Tag: urban fantasy

July TBR

“But here I am in July, and why am I thinking about Christmas pudding? Probably because we always pine for what we do not have. The winter seems cozy and romantic in the hell of summer, but hot beaches and sunlight are what we yearn for all winter.” 

Joanna Franklin Bell, Take a Load Off, Mona Jamborski

I’m taking part in Jane Austen July this year which I’m really excited about. You can check out my TBR for that here.

I’m really behind on the Romanceopoly so I’m really hoping to catch up this month. I have about 20 spaces to read for between now and the end of the year which is definitely doable I just struggle with reading a book for a specific task.

July is going to be a busy month for me so I’m not expecting to get too many books read but here are the ones (other than the ones for Jane Austen July) I would like to read.

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Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo

I felt a bit deflated about the Grishaverse after finishing Ruin and Rising but so many people have told me Six of Crows is better that I’m going to pick this one up.

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Synopsis: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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Alpha (Shifters #6) by Rachel Vincent

This series I need to finish and it suits the Leather Lane spot on romanceopoly.

Alpha (Shifters, #6)

Synopsis: The unscrupulous new Council chair has charged Jace, Marc and me with trespassing, kidnapping, murder and treason. Yeah, we’ve been busy. But now it’s time to take justice into our own hands. We must avenge my brother’s death and carve out the rot at the heart of the Council. 
It’s not going to be easy, and loss seems unavoidable, but I have promised to protect my Pride, no matter what. With a target on my back and Marc at my side, I’m heading for a final showdown that will change everything forever. A showdown I’m not sure I’m ready for. 
But life never waits until you’re ready.

Falling for a Dancer by Deirdre Purcell

I’ve been itching to do a reread of this and summer seems like the perfect time. It’s my favourite book.

Falling for a Dancer

Synopsis: If the bus hadn’t broken down that August afternoon on the road between Dublin and Cork, Elizabeth Sullivan would never have met George Gallaher, a travelling actor of infinite charm and fatal weakness. She would not have been forced to marry, nor found herself trapped in an alien landscape.

The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark

I’d like to fit some short books this month if I can. I started this one during my 24 Hours of Reading challenge and I really liked it so I want to finish it.

The Girls Of Slender Means

Synopsis: Like the May of Teck Club itself, “three times window shattered since 1940 but never directly hit,” the young women of London after WWII do their best to act as if the world were back to normal: practicing elocution, jostling over suitors and a single Schiaparelli gown. Chosen by Anthony Burgess as one of the Best Modern Novels in the Sunday Times of London, The Girls of Slender Means is a taut and eerily perfect novel by an author The New York Times has called “one of this century’s finest creators of comic-metaphysical entertainment.”

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What are you reading in July?

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole Review

Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1)

Title: Poison Princess

Series: The Arcana Chronicles #1

Author: Kesley Cole

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Fantasy

Synopsis:  

She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen-year-old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophecy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side.

Format: ebook

Pages/Hours: 385 pages

Ownership: Own

My Rating: ★★★★★

Themes: Alpha Male, Magic, Suspense, Hate to Love

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
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Review: I enjoyed this book way more than I expected to! I loved it!!! I devoured it and gobbled up the next two books straight away!

I’m always a bit iffy with young adult books but this one had enough of Cole’s style to keep me very happy. A lot of the usual YA cliches are present but they don’t frustrate me in this book and all of the characters are so well developed it never feels like one of those books that centre around this super teenage girl that everyone is obsessed with.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

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Books Read in September

The Matchmaker's Playbook (Wingmen Inc., #1)The Princess BrideDragon's Claw (Dorina Basarab #4.5)

This is probably the shortest wrap-up I’ve ever written! I spent the first 2 weeks of September getting ready to spend the last 2 weeks of the month visiting Glenmore and Venice. Venice was definitely the more glamorous of the two 😉 So very little reading time but a great month.

The Matchmaker's Playbook (Wingmen Inc., #1)The Matchmaker’s Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken ★★★☆☆

A contemporary romance about a college guy who has started a matchmaking service for women with his friend. Business is very good until he breaks Wingman Inc.’s number one rule and falls for a client.

This was ok. Not an amazing story and I wasn’t too keen on the main male character. He was a bit too much of a fan of himself and the book as a whole was very tropey.

Ticks all the boxes for contemporary romance formula fiction so if you’re into that you will probably enjoy this.

Though it’s certainly not the best romance book I’ve read I did enjoy it enough to read the whole thing and I will most likely read the next book in the series.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

The Princess Bride by Willian Goldman Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
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The Princess BrideThe Princess Bride by William Goldman ★★★☆☆

The story of a man revising a book his father read to him as a child and that actual story. I have to admit I prefer the movie. The version of Goldman depicted in the book isn’t really a nice guy and his popping up during the story of Buttercup and Westley got annoying. I like how it’s done in the movie with the sick boy and his grandfather reading to him. That features in the book but it’s minor.

