Posts tagged “love is darkness

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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!


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.


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!


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.


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!


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!

Awesome Deal! Valerie Dearborn Trilogy (3 ebooks) for $2.99 on Amazon, one day only!

Though you may not have won the giveaway, there is still a chance to get the series (normally $7.99) for the near unbeatable price of $2.99 for TODAY only on Get it as a gift for the holidays or get it for yourself! It’s a wonderful series!

Giveaway Winner Selected!

love is mortal, caroline hanson, valerie dearbornHi everyone! This giveaway has been particularly exciting as we’re giving away THREE books to TWO awesome Your Urban Fantasy followers by the ONE and only Caroline Hanson.  But now the time has come to select our winners!   As always, I want to thank all of you for participating. If you posted in the comment section of the announcement thread, you were entered for a chance (or multiple chances for those following the blog multiple ways) to win. And the winners are:

Dita Škarste

Aly P

Please check your emails, ladies! Hope you enjoy! Thank you everyone for the continued support and I look forward to the next giveaway, and of course there’s more on the way!

Trilogy Giveaway + Author Interview + Review – Caroline Hanson, Valerie Dearborn Series

Love is Mortal Review

Betrayal and redemption are the primary themes in Love is Mortal, book 3 in the Valerie Dearborn series. It also completes the story arc of  Valerie and Lucas.   Stuck  in the land of the Fey, Valerie is desperate to get out of Cerdwellyn’s clutches. Her powers as an empath, while useful, are not enough and she’ll have to work with Lucas  if they have any hope of freedom.  But can she trust him after his betrayal?

I have enjoyed this series quite a bit so it was sad to see this come to the end, though this book was a fitting way to conclude their story.  There’s a lot of character development, particularly on Lucas’s end.  After the devastating revelations in Love is Fear, there was a lot of rebuilding to be done when it came to Lucas and Valerie’s relationship and not a lot of time to do it.  The work around was effective.

There wasn’t as much action this time around as Val and Lucas spend a great deal of time captive.  It’s more of a psychological game.  The the start was a little on the slow side for me because of this, but it does hit its stride and doesn’t really stop until it’s over.

Even though this doesn’t leave on a cliffhanger, there are a lot of questions still left when it comes to the land of the Fey and Cerdwellyn’s past and future, as well as Jack and Rachel, so thankfully we’re not completely finished with Valerie Dearborn world. It’s a fabulous series and I still want more.

*ARC provided by the author.

Author Interview

I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Caroline Hanson, author of the fantastic Valerie Dearborn novels. With the third and final book (for this arc at least) now released, Ms. Hanson and I thought it’d be a great opportunity to hold a giveaway as well! But before that I had a few questions for our guest of honor.

1. Could you tell us a little about yourself? Where did you grow up and how did you come to love the Urban Fantasy and Paranormal genre?

I grew up in Fresno, California which is not particularly exciting. The most famous person to come out of our school is Kevin Federline– what’s that tell ya? I’m an only child and had strict parents so I spent a lot of time in my room reading. I moved to England at 20 which should also tell you something about me– halfway around the world from Fresno. Lol.

I loved Anne Rice and Depeche Mode as well as The Cure during high school and always liked paranormal books. But it was reading Laurell K Hamilton several years ago that started me on my urban fantasy obsession.

2. Can you share a little bit of your process with creating the Valerie Dearborn novels? Did you have a three initial books in mind, or were you initially planning one book and then your ideas expanded?

Valerie Dearborn actually came to me as a fairly full-fledged idea and was in response to what I had been reading. I did not like how action-based or mythology-based urban fantasy had become. Very external plot driver whereas Hamilton or even Meyer are all internal plot. I love internal conflict and building external problems to reflect the character’s internal bullshit. Joss Whedon is the master of that type of storytelling.

I also really don’t like the way vampires have been glamorized. That they have become all PC and nice. WTF? They’re killers! Very smart, very manipulative and very beautiful killers. That is what I find fascinating about vampires.

As for heroines, with the exception of Bella, they are usually very kick ass. I don’t relate to that. If a vampire was going to attack me I would probably huddle up in a ball and wait for the end. I wanted to read a story about a normal girl who gets dragged into the vampire stuff against her will. I think Valerie is relatable and that’s what has resonated with people. Or Lucas. Either way they like the books.

3. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Ugh. That’s tough and my answer isn’t very nice. I think in order to be successful, you have to be a little insecure with your writing. I’m an attorney (have you noticed how many successful writers are attorneys?) and I was terrible at law school. My law school was proud of the fact that they would tear us down and try to rebuild us. To succeed in writing one must be comfortable with being torn down. You will be told your writing blows. That’s just a fact. But successful writers  take that criticism and look for the truth in it, even when what they want to say is ‘Go f*ck yourself!’ If you can’t cut your favorite scene or cut out thousands of words and start over again, you probably won’t be successful. And that sucks.

