. When she gets back from lunch, another Greek god looking dude, Baal, is waiting in her office and tells her that Deo sent her and she needs to leave.

OK, this is a good place to mention all the names of the hot guys. Whenever anyone meets them, they always tell the new person what their name is and what it means. Deo means godlike. Baal is short for Balthazar, meaning protect the king, he’s Deo’s couisn. Alekos is Deo’s brother, and his name means defender of mankind. Draco, another cousin, means the dragon. Xander, yet another relative, means protector. Then there was Cassandra, who was an unheeded prophetess.

Here is where the paranormal bit comes in. When Baal and Draco get Cassandra to Deo at the castle, he starts to tell her what’s the what. Turns out he and his family are shifters who have to fight against dark spirits. They are all wolves, but Draco has a second, more powerful, form. Gee, guess what it is? Not that we see it in this book, but we will, I’m sure.

Alright, here’s where you choose which path to follow, my little ducklings. There is spanking and romance. Not so much sex, and not a whole lot of bad language. Shanna/Haven writes rather tame stories, sex-wise, but very entertaining otherwise, so I’m not complaining in any way. I enjoy reading them. Shanna came up with a good premise in this and an interesting way to turn the people into wolves, which is a way I’ve not heard of before, and I’ve read a lot of paranormal and UF, so that was exciting.

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OK, so here’s how they become shifters. You know, in most stories, they are bitten or they are born to be a shifter. In this one, Deo’s family was cursed many, many, many years ago. Now, when the men make a sacred vow, whoosh, the curse activates and they turn into shifters. Until they do that vow, they have no clue what’s going. So, when Deo married Cassandra, he made that vow, and he found out about the curse and was able to turn into a wolf.

There are always dark spirits around, but they multiply when vows and promises get broken, and they like to attack a lot more people when that happens.

I like that Cassandra stays a strong woman even after her husband starts with his domestic discipline. She’s a high powered lawyer outside of their marriage and is pretty Alpha herself, so Shanna did really well not letting that part of Cassandra disappear. Sadly, it earns her a lot of punishment, but you know, this happens. But, Cassandra also gets to be a BAMF and a kickass fighter, which is good.

Outside of telling you to go check this out, I think I’ve said quite enough. It’s a fairly short story, which is amazing that I was able to talk this much about it, and it’s a great start to a new series in an interesting world.

Parker Sinclair-Truth

So, we’re into book two of Parker Sinclair’s Alex Connor Chronicles. Sticking with the one word title, book two is called Truth. In book one, we got to meet Alex AKA Lex AKA Elia, an Earthen Protector and Healer. She’s super-duper powerful and has been hiding all her life, even though she didn’t really know it. The Council has been looking for her, but they don’t know who she is or what her name is, they are just looking for someone with her powers. She defeated a big bad with the help of Ryan, an Earthen Protector who was supposed to be looking for the powerful person for the Council, befriended Dana, a friend of her grandmother, and learned all kinds of secrets. We also met Justin, who is her boyfriend. There is a whole weird triangle setting up with Ryan, Justin, and Alex. I also said that I was mad at Ryan in the last review based only on the first book, but that I wasn’t going to say anything about how I felt about him in later books until I got to those reviews. So, let’s get started.

Truth starts around a month after Trust ends. Alex is off in the desert training with Dana to enhance her Protector powers. She’s got really nifty hairsticks that turn into staffs, Serenity and Chaos. I so totally want hairsticks like that, mostly because I have more than 3 feet of hair hanging down my back and I use hairsticks and forks pretty much daily, but none of mine turn into magical staffs. I feel cheated. Anyway, Justin is doing work in Mexico not all that far away from where Dana is training Alex, and he comes to visit frequently. During one visit, Alex gets a call that her good friend and partner Shane has been injured in an accident and she has to go back to San Diego to try to heal him. Ryan is going to be there too. That makes Justin rather unhappy.

When she gets to San Diego, she and Ryan go to heal Shane and figure out that her foster brother has been fucking with him. They manage to get him taken care of and get him healed. Once they do some healing and such on Shane, they start arguing. She is mad at secrets he didn’t tell her. He is mad because she went off without telling him and has been ignoring him for a month. But, they are still madly and wildly attracted to each other. They are like really strong magnets. You just get them somewhere near each other and they are drawn together.

We also find out that Alex’s mom isn’t as out of Alex’s life as we thought she was, and they are working with each other to find Alex’s father, who was supposed to be dead but isn’t.

