DARE Review: Happy Hour of the Damned

Mark Henry
Urban Fantasy
294 pages
Amanda Feral #1
Kensington Books

Donuts are deadly. One minute you’re getting your binge on, the next, you’re slipping on the box, cracking your skull, and in the weirdest turn of events, rising as a zombie. That’s just for starters. Now, the recently deceased Amanda Feral is trying to make her way through Seattle’s undead scene with style (mortuary-grade makeup, six inch stilettos, bangin’ Balenciaga handbag) while satisfying a craving for decent vodkatinis and the occasional human flesh—Don’t judge. And no, not like chicken. Navigating a dangerous world of cloud-doped bloodsuckers, reapers, horny and horned devils, celebrity blood donors, and PR-obsessed shapeshifters—not to mention an extremely hot bartender named Ricardo—isn’t easy. And the minute one of Amanda’s undead friends disappears after texting for “help” (the undead—so dramatic!) she knows the afterlife is about to get really ugly. Something sinister is at hand. Someone or something is hellbent on turning Seattle’s supernatural underworld into a place of true terror. And this time, Amanda may meet a fate a lot worse than donuts…


The Sound

I love music.  Always have. I like scouring the web looking for and listening to all the new sounds that artists put out.  I'm constantly amazed by it. Here's what this month sounds like...

***I never ever EVER steal from artists (bands or authors). Everything posted here is either a free download provided by the artist or from my personal music library***


Review: Shadowflame

Diane Sylvan
Urban Fantasy
360 pages
Shadow World #2
Chapter 1

It's been three months since musician Miranda Grey became a vampire and married David Solomon, Prime of the South. As Queen, Miranda must quickly come to terms with her new role and learn how to negotiate the treacherous waters of Signet politics, inevitably making dangerous enemies along the way.

As if complicated vampire politics and a rising music career weren't enough, an enigmatic but powerful force from David's past appears, leaving a wake of chaos and uncertainty for the Pair's fledgling relationship. Miranda begins to realize how little she really knows about her husband. But when an assassin begins targeting her friends and allies, the Pair must track down the killer, even as their lives hang in the balance...


Kevin Hearne was my first...

There are just some people out there that simply amaze me. Authors are definitely some of them.  People who's imaginations are so broad that they invent worlds and rules, and create people from the crevices of their brains quite frankly intimidate the shit out of me.  I have no doubt that their brains are always firing.  They're always creating.  How do you talk to people when you know you're not as smart as them?  I didn't know, but I was determined to find out.

When I realized that Kevin Hearne was coming to San Diego Comic Con, I decided to stuff my fear and worries back in the closet, and committed to making him my first author meet and greet.

I couldn't have asked for a better person for my first time.


Nina Talks Dresden

A quick note about these three books:

For me, each one of these books was extremely moving in its own way. And because of that I have not re-read these editions as much as others. Sometimes you need to savor the heart ache. These books are also darker than their predecessors. Harry goes through some extremely difficult emotional situations in Small Favor, Turn Coat and Changes, and as the reader you are sucked into the anguish with him. The comedy and love is still there, but its evident Harry has very troubled times ahead.

Dresden #10
432 pages

In this story Mab, Queen of the Winter Sidhe, shows up to collect on one of the two favors still owed to her. What is this Small Favor? To rescue John Marcone, crime lord extraordinaire and some times ally, from the clutches of a group of fallen angels. The Denarians are back, and they are making a major move for power.


Early Review: Another Kind of Dead

Kelly Meding
Urban Fantasy
384 pages
Dreg City #3
Random House

Been there. Done that. Evy Stone is a former Dreg Bounty Hunter who died and came back to life with some extraordinary powers. Now all but five people in the world think she is dead again, this time for good—immolated in a factory fire set specifically for her. Evy and Wyatt, her partner/lover/friend, can no longer trust their former allies, or even the highest echelons of the Triads—the army of fighters holding back from an unsuspecting public a tide of quarreling, otherworldly creatures—they can trust only each other. Because when the Triads raided a macabre, monster-filled lab of science experiments and hauled away the remnants, they failed to capture their creator: a brilliant, vampire-obsessed scientist with a wealth of powerful, anti-Dreg weaponry to trade for what he desires most of all—Evy Stone: alive and well, and the key to his ultimate experiment in mad science.


