Blood Gamble (by Melissa F. Olson)

Urban Fantasy

When vampire celebrities start performing a show in Las Vegas that puts the entire old world at risk Dashiell sends Scarlett to investigate.

What she discovers is two vampire factions at war and vampires disappearing without a trace. Someone is using the weakness of the Las Vegas vampires to hide their own sinister agenda and Scarlett with the help of a very old cowboy are the only ones who can stop them.


I struggled a little with the Scarlett Bernard books.  They were good, well written urban fantasy but for one reason or another I just didn’t connect with Scarlett in those books and it’s hard to enjoy a book when the main character leaves you feeling nothing. So when I picked up Midnight Curse I wasn’t expecting much –– and I loved it.

I’m not sure why but I’m loving Scarlett in this series.  Blood Gamble is another solid entry in the series.  It’s not perfect, I skipped through all the romance and I think the ending felt a little rushed but there are some truly spectacular urban fantasy moments in this book.

The grieving vampire cowboy –– Best. Character. Ever.

Many thanks to 47North and Netgalley for providing me with this review copy.

Yellow, Orange, Red – What it means. YOR-Guide

Cold Reign (by Faith Hunter)

Urban Fantasy

’twas a dark and stormy night…

…and the European Vamps have arrive.

As the Enforcer for Leo Pellisier, New Orleans’ master vampire, it’s left to Jane to plug every supernatural hole in the dike. She and her team find themselves called from one crisis to another as revenants rise and attack the people of the city while a supernatural storm beats down on New Orleans causing riots in the streets.

Jane is struggling to keep up as the European Vampires launch one attack after another and all the while they are circling ever closer to their end game.


This book is a runaway train. It crashes along at a frenetic pace and leaves you gasping for a breath by the end. It’s brash and in your face and one of the best books in the series to date. 5 Stars.

 

 

 

 

Many thanks to Berkley Publishing Group and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

Yellow, Orange, Red –– What it means.  YOR-Guide

 

Snared (by Jennifer Estep)

Urban Fantasy

Gin Blanco has a lot on her hands. She is not only the unpopular boss of Ashland’s criminal underworld but she has discovered there is a rival and perhaps even more insidious organisation called The Circle that is pulling strings from the shadows.

She really doesn’t have time to track down a missing person but when one of her lieutenants calls in a favor she finds herself doing just that. A serial killer is on the loose in Gin’s patch and she’s determined to hunt him down and save his latest victim.


In Snared Jennifer Estep runs with the same tried and true formula that has made her one of the biggest names in Urban Fantasy. This whole series is like buttered popcorn. There isn’t much to it but it’s so much fun that you won’t be able to stop until all that’s left are those few sad unpopped kernels sitting in the bottom of the bucket.

Position in Series: Book 16

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-6-53-19-pmYellow, Orange, Red: What it means.  YOR-Guide

Many thanks to Pocket Books 

Unraveled (by Jennifer Estep)

Urban Fantasy

Ever since taking over as boss of Ashland’s underworld Gin has had every two bit hood gunning for her, now to top it all off she has learned that an insidious criminal organisation has been manipulating her from the shadows. She really needs a holiday so when her brother Finn inherits a wild-west theme park and hotel she joins him as he travels south to scope out the joint and hopefully catch some long overdue R&R.

But all is not as it seems and they quickly realise that the whole inheritance was a sham to get Gin and her friends down to the park where they can be taken care of.


Unraveled is great fun. Jennifer Estep fills her pages with brash, almost cartoonish heroes and villains. They are larger than life and occasionally over the top….but they’re always good fun.

It’s not perfect, she gets some technical details wrong (e.g. when the last shot of an automatic pistol is fired, the breech locks open, and yet we get the “click, click, click” you expect in a 1950s matinee). But in some ways, those little foibles make her books better. It’s like she just wants to pound out the stories, entertain her readers and couldn’t be bothered with the small things.

And after 15 books it still works. I keep waiting for the series to lose it’s appeal but here I am eagerly awaiting book 16.


Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 6.44.49 PMMany thanks to Pocket Books and Edelweiss for providing me with this ARC

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means: YOR-Guide

Blood of the Earth (by Faith Hunter)

Urban Fantasy

As a child growing up in a polygamous cult, Nell escaped the constrictions of cult life and marriage to the evil cult leader by agreeing to become the second wife of John Ingram. After his first wife died and then later he died, she found herself alone on a parcel of land that borders the land owned by the church.

She has lived on her own, with shotguns at every window always fearing the day the men from the church came for her. But she has more than just shotguns. It’s her land, through the earth and the trees she knows every inch of it. She controls who comes and goes and with just a drop of blood, she even has the power of life and death.

Now after many years things are changing. Some young women, town people have been kidnapped and PsyLED and the FBI are nosing around. They enlist her help to infiltrate the church and what she discovers is a creature so evil even the experts from PsyLED don’t know how to handle it.


Blood of the Earth is incredible. Nell Ingram is a heroine you’ll instantly love. The book is set in the world of Jane Yellowrock with a few crossover characters, though thankfully only a few. Nell’s world, her gifts, her background, her land –– there is so much fertile ground for great stories and I want more of it. If I’m totally honest, the part of it I find least interesting is the PsyLED aspect.

Book 2, Curse of the Land is coming out November 2016

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 6.44.49 PMOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means: YOR-Guide

Boundary Born (by Melissa F. Olson)

Urban Fantasy

Something wicked is at work in Colorado’s supernatural community. Vampires are being paralyzed or killed with poison…a weapon favored by witches. This offense threatens to break apart the already-fractured alliance between witches and the undead.

The state’s cardinal vampire, Maven, summons boundary witch Allison “Lex” Luther to stop the killing before it ignites a war. Lex has barely started investigating when she gets another surprise: the biological father she’s never met arrives on her doorstep. He has answers to all of Lex’s questions about her bloodline, but getting those answers could mean betraying the life she’s already built.

Then the next vampire is poisoned—and this time it’s Maven herself. The new evil that hunts Lex is powerful and ruthless enough to stop the strongest supernatural creature in the state. In order to find such a killer, Lex will have to face down her own birthright and call on every ally—both living and dead.


With Boundary Born Melissa F. Olson has done something quite remarkable. She’s given to me a book I just can’t fault. It’s perfect in every way.  I keep expecting the wheels to fall off and this series keep surprising me.

Now I’m thinking I need to go back and give her Scarlett Bernard series a second chance.  I read book one, wasn’t impressed and walked away, but now I’m wondering how much I’m missing out on.

bound

 

Position in Series: Book 3

1 –– Boundary Crossed
2 –– Boundary Lines
3 –– Boundary Born

 

 

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Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means: YOR-Guide

 

Angel Stakes (by Mark Henwick)

Urban Fantasy

After travelling to New Mexico to rescue Diana (book 4, Cool Hand), Amber was on the brink of going rogue. With her kin’s help she managed to fight it off but there remains a sickness in her soul that is poisoning her. She needs to deal with that, she needs to recover. But without even a moment to catch her breath she is called to Los Angeles to once again walk the fine line between the warring parties of Athanate, Were and Adept.

Not only must she try to form an alliance with the Were, she has to hunt down and deal with an evil which has been 10 years in the making.


One of the weaknesses in Urban Fantasy (in my opinion) is that stories are essentially stagnant. Authors just throw bigger and badder villains into the mix while the main characters essentially remain unchanged. It’s why I start to lose patience with a series after two or three books. Not here. As the story develops, the characters develop, they become more, they mature and they learn from their mistakes.

If there is a weakness, I think it is that you can read the early books in isolation, but as the series develops that’s less the case. I’m a Mark Henwick junkie so I don’t mind, but some might. Still, you could do a lot worse than jumping into this series. Start with Raw Deal the novella that introduces Amber Farrell, if you love that, your love will only increase as you continue.

Great book, great series.

Position in Series:  Book 5

markhenwick0.5 – Raw Deal
1 – Sleight of Hand
2 – Hidden Trump
3 – Wild Card
4 – Cool Hand
5 – Angel Stakes

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 1.34.01 PMOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means:  red-orange-yellow-guide