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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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    Wednesday
    Jul212010

    New Fiendish Review: Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane

    Book:                Unholy Ghosts

    Author:              Stacia Kane

    Publisher:          Del Rey|Random House

    ISBN/ASIN:        9780345515575

    Release Date:     Out Now

    Rating:  4.5 Stars

    Buy: | Amazon | B&N | Borders | Books A Million |

    Check out the super fabulous Stacia Kane here!

    Read an Excerpt of Unholy Ghosts

    Cesaria “Chess” Putnam has seen the other side, lived it, and breathed it. Crawling out of society’s underbelly after Haunted Week took countless millions, Chess embraced the Church of New Truth that arose from the ashes. Under their tutelage and doctrine, Chess ascended from her own personal hell into her life as a Debunker.

    Up until now, her life has been relatively uncomplicated. She makes a living expelling naughty spirits and ushering them onto The City of Eternity. She has a few vices, but doesn’t everyone? She lives in Downside, an edgy, crime and drug-ridden neighborhood. But everyone watches out for one another there. What more could she want?

    When she’s asked to check out a derelict airfield on the outskirts of town as a “favor” to her pusher Bump, she thinks at most, she’ll be dealing with a few recalcitrant ghosts. Easy money, right? Wrong. Whatever spectre has left its mark on Chester airfield is no common ghost, but a pack of magick wielders whose oily taint reeks of ritual sacrifice and the blackest of magicks.

    As she ventures closer to the truth, Chess realizes that she’s in way over her head. The tentacles of those responsible reaches into the very heart of her precious Church. And what began as a hunt, now becomes a race. Chess and her unruly band of sources, and protectors must prevent the Lamaru and Ereshdiran from unleashing hell on the unsuspecting populace. 

    Untamed. Unbound. And a sinfully wicked ride on the dark side that will leave you howling for more, Unholy Ghosts is like a disturbing dream come to life-sucking you in its cavernous, obsidian, maw.

    I was spellbound…entranced by the darkness of Kane’s vision that inevitably sears itself into your retina. It is a horror-embellished urban fantasy that seeps into your bones, its grittiness spilling over you like black motorcycle grease. Readers will be enamored by Chess, Terrible, Lex, Tyson, Brain, and Bump, her unlikely cast of characters, fabulously flawed, and riddled with vices. 

    Unholy Ghosts is non-stop action, and wickedly delicious. If you are a fan of Lilith Saintcrow’s Dante Valentine series, or Caitlin Kittredge’s Black London series, or even a Lovecraft fan, you’ll instantly be smitten with Stacia Kane. And you’ll lick your chops for more. Even now I’ve started Unholy Magic and then plan to devour City of Ghosts when it hits bookshelves in a few days. 

    The old gods are dead. There is only Truth and Magick left…

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)

    Thursday
    May062010

    New Juicy Review: Sins of the Heart by Eve Silver

    Book:              Sins of the Heart         

    Author:            Eve Silver   

    Publisher:       Harlequin

    ISBN/ASIN:   9780373774821

    Rating:            4.5 Stars

    Release Date: August 1, 2010

    Buy:    Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders | Indiebound

    Sins of the Heart is a sleek, and streamlined treat and Silver’s cocky take-no-prisoners writing makes for a decidedly slick urban fantasy steeped in edgy visuals, scorching sex, and complicated action. She’s managed to encapsulate Egyptian history, build an Underworld realm infused with supernatural elements, and weave it into the modern day. Silver’s distinctive voice of a chance meeting between two very different creatures…a soul reaper and a potential Daughter of Aset turns into something more when they are drawn back together again-on the brink of chaos.

    This time, when they are thrown together yet again, 11 years later, Roxy Tam and Dagan Krayl face a potentially dangerous alliance. Roxy who is now part of the Asetian Guard and Dagan, the son of a powerful Underworld Lord, Sutekh, are immortal enemies. But drawn together they are over the suspicious murder of another soul reaper…Dagan’s brother Lokan. And it looks as if another Underworld lord is positioning himself against Sutekh and his empire.