OK, we’re going to split off here. Remember how I said that we had the start of a really good adventure story? Well, we definitely have a great adventure series going on here. There is minimal sex, but maximal action and adventure. Most of the chapters start with journals again, which I really like. We also get information about Alex’s dreams in her journals and how they are affecting her current life. There are Dreamwalks which give us more info on the past. There is another book, as well as a novella about Sandra, Alex’s Seer friend. Those will show up sometime in the next few days, Friday probably, since this week is packed full of ARCs.

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Ryan has gone a long way to redeeming himself over where I was mad at him before. I was mad because Dana told Alex that the Council has said that Earthen Protectors and Healers should marry ordinary humans to help spread the powers since they are so important. Except Alex doesn’t give a good goddamn about what the Council says, and that’s not going to stop him from being with Alex if they want that to happen.

I’m glad to find out more about Stacy, Alex’s mom. Her history was tragic for so many, many reasons. We get a good look as to what caused her to go off the rails why she did and why she did it to protect Alex. She’s a BAMF though, and a BAMF who has a Demon who is into her.

Poor Alexander, Alex’s father. He’s been through hell, probably literally. But, we also see where he’s been popping in and out of Alex’s past.

And the end? Yeah, that’s going to make you yell WTF?!?!?!

OK, that’s all I have to say about this today. We have a really big week coming up, all kinds of ARCs, a new book from Candace Blevins, and of course, more Parker Sinclair. Meanwhile, happy reading!

Parker Sinclair-Trust

Parker Sinclair is a first time author for me. I signed up for her ARC team and I’m working my way through her backlog, which is always something I enjoy doing. Today we’re going to talk about the first book in her Alex Connors series, Trust.

These books are a little different to the ones that I generally review. For one thing, there is almost no sex. I know, you are all shocked. I do read books that don’t have sex and that aren’t considered romances. Trust is one of those books. It is a paranormal series, and I would probably classify it as urban fantasy as well. That puts it right into my wheelhouse.

Anyway, to the book. The main character is Alex. Alex can do magic. She is an Earthen Protector/Healer. She doesn’t know a lot about that because her mother was a junkie and didn’t teach her much, and her grandmother died before she could teach Alex. Alex went into foster care and was caught by a bad guy. She used her magic to bind him away so he could do no more damage to anyone.

Alex has a boyfriend named Justin. Justin is a really nice guy. He’s all into plants and such, and Alex just feels perfectly at home with him. He loves her and tells her so, but she has trauma in the past that makes it hard for her to trust him, let alone love him.

Part of the problem is that she is having horrific nightmares, and has been since around the time she met Justin. She’s seeing a therapist for it, but they are getting worse.

Alex is an event planner and a good one. At one of her events, she meets Ryan. She is drawn to Ryan, and feels safe around him. After one of the events, he has to take her home, and he stays there overnight. She has one of the best night’s sleep she’s had in a while. She’s wildly attracted to Ryan, but she feels guilty about Justin.

OK, so here’s where we part. I really do like this book and am well into enjoying the rest of the series. Expect a post about the second book on Sunday. There are some things that Parker did really well in this book. One is the way that she handles the exposition. Each chapter starts with a journal excerpt, and we know that Alex journals. That excerpt gives us backstory without having to start all the way back in Alex’s childhood. The story starts with her as an adult, but the journals start much earlier. I really liked the way that she did that. This is a really good adventure story. There is minimal sex, but there is bad language. If you are looking for a paranormal read, this is a good choice.

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I never trusted the hypnotherapist. The whole thing just seemed off to me. Turned out I was right.

Also, I’m not all that enthused with Ryan right now. The information we got at the end of the book about him makes me not trust him. It will take a whole lot for him to come back into my trust as of the end of the book. I’ll tell you my opinion of him in further books as we get there. I don’t want to get all spoilery even in my spoiler section.

I love Dana. She’s awesome, completely awesome. I want to be her when I decide to grow up. She’s dotty in all the right ways. I really enjoy her. I also love Vex, he’s pretty awesome. I wish I had a spirit animal like him.

There are all kinds of wonderful surprises to get into when you read this book, and if I give all of them away, you won’t enjoy the book, so head on over to King Zon and check out the book and the series.

Tomorrow we have a new and sexy Grace Goodwin story coming up and Saturday is a new Ava Sinclair. They are both marvelous, I’m really looking forward to sharing them with you guys. Meanwhile, happy reading!

Seanan McGuire-The Brightest Fell

The Brightest Fell is the 11th book in Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series. This series just keeps getting better and better.

The October Daye series is an awesome urban fantasy series. I mean, seriously good. Seanan has written a series that drops hints along the way that you won’t figure out until 4 books later. I love that so much. It’s always fun to go back to do a reread and find something and go oh, I never noticed that before. It’s things like that that keep the series fresh and interesting and will keep readers like me coming back for more.

