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Grave Destiny by Kaylayna Price
Series: Alex Craft, #6
Published by Ace on April 2, 2019
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: eBook
Pages: 374 pages
Source: NetGalley
Sexual Content: Kissing
Reviewed by: Kristina


Grave witch Alex Craft can speak to the dead, and that makes her a dangerous enemy for anyone with something to hide. . . .

Alex is still trying to come to terms with her changing powers and her growing ties to Faerie when a case she’d rather avoid falls right into her lap. A fae prince desperately needs Alex to investigate a politically sensitive murder. She reluctantly agrees to the case, taking FIB agent Falin Andrews along as her backup.

But as Alex begins to delve into the mystery, she realizes that the intricate web of alliances and intrigue in the Faerie courts is strained to its limits. War is about to break out, one that threatens to spill over into the mortal realm. This murder is tied right to the center of centuries-old arcane unrest, and if Alex isn’t careful she may follow the twisting path ahead of her right into her grave end.

GRAVE DESTINY was a fun return to the world of Alex Craft and feels like a large turning point for the series based on some pretty big changes that occur as a result of various characters' actions. Sometimes I get annoyed at books having summaries of what happened in the previous books but there was so much that happened that I didn't mind getting a quick refresher! In general the plot was in the sweet spot where it wasn't so frentic that I couldn't keep anything straight but it wasn't too slow. I liked that this book was more of a discovery of Alex's powers and what she could potentially do with them along with a more indepth experience of the Faerie realms. The mystery at the center was interesting and there was enough danger and tension that I actually wondered if everyone would get out alive. I tend to like it when I don't know the answers in a mystery by the second chapter.

Alex continues to be a solid urban fantasy heroine and I love exploring her world and seeing what her powers can do. Her love life is pretty complex with the ever present love triangle between her, Falin, and Death. In GRAVE DESTINY, though there is another player for her heart in a sense. Dugan, a Faerie prince takes the place of Death as an obstacle and conflict between Alex and Falin. I kind of liked him but the oncoming love quadrangle that will happen in future books seems like it's going to get complicated.

I enjoyed coming back to the world of Alex Craft filled with magic, faeries, witchcraft, and danger. This series hits many of the classic urban fantasy tropes but it has enough uniqueness to it that it doesn't feel like you've read this a dozen times before. GRAVE DESTINY ends on a shocking turn of events which has me excited for what comes next.

Series Titles:
  1. Grave Witch
  2. Grave Dance
  3. Grave Memory
  4. Grave Vision
  5. Grave Ransom
More Reviews:
  1. I Smell Sheep
  2. The Genre Minx
  3. Geek Girl PenPals
Similar Titles:

N/A

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The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall
Published by Ace on June 18, 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy & Magic, LGBT, Mystery & Detective
Format: eBook, Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 352
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed by: Tacoma


In this charming, witty, and weird fantasy novel, Alexis Hall pays homage to Sherlock Holmes with a new twist on those renowned characters.

Upon returning to the city of Khelathra-Ven after five years fighting a war in another universe, Captain John Wyndham finds himself looking for somewhere to live, and expediency forces him to take lodgings at 221b Martyrs Walk. His new housemate is Ms. Shaharazad Haas, a consulting sorceress of mercurial temperament and dark reputation.

When Ms. Haas is enlisted to solve a case of blackmail against one of her former lovers, Miss Eirene Viola, Captain Wyndham finds himself drawn into a mystery that leads him from the salons of the literary set to the drowned back-alleys of Ven and even to a prison cell in lost Carcosa. Along the way he is beset by criminals, menaced by pirates, molested by vampires, almost devoured by mad gods, and called upon to punch a shark.

But the further the companions go in pursuit of the elusive blackmailer, the more impossible the case appears. Then again, in Khelathra-Ven reality is flexible, and the impossible is Ms. Haas' stock-in-trade.

THE AFFAIR OF THE MYSTERIOUS LETTER is a delightful romp with fun characters and a smart voice. Fans of Sherlock Holmes and Fallen London may be particularly interested in this spin on the antics of 221b.

In THE AFFAIR OF THE MYSTERIOUS LETTER, Sherlock is a consulting sorceress named Ms. Haas. With a familiar attitude, Ms. Haas sweeps Captain John Wyndham on a series of escapades. I was less interested in the main mystery about the letter and more concerned with the day-to-day antics of our heroes. Captain John’s particular voice solidifies the Sherlockian experience.

This is a book that demands sequels. Ms. Haas and Captain John mesh well with the fantastical world Alexis Hall has created, so that I couldn’t help but crave more of Captain John’s amusing recollections of his adventures with Ms. Haas. THE AFFAIR OF THE MYSTERIOUS LETTER is a solid adaptation.

More Reviews:

Publishers Weekly

Similar Titles:

If you're looking for more humorous fantasy with a historical spin, check out Soulless by Gail Carriger.

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Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
Series: Something Dark and Holy #1
Published by Wednesday Books on April 2, 2019
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Format: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher
Sexual Content: Kissing
Reviewed by: Tacoma


A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

WICKED SAINTS is not the book I was expecting. This is not necessarily a negative thing; however, the marketing I saw promoted it as a dark political tale with a powerful and important woman at its center. But WICKED SAINTS isn't truly Nadya's story. It's arguably Malachiasz and Serefin's (the two potential love interests).

