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At Grave’s End (Night Huntress #3) by Jeaniene Frost – My favorite part actually WAS the end!

The saga continues with Cat, Bones and friends. Her usual methods of baiting vampy big bads are becoming increasingly ineffective as the community becomes privy to her many disguises. In addition, one of Bones’s many former conquests of the feminine persuasion happens to be up to no good, with vengeance and dangerous magic on her mind that are too much for even the most powerful vampire to take on alone.  Loyalties are truly tested this time around  and teamwork is the only way for everyone to make it out alive…or undead.

I didn’t enjoy the prior installment quite as much on a whole, but this one was a hit for me.  New side characters are introduced and others fleshed out a bit more. I’m really looking forward to what Vlad can lend to the series in future novels.  The others are sort of bland to me, but I think he has potential to be a real standout.

And while we’re on the subject of supporting characters, I am going to get on my soapbox for a little bit and rant about Cat’s comrade, Tate. He’s had it bad for her since she joined the team years ago.  Cat does try and makes it very clear where she stands on the matter, but he just won’t give it up. I find this worse than a love triangle because it really is a dead end that we have to see play out in painful detail, making me wish I were somewhere else…ANYWHERE ELSE! Does he REALLY think he’s got a chance against Bones? I mean, REALLY?! It’s Bones! Forget it! Personality-wise, Cat isn’t that great anyway, so I don’t get his hang up. Bones  is the only reason I invest at all in the Cat/Bones ship to be honest. But at least she actually gives him play. And when Cat describes Tate, it’s like…dude should be knee deep in poon. Sure, Bones may have slept with half the population by now, ruining them for all successors; I say this because practically ANY woman that’s come onto the scene, he’s been there and they want more. But I’m sure Tate is capable of wrangling up some for himself.  It’s a big world! *Jumps off soapbox*

So anyway, I enjoyed the book minus a couple of hangups. The end was particularly strong with non-stop action and suspense.  I’d say at this point that it’s my favorite of the series.

POLL!! The most anticipated read of 2013. YOU decide!

Happy New Year, Your Urban Fantasy.  A new year means new books!  I’m certainly looking forward to quite a few of them.  But I’m wondering about you guys.  I decided to take a select number of popular titles and let you all vote for the most anticipated book of 2013. 

I will probably read most, if not all of these myself, but which one is #1? Oh and what is today’s lesson? “Burned”, “Ever After”, and “Tempt” are popular title terms in the world of urban fantasy/paranormal fiction.   “Grave” too, but those additional book are omitted.

2012 in review stats!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.  Your Urban Fantasy reached 137 countries! That’s totally shocking, but no less amazing!

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 41,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 9 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

2012 Year in Review!! My top books and series of the year!

If you have any favorite reads for this year please share! 2012 has been quite a year for me. I’ve read some incredible books, some great books, some not so great books, some terrible books.  But overall it contributed to read count of over 131 stories this year. It’s kind of funny because I feel like a slacker compared to some other Goodreads friends who I’ve seen read over 400+ books; one even read over 900. But good or bad, I’ll take it as a victory. Communiting to and from my job takes a good 2 hours of my day, which allows me to and dedicate most of that to reading. A broken iPod has helped quite a bit too, but Christmas kind of rectified that so I’ll have to see how my read count in 2013 compares. But in the meantime, I want to narrow things down and present my favorite urban fantasy/paranormal books of 2012.

1

Ever After ARC (The Hollows #11) by Kim HarrisonEver After

I debated listing this one because it technically doesn’t come out until 2013, but it rocked my personal socks this year, and I’m sure it will rock yours in January, so I’m going to list it.

2

All Dorina Basarab novels, including Fury’s Kiss by Karen Chance

Fury's Kiss, Karen Chance, dorina basarab

Though I was fairly familiar with its original sister series, Cassandra “Cassie” Palmer, I was really surprised to find that I love this series infinitely more. It’s got all of the pluses, none of the annoyances. Dory is a riot, but she kicks ass too. It just pains me that it take 2 years between books.

