Book Review: Under Ordshaw by Phil Williams

Under Ordshaw by Phil Williams

An Urban Fantasy Novel published by Rumian Publishing (05/29/18)

Summary:

“I avoided an ordinary life long enough for the extraordinary to corner me. Now I’m trying to do something about it.”

Pax Kuranes is a card player. She only works during the night, when a certain type of person is out and about. She doesn’t mind it. She enjoys her nights and her wins. With her current night’s winnings she hopes to get into a poker tournament and win big. But after a crazy spouting nonsense about a minotaur bumps into her and suddenly her winnings disappear, a mysterious man who wants to recruit her for a nearly fictitious branch of the government, rumors of monsters and creatures turn out to be true, Pax won’t be able to go back to her simple life playing cards.

Keywords:

Gambling, Winning, Money, Disappear, Fae, Fairies, Monsters, Sewers, Tunnels, Government, Ministry, Interference, Gang, Kidnapping, Family, Friendship, Weapons, Shooting, Escape, Life or Death

My Review:

The author is great at pushing the msytery early on while giving us just enough details to keep us interested as the story slowly unfolds. The language is complex and the writing style is excellent. I love that the main character is a female, but without any gendered baggage. Pax is just as sharp as the author and his writing.

I think Letty was my favorite character. She is hilariously rude. Her insults are snappy and creative. She is such a funny character. Letty is a kick-butt character who is uncompromising in her personality and I wish more female characters (good or bad) were like her.

Phil Williams has expertly mastered the art of description and sensory detail. This book was so masterfully written that I got lost in the scenes and the imagery.

As someone trying to learn better negotiating I appreciated the parts where Pax negotiated. I loved seeing negotiating in action.

Very rarely do I find an urban fantasy that is so good I can’t put it down. An urban fantasy any reader would enjoy. An urban fantasy that is well written. Typically I don’t even like this genre of fantasy, but Under Ordshaw was an amazing and shining example of a good book that happened to be urban fantasy.

I liked how the diverse characters had equal voices and equal stories. I liked how well developed the fantastical elements were and how vivid the descriptions of the beasts were. I liked How witty the dialogue was and how fast-paced the action was.

The writing is also sometimes as cheeky as the dialogues between Letty and Pax, kind of like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

This novel was published by Rumian Publishing on 05/29/2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Phil Williams’ Website

Book Review: Chasing Memories (Tala Prophecy Book 1) by Tia Silverthorne Bach

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Chasing Memories (Tala Prophecy Book 1) by Tia Silverthorne Bach

A Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Novel published by Tia Silverthorne Bach (6/5/13)

Summary:

After an attack on her family while camping, Reagan is still trying to recover weeks later. With her brother gone and her own physical recovery, it’s hard for her to even think about normal. Reagan didn’t at first remember much from the attack, but slowly her nightmares of that night flesh out into dreams that might tell her what really happened, unless it’s all in her head.

Keywords:

Paranormal, Attack, Camping, Friendship, Teen Sex, Teen Drinking, Dreams, Nightmares, Psychiatrist, Healing, Scars, PTSD, School, Romance, Werewolf, Witches, Wiccan, Family Strain

My Review:

I really liked how complete Reagan felt as a character. Her complete backstory and personality were fleshed out and I really felt like I understood her as a person. However, this fullness appears to take away from the plot. A plot that is not apparent throughout the entire book. Also, I never quite knew what Reagan wanted, what her goal was.

Some of the storylines were simply dropped by the end of the novel and the promise of more books in the series doesn’t make me want to read on, it makes me wish I hadn’t picked up this incomplete book in the first place.

Unlike Reagan, her friends didn’t feel very fleshed out and felt more like buffers to the story, just adding padding.

The romance element with Rafe was way too instalove and left me feeling anxious for Reagan’s lack of consent or control with that relationship.

This novel was published by Tia Silverthorne Bach on June 5th, 2013 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 2.75

Links for more information:

Tia Silverthorne Bach’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Falling From Grace (The Gift of Grace Book 3) by Esther Jones and Frog Jones

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Falling From Grace (The Gift of Grace Book 3) by Esther Jones and Frog Jones

A Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Novel published by Sky Warrior Book Publishing, LLC. (02/12/16)

Summary:

“We’d been re-branded from “summoners” to “reality terrorists” overnight in order to give the politicians a bigger gavel.” (Page 8).