    Sins of the Heart is a potent read and Silver doesn’t give it up easily. Eve Silver makes you feel taut and hungry. And for a large portion of the book, there is a delicious sense of anticipation that is well edited and honed with precision. Roxy Tam is an amazing character whose strong point is not paranormal weaponry or magic tricks but a neverending sense of iron will that pumps through her veins. Silver has taken the time to really flesh out some great characters that are both intensely believable but very likeable. Enviously likeable. And the plot is fastidious and engaging and reads like a high-octane urban fantasy hepped up on serious pheromones that will intoxicate readers. I cannot wait for the next two books: Sins of the Soul (Sept 2010) and Sins of the Flesh (Oct 2010) Looking for more Alastor and I hope that Lokan comes back! Phew, heady fare! Check out Eve's site here.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review

    Saturday
    Mar202010

    New Juicy Review: Doppelgangster by Laura Resnick

    Book:                Doppelgangster

    Author:             Laura Resnick

    Publisher:         Daw Books

    ISBN/ASIN:       9781101159798

    Rating:             4 Stars

    Buy:  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound |

     Read an Excerpt 

    All Esther Diamond wants is a decent acting role that she can be proud of (and her typically Jewish mother can be proud of as well!) she'll do anything to get her to stop nagging. Plus, it would be nice to get a regular paycheck. And finally go on a hot sexy date with her police detective boyfriend. But it looks as if that's not in the cards for Esther. At least not while Mercury is in retrograde and her proverbial job as a singing waitress at Bella Stella's (the mob version of Casablanca) is soon to hit the skids.

    When Esther's favorite wiseguy customer Chubby Charlie Chiccante is gunned down in front of her after seeing his mystical doppelganger, she's drawn deeply into a web of magical intrigue and the mobster underworld. Who is creating the magical doppelganger assassins that threaten to start an all out mob war between New York's notorious crime families? And can she stop it before she ends up sleeping with the fishes too?

    Doppelgangster is an energetic gangster tale with elements of the paranormal that is both witty and hilarious. At first, I didn't know what to expect when starting it. Was it a paranormal? Was it a mystery? Was it a thriller? Was it a romance? I was so pleasantly surprised to find that it was all of these things and more. Diving into Doppelgangster was like getting the best piece of the pie and slowly savoring each bite.

    Resnick is in her element with Doppelgangster's dialogue. She's a powerhouse with it. The funny and engaging mobsterisms are rampant, clever, and her character interactions are simply gut busting. In fact the two most important aspects of Resnick's tale are the originality of her idea and the brilliant character interactions. Esther, paired with Lucky, Max, and Nelli at the behest of the Gambello's shy don makes this one of the funniest books I've read this year. I laughed non-stop throughout this book.

    There is a small thread of romance between Esther and her slurpalicious detective Lopez. But so far, the mobster shenanigans ensuing have firmly placed the lovers in opposite camps: Lopez on the side of the law and Esther helping the "family". While this tenuous thread between the two of them was smoking hot, I suspect that we'll be seeing more of sexy Detective Lopez in Resnick's next novel. Especially the barest hint that he might not be what he seems, and could be psychically gifted.

    If you want to truly be entertained, (and laugh out loud frequently) and enjoy storytelling at its best, give Doppelgangster a whirl! And don’t forget Esther’s first story in “Disappearing Nightly”. Resnick’s next installment is out August 2010 entitled “Unsympathetic Magic”. Yippee!

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review

    Tuesday
    Mar022010

    New Juicy Review: and Falling, Fly by Skyler White

    Book:              and Falling, Fly

    Author:           Skyler White

    Publisher:       Berkley

    ISBN:                9780425232347

    Rating:          3.5 Stars

    Buy:| Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders | Indiebound |

    Excerpt

    The most striking aspect of “and Falling Fly” is Skyler White’s language, which is simply put…artful and graceful. It highlights the rift between the mythical and the contemporary realms, it gives succor to the ethereal mood that is ever present from start to finish, and it poignantly illuminates the heartrending relationship between its two main characters as they journey the corridors of Hell. But in many instances this same beautiful language works against the fragile foundation of the plot and tears it apart like tissue paper.

    As other reviewers have mentioned, “and Falling, Fly” is a challenging read, mainly because of its presentation, and what White is actually presenting to her readers…some very thought provoking ideas about reality, continuity, sacrifice, science, love, and the existence of God and Hell. These philosophical battles slow the pace down considerably while wondering is the real quest for truth the only tangible issue pushing the plot…or has it been character angst all along?