3

Wicked as They Come (Blud #1) by Delilah S. Dawson

Early on in the year this was my favorite book.  The world was new, interesting and exciting. And Criminy was awesome! I definitely can’t wait for the next book featuring him and Tish, but much like Karen Chance, this author alternates from book to book.

4

A Perfect Blood (The Hollows #10) by Kim Harrison

A Perfect Blood, Rachel Morgan, Kim Harrison

Yes, the Hollows takes two spots on my list.  In addition to the Ever After ARC, with all of the different publications this year from Into the Woods to Blood Crime to Trouble on Reserve to Trent’s POV from the paperback of A Perfect Blood, two spots can’t be surprising. However, while good, this book wasn’t quite in the same class as Ever After, but I did love it.  And like most Trenchers out there, Trent’s POV left me speechless! Oh and it’s also pretty awesome anytime I can meet Kim Harrison!

5

Kingmakers (Vampire Empire #3) by Susan and Clay Griffith

kingmakers, susan and clay griffith, vampire empire #3

This was another fantastic finish to a wonderful trilogy.  I was fortunate enough to read the ARC for this series and I loved it! If only there was more!

6

Dead Morning Sky (Experiment in Terror #3) by Karina Halle

experiment in terror, dead morning sky, karina halle

I wanted scary and I got scary! Just a little more than I bargained for with the weird crap that was happening OFF the pages while reading it.  And funny enough, there was no repeat of that peculiar activity after I was done. I have since stopped here, but there are definitely more books with Dex and Perry’s adventures. I plan to get to them after catching up with the Night Huntress series that I’m currently reading.

7

Ashes of Honor (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire

ashes of honor, seanan mcguire, october daye, toby daye

I read this book at a pretty difficult time. I started reading it and then I got my hands on the Ever After ARC.  I was riding too much of a high for anything else to compare, including this.  But in hindsight, this book rocks and I bet the next book will be my favorite of the series!

8

Tale of the Vampire Bride by Rhiannon Frater

Tale of the Vampire Bride, Rhiannon Frater

I was gripped from beginning to end on this one. It’s not an easy read, and do not mistake this for a romance. It’s more like one of those train-wrecks that you can’t look away from.  Unfortunately the sequel was nowhere near as good, but I hope this series continues eventually. I would love to read a third book if it could get back to the level of book 1.

9

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee

ANGELFALL, Susan Ee, Penryn & The End of Days

I have a bit of an aversion when it comes to the Young Adult genre, but this is an exception. I LOVED this book and I often find myself wondering how long it’d be until the second book is released. That’s definitely a sign of a book worthy of this list. Even better, it’s probably the best $0.99 I’ve spent on a book!

10

Love is Fear (Valerie Dearborn #2) by Caroline Hanson

Love is Fear, caroline hanson, valerie dearborn 2

Though this trilogy arc is complete, this book is probably my favorite of the three. I finished wanting more, more, MORE!

Honorable Mentions

Iced (Dani O’Malley #1) by Karen Marie Moning – I definitely didn’t inhale this one as fast as the original Fever novels, but it did leave an impression. Honestly though, I just want more Mac and Barrons!

At Grave’s End (Night Huntress #3) by Jeaniene Frost – The review is pending right now because I wanted to post this year in review first, but I did enjoy it the most of the three novels thusfar. This series isn’t really among my favorites, but it seems to be positioning itself in the tier of series that are right below my favorites.  Not a bad place to be. There’s Bones to thank for that.

Fire Baptized (Habitat #1) by Kenya Wright – I inhaled this book as well.  This fresh take on the urban fantasy genre was just what I needed at the time and unlike some series where the sequels don’t measure up, its sequel certainly did and I look forward to book 3!

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion – I enjoyed this book quite a bit, as well as the movie. It presented a different take on the genre that I found refreshing.

A Blood Seduction (Vamp City #1) by Pamela Palmer – an alternate Washington, DC gets some bonus points!  This book introduced a pretty intriguing world. I read it in a day and enjoyed it, so that’s why it gets a mention.  Just beware that this isn’t true romance.  If you go in with those expectations you’ll likely be disappointed.