WICKED SAINTS has an interesting concept--a woman who can talk directly to the gods and must use her powers to save her people. The cover is brilliant and the story dark and twisting. However, Nadya, despite all her powers, is a frustratingly passive character who trusts Malachiasz blindly. The romance toes the line of instant love and because of the fast-paced narrative, the reader misses out on world building and development (both character and romantic). This book introduces a host of characters, but the only person who truly gets the space to develop is Malachiasz.

Despite its 400 pages, WICKED SAINTS is a quick read and ends with a good setup for the sequel, though the lack of development left me somewhat confused about certain plot elements. Readers who enjoy morally grey characters may be pleased with Malachiasz and Serefin's bloody hands, but the lack of remorse or emotional reaction to cold-blooded murder is problematic. I'm interested to see if the sequel will attempt more world building and development, how the narrative will deal with irredeemable characters (and are they meant to be redeemable?), and if Nadya will be given the space to devise her own plans and make her own decisions.

More Reviews: Similar Titles:

If you're looking for another dark YA fantasy with kingdoms on the line, check out The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.

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A House of Rage and Sorrow (The Celestial Trilogy, #2) by Sangu Mandanna

Expected publication: September 3rd 2019 by Sky Pony Press

Source: Goodreads

Covers in Series

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One kingdom. One crown. One family.

“Maybe it’s time the great House of Rey came to an end. After all, what are we now? Just a house of rage and sorrow.”

Esmae once wanted nothing more than to help her golden brother win the crown of Kali but that dream died with her best friend. Alexi broke her heart, and she vowed to destroy him for it. And with her sentient warship Titania beside her, how can she possibly fail?

As gods, beasts, and kingdoms choose sides, Alexi seeks out a weapon more devastating than even Titania. Past lives threaten the present. Old enemies claim their due. And Esmae cannot outrun the ghosts and the questions that haunt her. What really happened to her father? What was the third boon her mother asked of Amba? For in the shadows, lurking in wait, are secrets that will swallow her whole.

The House of Rey is at war. And the entire galaxy will bleed before the end.

No Author Comment Available.

Kim Says 

It’s a bird, it’s a plane it’s… a weird smoke effect on a UF cover. There’s a lot going on and unfortunately it’s all blurry.

Rebecca Says 

Oof. Ok. If they had limited themselves to the starry night and that awesome font — this would be acceptable. But that werid floaty, misty, blurry sword is way. too. distracting

Winning Skyhunter by Jessi Donovan

Expected publication: March 28th 2019

Source: Goodreads

Covers in Series

N/A

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This will be a story about the clan leadership trials on Skyhunter. (They’re the dragon clan in the South of England).

No Author Comment Available.

Kim Says 

More smoke! Is smoke the way these covers try to camouflage the photoshop? He looks so uninterested in her… But at least their fake tribal tattoos match, right? That has to count for something.

Rebecca Says 

I have seen that dragon in the background before, I’m sure of it. If the only original thing you can to bland cover models is photoshopped tattoos then you need to rethink your marketing strategy.

Toxic Game (GhostWalkers #15) by Christine Feehan

Published March 5th 2019

Source: Goodreads

Covers in Series

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On a rescue mission in the heart of the Indonesian jungle, Dr. Draden Freeman and his GhostWalker team need to extract the wounded as quickly as possible—or risk spreading a deadly virus unleashed by a terrorist cell. When Draden gets infected, he forces his team to leave him behind. He won’t risk exposing anyone else. He intends to find the ones responsible and go out in a blaze of glory….

Shylah Cosmos’s mission is to track the virus and remain unseen. Her enhanced senses tell her that the gorgeous man eradicating the terrorists one by one is a GhostWalker—and his lethal precision takes her breath away. When he’s hit by a lucky shot, she can’t stop herself from stepping in, not knowing that by saving his life she’s exposed herself to the virus.

There’s no telling how much time Draden and Shylah have left. Racing to find a cure, they quickly realize that they’ve found their perfect partner just in time to lose everything. But even as the virus threatens to consume their bodies, they’ve never felt more alive.

No Author Comment Available.

Kim Says 

I like that the outbreak, the thrilling military romance, and the too-cool to be put down by a rapidly ravaging virus hero are all on there. He’s dressed, and he looks pissed, and that’s all you need in a thriller romance.

Rebecca Says 

I actually agree, there’s a lot to like about the cover. I especially like the radioactive symbol in the background. I just wish that that fake rain effect wasn’t used. That’s a mistake.

Vendetta in Death (In Death, #49) by J.D. Robb

Expected publication: August 1st 2019 by Piatkus

Source: Goodreads

Covers in Series

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The predator becomes the prey in the newest thriller in the #1 New York Times bestselling series featuring homicide detective Eve Dallas.

She calls herself Lady Justice. And once she has chosen a man as her target, she turns herself into a tall blonde or a curvaceous redhead, makes herself as alluring and seductive as possible to them. Once they are in her grasp, they are powerless.

The first victim is wealthy businessman Nigel McEnroy. His company’s human resources department has already paid out settlements to a couple of his young victims—but they don’t know that his crimes go far beyond workplace harassment. Lady Justice knows. And in one shocking night of brutality, she makes him pay a much steeper price.

Now Eve Dallas and her husband, Roarke, are combing through the evidence of McEnroy’s secret life. His compulsive need to record his misdeeds provides them with a wide range of suspects, but the true identity of Lady Justice remains elusive. It’s a challenging case, made even more difficult by McEnroy’s widow, who reacts to the investigation with fury, denial, and threats. Meanwhile, Lady Justice’s criminal crusade is escalating rapidly, and if Eve can’t stop this vigilante, there’s no telling how much blood may be spilled…

No Author Comment Available.