Actually, it would be better with none of that stuff and just be the adventure story of Buttercup and Westley. That story is great and a lot of fun to read.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Dragon's Claw (Dorina Basarab #4.5)Dragon’s Claw by Karen Chance ★★★★★

Another excellent addition to the Dorina Basarab series. Chance just keeps hitting them out of the park! Dragon’s Claw is a novella set after the fourth book in the series Shadow’s Bane with an awesome appearance by Pritkin from the Cassie books!!! I seriously got so excited when he showed up cause we got to see what he’s like after the events of Ride the Storm. We also get to see how Dory is doing with her vampire nature being a lot more dominant and more humorous scenes with Marlowe.

Loved it!!

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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DNF

Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield

I stopped reading this after 107 pages (of 320). I’d expect a book to be getting into the meat of the story by then but nothing seemed to be really happening here so I dropped it out of boredom.

Bellman & BlackSynopsis: Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is William Bellman, who, as a boy of 10, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who “could go to the good or the bad.” And indeed, although William Bellman’s life at first seems blessed—he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business—one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife’s fresh grave—and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William—a mysterious business called “Bellman & Black” . . .


Synopsis from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

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Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews Review

Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, #2)Title: Sweep in Peace

Author: Ilona Andrews

Genre: Science Fiction Urban Fantasy

Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #2

Goodreads Rating: 4.35/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis: Dina DeMille isn’t your typical Bed and Breakfast owner. Her inn defies laws of physics, her dog is secretly a monster, and the only permanent guest of the inn is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. The inn needs guests to thrive and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina’s door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance. Unfortunately, for Dina, bridging the gap between space vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. To make the summit a success, she must find a chef, remodel the inn, keep her guests from murdering each other, and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it’s all in the day’s work for an Innkeeper.…

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What I thought about the book:

Sweep in Peace picks up 6 months after the events of Clean Sweep and life has returned to normal for Dina….but not for long 😉 Her Inn is set to host the volatile peace talks between three warring species. Her livelihood hinges on the outcome and she ends up being pushed into a precarious position to protect her guests.

This book features 4 characters as adults who were kids in The Edge series. It isn’t necessary to read The Edge books before this one but you should anyway cause those books are great!

Andrews manage to blend urban fantasy and science fiction so well with this series. Magic and technology don’t usually go together but it’s something they make work. Here they’ve blended the two genres without ever having one take over or feel out of place.

The story doesn’t follow the Whodunit style that’s very often in urban fantasy books. Instead, we’re following the peace talks and the very tricksy Arbitrator wreak havoc in Dina’s Inn. It made for much more interesting reading within my favourite genre and I gobbled it up!

“This is blasphemy!” Odalon declared in the same way Gerard Butler had once roared “This is Sparta.” Sadly, Odalon had nobody to kick into a bottomless hole for emphasis, so he settled for looking extremely put out.

My Rating: 5 star review

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

The Innkeeper Chronicles

Clean SweepSweep in PeaceOne Fell Sweep


 

Shadow’s Bane by Karen Chance

Shadow's Bane (Dorina Basarab, #4)

 

Title: Shadow’s Bane

Author: Karen Chance

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Dorina Basarab #4

Goodreads Rating: 4.37/5

Goodreads Link

          Midnight's DaughterDeath's Mistress

Synopsis: Half-human, half-vampire Dorina Basarab is back–and facing her biggest challenge yet in the next urban fantasy in the New York Times bestselling series.

Dorina Basarab is a dhampir–half-human, half-vampire. As one of the Vampire Senate’s newest members, Dory already has a lot on her plate. But then a relative of one of Dory’s fey friends goes missing. They fear he’s been sold to a slaver who arranges fights–sometimes to the death–between different types of fey.

As Dory investigates, she and her friends learn the slavers are into something much bigger than a fight club. With the Vampire Senate gearing up for war with Faerie, it’ll take everything she has to defeat the slavers–and deal with the entirely too attractive master vampire Louis-Cesare….

Shadow's Bane by Karen Chance Dorina Basarab 4 Elaine Howlin Bookstagram
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What I thought about the book: Loved every minute of this rip-roaring ride of a book!

With typical audacious Dory style and humour, we’re back in Chance’s world of vampires and fae. In this instalment, we follow Dory on her first job with the Senate searching for smugglers looking to benefit from the upcoming war.

As with all of Chance’s books, this is full of action and so fast paced you will be on the edge of your seat!… if it’s possible to be on the edge of your seat reading a book… The book is quite a bit longer than previous instalments but with such a long gap between publications, the extra bit of recapping at the beginning was greatly appreciated but does slow progression of the plot for the first 100 or so pages.

Once that’s out of the way we’re treated to the most entertaining book in the series that also does a lot to expand the universe of both the Dorina series and the Cassandra Palmer series. I absolutely loved the glimpses into Mircea’s past as a young vampire and the growing dynamic between Dory and her alter ego vampire self Dorina. There’s a lot going on there I never suspected and I can’t wait to see where it goes. We get a lot of growth in relationships and in who the characters are in this one as well especially with Dorina, Mircea and Caedmon.

Loved every minute of this one and can’t wait for the next. Dragon’s Claw, a Dorina/Pritkin crossover novella is due out the end of this month.

Favourite Quote: “There are a thousand ways to die,” he told me quietly. “There are so few really to live. I would gladly risk the former for the latter, and it is my choice, is it not? To risk whatever I must, my heart, my body, my soul, in order to be with you. Is that not what love is? – Louis-Cesare

My Rating: 5 star review

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo