Archive for Fantasy Books
In J.F. Lewis’ first urban fantasy book Staked (Void City, Book 1), Eric, a powerful Vlad-level vampire was killed in an explosion masterminded by his ex-business partner. Except, since he’s a tough-as-nails Vlad vampire he can’t really be killed. Again. So he’s hovering around the scene of the crime as a ghost.
His vampire family and friends (as well as a talented mage) realize that Eric’s not permanently gone, but they have a hard time figuring out how to bring him back. Eventually it’s his girlfriend Rachel who discovers the solution:
“Cars eat,” she said. “Cars run on gas. Vampires have different needs but they still require fuel.” Rachel paused and shook the gas can as she spoke, blood sloshing up the side and seeping back down. “Eric runs on blood. Feed the car what Eric needs and you nourish Eric through their connection.”
That (along with one more trick which you’ll have to read about in the book) successfully restores Eric to his body and all is well. Until he learns that the love of his life, a human named Marilyn, didn’t survive the explosion. It appears that his business partner sold Marilyn’s soul to a demon who’s holding it in limbo. Thus begins Eric’s mission to free Marilyn and bring her back to life.
There’s a lot going on in this book and it has several great subplots which center around some of the characters from the first book:
Tabitha: Eric’s estranged ex-girlfriend, has moved into a fancy apartment building owned by a powerful vampire. Although she initially flirted with the idea of a relationship with him she soon discovered that his sexual proclivities were a bit “exotic” and eventually begins a “friends with benefits” relationship with a werecat named Talbot. It’s blatantly clear that Tabitha still loves Eric but she’s too proud and stubborn to admit it. However she can’t help but be concerned about Eric’s current girlfriend, Rachel, who bears a striking resemblance to Tabitha’s dead sister.
Rachel: let’s just say that there’s something odd about this woman. Whenever Eric is near her he hears voices in his head. Voices that tell him to love her, to care for her, to trust her. He knows something’s amiss but can’t seem to figure out what it is. Rachel’s up to something and we’re not quite sure if she’s for or against Eric.
Phillip: the vampire who owns the building where Tabitha is staying, shows Eric that the use of magic isn’t limited to mages. I think of Phillip as a shrewd and manipulative “puppet master.” Phillip knows a lot about the course of events that lead to Eric’s first rebirth as a Vlad vampire.
ReVamped also introduces some new characters:
J’iliol’lth: the demon who trapped Marilyn’s soul. He makes Eric an offer that no vampire could refuse.
Ebon Winter: a powerful vampire with a penchant for singing show tunes. He’s a notorious gambler but his interests don’t lie in cards or horses. Instead his wagers focus on the outcome and fate of others. It’s clear that Ebon knows more about Eric’s near death and Marilyn’s fate than he’s admitting.
Eric’s mission leads to his introduction to vampire society and politics. Because Eric spent most of his vampire life as a loner, keeping primarily to his strip club, he’s not necessarily privy to the subtleties and refinements of the vampire upper crust. He’s very much a brute and doesn’t take fit in with the vampire aristocracy. This makes for some incredibly funny scenes.
The climax of the book is a startling scene full of surprises, deceptions, and betrayals. I like to think that I’m good at figuring out story conclusions but to be honest, I didn’t see this one coming. Just know that there’s a conspiracy afoot that’s much more organized and diabolical than you’d ever guess.
As with Staked, Lewis does a superb job with character development and pacing. Additionally ReVamped has action, mystery, and liberal doses of wit and humor which I’ve come to expect from Lewis. Just like Staked, ReVamped doesn’t glamorize vampirism like some other fantasy books but instead provides a more realistic insight into the violence and inhumanity associated with the undead. I for one appreciate a more candid storyline and think you will as well. Get ReVamped!
I just selected the First and Second place winners in the White Witch, Black Curse book contest. To recap, the First Place winner gets a hardbound copy of Kim Harrison’s new fantasy book “White Witch, Black Curse”, a t-shirt with the book’s title on it, and tomato seed packets that have the book’s cover on it. The Second Place winner receives a hardbound copy of the new book.
And the lucky winners are:
First Place: Rebecca Sirevaag
Second Place: Heather S.
Congratulations to both winners! I’ve emailed each of you requesting your mailing addresses.
And a big THANK YOU to everyone that participated! I plan to run another contest in 2 weeks so be sure to keep visiting the site!
Although there are only 28 days this month, February has some of the best fantasy book releases I’ve seen in a long time. With entries from Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, Rachel Vincent, Rachel Caine, Yasmine Galenorn, and L.A. Banks, February may turn out to be one of the biggest months for new fantasy books!
Do you know about the “4-for-3″ deal at Amazon? Buy 4 books and get the lowest priced one for free. I’ve indicated which books qualify for this deal. Enjoy!
Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson, Book 4) by Patricia Briggs
Mercy is preparing to marry alpha werewolf Adam Hauptman when an old friend asks her to help fend off a nasty ghost. It’s a good time for Mercy to leave Portland, Oregon because vampire queen Marsilia is after her and her vampire friend Stefan for successfully hunting down a monster that should have killed them. Mercy leaves Adam to negotiate peace with Marsilia and heads to Spokane, Washington to investigate the ghost, an unexpectedly complicated task. Though action supersedes characterization, the preternatural culture of vampire seethes and wolf pack politics is deeply intriguing. Briggs provides plenty of detail about Mercy’s complex world without boring info dumps, satisfying both new and longtime readers. (Hurrah! It’s finally here!) Stay tuned for a fantasy book contest that includes this book.
Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand (Kitty Norville, Book 5) by Carrie Vaughn
Already the alpha pair of Denver’s werewolf pack, Kitty and Ben now plan to tie the knot human-style by eloping to Vegas. Kitty is looking forward to sipping fru-fru drinks by the pool and doing her popular radio show on live TV, but her hotel is stocked with werewolf-hating bounty hunters. Elsewhere on the Strip an old-school magician might be wielding the real thing; the vampire community is harboring a dark secret; and the irresistible star of a suspicious animal act is determined to seduce Kitty. Sin City has never been so wild, and this werewolf has never had to fight harder to save not only her wedding, but her very life. Qualifies for 4-for-3 deal
Pride (Werecats, Book 3) by Rachel Vincent
I’m on trial for my life. Falsely accused of infecting my human ex-boyfriend and killing him to cover up the crime. Infecting a human is one of three capital offenses recognized by the Pride, along with murder and disclosure of our existence to a human. I’m two for three. A goner. Now we’ve discovered a rogue stray terrorizing the mountainside, hunting a wild teenage tabbycat. It’s up to us to find and stop him before a human discovers us. With my lover Marc’s help, I think I can protect the vulnerable girl from both the ambitious rogue and the scheming of the territorial council. If I survive my own trial . . . (time to feed the shopping cart)
A Cold Day In Hell by Ken Rand
In Las Vegas, everybody has secrets… The young mother rent-a-cop who dreams of dead people’s graves and her incompetent, thieving P.I. boss. The eccentric billionaire toy-collector, his lesbian “right-hand man” and her dazed and confused lover. The angst-ridden cop. The rabble-rousing bag lady, her band of homeless pranksters, and the preacher who wants to levitate a casino. They all have secrets. One is a murderer.
Crime Spells by Multiple Authors (edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Loren L. Coleman)
Sixteen original stories about magic-fueled crimes and those who investigate them. When magic is used for criminal purposes, all sorts of ethical and logistical questions arise beyond the realm of everyday law and order. Now, sixteen top tale-tellers offer fascinating new stories of those who commit magic crimes, those who investigate them, and those who prosecute them. From a young woman who uses out-of-body excursions to research paranormal crimes, to a bookie who’s been paying for hex protection against magical interference, to an artist who does divination through his sketched visions which may lead to a murderer’s undoing, here are powerful tales of magical crimes and punishments. Qualifies for 4-for-3
Undone (Outcast Season, Book 1) by Rachel Caine
A BRAND NEW SERIES FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE WEATHER WARDEN BOOKS. Once she was Cassiel, a Djinn of limitless power. Now, she has been reshaped in human flesh as punishment for defying her master—and living among the Weather Wardens, whose power she must tap into regularly or she will die. And as she copes with the emotions and frailties of her human condition, a malevolent entity threatens her new existence. Qualifies for 4-for-3
Dogs and Goddesses by Jennifer Crusie, Anne Stuart, and Lani Diane Rich
Dangerous Men. Dark Powers. Dog Biscuits. They have it all. Abby has just arrived in Summerville, Ohio, with her placid Newfoundland, Bowser. She’s reluctantly inherited her grandmother’s coffee shop, but it’s not long before she’s brewing up trouble in the form of magical baked goods and steaming up her life with an exasperating college professor. And then there’s Daisy, a Web code writer, and her hyperactive Jack Russell, Bailey. Her tightly wound world spins out of control when she discovers the chaos within and meets a mysterious dog trainer whose teaching style is definitely hands-on. Finally there’s Shar, professor of ancient history at Summerville College, who wakes up one morning to find her neurotic dachshund, Wolfie, snarling at an implacable god sitting at her kitchen table, the first thing in her life she hasn’t been able to footnote. What on earth is going on in this unearthly little town? It’s up to Abby, Daisy, and Shar to find out before an ancient goddess takes over southern Ohio, and they all end up in the apocalyptic doghouse. (Book, meet shopping cart). Note: since publishing this article I’ve purchased this title – thus far it’s turning out to be an entertaining and funny fantasy book!
The Thirteenth (Vampire Huntress Legends) by L.A. Banks
The final story in the now cult favorite Vampire Huntress series. The entire Neteru Guardian team is on the run, having now been labeled as America’s most-wanted terrorists following the gruesome demon battle that felled the Washington Monument and crashed the front doors of the White House. The powers of darkness have released the pale horse of the apocalypse and half the Neteru team is pregnant. Plagues from hell that ravage the country are being cited as stemming from bio-terrorism. The nation is under martial law. The Neterus and their team are underground. If things weren’t bad enough… the Dark Realm breaks the sixth Biblical seal, which plunges the world into perpetual darkness and irrevocably into the Armageddon.
Mortal Coils by Eric Nylund
Nothing interesting ever happened to fifteen-year-old orphans Eliot and Fiona while they’ve lived in the strict, oppressive household of their grandmother. A chance visit, however, reveals that there is much more to the twins. They are the offspring of a goddess and the Prince of Darkness.
Now, to settle the epic custody battle between these two families, the fallen angels create three diabolical temptations, and the gods fashion three heroic trials to test Eliot and Fiona. More than ever they need to stick together to survive and to learn how to use their budding supernatural abilities . . . for family allegiances are ever-shifting in the ancient, secret world they have entered.
Darkling (Sisters of the Moon) by Yasmine Galenorn (Audiobook)
In this third entry in Yasmine Galenorn’s bestselling Sisters of the Moon series, the spotlight is on Menolly, who must face the demons haunting her memories when humans begin turning into vampires. Also available in paperback and Qualifies for 4-for-3 deal
A Rush of Wings: Book One of The Maker’s Song by Adrian Phoenix
Set in the brooding New Orleans area long established as the best location for all things vampiric, Phoenix’s lively debut has it all: Rogue FBI agents, Bureau-ordered hits, mad-scientist experiments in psychopathology, vampires and fallen angels and a slicing-dicing serial killer. Smart, sexy FBI Special Agent Heather Wallace has been trying to catch the Cross-Country Killer for three years when the trail leads to New Orleans and Club Hell, where Dante Prejean performs with the Inferno, an industrial/goth rock band. Dante is a Cajun and a born vampire whose memories of his terrible past have been erased, leaving him vulnerable to the psychopathic killer, E, who knows all that Dante has forgotten. As E begins targeting Dante’s loved ones, Heather must swallow her skepticism and work with Dante’s vampiric friends and family to save him. Phoenix alternates romantic homages to gothdom and steamy blood-drinking threesomes with enough terse, fast-paced thriller scenes to satisfy even the most jaded fan. (Shopping cart, yes, shopping cart)
The Domino Men (Gollancz S.F.) by Jonathan Barnes
A young man discovers a manuscript and so begins a bizarre tale that brings together his grandfather, every conspiracy theory you’ve ever heard about the royal family and the true story about where the power of Number 10 really lies. Readers of The Somnambulist may well recoginize the characters kept within a chalk circle in a cellar beneath Downing Street. With a gallery of vividly grotesque characters, a gleefully satiric take on modern life and a playful and highly literate style, this is an amazingly readable literary fantasy. In his sequel to the crazed Victoriana of The Somnambulist Jonathan Barnes brings his invention, reality, grotesquerie and curiosities bang-up-to-date.
Black Blood by John Meaney
Police lieutenant Donal Riordan is lucky to be alive. That’s what everyone tells him. Except he doesn’t feel lucky and he isn’t really alive. In one horrific moment Donal lost the woman he loved although her ultimate sacrifice saved his life. Now it’s literally her heart that beats in his chest and her murder that Donal “lives” to avenge.
While being a zombie cop has its upsides, including inhuman reaction time and razor-sharp senses, Donal’s new undead status makes him the target of the powerful Unity Party, whose startling rise to power is built on a platform of anti-zombie paranoia and persecution. The Party is clearly no friend but it’s the secret cabal known as the Black Circle that consume Donal’s mind. For at the center of this ring of evil is the man responsible for his lover’s murder, a man Donal has already had to kill once before.
For Donal, it’s no longer a matter of life and death but something far more serious. How can he stop a killer who won’t stay dead and an evil that death only makes stronger?
Death’s Daughter by Amber Benson
Callie Reaper-Jones wants a normal life: buying designer shoes on sale, dating guys from Craig’s List, and web-surfing for organic dim-sum for her boss. But when her father The Grim Reaper is kidnapped and a forget-me spell is broken Callie suddenly realizes that her family is more than meets the eye. Callie is informed that she must assume her father’s role in order to save the family business (Death Inc.). Although she’s not interested in any job that might ruin her manicure, Callie reluctantly agrees, only to learn that she must first complete three nearly impossible tasks which involve encounters with dangerous magical creatures. This book, WRITTEN BY “TARA” FROM BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, is full of humor, adventure, and suspense. (Shopping cart addition).
Many Bloody Returns Multiple Authors (Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, & others. Edited by Toni L. P. Kelner) PAPERBACK RELEASE.
From cakes to stakes, a celebration of everyone’s favorite bloodsucking subculture by a baker’s dozen of favorite authors. Each of these thirteen original stories offers a fresh and unique take on what birthdays mean to the undead. From Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse attending a birthday party for Dracula to Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden battling bloodsucking party crashers, these suspenseful, surprising, sometimes dark, sometimes humorous stories will ensure paranormal fans will never think of vampires or birthdays quite the same again.
Grave Sins (A Cin Craven Novel) by Jenna Maclaine
The latest in a bold, magical new series that spans the ages, from historical England to modern day America and beyond. Welcome to the legend of Cin Craven—witch, vampire and immortal warrior. In the arms of her lover Michael, Cin Craven has found satisfaction for her most primal longings, reaching heights of pleasure no mere human could ever imagine. She has also found a purpose for her unearthly powers. Cin is a member of The Righteous, a band of slayers that hunts down vampires who inflict evil upon the world. With Michael by her side, Cin’s latest mission brings her face-to-face with Marrakesh, a beautiful, half-mad vampire queen charged with slaughtering humans. If she’s found guilty, Marrakesh will pay with her life. But Cin is convinced that someone (or something) far more ruthless is trying to steal the queen’s throne. It’s a mission that will pit Michael and Cin against each other for the first time, awakening their darkest instincts and testing their love like never before.
Spell Games by T.A. Pratt
Mad sorcerers, psychic vampires, an army of vengeful demons, Marla Mason would rather face them all than a flesh-and-blood ghost from her dysfunctional family past: her con artist brother, Jason. As a chief sorcerer, Marla would ordinarily consider it her duty to protect her town from such an unscrupulous ne’er-do-well. As his sister, things are a lot . . . trickier. Now, as Marla attempts to train an apprentice oracle whose magical wires have gotten crossed, Jason is setting up an elaborate scheme and drawing her ever-so-corruptible partner Rondeau into the ruse. Their patsy is a filthy-rich wannabe mage and their bait is something so valuable, so dangerous, so sought after, it probably doesn’t exist. But now word’s gotten out that it does. It’ll be the mother of all bad trips unless Marla can pull off the ultimate magical switcheroo . . . and somehow live to tell about it.
Deader Still by Anton Strout, author of Dead to Me and contributor to The League of Reluctant Adults website.
It’s hard to defeat evil on a budget. Just ask Simon Canderous. It’s been 737 days since the Department of Extraordinary Affairs’ last vampire incursion, but that streak appears to have ended when a boat full of dead lawyers is found in the Hudson River. Using the power of psychometry (the ability to divine the history of an object by touching it) agent Simon Canderous discovers that the booze cruise was crashed by something that sucked all the blood out of the litigators. Now, his workday may never end – until his life does. (My shopping cart runneth over).
The Grave of the Fireflies by Alicia Davidson
Kenny Mathis had always believed in an unseen world filled with magical creatures and mountains of mystery. When moving to the small town of Heather Field, his friend tells him of the legend known as The Grave of the Fireflies, a mythical place with untold amounts of treasure. When threatened with eviction, Kenny is thrown into the hidden world that has always been just beyond his reach. To save a friend and uncover the mysteries that surround his past, Kenny sets out to find The Grave of the Fireflies and unravel the thousand year old legend of Heather Field.
Marked by Passion (The Guardians of Destiny) by Kate Perry
Gabrielle Sansouci Chin is a struggling artist/bartender in San Francisco who also happens to be a new Guardian. When her father dies she’s inherits her powers along with the responsibility of guarding the Scroll of Earth. With help from her dead father’ spirit and an incredibly hot treasure hunter, Gabrielle embarks on an adventure that presents her with challenges and dangers she never thought existed.
See also: New Fantasy Books for January 2009
If you’re interested in learning what happened in each True Blood episode, I’ve listed all of my reviews below. Beware, there are some spoilers here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
|EP.||Episode Title||True Blood Episode Reviews|
|#1||Strange Love||True Blood Episode 1 Review|
|#2||The First Taste||True Blood Episode 2 Review|
|#3||Mine||True Blood Episode 3 Review|
|#4||Escape From Dragon House||True Blood Episode 4 Review|
|#5||Sparks Fly Out||True Blood Episode 5 Review|
|#6||Cold Ground||True Blood Episode 6 Review|
|#7||Burning House of Love||True Blood Episode 7 Review|
|#8||The 4th Man in the Fire||True Blood Episode 8 Review|
|#9||Plaisir D’Armour||True Blood Episode 9 Review|
|#10||I Don’t Wanna Know||True Blood Episode 10 Review|
|#11||To Love Is To Bury||True Blood Episode 11 Review|
|#12||You’ll Be The Death of Me||True Blood Episode 12 Review|
Here’s the complete listing of HBO’s True Blood episodes from Season 1. I’ve included a short synopsis of each episode along with a link for watching the video trailers.
