Yes, I am alive

Been quietly reading up a storm and simply not posting my reviews. Why? ‘Cause I am a lazy person. Also, because I finish one book. Watch a little TV, then on to the next book. It is like I am stuffing all that UF goodiness into my brain, without giving it time to settle. I worry about my brain.

Well, I am going to try and do better. (Yes, I know you’ve heard that before)

Starting with this…

Yep, taking the challenge and planning on reviewing ‘em too. Wish me luck

Oh, and I’ve already read two on the list posted on darkfaerietales.com, however those are not the only 2012 books I’ve read. So will go through my “I read ‘em” pile and see which ones are 2012 releases and will review those too.

Supernatural smackdown – all of September at Dark Faerie Tales

Supernatural Smackdown

Dark Faerie Tales & Parajunkee’s View are teaming up for the 1st Annual Supernatural Smack Down.

Your favorite characters are stepping from the pages in the premiere entertainment event of the year! Held in a super secret location, supernatural characters will put their talents to the test in hopes of winning the WORLD CHAMPION SUPERNATURAL TITLE and all the fame and fortune that goes along with it.

Supernatural Gladiators…fighting to the death…(or at least close to it – we don’t want to kill off any of your favorite characters) – winners decided by YOU the reader! Leaving YOU the reader to decide who is the biggest, meanest, supernatural BADASS!

Review, Grave Witch, Kalayna Price

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Not even death can save her now.

As a grave witch, Alex Craft can speak to the dead-she’s even on good terms with Death himself. As a consultant for the police, she’s seen a lot of dark magic, but nothing has prepared her for her latest case. When she’s raising a “shade” involved in a high profile murder, it attacks her, and then someone makes an attempt on her life. Someone really doesn’t want her to know what the dead have to say, and she’ll have to work with mysterious homicide detective Falin Andrews to figure out why…

Review
Set in a near-future where magic has reappeared and the Fey have come out of the proverbial closet, Alex Craft is a grave witch who able to raise the shades of the dead, making them visible to others. She is about to embark on the most difficult task of her career; be the first grave witch to raise a shade to testify in court. It will be a landmark change for her industry and has made her a target.

Or is she a target because of the favour she does for her estranged sister, looking into the death of a politician?

There are a number of engaging characters in this world, including a prophetic gargoyle, handsome and mysterious detective, even Death himself.

This is more of a murder mystery than many other offerings in the urban fantasy field, and it holds up well. Yes, it is somewhat formulaic and some sections could use a touch more editing, but overall it is engaging, funny, well-written, and action-packed. The romance is dealt with deftly, the myriad of threads all weave together well and the world is distinct and fully-formed.

I look forward to the next instalment in this series.

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Review, Play Dead, John Levitt

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Mason used to be an enforcer, ensuring that those magic practitioners without a moral compass walked the straight and narrow. But now he just wants to keep his head down, play guitar, and maintain a low profile with Lou, his magical canine companion. But Mason is down on his luck, and when a job with a large payout comes along, he finds the offer hard to resist-not knowing it might mean sacrificing what both man and his best friend hold most dear.

Review
Mason and Louie are back again!

I have been a fan of Levitt’s series since I picked up the first book, Dog Days, simply to fill a ‘buy 3 get 4′ pile. It turned out to be the best of the four books I purchased at the time, and Levitt has not let me down with any of the books in the series.

His main characters are so fully formed and interesting you wish you could find out where Mason is playing and swing by to take a listen. Bringing lots of bacon for Louie, of course. Levitt manages to juggle a number of diverse sceondary characters with flair, making them work well (or not) with others while still maintaining their own identity. The magic system set out in this world is exacting and well-documented, and even Mason`s innovations make sense given his minor abilities and tendency to improvise. Finally, he gives us a San Francisco that both is and isn`t so naturally that you are not all together sure that it all may not be true after all. San Francisco does have that magical quality about it, after all…

In Play Dead, Mason is once again forced to make choices based on his need to make ends meet (and haven`t we all been there), taking on an assignment from a black practitioner. It seems straightforward, but when dealing with those who deal in darker magics – and then Mason is involved – it turns out to be far more complicated, with implications that could change not only Mason and Louie`s lives, but the lives of all magic users in San Francisco. With a little au courant environmental activism and several double-crosses thrown in, this tale is one that winds tighter and tighter – like a snake – as things progress to its splashy conclusion.

The only drawback is the somewhat cliffhanger conclusion, which leaves this devoted fan desparate for more….

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“Dear Lucky Agent” contest

Do you have a fantasy or sci-fi novel (or two) that you are getting ready to pitch? Why not try entering the Guide to Literary Agents “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest? This is the fifth in their contest series, each of which have focused on a specific category. The prizes are all the same though:

  • A critique of the first 10 pages of your work, by your agent judge.
  • A free one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com.

How cool is that?

What to submit: The first 150-200 words of your unpublished, book-length work of fantasy or science fiction (adult fiction and/or YA fiction; no MG please). You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with your entry.

Contest ends: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 EST

For more details head to their contest page.

Good luck!