A Question for the Audience

Nina and I are currently consumed by a certain series book, Hammered.... hence the reason we're so behind on our other reading and reviews.  This book is the last book for a while from the author, so we're savoring it.

One of the many hilarious scenes in the book is when a character announces that a certain inanimate object has changed her life.  The scene made us both laugh out loud.  For a couple days!  I won't ruin your experience by telling you what is so fascinating that it has changed her life... it also won't be as funny without her "delivery".  ::I seriously just snorted as I wrote that::


Nina Talks Dresden

Dresden #7
424 Pages

I hate zombies. I really REALLY hate zombies. I hate them almost as much as Indiana Jones hates snakes. Okay. I hate them more. When I started to read this book I belted out, in true Indy fashion, “Zombies. Why’d it have to be zombies?!”

This time around Harry is confronting a group of disciples, and their hoards of undead on their quest to find the last journal of a notorious necromancer. As if to make matters worse, Mavra the super creepy Black Court vampire (I can’t believe she’s not dead yet), is also after the book, and threatening Murphy’s life if she doesn’t get it. And as usual Harry works his magic best when he’s between a rock and a hard place.


Review: Bloodlust

Michelle Rowen
283 pages
Nightshade #2
Chapter 1
Berkley Sensation


For those who feast on blood, Jillian Conrad is a fatal attraction. After being injected with a serum that made her blood both irresistible and deadly to vampires, she was used as a pawn to assassinate the vampire king. Now, the vampires want her eliminated.

Hunted and unable to return to her old life, Jillian desperately seeks to prevent the poison in her veins from killing her. And she must find a way to help her dhampyr protector, Declan, whose exposure to the serum has split his personality into one part uncontrolled desire, and one part stone cold killer.

But an even greater danger is rising. The Amarantos – a secret society of vampires – is seeking the infant daughter of the slain king to complete their quest for true immortality. And if they succeed, no one, living or undead, will escape the darkness.


Review: My Life as a White Trash Zombie

Diana Rowland
Urban Fantasy
310 pages
White Trash Zombie #1
Downloadable Excerpt
DAW books

Angel Crawford is a loser. Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of Southern Louisiana, she's a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who's been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken.

That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers.  Angel remembers being in a horrible car crash, but she doesn't have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there's a job waiting for her at the county morgue-and it's an offer she doesn't dare refuse.

Before she knows it she's dealing with a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey-just when she's hungriest!

Angel's going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because is she doesn't, she's dead meat.  Literally.


Early Guest Review: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

350 pages
Mythos Academy #1
Kensington Publishing

My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.
But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why—especially since I should have been the one who died. . .


Nina Talks Dresden

Book #4

446 pages

I have a deep seeded love for all kinds of mythology and lore. And the Fae are some of my favorites. They are a beautiful, devious, powerful, crazy bunch of peeps, especially when Mab, the Winter Queen, needs you to do something for her. She’s not exactly the kind of person you can say no to.

As it turns out Mab has bought Harry’s debt from his godmother, the Leanansidhe, and in doing so, she is owed three “favors” or errands from Harry. She needs him to prove her innocence in the murder of the Summer Knight, the rival courts champion, and find who holds the fallen knight’s power. And what happens if he can’t? Nothing big… just the end of the world.

In this book we get to see some of the inner workings of the White Council of Wizards, the ruling body for wizards around the world, and the enforcers of the seven laws of magic. It’s clear that Harry is known council-wide for being a smart ass, and is generally not taken seriously. The fact that he started the war with the vampire courts doesn’t make it easy for anyone to support him. You start to see divisions in the senior council, and what people are willing to do to support their side.