Kim Says 

Can you tell this is a book about a sexy shape-shifting assasin? No, of course not. It looks like a recycled vintage Grisham cover with a recycled title to boot. I get it, we’re 49 deep into the series, but the “in death” thing died about 39 books ago.

Rebecca Says 

Umm this is genre? Maybe less marble and more cityscape would have helped the vibe of the cover.

Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer, #1) by Maxym M. Martineau

Expected publication: June 25th 2019 by Sourcebooks Casablanca

Source: Goodreads

Covers in Series

N/A

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Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin’s Creed in this epic, gripping fantasy romance from debut author Maxym M. Martineau.

Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep trouble. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts on the black market—an offense punishable by death—and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.

If only it were that simple. Unbeknownst to Leena, the undying ones are bound by magic to complete their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood of assassins…not even to save the woman he can no longer live without.

No Author Comment Available.

Kim Says 

I can’t believe my favourite cover this week is also filled with smoke. At least we have a cover that actually communicates the fantasy aspects of the novel and is spooky and mysterious at the same time.

Rebecca Says 

The colour choices are great, I love the teal and gold. But I definitely think it’s a missed opportunity having the author’s name at the top of the cover rather than the title. Between the author name, the model, and the glowy yellow eyes — I immediately forget the name of the book.

And our picks for Best & Worst covers of the week…

Best

Worst

Have a cover we should include in an upcoming post? Fill out our Cover Submit form

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Shadows in the Mist (Booke of the Hidden, #3) by Jeri Westerson

Expected publication: May 1st 2019 by JABberwocky

Source: Goodreads

Covers in Series

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Small town tea shop proprietor Kylie Strange already has a lot on her plate. The last thing she needs is more trouble to spring up from the mystical Booke of the Hidden. Keeping one step ahead of a scheming demon, supernatural assassins, and Baphomet—an angry god hellbent on stealing the Booke—it’s all more than enough for one person to handle. And that’s without mentioning her competing affections for the handsome and human Sheriff Ed and the demon Erasmus Dark. But soon enough, Kylie and her coven hear whispers of new disturbances in Moody Bog. Strange creatures have been stalking the townsfolk through the fog and rumors of violent encounters confirm their deadly intent. Worst of all, the Booke of the Hidden is not to blame, and no one is sure who is. Kylie and her coven of wiccans need to prioritize. Which is worse? The mysterious and lethal figures in the mist, or Baphomet, who—if he gets his way—will unleash Hell on Earth onto oblivious little Moody Bog.

No Author Comment Available.

Tacoma Says 

I like the muted colors, but this is one of those covers where it’s pretty obvious the different characters were pasted in.

Kristina Says 

i like the muted colors and the fact that they are full clothed in proper clothing for doing things other than posing.

Cursed by Thomas Wheeler, Frank Miller

Expected publication: October 3rd 2019 by Penguin

Source: Goodreads

Covers in Series

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[/columns]

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The Lady of the Lake finds her voice in this cinematic twist on the tale of King Arthur created by Tom Wheeler and legendary artist, producer, and director Frank Miller (300, Batman: The Dark Night Returns, Sin City).

Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true King.

But what if the Sword has chosen a Queen?

Nimue grew up an outcast. Her connection to dark magic made her something to be feared in her Druid village, and that made her desperate to leave…

That is, until her entire village is slaughtered by Red Paladins, and Nimue’s fate is forever altered. Charged by her dying mother to reunite an ancient sword with a legendary sorcerer, Nimue is now her people’s only hope. Her mission leaves little room for revenge, but the growing power within her can think of little else.

Nimue teams up with a charming mercenary named Arthur and refugee Fey Folk from across England. She wields a sword meant for the one true king, battling paladins and the armies of a corrupt king. She struggles to unite her people, avenge her family, and discover the truth about her destiny.

But perhaps the one thing that can change Destiny itself is found at the edge of a blade.

No Author Comment Available.

Tacoma Says 

The fake Netflix sticker is pretty distracting. I can’t decide if I like the style of the art or not, but the font and branch piece look rushed.

Kristina Says 

I like the illustration but yeah, the Netflix sticker ruins the look.

In a Badger Way (Honey Badger Chronicles, #2) by Shelly Laurenston

Expected publication: March 26th 2019 by Tantor Audio

Source: Goodreads

Covers in Series

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Petite, kind, brilliant, and young, Stevie is nothing like the usual women bodyguard Shen Li is interested in. Even more surprising, the youngest of the lethal, ball-busting, and beautiful MacKilligan sisters is terrified of bears. But she’s not terrified of pandas. She loves pandas.

Which means that whether Shen wants her to or not, she simply won’t stop cuddling him. He isn’t some stuffed Giant Panda, ya know! He is a Giant Panda shifter. He deserves respect and personal space. Something that little hybrid is completely ignoring.

But Stevie has a way of finding trouble. Like going undercover to take down a scientist experimenting on other shifters. For what, Shen doesn’t want to know, but they’d better find out. And fast. Stevie might be the least violent of the honey badger sisters, but she’s the most dangerous to Shen’s peace of mind. Because she has absolutely no idea how much trouble they’re in . . . or just how damn adorable she is.

No Author Comment Available.

Tacoma Says 

Seems on brand but I’m confused because the title mentions badgers, but the background seems to be tiger stripes?

Kristina Says 

I completely missed the tiger stripes at first. The main characters are a honey badger and a panda, neither of which has stripes like that. Weird. But, yay for an Asian model on the cover!