4. Do you have any favorite authors who have inspired you?

Well, as I said a little bit above it would be Laurell K Hamilton and Anne Rice. But I also love Laura Kinsale and Loretta Chase. I met Loretta Chase this last year and went up to her, wanting to tell her how much I loved her stories but I got all teary-eyed and had to leave because I was gonna cry. It was a little bizarre to have such a fan girl reaction.

5.What can we look for next for your future works and the Valerie Dearborn world and other future works?

You know, I’m not sure what’s next. I’ve written three books, two novellas, two short stories and a couple of other random things in the last two years and I like to think that I am now going to take a break. But writers write and I still have to tell Cerdwellyn’s story. Jack and Rachel’s stories are not complete and I have Molly. In my mind, I think I know what that story is. Or at least part of it, but that may change. I really have to let that percolate, because I know people want Valerie and Lucas in there too and right now I’m not sure they have enough conflict to be very interesting in that book. So the next to Valerie book is going to take a while.

I’m working on a few new things, the first of which is a book called A Lady Out of Time and the heroine is a tough girl. She is a soldier who goes back in time to England and meets a very stuffy duke. I’ve read a lot of historicals and am so sick of the virginal, weak heroine that I really want to write something different.

My other series is called Incendia which means to ‘set alight.’  It’s urban fantasy and different than a lot of the things I have seen. I think this is the series that will make the Lucas fans happy. I think they’ll fall in love with Alexander. It will be very emotionally based, have a love triangle, and both men are pretty flawed. It’s got a Roman feel to it but is modern. Mainly.

Thank you again to Ms. Hanson and we look forward to what you’ve got next!


With Your Urban Fantasy Ms. Hanson is holding a giveaway for TWO winners to receive the complete trilogy of this series. It’s perfect for those of you who are new to the series, or for those who still want a chance to read the final book.  It’s a win win!

I am collecting entries through Saturday, December 8th. I will announce the winner the next day.

How to Enter (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY): My giveaways are only open to followers of Your Urban Fantasy who are 18 years of age or older. In order to enter YOU MUST COMMENT ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT POST! If you’re a new member, sign up on the right panel to follow my blog via email and/or Twitter. (Make sure you check your email to confirm your subscription. You should receive a notification immediately, so check your spam folder if you don’t see it right away). Current followers can just say so in their post and your entry will be added. Overall, there are up to 3 chances to win:

  1. Follow this blog via email (THIS IS REQUIRED)
  2. Follow me on Twitter (bonus entry)
  3. “Like” Your Urban Fantasy on Facebook (bonus entry)

While I do appreciate RSS subscribers, I cannot confirm your status as a follower so your entry will not count (sorry!); however, you are welcome to sign up by email and Twitter or Facebook. Good luck!

Giveaway to celebrate the big 10K: Love is Darkness (Valerie Dearborn #1) by Caroline Hanson

Love is darkness - Carolyn Hanson - Valerie Dearborn 1

To tie in (in part) with Your Urban Fantasy’s 10,000 views celebration, Caroline Hanson is offering her Valerie Dearborne novel “Love is Darkness” for FREE today and tomorrow through Amazon.  If you didn’t get a chance to nab it soon after my review, here’s another chance! I really enjoy this series and I’m definitely looking forward to book 3!  Thanks again to all of you guys and thank you, Ms. Hanson,  for this offer!

Love is Fear (Valerie Dearborn #2) – Even better than the first book!

“He was on the ground, unmoving, bloody ropes of intestine surrounding him.  He needs those, she thought stupidly and rushed to him, trying to stuff them back into his stomach.”

In the latest Valerie Dearborn novel by Caroline Hanson, Love is Fear, we’re finally delving into the supernatural world that we merely heard about in the first book.  The playing field evens out as Lucas, Rachel, Valerie, and Jack are thrust into the land of the Fey where vampires are even more vulnerable.  This is actually Lucas’s plan as he desires to bring them back and restore balance because he feels that vampires have become too powerful. Of course, there’s the small issue of him being responsible for their near extinction and current dormancy in the first place, so they likely won’t be chummy with him upon their return.  Not to mention the amount of tension that’s bound to flare up among our 4 “heroes” all trying to work together without killing one another.  That proves to be a difficult enough task in itself.

Book 2 is even better than the first one.  Valerie starts to come into her own a bit more as an empath—the defacto mediator between supernatural creatures—and I must admit that I quite enjoyed the power play between her and Lucas, especially since it is a part of her nature.  Their relationship goes from hot to scorching!