    In a world where the masses have mostly forsaken God and forgotten the Devil, what are the damned, the cursed, and the Reborn to do? Are they still Damned? Are they Damned because they choose to be that way? Do their immortal lives have any meaning anymore? Has Hell lost its meaning?

    This cultural sea change has led some of Hell’s ilk to believe that they were never damned or cursed to begin with or at least question the roots of their damned nature. In this, White has managed to recombine the eternal debate between age-old mysticism warring with science and reason. And she has drawn her readers into the battle. At the end of book, you will definitely question over and over again whether the characters were really damned begin with. And wonder if you had imagined it at all. Have we been tricked? Maybe.

    Her debate rages between two very distinct characters: Dr. Dominic O’Shaughnessy, a neurosurgeon and a scientist as well as being one of Hell’s ilk: a Reborn. Cursed to live, die, and remember his past lives and loves, Dominic is plagued by incessant memories. He would do anything to “forget” and his scientific research is solely targeted towards that goal. He believes that his “recollections” are nothing more than chemical conjurations of his brain. He refutes and questions his life. He does not believe he is a “Reborn” and does not believe in vampires, or any of Hell’s dominion.

    Olivia White is a Damned, a vampire, a fallen who has waited her entire mortal life for the fulfillment of a loophole that will enable her to ascend back to Heaven. Until then she is cursed to live a life without feeling, with physical and emotional sensation, and to gain sustenance through the feelings, mainly fear and desire of others. She is convinced she is Damned-until meeting Dominic. Will he be the one to free her? Is he her loophole? What is her sacrifice in return? The interplay between Dominic and Olivia is haunting and pricks at you in subtle ways.

    I cannot express that though extremely challenging to get through, these ideas…the characters have stayed with me, have been looping in my mind for days after turning its last page. I was left with more questions than answers. What exactly is Skyler White trying to impart? That life is mere savagery without love, sacrifice and salvation? That love can set a soul free? Whatever you take away from this novel, know that it is not a novel you are likely to ever forget for its unsurpassed uniqueness, and its affecting presence.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review

    Tuesday
    Feb022010

    New Juicy Review: Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep

    Book:              Spider’s Bite: An Elemental Assassin

    Author:           Jennifer Estep

    Publisher:       Pocket Books

    ISBN/ASIN:    9781439147979

    Rating:            Four Stars

    Wow is the first word that comes to mind at the end of Jennifer Estep’s latest novel. Devouring Spider’s Bite within a few hours is a testament to how good it was, how slick its main character Gin Blanco was, and how intriguing Estep’s elemental world was. True, it does remind one of similar “elemental” paranormal authors such as Rachel Caine’s Warden series and Anya Bast’s elemental witches, but Estep’s setting in the hamlet of Ashland run but a nearly corrupt government and elemental mob was really interesting and believable. You’ll want to guiltily immerse yourself.

    While short on romance, it has enough to entice, and the tug of war between Gin and Donovan is heated, but with an undertone of more. They need to resolve their differences before they can get to that step. There is plenty of plot to make up for that lack and with a never-ending surfeit of fight scenes, readers will engage with the furtive pace. I was especially intrigued about Mab Monroe, the underworld leader of Ashland and a Fire elemental not to be trifled with. Estep has alluded that in Web of Lies, her next installment, there is likely to be a confrontation between Gin and Mab. Now that would be quite the conflagration.

    Gin Blanco is stark and kick-butt dangerous and rarely does the reader see her soft underbelly, but that doesn’t make her less likeable. As an elemental assassin who can wield both Stone and Ice elements, Gin cannot afford to invest in emotions, but she has them nevertheless. Gin’s profession as an assassin is not overly hampered down with regret, just acceptance. Much the same way Larissa Ione’s character Sin in Ecstasy Unveiled is adept at her career choice. Estep has managed to infuse us with the knowledge of a Gin who is capable of feeling but is not mired down with a heavy emotional toll. It’s simply not in her character. The Spider rises above such petty emotions and calculates in the shadows. This is what Estep wants us to see and teases us inevitably with more.

    Despite comparisons to other paranormal lore, Spider’s Bite stands out distinctly. I whipped through this book enjoying every minute of it. Estep’s words echo with a verve, a vivacity that some urban fantasy authors cannot duplicate, and readers won’t have to flip back and forth to figure out what happened because the plot is both grounded and thrilling.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review