The Devil and the Dancer by Elizabeth Hunter

Expected publication: March 19th 2019 by Recurve Press LLC

Source: Goodreads

Covers in Series

N/A

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Sometimes falling is the safest step to take.

Chloe Reardon has a problem, and his name is Gavin Wallace.

Okay, Gavin isn’t exactly a problem, unless you consider a highly attractive wind vampire with dubious intentions a problem. Especially if that vampire is your boss. With an affinity for kilts and excellent taste in music.

But none of that matters because Chloe Reardon has had enough of dangerous men. Danger is overrated. Danger is the opposite of sexy. So Gavin is the last man—or vampire—on earth she needs to let into her heart.

Except what if the most dangerous man you knew was also the one who made you feel the strongest?

The Devil and the Dancer is a paranormal romance novella in the Elemental Legacy series.

No Author Comment Available.

Tacoma Says 

I have no major complaints except WHERE ARE THE REST OF THEIR HEADS?

Kristina Says 

Seems too busy to me.

Shattered Bonds (Jane Yellowrock, #13) by Faith Hunter

Expected publication: October 29th 2019 by Ace

Source: Goodreads

Covers in Series

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Jane Yellowrock must dig deep and find strength within herself if she is to survive in the latest novel in this New York Timesbestselling series.

Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker, and vampire killer-for-hire, but her last battle with an ancient arcane enemy has brought her low. She seeks retreat in the Appalachian Mountains to grieve the loss of her friends, and to heal–or to die–from the disease brought on by her magic.

But malevolent elements in the paranormal community still seek to destroy Jane, and the younger Son of Darkness stalks her, even into the safety of the hills. With nowhere to run and her body failing, the rogue-vampire hunter and her inner Beast must discover a way to defeat this new threat, and find a form that gives her a chance to fight another day.

No Author Comment Available.

Tacoma Says 

The lion (?) face floating in the water comes across as a little comical to me, but the rest of the cover works.

Kristina Says 

I always like these covers. They really bring out who Jane is.

Immortal Born (Argeaneau, #30) by Lynsay Sands

Expected publication: September 24th 2019 by Avon

Source: Goodreads

Covers in Series

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A simple promise to protect her friend’s infant son has turned Allie Chambers’ existence upside down. Caring for—and feeding—an orphaned vampire baby has been tricky enough. But as little Liam grows, so does his appetite. He needs more blood than she can personally supply. And when her attempts to steal from a blood bank go awry, Allie wakes up surrounded by doctors, cops…and the gorgeous, mesmerizing Magnus, who she can neither trust nor resist.

Magnus never expected to find his life mate breaking into a blood bank. Clearly, Allie is already entwined with his world—in deeper, more dangerous ways than she realizes. A band of vicious rogue immortals is in pursuit, and Magnus’ first task is to keep her safe. His second: to awaken her to mind-blowing pleasure, and hope she’ll accept the life, and the passion, that only he can offer.

No Author Comment Available.

Tacoma Says 

Another mostly headless character with the author’s name larger than the title.

Kristina Says 

At least he’s doing something other than posing sexily. He’s posing sexily with a mug!

And our picks for Best & Worst covers of the week…

Best

Worst

Have a cover we should include in an upcoming post? Fill out our Cover Submit form

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Man Eaters by Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, Lia Miternique
Series: Man Eaters #1
Published by Image Comics on March 5th, 2019
Genres: Adult, Comics & Graphic Novels, Dystopia, New Adult, Shifters, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 104
Source: Edelweiss
Sexual Content: Some implied nudity.
Reviewed by: Kim


Adolescent girls can be real monsters. Maude is twelve, about the age some girls turn into flesh-eating wild cats. As her detective dad investigates a series of strange mauling attacks, Maude worries she may be the killer.
Collects #1-4

Includes the informative survival handbook, "Cat Fight! A Boys' Guide to Dangerous Cats."

One part BITCH PLANET, one part ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT’S ME MARGARET, MAN-EATERS VOLUME 1 mixes high school stresses, terrifying beasts and a world where teen girls are the scariest demographic. It’s social commentary that is almost too obvious, but the likeable characters and world building make it fun.

When a virus found in cats combines with hormones, it can turn teenage girls into panthers that maul their friends, family, and anyone else who gets in their way. The government has introduced supplemental hormones into the drinking water, which reduced cat attacks, but also eliminated most women’s menstruation.

Every conversation is both about the blood being spilled by the killer panther and the period Maude is experiencing for the first time. Every interaction reminds us that women are medicated, registered and feared for what they could become. The boys at school drink special, de-hormonized water and are celebrated for being safe.

The worldbuilding really reinforces the fear and control of this new world: as the story moves from Maude, to the killer, to the history of this strange new condition, ads for men’s products to protect them from women and estrogen are everywhere. There are special classes to protect boys from cats, and magazine clippings throughout the book. The satire is nearly too on the nose, but I enjoyed it a lot.

There is a serious twist in the last part that puts everything into question, and I am really looking forward to seeing how Maude will cope with this world where she is enemy number one only because of her age and gender. Twelve year old girls will be the end of us all, right? MAN-EATERS seems to think so.

More Reviews: Similar Titles:
  • Form more dystopian/feminist graphic novels, try Bitch Planet and Trees by Warren Ellis.

