Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An Urban Fantasy Extravaganza

In preparation for my big edit, I've been reading up on my urban fantasy. I've read urban fantasy before, but I really wanted to get a handle on some of the newer series out there before I dove in to work:

Description/cover copy:

My name is Gin, and I kill people.

They call me the Spider. I'm the most feared assassin in the South -- when I'm not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.

Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my way -- good or bad. I may look hot, but I'm still one of the bad guys. Which is why I'm in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I'm battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction...especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.

My take: One word--awesome. The first book in Estep's new Elemental Assassins series (01/2010) is riveting, creative, and just plain cool. Gin is a kick-ass herione with layers of intriguing morals and deep secrets. She's relatable on a lot ofAdd Image levels, but so unique that you can't help but want to get to know her better. And her and Detective Caine? Oy. Their chemistry sizzles off the page. Definitely a read you don't want to miss!

Description/cover copy:


Dark. Talented. Beautiful. Star of the rock band Inferno. Rumored owner of the hot New Orleans nightspot Club Hell. Born of the Blood, then broken by an evil beyond imagination.


F.B.I. Special Agent Heather Wallace has been tracking a sadistic serial murderer known as the Cross Country Killer, and the trail has led her to New Orleans, Club Hell, and Dante. But the dangerously attractive musician not only resists her investigation, he claims to be "nightkind": in other words, a vampire. Digging into his past for answers reveals little. A juvenile record a mile long. No social security number. No known birth date. In and out of foster homes for most of his life before being taken in by a man named Lucien DeNoir, who appears to guard mysteries of his own.


What Heather does know about Dante is that something links him to the killer -- and she's pretty sure that link makes him the CCK's next target. Heather must unravel the truth about this sensual, complicated, vulnerable young man -- who, she begins to believe, may indeed be a vampire -- in order to finally bring a killer to justice. But Dante's past holds a shocking, dangerous secret, and once it is revealed not even Heather will be able to protect him from his destiny....
My take: This is the first book in Phoenix's popular "Maker's Song" series (01/2008). While the story is certainly intriguing, I found it difficult to engage with in all its complexity. Serving as a very obvious world-building story, there was so much information laid out on the table that it was a little hard to follow at times. Special Agent Heather, however, is a fantastic character, with the smarts to nail any murderer to the wall. Dante's character is fascinating as well in all his brooding and sensual glory. This book didn't hook me on the series, but it's definitely worth a read because I can see why it would develop such a strong following.

Description/cover copy:

Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin is trying to live the straight life, even if it means finding a (shudder!) real job. She takes an internship at a local radio station, whose late-night time-warp format features 1940s blues, '60s psychedelia, '80s goth, and more, all with an uncannily authentic flair. Ciara soon discovers just how the DJs maintain their cred: they're vampires, stuck forever in the eras in which they were turned.

Ciara's first instinct, as always, is to cut and run. But communications giant Skywave wants to buy WVMP and turn it into just another hit-playing clone. Without the station -- and the link it provides to their original Life Times -- the vampires would "fade," becoming little more than mindless ghosts of the past. Suddenly a routine corporate takeover is a matter of life and undeath.

To boost ratings and save the lives of her strange new friends, Ciara rebrands the station as "WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll." In the ultimate con, she hides the DJs' vampire nature in plain sight, disguising the bloody truth as a marketing gimmick. WVMP becomes the hottest thing around -- next to Ciara's complicated affair with grunge vamp Shane McAllister. But the "gimmick" enrages a posse of ancient and powerful vampires who aren't so eager to be brought into the light. Soon the stakes are higher -- and the perils graver -- than any con game Ciara's ever played....
My take: I love, love, love this book! I'm not such a fan of the cover, but I adore what's inside the pages! With a super fresh hook and loads of compelling characters, this story (05/08) is a must-read. Ciara's wit and intelligence will have you laughing out loud and wishing she were your best friend. The romance between Ciara and Shane is seductive and edgy, yet so safe and loving--it's the perfect mix. The music references throughout are also a great addition, giving me another easy reason to adore this unnamed series. Go get a copy NOW. I'm about to track down Book 2 in this series myself!


  1. *cough*

    As long as you love *MY* book, that's all I'm asking. ;-)

  2. LOL! I love your book more than these three COMBINED! Don't you worry ;)