Robert and Grace freed Andrea from her centuries’ long slavery to Cythumau in Book 2, Coup de Grace, but is she really free? Though it has only been several decades in this weave, she has been away so long and in captivity so long that being human is now something foreign. But when someone takes a bullet for her, she will have to step up to protect him, right? Meanwhile, Robert is trying to live a normal college life, but summoning keeps getting in the way of his plans. At least, that’s what he tells himself. Robert is still the cause of his own undoing, but with Grace gone, he will have to lead the Spokane Grove out of trouble all by himself. Unless, that is, Andrea is willing to help.

Keywords:

Summoning, Magic, Danger, Big Beasts, Escape, Fighting, Police, Damage, Power, Runes, Blood, Hunting, Organization, Politics, Hiding

My Review:

The main focus of this book was on Andrea. The way she processed and thought about everything going on around her was fascinating. Her thoughts were thorough and interesting and quite logical. She is a character with quite the background story to overcome, but she doesn’t always make the sympathetic choice, sometimes her past overwhelms her. Andrea’s perspective was super cool and though I miss Grace, I fell in love with Andrea quickly.

Robert continues to get himself and others into trouble and then has to get them out of trouble. This time, however, the trouble has built up beyond what he’s capable of handling. Or has it? Calling on all resources, Robert will stop at nothing to keep those he loves safe.

Rick the Cornuprocyon continues to amuse in this book and has a decent role to play. The mind link between him and Robert is explored a bit more and is fascinating as an aspect of world building. Summoners and their abilities are also so very, very interesting as world building goes. The rules! The possibilities! Such a cool concept to watch unfold in a world where not everyone is a Summoner and not everyone wants to be.

This novel was published by Sky Warrior Book Publishing, LLC. on February 12th, 2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Frog and Esther Jones’ Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Coup de Grace (The Gift of Grace Book 2) by Esther Jones and Frog Jones

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Coup de Grace (The Gift of Grace Book 2) by  Esther Jones and Frog Jones

A Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Novel published by Sky Warrior Book Publishing, LLC. (02/19/14)

Summary:

Grace Moore is the interim director of the Spokane Grove of summoners and must convince the other Groves that she deserves to keep her position. Some are very eager to replace her. Grace does what she has to do to protect her apprentice Robert and the good people of Spokane. When her contact in the local police clues her in that someone has reopened the mall investigation from book one, she must act. Robert is also living under the radar, but he hasn’t forgotten the girl he left behind in Cythymau’s world in book one. After graduating from high school, he will go on to college, right? Or is Robert powerful enough and trained enough as a Summoner to go after the poor trapped girl?

Keywords:

Summoning, Magic, Danger, Fighting, Police, Damage, Power, Runes, Blood, Organization, Politics, Teacher, Learning, Graduation, Teenager, Hiding

My Review:

It took quite a few chapters to get pulled back into the Summoner’s and Grace and Robert’s stories. Much of the beginning of this book was taken up with Grace’s trip to Vegas and her attempt to be political, gain support and more members for the Spokane Grove. Meanwhile, back in Spokane, Robert is going to school and biding his time until graduation. Not much is going on. The slow start, however, was made up for by the epic second half of the book. The buildup and perfectly paced climax kept me at the edge of my seat. I absolutely loved the ending.

The tie-ins for this book were very clever. Anytime Cythymau showed up, he was a true villain. He was the right amount of clever and evil without being overwhelming.

Robert’s relationship with Grace was stretched to the utmost in this book. Robert had to grow as a Summoner and a person to make the right choices, but he doesn’t always make the right decisions. He is human after all. I wish I could have read about the incident in December. I’m sure it would be interesting and show a lot about Robert’s growth as a Summoner and a person.

The humor was more on par in this second book, but I missed much of the foodie aspect in this book that was present in book one.

This novel was published by Sky Warrior Book Publishing, LLC. on February 19th, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Frog and Esther Jones’ Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Grace Under Fire (The Gift of Grace Book 1) by Esther Jones and Frog Jones

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Grace Under Fire (The Gift of Grace Book 1) by  Esther Jones and Frog Jones

A Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Novel published by Sky Warrior Book Publishing, LLC. (10/11/12)

Summary:

Summoning isn’t legal, but it’s done all the time under the nose of the public and the police. Summoners work to maintain balance in the world and make sure nothing nasty gets through the Weave that separates worlds. Grace Moore is an average Summoner sent to investigate the mass murder of a group of summoners in Spokane. Why Grace? Because she’s good enough and everyone else is busy. And did I mention it was dangerous? While in Spokane, Grace encounters the source of the murders, a rather large nasty beast that almost kills her and wants to eat Summoners and soak up their power. At the last minute, the beast is distracted by an unusual power burst and takes off, straight toward a crowded mall. Meanwhile, Robert Lorents is enacting petty revenge using Summoning and Grace has to save his butt. As a Summoner with loads of potential, perhaps Robert is the key to saving Spokane from the big nasty.