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Wild Country by Anne Bishop
Series: The World of the Others #2
Published by Ace on March , 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Romantic
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 496
Source: NetGalley
Sexual Content: A non-explicit sex scene, references to sex and rape, a non explicit rape scene.
Reviewed by: Julia


In this powerful and exciting fantasy set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, humans and the shape-shifting Others will see whether they can live side by side...without destroying one another.

There are ghost towns in the world—places where the humans were annihilated in retaliation for the slaughter of the shape-shifting Others.

One of those places is Bennett, a town at the northern end of the Elder Hills—a town surrounded by the wild country. Now efforts are being made to resettle Bennett as a community where humans and Others live and work together. A young female police officer has been hired as the deputy to a Wolfgard sheriff. A deadly type of Other wants to run a human-style saloon. And a couple with four foster children—one of whom is a blood prophet—hope to find acceptance.

But as they reopen the stores and the professional offices and start to make lives for themselves, the town of Bennett attracts the attention of other humans looking for profit. And the arrival of the Blackstone Clan, outlaws and gamblers all, will uncover secrets…or bury them.

Fans of The Others series may admit that not much has changed in the last 3 books or so, and generally that isn't an issue. The simple, day to day scenes of earnest humans living with their powerful neighbors are sweet and funny.  These moments are the cream floating atop whatever greedy plot some other group of humans are building behind the Others' backs.

The key to this formula working, again and again, is not going to be the element of surprise.  Rather, it is getting invested in these characters and communities.  WILD COUNTRY focuses so broadly on the community, none of the characters really took control of the story. Learning new names for familiar archetypes, watching all the pins line up so they can get knocked down, even with the addition of evil Intuits, felt a little scattered and boring. The policewoman, Jana, was the character I most wanted to follow, but her story didn't built momentum until the very end.

WILD COUNTRY has the familiar elements that make an Others story fun, but also a bit more of the shortcomings that can drag the story down.  A bit slower to get moving than the rest of the series, WILD COUNTRY is still worth reading. But take your time, this one isn't going to rush.

Series Titles:
  1. Written in Red - 5/5
  2. Murder of Crows - 5/5
  3. Vision in Silver - 4/5
  4. Marked in Flesh - 5/5
  5. Etched in Bone - 5/5
  6. Lake Silence - 4/5
More Reviews: Similar Titles:
  • For fantasy in the Old West, Patricia C. Wrede's THIRTEENTH CHILD does a better job of world building.  There is, however, much less contact with intelligent, magical creatures.

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That Ain't Witchraft by Seanan McGuire
Series: Incryptid, #8
Published by DAW on March 5, 2019
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: eBook
Pages: 448 pages
Source: NetGalley
Sexual Content: sex scenes
Reviewed by: Kristina


The eighth book in the funny and fast-paced InCryptid urban fantasy series returns to the mishaps of the Price family, eccentric cryptozoologists who safeguard the world of magical creatures living in secret among humans.

Crossroads, noun:

1. A place where two roads cross.
2. A place where bargains can be made.
3. See also "places to avoid."

Antimony Price has never done well without a support system. As the youngest of her generation, she has always been able to depend on her parents, siblings, and cousins to help her out when she's in a pinch--until now. After fleeing from the Covenant of St. George, she's found herself in debt to the crossroads and running for her life. No family. No mice. No way out.

Lucky for her, she's always been resourceful, and she's been gathering allies as she travels: Sam, fūri trapeze artist turned boyfriend; Cylia, jink roller derby captain and designated driver; Fern, sylph friend, confidant, and maker of breakfasts; even Mary, ghost babysitter to the Price family. Annie's actually starting to feel like they might be able to figure things out--which is probably why things start going wrong again.

New Gravesend, Maine is a nice place to raise a family...or make a binding contract with the crossroads. For James Smith, whose best friend disappeared when she tried to do precisely that, it's also an excellent place to plot revenge. Now the crossroads want him dead and they want Annie to do the dirty deed. She owes them, after all.

And that's before Leonard Cunningham, aka, "the next leader of the Covenant," shows up...

It's going to take everything Annie has and a little bit more to get out of this one. If she succeeds, she gets to go home. If she fails, she becomes one more cautionary tale about the dangers of bargaining with the crossroads.

But no pressure.

THAT AIN'T WITCHCRAFT, the eighth book in the Incryptid series continues right off where the last book ended with Annie on the run from chaos and violence of varying sorts and her crossroads bargain. I quite like the expanding mythology on the crossroads and sorcerer magic that this book delves into which I found fascinating. It was even more exciting to finally find out about the utter chaos that is the crossroads and the evil tentacled alien/monster that has been reeking chaos on the dead and living for centuries.

Aside from the eldritch horror plot happening with the crossroads and Annie's baragin, the characters remain so charming and fun to read about. Out of all of the Price siblings, Annie is probably the most determined and willing to sacrifice her life for the good of everyone/thing else. It's an admirable quality! I liked getting to know her friends cryptid Fern and Cylia better. They're super loyal and their abilities are pretty cool. Being able to spread luck around is a pretty cool and useful ability to have.

THAT AIN'T WITCHCRAFT is full of action, chaos, magic, and mystery.  It's probably best to read the the previous book TRICKS FOR FREE to really understand what led to Annie's bargain. Amid all of the darkness that happens, there is always some fun humor and banter to these books which really makes them a delight to read.