The Fire Lord’s Lover (The Elven Lords #1) by Kathryne Kennedy – I read this particular book in one day and I loved the world building and build up to the eventual romance. Unfortunately the sequels never really struck the same chord.

So all in all it’s been a good year! This blog has been good to me. YOU guys have been good to me. And I hope 2013 is even better!! The great thing about books is that there’s something for everybody.  I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Warm Bodies Movie Review – It will leave you with the warm fuzzies

warm bodies, nicholas houltWe’ve become so accustomed to vampires, werewolves and the like dominating as love interests in paranormal/urban fantasy realm. We may get the occasional demon or angel, but rarely do we see zombies fill that role, and for good reason. It’s really not that hott when the guy is rotting away and wants to take chunks out of you. Isaac Marion proves that he not only knows the rules, but he knows how to break them too. And it translates very well onto the big screen. We have the initially subtle star crossed lover feel as R, our zombie in question, falls for a human girl and finds himself becoming a little more human himself as they spend more time together. Yeah, he has the usual craving for brains, as do all zombies, but something deep inside of him yearns for more that that–and no, it’s not more guts. He’s the most cultured zombie you’re going to find, loving music, collecting souvenirs, and riding escalators. Believe me, it sounds ridiculous but I really thought it worked here.

Nicholas Hoult was a good choice. He was easier on the eyes for a zombie, which in turn made the love story more acceptable. I’ve taken a liking to the actor since I first saw him in X-Men First Class, though I know has a body of work spanning back to his childhood. His zombie mannerisms were pretty good, particularly the walking and running. I wish his actual speaking started out being more more stilted though. Theresa Palmer was a good choice and I felt they played off one another pretty well. Rob Corddry has some great punch lines, perhaps the best in a zombie punchlines ever, though this movie doesn’t have many contemporaries in that respect.

Movies rarely surpass books and this was no exception. There were a number of changes that I understood were for the better, but there were a number of missed opportunities as well that would have been great to see on the big screen. I think they would have added more depth and interest. But overall it I enjoyed it–the laughs, the love story, and the existential quality all throughout. I finished the book wanting to see the movie right away and I’m glad to have had the opportunity.

I’m sure the comparisons to other zombie comedies such as Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland are inevitable. In my opinion, Shaun of the Dead remains untouched with Zombieland being a distant but solid second, but this is worth a watch. If you’re a zombie fan who doesn’t mind a deviation from the norm, this is the movie for you! Warm Bodies hits theatres nationwide on February 1, 2013.

One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress #2)

one foot in the grave, jeaniene frost, night huntressIt’s been four years since the events of Halfway to the Grave. Cat, has honed the skills Bones has taught her, working for a secret government agency as the head of a unit that hunts down troublesome undead.  Her half-vampire heritage offers an invaluable benefit to the cause.  But you don’t do what Cat does without making a few enemies.  She’s now a target as someone has put a hit out on her.  Her only hope is Bones, the vampire she left behind.  Though he’s “dead” he’s the only one on this earth to make her feel alive, and those feelings come rushing back. But can she keep them at bay? Not if he has his way.

I am always a little concerned about ships when the characters get together off the bat because I feel they become stale.  Even with the insta-love between these two, I thought the first book was exciting and fresh.  But this one felt like more of the same.  I liked Bones in book 1, but there wasn’t a lot of evolution here, so he came off as Gary-Stuish. And Cat, his Mary Sue.  Unlike the first go ’round, I didn’t find  the number of times one was jealous, insecure,  or baiting vamps for slaughter to be nearly as amusing.  And then Bones practically always had the answers to the problems so I just didn’t find him as intriguing and to be honest, his dialogue started to irritate me a bit with the “blokes”, “luvs”, “sods” etc. He’s over 200 so I wish he would have acquired vocabulary with more variety by now.