Review, Road Trip of the Living Dead, Mark Henry

Description
Celebrity party girl Amanda Feral is back from the dead, and hungrier than ever for a good time. With her zombie gal pal Wendy and vampy gay sidekick Gil, this stone cold fox is dressed to kill, on the prowl, and ready to take a big juicy bite out of Seattle’s supernatural nightlife. But what’s a zombie chick to do when her ‘Mommie Dearest’ gets sick? If you’re Amanda Feral, you can either ignore the wicked old witch – or bury the past by visiting Ethel before she kicks it. Amanda’s not thrilled about the idea of crossing three states just to be criticized. But Wendy, who’s always looking for fresh meat, is up for the adventure. And Gil, who just launched his ‘luxury’ resurrection business, needs to disappear because a pissed-off client is out for his blood. First, they pack their stiletto pumps and plasma into a skeevy rattrap on wheels that used to be a Winnebago. Then, with a little help from a Korean-ghost hood ornament, a masochist named Fishhook, and a slew of ‘moderately accurate’ psychics, they hit the highway – their way. Of course, they’ll have to navigate past some neo-Nazi skinheads, a horny dust devil, a hunky werewolf cop (who could pass for an underwear model) and an unsightly horde of supermarket shoppers. But for this glamorous gang of ghouls this trip is about to take a dangerous detour that could give road kill a brand new meaning.

Review
In this second installment of Mark Henry’s hilarious take on the modern zombie, Amanda Feral, finds herself in a jam. Her mother – whom she loathes (her valid reasons why pepper this book) – is dying. Amanda does not want to go to her bedside, however, her vamp pal Gil’s new business is about to get flushed down the drain – along with Gil – when his star client, well, doesn’t quite get the reception he expected. Gil needs to get out of town quick and Amanda has just the jaunt that could keep him safe.

Amanda, Gil and fellow zombie fashionista Wendy pile into a Winnebago, along with a unique cast of characters, to hide from Gil’s client, visit Amanda’s mother and solve a mystery or two along the way. Oh, and stop for some road side snacking.

Mark Henry’s second foray into Amanda’s twisted existence reveals a lot of her early life, explaining much about background and her behaviours (no, not the eating people part – that’s just zombie biology and Henry describes it quite vividly). As before the laughs are tinge with gore and can be a little vicious, though they are never cruel. If you have even a smidgen of a twisted sense of humor you will chuckle your way through this wickedly bawdy tale. It is crude, lewd, raunchy, and side-splittingly hysterical. (If you are a zombie make sure you have some duct tape around just in case you really do split your side).

P.S. Do not miss out on some of the best giggles: read the footnotes!

Series Order

Find out more about Mark Henry at his site or by following him on Twitter

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Review, Happy Hour of the Damned, Mark Henry

Description
Alive, ad exec Amanda Feral worked hard to wring enjoyment out of her days. Now that she’s a zombie, it’s a different story. Turns out, Seattle is home to glamorous undead of every description, and Amanda – stylish and impeccably groomed even in the afterlife – is swigging cocktails and living large (so to speak) among its elite. But there are downsides. Not being able to stomach anything except alcohol and human flesh, for instance. And the fact that someone is targeting Seattle’s otherworldly inhabitants for their own sinister reasons. Preying on the undead is seriously uncool. The only option is for Amanda and her zombie BFF Wendy and gorgeous gay vampire pal Gil to unearth the culprit among the legions of Seattle’s bloodsuckers, shapeshifters, reapers, succubi, and demons – before they all meet a fate a lot worse than death…

Review
This wonderfully irreverent book combines Sex in the City, but for Seattle-ites (Seattlians?), with Night of the Living Dead. Amanda Feral is a successful ad exec, complete with corner office and a hot boyfriend, when she is turned into a zombie. Not one to let a little thing like being undead stop her, Amanda adapts to her new afterlife with style; quickly picking up a cadre of close friends (of the zombie, succubus and vampire variety), learning the necessities of mortuary makeup, hanging at only the in-est of otherworld ‘in crowd’ hot spots, and quickly becoming Seattle’s Supernatural ‘it’ girl.

When one of her gal pals leaves a cryptic message asking for help and then disappears, newbie flesh-eating zombie Amanda is off to the rescue, determined to find out who (or what) is trying to turn Seattle – both the living and the undead sides of it – into a place of true terror.

This is a wildly unique take on the modern fashionista zombie, which will have you both cringing with the gore and laughing uproariously at, well, the gore. Mark Henry has created a heroine who you can admire whether she is spouting snappy, snarky bon mots or chowing down on a guy she picked up in an alley. His world is well-developed, his characters pop off the page and the storyline is twisted, weird and wonderfully original.

Slip into your favorite designer pajamas, pour yourself a vodkatini and do yourself a favour: read this book! This is grisly chick-lit at its finest and will leave you salivating for more. (Of course it will also make you a little nervous about being breathed on in elevators).

You are in luck: Happy Hour Of The Damned has just come out in mass market paperback! Sure you can still pick it up in its original trade size – but why?

Find out more about Mark Henry at his site or by following him on Twitter

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