Series Titles:
  1. Discount Armageddon
  2. Midnight Blue-Light  Special
  3. Half-Off Ragnorok
  4. Pocket Apocalypse
  5. Chaos Choreography
  6. Magic for Nothing
  7. Tricks for Free
More Reviews: Similar Titles:

A post from All Things Urban Fantasy Get more! Follow us on Twitter | Goodreads

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 It’s the last day of the month which means it’s time to check out what we’re reading next month in:

Want to know what titles came out in previous months? View previous Hot Off The Press posts

—————————————–

*Release dates are subject to change.  Click ‘+ Description‘ to reveal the full description. Please visit our Titles Received For Review page to see which of these titles will be reviewed this month.

20 Adult Titles Releasing in March
Jennifer Estep
An assassin at a renaissance faire. What could possibly go wrong? Everything, if you’re the Spider . . .

I might be Gin Blanco, aka the assassin the Spider, but even I need a break from the bad guys every now and then. So when Owen Grayson, my significant other, suggests a trip to the Winter’s Web Renaissance Faire, it sounds like a perfect distraction from all my problems.

The faire starts off innocently enough, but something seems slightly off about the cheery atmosphere and costumed characters. Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I can’t help but feel like I’m trapped in someone else’s icy web—and that they don’t want me to leave the faire alive . . .

Note: Winter’s Web is a 27,000-word novella that takes place after the events of Venom in the Veins, book 17 in the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. Winter’s Web first appeared in the Seasons of Sorcery anthology in 2018.

Sarah Fine

For those who deal in the fate of the world, salvation and destruction are not games of chance.

Ernestine “Ernie” Terwilliger never intended to live among the Immortal Dealers, much less to be party to an ongoing battle where the fate of humanity is in the draw of a card. And the stakes have gotten only higher now that a shady new Forger has been crowned.

Virginia may be in charge of creating the chaos that makes the universe tick, but her assignments have been noble—each one in the aid of strangers. But when Ernie discovers Virginia’s true purpose, she realizes it’s going to take an entirely new kind of play to stop her.

The game changer lies within a mysterious artifact dredged from the ocean. To unlock its powers, Ernie and her partner, Gabe, must traverse dangerous new realms and uncover the history of Forgers past. Joined in a tenuous alliance with a former enemy and stalked by old friends turned lethal foes, Ernie had better play her cards right—because this time, the whole universe could be destroyed in the shuffle.

Melissa F. Olson

Years ago, boundary witch Allison “Lex” Luther made a promise to an alpha werewolf. Now, just when the supernatural community in Colorado is enjoying a period of hard-won peace, the alpha turns up at Lex’s door to call in his marker. Two of his pack members have disappeared in the Colorado sand dunes, and he needs safe passage to hunt for them.

With her friend Simon Pellar along for backup, Lex ventures into the dunes to search for the missing couple…but what they find is only the opening move in an ambitious assault against those who hold power in the Colorado Old World. An old enemy has returned to tear their peace apart, and Lex is soon embroiled in politics she doesn’t understand, from a time before she had magic.

To save her friends and her way of life, Lex will have to cross every line she’s drawn since learning what she is—and it may still be too late.

Kathy Lyons
Some men aren’t meant to be tamed in the next book in USA Today bestselling author Kathy Lyons’s Grizzlies Gone Wild series!

Detective Ryan Kennedy doesn’t have time for distractions. As the only bear shifter on the police force, he’s responsible for investigating the cause of the mysterious flu-like illness that’s ravaging the citizens of Detroit. But when the beautiful daughter of a rival clan’s alpha asks for his help, Ryan realizes that she may hold the key to stopping the virus. If only he can focus on the case and not on how much he wants to kiss the enemy.

Francesca Wolf knows who’s poisoning the city, and she has a plan to take him down, but it will only work if Ryan follows her lead. Frankie’s strong, passionate spirit makes her slow to ask for help, but time is running out and the sexy-as-sin cop won’t submit to her demands. Instead, he’s giving her orders and firing up her passions just when she needs to stay calm. They’ll have to work together-as equals-to save the city, to keep each other alive, and to contain a hunger that might just burn the whole city to the ground.

Cullen Bunn
A tale of spine-tingling horror, psychological fright, the undead, and the bitter cold of a supernatural winter come together in this account of unexpected twists and mounting dread. Dan Kerr turned his back on his wife and unborn daughter 10 years ago. Now, both mother and child have gone missing, and Dan must embark on a weird tale of cosmic terror in order to find them again! Ghosts stir when Dan’s estranged daughter is near, and as the dead grow restless, the cold deepens.

Collects COLD SPOTS #1 – 5

K Bird Lincoln
Even a dream eater can’t escape the final sleep…After her trip to Japan, the Head of Portland Kind calls Koi home to help solve a murder. The body of a powerful magical being was found in the witch’s hut in Forest Park, along with a strange, haunting quotation about dreams and death written in blood. Can Koi discover who seems to be calling out a Baku before others from her new-found family die?
K Bird Lincoln
Even a dream eater can’t escape the final sleep…After her trip to Japan, the Head of Portland Kind calls Koi home to help solve a murder. The body of a powerful magical being was found in the witch’s hut in Forest Park, along with a strange, haunting quotation about dreams and death written in blood. Can Koi discover who seems to be calling out a Baku before others from her new-found family die?
Dan Stout
This noir fantasy thriller from a debut author introduces the gritty town of Titanshade, where danger lurks around every corner.

Carter’s a homicide cop in Titanshade, an oil boomtown where 8-tracks are state of the art, disco rules the radio, and all the best sorcerers wear designer labels. It’s also a metropolis teetering on the edge of disaster. As its oil reserves run dry, the city’s future hangs on a possible investment from the reclusive amphibians known as Squibs.