Anyway, the October Daye series starts with Toby, who’s a changeling. Her mother was a member of Fairy and her father was human. She is a private investigator who is working on a missing person case for her liege, Sylvester. His twin brother took Sylvester’s wife and child. Toby follows Simon and his co-conspirator to try to figure out what is happening, and he turns her into a koi fish. She spends the next 14 years of her life living in a pond with other fish, not knowing who she is or what is going on. When she comes back to herself, her entire life has changed. Her daughter didn’t know her and thought that she had abandoned her.

Eventually, Toby starts to pull her life together and build herself a new life, with loads of wonderful people in it, none of whom are actually human. All her wonderful people turn into a family that she will die to protect.

In The Brightest Fell, we open on Toby’s bachelorette party. She’s getting ready to marry her Cait Sidhe lover, Tybalt, the local King of Cats. All her friends show up at the karaoke bar to sing, drink, and celebrate. She gets home to find Tybalt and his nephew asleep on the couch, watching Shakespeare. Just as she and Tybalt start getting happy to see each other, there’s a knock at the door. It’s Amandine, Toby’s mom. Now, Toby and her mom have a really, really, really bad relationship for so many reasons. Amandine wants to hire Toby to find her older sister, who is pure-blooded, and the daughter of Amandine and her husband, Simon. Yes, the same Simon who turned Toby into a fish.

When Toby turns her down, Mommy Dearest takes Tybalt prisoner, along with Toby’s Fetch’s lover. (Sound complicated? Yeah, kinda is. Read the series, then it’s not. Trust me, it’s worth it.) Toby has to find her sister, August, in order to get her people back. And thus, we start going on Toby’s adventure to find her sister, get her fiance back, and try not to kill her mother.

I love this series. If I didn’t I wouldn’t write about it, obviously, but it’s a great series. It’s full of a lot of layers and dimensions, and there is always something to find on a reread. There is language, there is violence (Toby beats someone’s head in with a baseball bat), and there are some sex scenes, but they aren’t usually incredibly graphic. And of course, there is romance, adventure, and sometimes swordplay. The world building is awesome, and the mythology that Seanan created and uses is wonderful. Definitely a great read.

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When you read the book, you will see how fantastically awesome this picture is as a spoiler warning. One of my favorite scenes, and the first time I laughed out loud while reading this book. I had to explain why it was so funny to my husband. He really just rolled his eyes at me. Silly man.

So, Toby’s mom has taken away Tybalt and Jazz, who are both shapeshifters. Amandine has laid down an ultimatium, and Toby has decided to start think about how many ways she can kill her mother, and why it isn’t a good idea right now. She’s doing the latter so that she doesn’t use the former.

Toby starts to talk to her allies to figure out what to do. That leads her to Simon. Now, legally, by the laws of Fairy, Simon is her father, even though he had nothing to do with her life. That’s because he was married to her mother at the time that Toby was born. Toby’s mom was married to a human man, Toby’s father, at the time, but that didn’t count, since he was human. Simon has also been elf-shot which means that he’s asleep. Toby’s friend Walter came up with an antidote to elf-shot, but Simon was sentenced to stay asleep because of his crimes. However, Toby needs him awake so that she can use him to find her sister.

Simon has tried to rehabilitate himself somewhat. In fact, he got elf-shot while he was saving Toby. But, he still did a bunch of terrible shit. And people who are angry at him have a really good reason to be angry at him. He did what he did out of the best intentions, but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. However, right now he’s the only person who isn’t lying to Toby in any way, because he knows that she’s tired of being lied to.

Remember how I talked about Seanan leaving hints all over the place that lead back to later books? She did that when it comes to August. There are hints through several books about who and where she is. It’s totally awesome when we find out where she is. Unfortunately, she’s still lost, since she traded away her way home for help on her quest. She doesn’t recognize Simon, and she never knew Toby, so she gets a touch grouchy.

OK, I’ve put more than enough spoilers, but you knew they were coming, so if you read them, it’s all on you. Go read this book. I’ll be rereading this series very soon, just to track all the various hints and see where they intersect. I’ll be highlighting and putting notes on my Kindle just so I don’t miss anything.

Tomorrow, Maisy Archer’s MM romance, The Easy Way, written under May Archer. Wednesday will be The Girl in Black and White. Thursday, you are in for a huge treat, Stolen from Addison Cain. This is #1 in the Alpha’s Control series, and doesn’t come out until 9/26. I’ve read it and gotten permission to share it with all of you lovely people. It’s fucking awesome. I literally fell asleep reading it and only woke up when my Kindle hit me in the face. There will also be cover releases, recommendations, and other such things. Meanwhile, happy reading!