How did I miss The Stranger Times by C.K McDonnell here is my review of this hilarious, action-packed urban fantasy filled with memorable characters and set in Manchester.
The Stranger Times is dedicated to the weird and the wonderful (but mostly the weird), it is the go-to publication for the unexplained and inexplicable. At least that’s their pitch. The reality is less auspicious. Their editor is a drunken, foul-tempered, and foul-mouthed husk of a man who thinks little of the publication he edits. His staff are a ragtag group of misfits. And as for the assistant editor… well, that job is a revolving door–and it has just revolved to reveal Hannah Willis, who’s got problems of her own. When tragedy strikes in Hannah’s first week on the job, The Stranger Times is forced to do some serious investigating. What they discover leads to a shocking realisation: some of the stories they’d previously dismissed as nonsense are in fact terrifyingly real. Soon they come face-to-face with darker forces than they could ever have imagined
One of the amazing joys of being a book blogger is discovering new books that I never would have normally come across. The Stranger Things by C K Mc Donnell was one of those books and I devoured it book in one sitting.
I received a free copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.
This urban fantasy has everything a cast of memorable characters -I’m not sure if I admire or despise the outspoken, drunk, intelligent Bancroft the trigger-happy editor of The Stranger Times. Grace, Reggie, and Ox form the rest of the team at The Stranger Times newspaper ( funny extracts included in the book) and are all quirky and fascinating characters that bring this urban fantasy to life.
Hannah is the new assistant editor escaping her former life as a socialite and is thrown into a new world of UFOs, aliens and monsters and has a bit of fright when she learns ( along with the rest of the team ) that one of these things is real.
The underlying plot of good vs evil, secret societies and magic are well written and the book has a fresh take on this by basing this in a Northern City in England- Manchester and its people form part of the cast in its own way. The plot and underlying mystery kept me reading right till the end. Some vivid and original descriptions made an impression.
But the main strength of the book is the humour which is truly British ( and Northern) and there were several times when I couldn’t stop laughing.
I have to confess I jumped straight into the sequel The Charming Man as soon as I finished.
Perfect for Fans
The Dresden Files (review here), The Tarot Card Sequence, ( review here) Swashbucklers (review here),Terry Prachett
Here is my review of Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson an urban fantasy
Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson has been on my to-read list for a long time and I was so excited to finally bought the book. But I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I thought I would, which was surprising.
HMSC has a cast of four childhood friends- Helena, the tough head of the Coven, Niamh, the powerful witch who has left the coven to become a vet in Hebben Bridge, Elle, a healer who has hidden her power from her husband and family and Leonie, the witch who has left the government coven to form her own inclusive and diverse coven.
The once-tight friends are thrown together when a prophecy about The Sullied Child seems to come true and then thrown apart when confronted when their own fears.
The best part of the book besides the premise was the diversity in the characters- there is a range of people of all races, ages and genders and they all fit organically into the story and are the story.
The book had all the things that appeal to me-magic, strong and diverse women, unapologetically morally grey women and plenty of action ending with an almost cinematic finale. So why did I feel disappointed after finishing the book?
I didn’t like Helen and felt perhaps her hatred was to push the plot and create conflict – her inability to contain her prejudices and her reaction to this seemed a little extreme (although I am aware there are woman like in real life, so maybe not so OTT).The men in the book are mostly window-dressing without any depth, and some of the plot outcomes were a little predictable, especially the whole prophecy of an evil child who will destroy the world.
There is a humdinger of a cliffhanger which was truly breathtaking but again left me disappointed and not to keen to pick up the sequel.
I think this book will appeal to a lot of urban fantasy fans. I will probably read the sequel, but I don’t think I will be quite so excited.
I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for The Wildest Hunger by Laura Laakso- featuring a fearless heroine who happens to have a chronic health problem. – a rarity in urban fantasy
The oldest and gravest of the Wild Folk laws dictates that human flesh must not be consumed. When half-eaten bodies start turning up between Old London and the North, Yannia Wilde knows the killer can only be one of her kind. Her investigation is even more complicated when her betrothed, Dearon, insists on joining forces with her and Karrion. While Yannia tries to balance tracking down the killer with the tension between her and Dearon, and Karrion, another case in Old London draws her attention. A West Mage Council member, whom she exposed as a Leech only days before, has gone missing, and his girlfriend is found murdered in his flat. Is the Leech, a master of deception, capable of murder, or has someone framed him? Caught in the web of Old London’s political intrigue, Yannia must learn to play the game and to choose her allegiances with care. But to catch a predator of her kind, she must also embrace her wildness and set aside everything that makes her human.
I loved the first few books in the Wilde Investigations series, so I jumped at the chance at reviewing The Wildest Hunger, the fourth book in the series. Yannia the lead character suffers chronic pain making her unique in the world of super fit people who populate urban Fantasy.
I loved this sci-fi fantasy featuring a group of tired Gen Xers trying to fit in saving the world around the school run!
When Cisco Collins returns to his home town thirty years after saving it from being swallowed by a hell mouth opened by an ancient pirate ghost, he realises that being a childhood hero isn’t like it was in the movies.Especially when nobody remembers the heroic bits – even the friends who once fought alongside him. Struggling with single parenting , Cisco isn’t really in the Christmas spirit . A fact that’s made worse by the tendrils of the pirate’s powers creeping back into our world and people beginning to die in bizarre ways. With the help of a talking fox, an enchanted forest, a long-lost friend haunting his dreams, and some 80s video game consoles turned into weapons, Cisco must now convince his friends to once again help him save the day. Yet they quickly discover that being a ghostbusting hero is so much easier when you don’t have schools runs, parent evenings, and nativity plays to attend. And even in the middle of a supernatural battle, you always need to bring snacks and wipes
Source: My own
If you ever wanted to read a book about a group of tired middle-aged parents trying to prevent an apocalypse with flair, humour and wet-wipes then Swashbucklers by Dan Hanks is the book for you.