But now negotiations have been derailed by the horrific murder of a Squib diplomat. The pressure’s never been higher to make a quick arrest, even as Carter’s investigation leads him into conflict with the city’s elite. Undermined by corrupt coworkers and falsified evidence, and with a suspect list that includes power-hungry politicians, oil magnates, and mad scientists, Carter must find the killer before the investigation turns into a witch-hunt and those closest to him pay the ultimate price on the filthy streets of Titanshade.

Anne Bishop
In this powerful and exciting fantasy set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, humans and the shape-shifting Others will see whether they can live side by side…without destroying one another.

There are ghost towns in the world—places where the humans were annihilated in retaliation for the slaughter of the shape-shifting Others.

One of those places is Bennett, a town at the northern end of the Elder Hills—a town surrounded by the wild country. Now efforts are being made to resettle Bennett as a community where humans and Others live and work together. A young female police officer has been hired as the deputy to a Wolfgard sheriff. A deadly type of Other wants to run a human-style saloon. And a couple with four foster children—one of whom is a blood prophet—hope to find acceptance.
 
But as they reopen the stores and the professional offices and start to make lives for themselves, the town of Bennett attracts the attention of other humans looking for profit. And the arrival of the outlaw Blackstone Clan will either unite Others and humans…or bury them all.

Kim Harrison
Is it better to live a lie of perfection when the truth is too ugly to survive? Meg wants a normal life. Her new artistic style, born in the depression of her mother’s death, is poised to take the art world by storm, if she could just overcome the debilitating anxiety caused by the car accident that scarred her boyfriend, Austin. Encouraged by her therapist, Meg pushes outside her comfort zone to befriend Haley, a guest instructor at the university where Meg teaches. Haley is everything Meg wants to be: charismatic, confident, and perfect, but when Austin expresses his worry that Haley is changing Meg too fast and leads her to realize that Austin is trying to keep her afraid and needing him, Meg kicks him out of her life. Or at least, she tries. Kim Harrison, author of the number one bestselling Urban Fantasy Hollows series, brings to life a world terrifyingly near to our own, where what’s real and what shouldn’t exist twine together in the madness of a troubled mind desperate for a way out. But when the truth is reveled, the question remains, is it better to live a lie of perfection, or cleave to an ugly reality that will destroy you?
Maria Vale

“Raw, wild, and intense―captivating to the final page.”―AMANDA BOUCHET, USA Today bestselling author, for The Last Wolf

Born with one blue eye and one green, Eyulf was abandoned as an infant and has never understood why, or what he is…Varya is fiercely loyal to the Great North Pack, which took her in when she was a teenager. While out on patrol, Varya finds Eyulf wounded and starving and saves his life, at great risk to her own.

Legend says his eyes portend the end of the world…or perhaps, the beginning…

With old and new enemies threatening the Great North, Varya knows as soon as she sees his eyes that she must keep Eyulf hidden away from the superstitious wolves who would doom them both. Until the day they must fight to the death for the Pack’s survival, side by side and heart to heart…

The Legend of All Wolves Series:
The Last Wolf (Book 1)
A Wolf Apart (Book 2)
Forever Wolf (Book 3)

Praise for Maria Vale:
“A feral and fearsome romance.”―Kirkus, for A Wolf Apart
“An epic story…The total package of romance, passion, betrayal, and a strong plot.”―Night Owl Reviews for A Wolf Apart
“A wonderfully descriptive paranormal romance that breathes some much-needed life into the subgenre.”―Kirkus for The Last Wolf
“Vale has created a world unlike any other.”―Fresh Fiction_ for The Last Wolf

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Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy, #4) by Ilona Andrews

Expected publication: August 27th 2019 by Avon

Source: Goodreads

Covers in Series

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In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.

No Author Comment Available.

Julia Says 

I don’t read Hidden Legacy books for their covers, and this one is no exception to that rule. Not really how I had imagined either character, and the magic in the background is disappointingly “wingless”.

James Says 

This is definitely the best cover so far for the Hidden Legacy series. At least the guy isn’t half naked and the woman isn’t fawning all over him.

Dragon Prince (Qurilixen Lords) by Michelle M. Pillow

Published February 12th 2019 by The Raven Books LLC

Source: Goodreads

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With all that is happening in his land, the upcoming shifter mating ceremony is the least of Grier’s concerns. Even though he is heir prince of the dragonshifters, he doesn’t have the authority needed to help the humans stranded in dragon territory, nor can he banish those who ruthlessly control them. Yet honor demands he finds an opportunity to intervene, and he hopes that doing so won’t start a war the shifters can’t win. Finding his destined mate couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Salena knows what it is like to be a pawn of the Federation. They might have kidnapped her and brought her to this strange territory, but she will never do what they want of her… what everyone wants of her. The last thing the fugitive needs is the very public attention of a fierce dragon prince claiming they’re fated by the gods—even if the sexy man makes her burn in more ways than one.

No Author Comment Available.

Julia Says 

Fine, though the juxtaposition of all that determined flexing and the author’s last name made me giggle quite a bit.

James Says 

Half naked guy in front of boring background.

Goddess Ascending (Gods and Goddesses, #1) by Heather Hildenbrand

Published January 30th 2019

Source: Goodreads

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Promised to the Light. Hunted by the Dark. 

Two things happen the night Elidi Brant is attacked. She learns she’s not human, and she is saved by the impressive and, also definitely not human, Kol Valco. Kol tells her something big and world-breaking is after her, but he promises to protect her until she “ascends.”