There are a lot of huge developments that make this installment a must-not-miss.  Everything is turned upside down as character dynamics drastically shift and secrets are revealed.  I don’t know whether I should he happy that Hanson didn’t waste a lot of time getting to the good stuff or upset because we didn’t get more settled into the the former way of things.

Shippers, start your engines!  Somebody somewhere determined that love triangles and quadrangles and polygons are a must-have for urban fantasy books and Hanson is certainly following suit, much to my personal chagrin.  But I am enjoying the series so much that I will muddle through it…somehow…someway… Alls I know is that I’m Team Lucas.  9 times out of 10 I side with the vamps when it’s a viable option (the exceptions being The Hollows and maybe the Cassie Palmer series).  Of course, that shouldn’t be very surprising when you see my username.  All of her suitors (yes, it is now “all” instead of “both”) have their a-hole ways, so I’ll settle on the one with the most chemistry.  It’s only the second book after all and it’s very obvious that the author as a lot more in store for Valerie Dearborn’s world.  I am expecting that to include a lot of evolution and character growth.

I was hoping that with a slightly higher price tag of $3.99 the author would fix the spelling, formatting and grammar errors, but they are just as rampant as they were in the first book.  I guess they won’t be fixed until the books are printed.

Errors aside, while we only get a taste of the new (though traditional) supernatural beings that will be thrown into the fray, it still makes for a satisfying read.  Like the first one, expect plenty of action, plenty of smut (which one could argue is its own kind of action), and—most importantly—plenty of laughs with a good story somewhere in between.  Along with the likes of The Hollows and Kate Daniels, this is definitely a quotable series!  I have high hopes for Book 3 which I hope will be released later this year.  You’ll know when I know!

Love is Darkness (Valerie Dearborn #1) – I think I’ve found a new series that’s *dear* to me!

Love is darkness - Carolyn Hanson - Valerie Dearborn 1Correction, I think I must thank Val for throwing it in my face how good this series is.  This is the best 99 cents I’ve spent yet! Of course the price has increased to a whopping $1.99, but I can assure you it’s worth breaking the bank for this one.

Valerie Dearborn has spent her life trying to avoid her destiny.  As a child, she watch her mother meet a tragic end at the hands of a vampire.  That unfortunate turn of events changed her life forever.  Her father, with a help of Jack—a young man left orphaned after a vampire slaughtered his family as a child—have made it their life’s mission to hunt these evil bloodsuckers. They’re pretty good at it too! Or so they think.  Except one night they bring Valerie along and she meets Lucas, a 1600 year old vampire King who knows that Valerie is no ordinary human.  She is part Empath, a believed-to-be extinct species that makes vampires vulnerable to their emotions. Using her family as leverage he recruits Valerie to help him on his quest to find others like her, as well as werewolves and fae, who were supernatural adversaries to vampires long ago.  He also really really wants to get in her pants because he’s been emotionless for so long and wants to “feel” again.  Let’s not stray away from that not so little plot point.  Of course Valerie wants a normal life, but it is obviously not in the cards, or this book would be really boring.

Valerie as a heroine is pretty cool.  I have no real complaints since I understand that this is the first novel and she hasn’t yet gone down the road of self-discovery.  I sense a lot in store for her as the books continue.  This series is not in first-person tense, but Valerie’s own humor and personality shine through in a number of scenes.

I admit that for a while I just hadn’t been coming across super sexy badass vampires.  If they weren’t of the “emo” variety then they merely talked the talked.  Well, Lucas walks the walk.  He has a valid reason for his attraction to Valerie.  None of that “I have lived for 900 years and never met a strong, fearless woman who speaks her mind!” and similar lame, unbelievable crap.  It’s attraction on a cellular level, literally.  Their chemistry is all kinds of crazy.  I was liking Jack in the beginning, but after Lucas it just doesn’t compare for me.  I think what really impressed me was his display of complete power and dominance against enemies.  He is King and he knows it, he doesn’t doubt it, and it’s his way or the highway.  He could be as ruthless or as gentle as the moment calls for and he makes no apologies.

As for the writing, while I love Caroline Hanson’s style, there are a number of spelling and formatting errors which interrupts the flow for me at times.  But this tends to be pretty common for the cheap or free Kindle books.

There isn’t a whole lot of story, but I see a lot of promise.  The character interactions are very intriguing and there are a number of action-pact scenes to keep things moving while not being overbearing.  While Love is Darkness not surprisingly has “dark” undertones, there’s a lot of humor as well which is always a plus for me.

There are a few sex scenes as well so this is certainly NOT of the YA variety, but if you’re in the mood for a more mature story (or about as mature you can expect a college girl moving abroad to be) then this one may be for you.  Favorites don’t come easy for me, but I really connected with this series and was left wanting more…a lot more.  Highly recommended.

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