In a city that lost its magic, an angel falls in a downtown street. His wings are feathered, whole—undeniably magical—the man clearly flew, because he left one hell of a mess when he plummeted into the sidewalk. But what sent him up? What brought him down? And will the answers help Fetch bring the magic back for good? Working alongside necromancers, genies, and shadowy secret societies, through the wildest forests and dingiest dive bars, this case will leave its mark on Fetch’s body, his soul, and the fate of the world.
The Fetch Phillips series is one of my favourite urban fantasy series- Fetch is not just a human in a society full of magical creatures who can’t use their magic or be magical -Fetch is one of the reasons why the magic has gone. But he is trying to bring magic back one bumbling step at a time and he hopes helping a genie with one foot in the fade can actually do it this time.
Here is my review of this urban fantasy which has a huge dose of satire and a talking cat. Thank you #NetGalley and angry robot for my copy of The Splendid City by Karen Hueller.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: NetGalley and Angry Robot
In the state of Liberty, water is rationed at alarming prices, free speech is hardly without a cost, and Texas has just declared itself its own country. In this society, paranoia is well-suited because eyes and ears are all around, and they are judging. Always judging. This terrifying (and yet somehow vaguely familiar) terrain is explored via Eleanor – a young woman eagerly learning about the gifts of her magic through the support of her coven. But being a white witch is not as easy as they portray it in the books, and she’s already been placed under ‘house arrest’ with a letch named Stan, a co-worker who wronged her in the past and now exists in the form of a cat. A talking cat who loves craft beers, picket lines, and duping and ‘shooting’ people. Eleanor has no time for Stan and his shenanigans, because she finds herself helping another coven locate a missing witch which she thinks is mysteriously linked to the shortage of water in Liberty.
I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.
This book was not what I expected but in a fun and interesting way.
I thought this would be straightforward urban fantasy featuring an underlying mystery that would be solved by the end of the book by the protagonist. But this book was so much more. My own perhaps inaccurate description would be a blend of urban fantasy, satire with feminist slant but with a dose of surreal humour.
I’m still wrecked by that ending in The Hourglass Throne by K D Edwards- the third book in the Urban Fantasy series The Tarot Sequence. Here is my review
A powerful barrier appears around New Atlantis’s famed rejuvenation centre. But who could have created such formidable magic . . . what do they want from the immortality clinic . . . and what remains of the dozens trapped inside? Though Rune and Brand are tasked with investigating the mysterious barrier, Rune is also busy settling into his new life at court. Claiming his father’s throne has thrown him into the precarious world of political deception, and he must secure relationships with allies in time to keep his found family safe. His relationship with his lover, Addam, raises additional political complications they must navigate. But he and Brand discover that the power behind the barrier holds more insidious, far-reaching threat to his family, to his people, and to the world. Rune finds himself inexorably drawn back to the fall of his father’s court and his own torture at the hands of masked conspirators, the secrets that he has long guarded will be dragged into the light—changing the Sun Throne, and New Atlantis, forever.
This review contains spoilers for the Last Sun and The Hanged Man, There are also spoilers for The Hourglass Throne but these will appear below the heading ‘spoilers’.
The Hourglass Throne is the perfect end to the first trilogy in the nine-book urban fantasy series, The Tarot Sequence series review here, by K D Edwards and there are enough threads to continue Rune’s story.
Here is my review of Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronvitch ,the next instalment in the Rivers of London- interesting urban fantasy with humour,action, and magic.
Genre : Urban Fantasy
Series: Rivers Of London
Source; My own
The London Silver Vaults – for well over a century, the largest collection of silver for sale in the world. It has more locks than the Bank of England and more cameras than a celebrity punch-up. Not somewhere you can murder someone and vanish without a trace – only that’s what happened. The disappearing act, the reports of a blinding flash of light and memory loss amongst the witnesses all make this a case for Detective Constable Peter Grant and the Special Assessment Unit. Alongside their boss DCI Thomas Nightingale, the SAU find themselves embroiled in a mystery that encompasses London’s tangled history, foreign lands and, most terrifying of all, the North! And Peter must solve this case soon because back home his partner Beverley is expecting twins any day now. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s about to encounter something – and somebody – that nobody ever expects.
Peter Grant and the Special Assessment Unit are back and Peter has a new trainee to train, a wife expecting twins while dealing with an avenging angel of sorts.
Source: I received this book to read and review as part of the BBNYA 2021 tours ( see below for more details ) organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.
Jack Valentine finally has her shit together. She has a great job, great friends (well, one at least) and a girlfriend whom she loves, even if she can’t work up the courage to tell her that yet. Unfortunately, she also has an archnemesis who’s about to punish her crimes in the worst possible way: by making her spend time with him. Which she could cope with, maybe, if she didn’t have problems at work as well. When the body of a human judge is found in a locked library, there’s no denying that she was murdered by one of the Silver – by a vampire – and the evidence points worryingly close to home. If that wasn’t bad enough, some of Jack’s least favourite people are opening a new blood bar in Oxford with questionable motives. For Jack and her team, it’s becoming increasingly hard to separate allies from enemies. With conspiracies on every side, the simmering tensions in Silver society are about to come to a head. As usual, Jack intends to be right in the middle of it. She does like it when things get messy.
May Day (review here), the first book in this series helped me rediscover my love of vampires, so I was so excited to be part of the tour for Judgement Day, the second book in Josie Jaffrey’s The Seekers series.