Elidi doesn’t know what ascending means or how to access the abilities Kol insists she has, but she trusts him. The claws and fur he can sprout at will make her feel safe. However, safety is a fragile thing and the force after her is more powerful than Elidi can imagine.

With the clock on Elidi’s mortality ticking, she must find a way to access her gifts or kill them both in the process.

No Author Comment Available.

Juila Says 

This story involves a magical thigh tattoo? Not even close to the weirdest thing I’ve read. Wolf looks a bit stuffed, but not enough to ruin it for me. Cheesy, but close enough.

James Says 

It’s really sad that we live in a world where I look at this cover, and think to myself that this is a really good cover. So good that it can’t be trad published. I go over the amazon to double check, and yep it’s self-published!

Vampire Hunter by Kassandra Lynn

Published January 31st 2019

Source: Goodreads

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She’s a two-century-old vampire. He hunts creatures of the dark, like her.

No one is supposed to know vampire Izella had loved a vampire hunter two hundred years ago. But when a magical stake emerges with the power to eradicate even the oldest vampires, leading her on a quest to infiltrate Hunter Academy and destroy the artifact, she’s forced to face the ghosts of her past.

The handsome hunter who guards Hunter Academy bears an uncanny resemblance to the love she has never forgotten.

Immortals clash with hunters, a raging war on the brink of chaos. Can Izella survive the battles and find love with a man sworn to kill her kind?

No Author Comment Available.

Julia Says 

Another “fine”. She doesn’t look like she’s hunting anything other than the Bachelor, but she’s also not mid-proportioned or weirdly composed. So she had that going for her.

James Says 

I agree that nothing about this piece says “hunter” at all, but at least it’s a well rendered piece of digital art instead of photoshop images

Wolf Rain (Psy-Changling Trinity, #3) by Nalini Singh

Expected publication: June 4th 2019 by Berkley

Source: Goodreads

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The end of Silence was supposed to create a better world for future generations. But trust is broken, and the alliance between Psy, Changeling, and human is thin. The problems that led to Silence are back in full force. Because Silence fixed nothing, just hid the problems.

This time, the Psy have to find a real answer to their problems–if one exists. Or their race will soon go extinct in a cascade of violence. The answer begins with an empath who is attuned to monsters–and who is going to charm a wolf into loving her despite his own demons.

No Author Comment Available.

Julia Says 

I guess this is classy? Glad they’re trying something new, Singh deserves the best. But the title sounds like word salad and the cover is super bland.

James Says 

And here we have a New York Times Bestselling author, published by one of the big five publishers. And what do we get for all the money and prestige that comes with trad publishing? A couple of silhouettes on a monochromatic background. I’ll pick up either of the self-published books above before I’d touch this one with a ten foot pole.

The Evil Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil) by Gene Showalter

Expected publication: June 25th 2019 by Inkyard Press

Source: Goodreads

Covers in Series

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Evil isn’t born, it’s made. One thought and action at a time. Take a good look at what you’ve made.

Far, far away, in the realm of Enchantia, creatures of legend still exist, magic is the norm and fairy tales are real. Except, fairy tales aren’t based on myths and legends of the past—they are prophecies of the future.

Raised in the mortal realm, Everly Morrow has no idea she’s a real life fairy tale princess—until she manifests an ability to commune with mirrors.

Look. See… What will one peek hurt?

Soon, a horrifying truth is revealed. She is fated to be Snow White’s greatest enemy, the Evil Queen.

With powers beyond her imagination or control—and determined to change Fate itself—Everly returns to the land of her birth. There, she meets Roth Charmaine, the supposed Prince Charming. Their attraction is undeniable, but their relationship is doomed.

As bits and pieces of the prophecy unfold, Everly faces one betrayal after another, and giving in to her dark side proves more tempting every day. Can she resist, or will she become the queen—and villain—she was born to be?

No Author Comment Available.

Julia Says 

Love the title font.

James Says 

NYT author, published by the big five. What do we get? Cool font and a broken mirror. It is at least a little more artistic than the previous one, but I’m still not impressed.

Unhuman Light by Chris Stonehearst

Published February 7th 2019 by Kaleidowords Publishing

Source: Goodreads

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Chronicles of the Light, book one…

Bodies keep piling up, but Kaitlin O’Malley refuses to back down, even when threatened by someone once worshipped as a god. Training for a battle between good and evil, she teams up with the Dragon King and a powerful lion, and finds herself protected by a Master Vampire who wants her in his bed.

With a vile enemy ready to destroy her, the men in her life lock her up to keep her safe, but Kaitlin will never let other people fight her battles. She’ll have to break free and venture out on her own, wielding a powerful weapon to protect herself — a weapon her enemies would kill for. To face the enemy alone, Kaitlin must view the world in an Unhuman Light.

In a supernatural battle of magic and strength, can an unlikely human prevail?

No Author Comment Available.

Julia Says 

The dragon looks like it’s trying to phase back to the 80’s, the cover model just stepped off a back to school catalog, and my brain kept trying to substitute the word “inhuman” for “unhuman”.

James Says 

This has to be one of the worst photoshop jobs in the history of the world. Who thought it was a good idea to combine what looks like a traditionally painted dragon with a horribly photoshopped model?

And our picks for Best & Worst covers of the week…

Best

Worst

Have a cover we should include in an upcoming post? Fill out our Cover Submit form

A post from All Things Urban Fantasy Get more! Follow us on Twitter | Goodreads

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