There was a fair bit of action and definitely some laughs, but Jeaniene Frost doesn’t include enough follow through after the build up. I feel like there’s this massive world with characters waiting to be explored, but we get less than I want to see in a read. I’m really big on supporting characters, yet I didn’t find myself attached to anyone here. Everything just kept working out a little too easily, so nothing was perilous, gripping, or gritty. I felt like it was basically all centered around when these two could get back to shagging.

And speaking of which, of course I can’t complete a review without my opinion on chapter 32.  It’s pretty much the only thing I was asked about or told about, even during Book 1.  To be honest, it wasn’t much to write home about for me.  It wasn’t bad (none of her scenes are) but the hype surrounding it made my expectations too high, so an underwhelming result was inevitable.  Don’t get me wrong, I  certainly have my short list favorites in literature, but this is just not one of them. Sorry! *ducks from flying tomatoes*

Overall, it certainly wasn’t a bad read, but it just wasn’t as good as I was hoping it’d be.  After the first book I thought it would practically inhale this one, reading it in no time, but that just wasn’t the case.  There’s still Book 3 which I do plan to read, but that will be the final determinant of whether or not I plan to keep going with this series.  Though I like to come to my own conclusions, I’ve heard that the earlier books are better so I don’t know how well that bodes for the rest.

Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1) – Finally taking the world of Cat and Bones for a spin again

Halfway to the grave, night huntress, Jeaniene FrostFor the record, I probably would have started this series a long time ago. It’s just that my first exposure to Jeaniene Frost’s writing included a spin-off book from this series that left a LOT to be desired. It took a while to build up the nerve to give her stuff another shot.  But thankfully, this particular book has a  more of what I’m looking for in an awesome vampire read.  My experiences were like night and day!

This series follows Catherine Crawfield, a half-human/half-vampire who takes it upon herself to dole out vigilante justice against vampires with the hope to meet her vampire father and put him on the business end of her stake.  She runs into the wrong (or right) vampire, Bones, who shows her that she is truly no match for what she’s up against. Being a vampire bounty hunter himself, he forces her into a partnership to take down fanged big bads together.  And so begins the story of the beloved Cat and Bones team.

I thought this was a really good start to the series.  Cat’s character starts out pretty self-righteous and angry, but she’s left questioning everything she believes in, which is good for character progression. I can see why Bones has a lot of fans. I found him very entertaining all throughout. I’m not an insta-love fan, and I do believe they get together a little too quickly here, but knowing that the whole series involves them allows me to be  a little more accepting of the dynamics. It’s at least good to know that not everything will be easy for them. I do worry that they’ll become stale for me since I usually become more attached to ships with better build up, but I am keeping an open mind.

I laughed quite a bit at the countless euphemisms and innuendo. They were effective even when I was in a bad mood and placed well enough so as to not become annoying.  The end really amped up the action which I totally loved. The carnage was awesome and I enjoyed seeing Cat and Bones as genuine badasses!

I purchased a copy of the book that contained bonus material with deleted scenes.  A lot of it felt really repetitive to what I’d already read and only a couple of developments added to the story.  The rest is forgettable, which is why it wasn’t included in the first place.

I definitely recommend at least giving this series a try.  It’s not a favorite of mine quite yet, but I definitely will be reading the next one ASAP.

Fistful of Charms for $1.99 with an Excerpt of Ever After!

Fistful of CharmsI heard this straight from the horses mouth on her blog today, but thanks to Jisha for the heads up as well! For the remainder of the holiday season, Book 4 will be offered for $1.99.  Get it as a gift, or get it for yourself if you want to read the first TWO chapters of Ever After! Chapter 2 won’t be released until Christmas day, but if you just can’t wait, you can get it here.

Barnes and Noble (NOOK)
Amazon (Kindle)
Books-A-Million (Nook?)
Kobo (Download options: Adobe DRM EPUB)
iBookstore (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch)

Keep an eye out for additional excerpts here:http://harpervoyagerbooks.com/2012/12/17/excerpt-chapter-one-of-kim-harrisons-ever-after-jan-2013/

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