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    In Other Spaces and Places

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    2011 Reading Challenge

    Fiendishly Bookish has read 3 books toward her goal of 250 books.
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    Monday
    Oct252010

    New Fiendish Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

    Book:                  Magic Bites

    Author:                Ilona Andrews

    Publisher:            Ace

    ISBN/ASIN:         9781429569859 

    Release Date:      Out Now!!!

    Rating:                4.0 Stars

    Find out more about the dynamic duo here.

    Delve into the crazy crumbling world of magical Atlanta.

    Discovering the world of Kate Daniels propelled me into a non-stop weekend immersion. For three whole days I read non-stop, sans the Boons Farm and Slayer.

    Magic Bites, the first of the Daniels’ story truly sets the pace for the entire series and whetted my appetite enough to blaze furiously through each and every installment, ever hungry for more-just a small testament to the lure of the Andrews’ duo literary superpowers. It should really be renamed Magic Rocks. How can you go wrong with a merc chick that carries a bloodthirsty blade called Slayer?

    Kate Daniels is determined to get to the bottom of the death of her guardian Greg Feldman, the Knight Diviner of the local chapter of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid. Something of a badass, and loose cannon, there is no love lost between the Knights and Kate and they are barely able to tolerate her. But her guardian had power, connections, and a secret to keep. And he’s bequeathed a few magical power words to Kate that is bound to get her into trouble.

    So starts an enigmatic, and combustible series. Magic Bites keeps a steady pace-that of a small jet engine, in reality. There are so many things pushing the plot forward: the alliance with Curran, Beast Lord and her potential love interest, the mysterious Saiman, Dr. Crest who wants a relationship with Kate, a diabolically evil upir, and the deadly secret that she is keeping. All these great plot movements make for a dead sexy read. 

    The best part about Magic Bites is that it seamlessly delivers a great story, engaging action, and without fail, a consistent quality, that will make you hunger for more. The Andrew’s world-building talents figure largely into the plot: the idea of Atlanta crumbling from corrosive magical elements perpetually battling technology, and eating away at its infrastructure, is genius. The concept of the Immortuus pathogen and Lyc-V, m-scans, the color of a supernaturals magical residue, the feylanterns and how Atlanta exists when the magic is “up”, is brilliantly conceived. Even the Andrews’ take on vampiredom the innovative perspective of how vamp drones are driven by their Master of the Dead is cunningly original, making this first in the series not only a killer read but a heady experience.

    For those who might have started the On The Edge series (like moi) without turning to Kate Daniels first, be sure to pick up and read the entire series. After I blew through On the Edge and Bayou Moon, I figured I’d pick up some Kate. By the first chapter had been absorbed I found myself a tad chagrined that I hadn’t discovered the series sooner. It’s not hard to imagine the Andrews’ rubbing their collective hands gleefully over their computer cooking up one delicious plot after another. 

    If you like Kelly Gay, Laura Ann Gilman, Stacia Kane, or Seanan McGuire, Magic Bites will be a seamless transition and an instant hit. I guarantee you’ll read your paperback copy to pulp. Tatters. Shredded pages. Like moi.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Read and One Grumpy Cat

    Sunday
    Oct032010

    New Fiendish Review: Queen of Shadows by Dianne Sylvan

    Book:                     Queen of Shadows

    Author:                  Dianne Sylvan

    Publisher:              Ace

    ISBN/ASIN:           9780441019250

    Release Date:       Out now!!

    Rating:                   4.5 Stars

    Find out more about Dianne Sylvan.

    Read an excerpt of Queen of Shadows

    Queen of Shadows is a mesmerizing urban fantasy thriller by newcomer Dianne Sylvan about a not-so-perfect heroine…one that has been broken, on the edge of death, barely realizing her worth and rising from the ashes.

    It’s not an instantaneously “vixen-from-the-box” urban fantasy. Miranda Grey does not have a prophecy to fulfill; she doesn’t have a sidecar entourage, or a cache of magical weaponry at arm’s length. What she does have is a curse; a talent inherited from her mother…an empathic telepathy that can control others and their emotions. Slowly it is burning her soul and mind from the inside out. The only way to get a handle on it is to channel it through music, but that method is faltering.

    Barely subsisting in Austin, playing at a few bars where she has a following, Sylvan has meshed the incomparable beauty of music with vampire lore that is not sappy but strong, and utterly believable.

    In fact, Queen of Shadows is pretty far from the urban fantasy template. Sylvan has taken her character, stripped her bare in body and soul and begun the complicated process of building her up. This is why readers are so heavily invested in this story, its personal, moving, and genuine.

    This change up is refreshing. And Sylvan takes risks devolving Miranda early on, pushing her into the quagmire and watching her crawl her way out with sexy David Soloman to lend a hand. Sylvan is patient, and the texture is rich and sultry unfolding like an approaching storm, not peppered with creating a show. It’s filled with honest, ardent feelings, and the developing story between David and Miranda Grey is rending, and powerful.