We also finally get to meet Elaine Mallory. She was Harry’s first love, which he thought was dead by his own hand and has been killing himself with guilt over her supposed death for years.  Turns out she’s been hiding out with the faerie courts (thanks for the post card!), and is in way over her head. Of course, Harry feels a bone deep, sometimes annoyingly strong, need to rescue every damsel in distress. And he gets sucked into this situation more than once, and more often then not, (read: always) ends up being more trouble than it’s worth. I’ve never been a fan of Elaine’s. She shows up again later in the series, and I know the author isn’t done with her story line yet.

In Grave Peril we had a little break from Murphy. In Summer Knight she’s back and I actually really like her. She’s completely willing to trust Harry, and accept the fact that some things (like vamps, werewolves, ghouls, and giant Fae tree… things) need to be handled a little differently. By doing this she proves she’s a friend not foe, and wins my heart. There is a scene with Harry and Murphy in a 24 hour Wal-Mart that shows how bad ass she really is. She’s amazing under pressure and handles everything with a calculated calm that comes with years of discipline and practice. The girl also knows her way around the home improvement section.

I can admit when I’m wrong. And I was wrong. Karrin Murphy rocks my socks.


Review: Kindling The Moon

Jenn Bennett
Urban Fantasy
358 pages
Arcadia Bell #1
Chapter 1 Download
Pocket Books

Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.

But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.


Review: Night Play

362 pages
Dark Hunter #5
St. Martin's Press

Bride McTierney has had it with men. They're cheap, self-centered, and never love her for who she is. But though she prides herself on being independent, deep down she still yearns for a knight in shining armor.

She just never expected her knight in shining armor to have a shiny coat of fur...

Deadly and tortured, Vane Kattalakis isn't what he seems. Most women lament that their boyfriends are dogs. In Bride's case, hers is a wolf. A Were-Hunter wolf. Wanted dead by his enemies, Vane isn't looking for a mate. But the Fates have marked Bride as his. Now he has three weeks to either convince Bride that the supernatural is real or he will spend the rest of his life neutered--something no self-respecting wolf can accept...

But how does a wolf convince a human to trust him with her life when his enemies are out to end his? In the world of the Were-Hunters, it really is dog-eat-dog. And only one alpha male can win.


I Double-Dog Dare You...

This month's DARE is courtesy of my friend, and H&H partner in crime,  Natasha from Wicked Lil Pixie.

Nat says:
Zombies are under-rated, but so is the awesomeness that is Mark Henry. There is no other male author as snarktastic as Mark and the heroine, Amanda Feral kicks serious ass.

I dare you to read the first book in the Amanda Feral series!

Gleefully, I accept!  I don't read near enough male authors.

Mark Henry
291 pages
Amanda Feral #1

Before she became a zombie, Amanda Feral had everything under control. This sassy Seattle advertising exec and full-time party diva knew how to cope with club leeches and overbearing clients, but fending off the undead is clearly something else. As Amanda gradually adjusts to her new, exceedingly weird identity, she learns important lessons about shapeshifters, reapers, bloodsuckers, dressing to truly kill. A hysterical paranormal debut romp.

Happy 4th of July

Today may actually be all about the celebration of The United States' independence, but it's all about the sparklers for me.  

Happy 4th!



Nina Talks Dresden

I love Harry Dresden. I know that seems like a goofy thing to say, but I can't help it.  Anyone who knows me knows that I have read, and listened to the series several times over. Okay, more than several. I love how the series has progressed, and has recaptured my heart with each new installment. The next book in the series, Ghost Story, was originally supposed to come out in April, and after some thought it was pushed back to July. JULY! As you can imagine I was not happy about this, and have been waiting, rather impatiently, ever since. Reason for pushing it back, said Jim (paraphrased): “It came down to readers could either get a half-assed story in April, or a full-assed one in July!”

Well, with July just around the corner, I thought I might get the excitement going.

For the next few weeks leading up to the release of Ghost Story {July 26th} I’ll post reviews of the current books in the series, and since the publisher posts chapter previews for the new Dresden releases, I’ll post links to the first few chapters of the story, and audio too.

I hope you’re as excited and captivated as I am!