|EP.||AIR DATE||TITLE||SHORT SUMMARY||VIDEO TRAILER|
|#1||09/07/08||Strange Love||Sookie meets Bill; Tara gets a job working at Merlotte’s; Sookie saves Bill from drainers; one of Jason’s girlfriends is murdered.||True Blood Ep. 1 Video|
|#2||09/14/08||The First Taste||Sookie gets attacked; meets Bill; Sookie drinks Bill’s blood; Jason is questioned about a murder.||True Blood Ep. 2 Video|
|#3||09/21/08||Mine||Sookie is almost attacked at Bill’s home; Tara reveals her tragic home life; Tara propositions Sam; jason seeks Viagra and instead finds “V”.||True Blood Ep. 3 Video|
|#4||09/28/08||Escape From Dragon House||Another woman is murdered; Jason injests too much V; Tara rescues Jason; we meet Eric Northman, a hunky vampire; Sam rolls around in a dead woman’s sheets!||True Blood Ep. 4 Video|
|#5||10/05/08||Sparks Fly Out||Sookie rebuffs Bill; we learn how Bill was made into a vampire; a close relative of Sookie’s is murdered.||True Blood Ep. 5 Video|
|#6||10/12/08||Cold Ground||Sookie turns to her friends for comfort; Jason strikes Sookie; Tara’s mother thinks she’s possessed; Sam and Tara get busy. As does Sookie.||True Blood Ep. 6 Video|
|#7||10/19/08||Burning House of Love||Sookie shares a sad family secret with Bill; Jason is hooked on V; Amy Burley rescues Jason at Fangtasia; Tara agrees to pay for an excorcism; Sam runs naked through the woods!||True Blood Ep. 7 Video|
|#8||10/26/08||The Fourth Man in the Fire||Sookie and Bill get down and dirty; Jason and Amy trip on V; okay, just who is Amy Burley?; we meet Lafayette’s V supplier; Sookie helps Eric find a thief.||True Blood Ep. 8 Video|
|#9||11/02/08||Plaisir D’Amour||Sookie is attacked; someone breaks into Sookie’s house; Sam agrees to protect Sookie; Jason begins doubting Amy’s motives; Jason and Amy become kidnappers; Tara visits the witch doctor for personal reasons.||True Blood Ep. 9 Video|
|#10||11/09/08||I Don’t Wanna Know||Bill stands trial for protecting Sookie; Tara learns a secret about the witch doctor; Tara gets arrested; Tara’s mother rebuffs her.||True Blood Ep. 10 Video|
|#11||11/16/08||To Love Is To Bury||Bill’s punishment turns out to be a big headache; Sookie discovers the name of the killer; Jason sees Amy’s dark side; Tara is bailed out by a mysterious stranger; Jason turns himself in for murder.||True Blood Ep. 11 Video|
|#12||11/23/08||You’ll Be the Death of Me||The identity of the killer is revealed; Sookie is attacked; Bill attempts a rescue in the daylight; a close friend of Sookie’s is killed. Or was he?||True Blood Ep. 12 Video|
Need to find other urban fantasy books similar to the Sookie Stackhouse books? You know, books that have a female heroine, a bit of romance and some adventure? Well look no further. I’ve put together a list of books that fit the bill. All of the books in the list are recommended reads:
The new cover for the latest Sookie Stackhouse book has been released! The book, titled “Dead and Gone” will be available for purchase May 5th but can be pre-ordered now.
Here’s a description of what happens in the book:
“For Sookie Stackhouse, the day-to-day activities of the vampire and were communities in and around Bon Temps, Louisiana, are of vital interest. She’s blood-bound to the leader of the vamps, a friend to the local were pack, works for a man who is a shifter, and has a brother who walks on 4 legs each month.
Most of the humans in Bon Temps view vamps as mysterious and seductive creatures – they don’t even know that weres exist.
Until now. The weres and shifters have finally decided to follow the lead of the undead and reveal their existence to the ordinary world.
At first it seems to go well. Then the mutilated body of a were-panther is found in the parking lot of the bar where Sookie works. The victim is someone she knows, so she feels compelled to discover who (human or otherwise) committed the murder.
What she doesn’t realize is that there is a far greater danger on the horizon. A race of inhuman beings that are older and even more powerful than vampires or werewolves is preparing for war. And Sookie will become a pawn in their deadly battle for power . . .”
Sounds great doesn’t it? I’ve placed my pre-order for Dead and Gone since it’s now on sale for 40% off. Your turn.