    Soloman, the ninth Prime of the Southern United States did not get to his position by being soft. His control over his Shadow World territory is absolute. But his territory will soon begin to face an attack on all sides, and he will need Miranda in ways he had not thought possible…

    I loved Queen of Shadows. Rarely does a debut execute such supple footing but Sylvan has knocked it out of the park with this one. I don’t doubt a bevy of fans will be clamoring for the next book.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review

     

    Friday
    Sep032010

    New Fiendish Review: The Darkest Edge of Dawn by Kelly Gay

    Book:                 The Darkest Edge of Dawn

    Author:               Kelly Gay

    Publisher:          Pocket Books

    ISBN/ASIN:        9781439110041

    Release Date:    Out Now!!!

    Rating:                4.5 Stars

    Buy: | Amazon | B&N | Borders | Powell’s | Indiebound |

    Check out Kelly Gay’s page and blog. Read an excerpt of The Darkest Edge of Dawn. 

    The Darkest Edge of Dawn steams with a ferocious intensity as Kelly Gay outdoes herself in this remarkable sequel to The Better Part of Darkness. She has pulled out all the stops this time, capably molding her world with a sense of certainty that can only come from fully realizing the hurdle of a first novel and deviously plotting a strategy to surpass it.

    Gay has infused Dawn with more desire, conflict, history and whetted our appetites for more. Definitely more. And she has done it with a steady hand, and confidant plot building. Tasty morsels are rampant in this worthy sequel. Get ready to bunker down and lick your lips as you start flipping each and every delicious page.

    When we last left off with Charlie Madigan, she had a few startling revelations to deal with…her half Charbydon and half Elysian DNA, the ushering in of the darkness over Atlanta, the destruction of the ash lab and Mynogan. Emma’s rescue, and the formation of a sub unit of the ITF on the mysterious fifth floor.

    This time in The Darkest Edge of Dawn, two months have elapsed. Charlie and Hank are up against a group determined to wrest away the Charbydon darkness that was cast over Atlanta, and instead, bring Elysian light to its skies. If it were a simple spell casting, then they’d have an easy time of it. But the foes they face and the entity they plan to raise from the dead will force Charlie to plumb the depths of her new power and reveal her genetic legacy to her enemies.

    It has now turned into a full-scale tug of war over the elements and powers as the two rival forces battle it out. Hank and Charlie have to get to the bottom of the latest string of Adonai deaths fight off Llyran and they only have a week to do it or war will break out between Pendaran, The Druid King and Grigori Tennin. Will darkness or light reign over the skies of Atlanta? Adonai bodies are piling up-fast and that biting suspense keeps the pages turning.

    Gay has allowed us to peer further into the looking glass of her creation-the elusive history of both Charbydon and Elysian races…their intriguing history, the myths of the Old Lore and the followers of a sect determined to bring back the old ways. The stunning truth of the origin of all three races is revealed.

    The pull between Hank and Charlie’s can only be described as gravitational force that has gone off the charts…and Gay has written a scene between the two of them that had my jaw dropping and my pulse racing. I had to pick my jaw off the floor! That teaser alone is definitely worth five stars in my book. Enough to have me making cartoon dust trails to the bookstore when #3 hits the shelves!

    The best part about Dawn is the realization that Charlie is much more than half Charbydon and Elysian. With her ancestry straddling both races, and her genes manipulated to some unknown end, it appears that Carreg and Mynogan had more in mind when they brought her back to life. Could they have been intent on resurrecting an entity or deity to be reckoned with? Perhaps. To what purpose? One wonders.

    Gay has rich content in which to weave #3 and with the myths of the Old Lore now firmly in place, Gay has hinted at a few possible avenues to take, and has further laid the foundation for her next book. I anticipate that it will be even more exciting and riveting than the previous two-especially with the cliffhanger we’ve been handed with Hank and Charlie. Phew! Scorching!

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat!)

    Friday
    Aug062010

    New Fiendish Review: Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep

    Book:              Web of Lies

    Author:            Jennifer Estep

    Publisher:       Pocket Books

    ISBN/ASIN:      9781439147993

    Release Date:  Out Now

    Rating:    4 Stars

    Buy: | Amazon | B&N | Borders | Powell’s | Indiebound |

    Find out more about Jennifer Estep.

    Read an excerpt of Web of Lies.

    Jennifer Estep goes a long way in laying more brick down for Gin Blanco’s foundation in her saucy sequel to Spider’s Bite. She’s given us some closure on some nagging issues but she’s not handed us the whole tamale. That, I expect will be saved for Venom when it hits shelves in September.