Keywords:

Summoning, Magic, Danger, Big Beasts, Escape, Fighting, Police, Damage, Power, Saxophone, Teen Crush, Foodie, Runes, Blood, Hunting, Organization

My Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed the juxtaposition of a high school boy and a mid-thirties hippy chick. Both main characters, Robert and Grace, were well defined and full of their own personalities. It was super neat to see how each character viewed themselves and each other through the POV changes between chapters.

The world and rules for Summoning (magic) were very well defined. There were plenty of explanations for how the Groves functioned and what the Weave was and the ins and outs of Summoning. Summoning was unique enough for magic to be intriguing every time it was defined and every time I saw it in action.

The climax was phenomenal and perfectly timed.

My only critique is that many of Grace’s one-liners fell short and I did not find her as humorous as she was supposed to be written.

This novel was published by Sky Warrior Book Publishing, LLC. on October 11th, 2012 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Frog and Esther Jones’ Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: The Ties That Bleed by Jami Deise

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The Ties That Bleed by Jami Deise

An Urban Fantasy Novel published by Evernight Publishing (06/21/15)

Summary:

“You’re itching to get back in the field, aren’t you? Not a whole lot of excitement, playing the doctor’s wife, running the PTA?” (Kindle Locations 539-540).

Diana Rowan used to be a vampire assassin. She used to be the best of the best before she got married and had a daughter. Now Diana teaches new vampire assassins, staying safe behind a desk. But she isn’t safe from all the vampires. The vampire she killed ten years ago is back and Diana and her family are his next target.

Keywords:

Vampire Assassin, FBI, Family, Daughter, Death, Teacher, Retired, Marriage, Missions, In the Field, Revenge, Lies, Distractions, Enemies, Old Vampires, New Vampires

My Review:

Though the cover would make you think “paranormal” and the presence of vampires and vampire hunters would also point you in the direction of paranormal, I believe that The Ties that Bleed is an urban fantasy in contemporary terms or gothic horror, much like Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice. This book was more like Interview with a Vampire than Twilight as far as vampire stories go. The Ties that Bleed had real characters with a real story and real stakes that were much more than teen angst related. There was also much less romance than your average tween vampire story. This book was somewhere in the middle of thriller/mystery/horror/fantasy/paranormal and if you like a realistic story that just so happens to have some vampires and some otherworldly concepts, you’ll love the Ties that Bleed.

I really liked the concept of a vampire assassin school to train the next generation of vampire hunters and that this would be considered a “desk” job, even though it still has its dangers.

The relationships between Diana and her male coworkers was as tense and sexist as any movie where there are female government workers and male government workers in the same department. Diana, however, is not lacking in the skills department.

This novel was published by Evernight Publishing June 21st, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Jamie Deise’s Website

Twitter

Book Review: Airs & Graces (Angel’s Grace) (Volume 1) by Jeffrey Cook and AJ Downey

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Airs & Graces (Angel’s Grace) (Volume 1) by Jeffrey Cook and AJ Downey

An Urban Fantasy Novel published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (07/19/15)

Summary:

“You cannot choose a destiny if you’re dead,”(Kindle Location 250).

She’s a down to earth, call me Addy not Adalaide, potty-mouth who works in an antiques shop in Seattle instead of going to law school like her mother wants. What is she doing in life before getting stuck in the middle of a battle between Angels and Demons and all that lies in between? Not much. Not as much as she will be doing when Tabbris, the Archangel protects her as she tries to unlock the Grace that the antiques shop owner Piorre stuck inside of her.

 

Keywords:

Fighting, Angels, Demons, Lucifer, Violence, Killing, Fleeing, Meditation, Visions, Traitor, Taking Sides, Training, Swords, Knives, Defense, Wings, Seattle, Smart Mouth, Politics

 

My Review:

Addy, at least at first, has a boring and very average personality. We don’t even know who she is before she’s whisked into this otherworld battle. How can we sympathize with her and her plight when we don’t even know who she is? Her background is only revealed in the latter half of the book.

Tabbris also seems quite average and not very extraordinary, aside from being an Archangel and having wings and such.

These two main characters seem secondary to the political-action plotline war and I feel like not much was gained with the POV changes from Tabbris to Addy.

This book contains large chunks of exposition and dialogue explaining what is going on and defining the world and the political background of the war. Most of the tension and buildup is the world-building and background information on the war going on with Earth and Addy in the middle.

This novel was published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on July 19th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.25

Links for more information:

A.J. Downey’s Blog

Jeffrey Cook on FreeValley Publishing

Goodreads

AJ Downey’s Facebook

Jeffrey Cook’s Facebook