    The most pressing conundrum since the series started has been the mystery of Gin’s family. Why were they murdered? Why was Gin tortured at such a young age? What is the significance of the silverstone spider’s rune emblazoned on her palm? And where is her sister Brie? Estep gives readers what they need in Web of Lies: Gin finds out who killed her family, but not all the troubling questions that follow it.

    Finding her retirement a tad boring, it seems that trouble has a way of finding her. When friends from Fletcher’s past are threatened, Gin pays homage to her handler’s memory by filling their need of a gun hand. The Fox’s are being run off their land by a strip-mining dwarf that wants what buried under their property and he’ll do whatever he can to get it. It’s up to Gin to take care of him “spider style”.

    If that weren’t enough she’s got another enemy to take care of-Gin has accidentally crossed another ally of Mab Monroe’s that has put her on the radar of the infamous Fire elemental. This time Mab won’t be likely to forget who Gin is, and its not like she can fade into the woodwork and tamp down her power. Sooner or later, Mab is going to figure out that the busty blonde that crashed her party, and Gin are one and the same. And then all hell is going to break loose.

    Web of Lies definitely feels like a middle book but so much more and that is one of the reasons that it was so appealing. Estep knew that she had to dole out some teasers but also had to appease readers questions served up in Spider’s Bite. She’s levied enough suspense to have us gnashing to Venom-especially with her cunningly crafted teaser of Owen Grayson. That is something definitely to look forward to because Gin needs someone to accept her for who she is-faults and all. Gin needs her own “Terrible” (from Stacia Kane’s series) And it’s not likely that Donovan will fit the bill.

    Smart, sexy and satisfying, Web of Lies was a worthy sequel to Spider’s Bite and Estep gave us critical information that we needed to keep us hungering for more. She’s ingeniously created a great urban fantasy with a unique twist on elemental powers, an intriguing family history, mob mayhem, and a truly singular heroine who is unabashedly naughty-who isn’t afraid to “take out the trash”. Amen to that!

    Can’t wait for more? Hah! Knew it! Read an excerpt of Venom out in September and Tangled Threads, the fourth book in the Elemental Assassin series.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat). 

    Wednesday
    Aug042010

    New Fiendish Review: City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane

    Book:             City of Ghosts

    Author:           Stacia Kane

    Publisher:      Del Rey

    ISBN/ASIN:    9780345515599

    Release Date:  Out Now

    Rating:  6 Stars (FB’s Top Ten of 2010)

    Buy: | Amazon | Borders | B&N | Powell’s |

    Read an excerpt of City of Ghosts. Find out more about Stacia here.

    Unholy Magic ended on quite a few loose ends. Chess and Terrible, at opposite sides of the ring, bloody and beaten-a row of epic proportions widening the chasm between them-and Lex at the center of the maelstrom. Despite the uncertain footing of Terrible’s ambivalent allegiance, Chess manages to down a pyschopomp to save his life, battle the Cryin’ Man, Vanita, and the unholy brothel from hell and even escape twisting black curses for Bump. But not without sacrifice.

    This time in City of Ghosts, Chess Putnam has her work cut out for her as the latest challenge to the Church and its indomitable rule is that there is a war waging in the labyrinthine tunnels beneath Triumph City. And this time it’s not a gang war between Slobag and Bump that threatens to break the back of Downside, but something more evil, more sinuous, that could crack the heart of the City of Eternity-and let the ghosts run rampant…

    The black magick faction Lamaru has slowly been consolidating their power and all signs point to a threat on the horizon of the likes that Chess has never seen. And now an enigma has stepped up to the plate complicating issues: Baldarel, a shadowy wraith with untapped power and a hidden connection to the Church who commands an army of aberrant children intent on battling for supremacy of the City. The citizens of Triumph and Downside find themselves caught betwixt two ruinous evils. Will Chess have Terrible at her side to engage in the deadliest battle of her life?

    The peaks and valley’s of Terrible and Chess’ relationship is ardently felt throughout City of Ghosts. Biting with the sharpest knife and forever etched into your memory, Kane has patiently and agonizingly laid out her best work to resolve some of the loose ends left unanswered in Unholy Magic. The scene at Chuck’s is incomparable…a smoke-laden backdrop flickering filled with reverb, feedback, and bitter ashes, as Chess and Terrible battle it out-two damaged souls melding, unable to bear the constant polarity between them. Readers will be gasping like strangled guppies for air over that confrontation.

    City of Ghosts shivers with vibrancy and a patently inimitable style that is without a doubt the best urban fantasy series I have ever read. Kane’s Downsider patois is an integral component-making the burnt and decrepit rank and file ‘hood hum with flavor. It is riddled with rabid gangster noir, surly and intriguing inhabitants, arcane magick, and a vice-ridden heroine riding the proverbial train wreck to hell and back. It’s so far north from cookie-cutter-gun-toting-vixens that you’ll get a nosebleed. (here…have a ‘kerchief)

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat).