Monday, January 26, 2015

Read This F@!%ing Book (31)


Welcome to a feature I'm going to post on Mondays called:
Read This F@!%ing Book!
This is a feature for me to push my favorite reads that just aren't getting enough attention! 
I'm also opening it up to anyone who would like to guest post. Do you have a book that you just LURVED but feel like its not getting the play it deserves? Email me to let me know and I'd be THRILLED to have you post about it here! Especially if its something I haven't reviewed yet - that's even better (but not necessary)! If you're interested email me:
Goldilox3weres@hotmail.com

This week's post comes from our very own: 
Rose Red!


Read This F@!%ing Book Post 31: The Others Series by Anne Bishop
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15711341-written-in-red  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17563080-murder-of-crows  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21457243-vision-in-silver
   
(Click book cover to go to Goodreads page)

Not Your Normal Supernaturals 
The Others is not like any urban fantasy series I've ever read. I loved how different the Terra Indigene (aka the Others) were! They're not softened, romanticized, or even humanized. They don’t pursue romantic relationships with their food and they make no apologies for the way they live. In the world of The Others, supernatural creatures don't hide. They don't cater to human fickleness in the hopes of preserving peace. They own the earth and everything in it, and they allow humans to exist as long as "the monkeys" don't become too much of a nuisance.  

There are all kinds of different creatures that make up the Terra Indigene. There's elementals, vampires, shifters, and who knows what else. It's mentioned in Written in Red that the shifters had adopted their animal forms so long ago that they had likewise adopted some of the animal behavior that comes along with those forms. And this is one of the best parts about these books: wolves, crows, and hawks while in their human form act like wolves and crows and hawks. Whether it's a wolf threatening to eat someone because they're aggravated, a crow refusing to give correct change because the coins are shiny, or a hawk looking through packages because they smelled a mouse, it adds a depth to the characters I've never seen before. It's just all so amazing!

I've Never Read A Character Like Meg
Meg Corbyn is a cassandra sangue, a blood prophet. She's a human who sees prophecies whenever her skin is cut deep enough to bleed. As a protagonist, I’ve never encountered a character quite like Meg. She's both intelligent and innocent which is not an easy combination to get right but Anne Bishop does it. Meg's story is heartbreaking. She was kept locked up in a compound and educated only in ways that would help her describe her prophecies which means she had only ever seen pictures and short videos of life and things outside her little prison. She had never experienced them for herself, until she escaped and came to the courtyard to live with the Others. And unlike most humans, she’s not paralyzed with fear and hatred by the Terra Indigene. She shows them kindness because it had been the one thing she’d always been denied, and in return, they don’t eat her. Gradually, Meg helps the Others see that not all humans are not created equal. And Meg being Meg even befriends some of the most lethal Others. I can't wait to read more about her adventures in the next books,

The Others is my favorite urban fantasy series since Patricia Briggs, Kevin Hearne, and Ilona Andrews made me realize how much I love this fantastic genre. I love everything about these books from the gorgeous and frightening world that is similar but deliciously other from ours, to the tightly written suspense plot, and the characters who are so primal and wild and so very not human. I can’t declare my love for this series enough! I plan to devour Anne Bishop’s backlist while I endure the wait for the next book in this series.

This series is a must-read for fans of Urban Fantasy!

 

Have you read this book?
Did we persuade you to add it to your TBR mountain?
Let us know in the comments below!


 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

 
Magic Bites
(Kate Daniels #1)
Ilona Andrews
Release: March 27, 2007
Goodreads Amazon
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up paranormal problems. Atlanta has two factions struggling for power. Masters of the Dead are necromancers who control vampires. The Pack are a paramilitary clan of shapechangers. When Kate's guardian is killed, she is caught between.

Review by Rose Red:

Magic Bites is the first book in a series that I wish that I had started earlier than I did. I absolutely LOVED it! Kate Daniels is a mercenary who cleans up paranormal messes. When she gets news that her mentor and guardian was murdered, Kate takes on the case. To find the killer, she is thrown into the world of shapeshifters and the People and their vampires. 

I've been a long time fan of urban fantasy/paranormal romance and this book is nothing like anything I've ever read. The world-building is fantastic! The world is a character all itself. Magic Bites takes place in a post-apocalyptic Atlanta where technology and magic are at war with each other. And magic has struck back with a vengeance. It's feeding on technology. The city's skyscrapers are no more than dwindling piles of granite and steel, and machinery, vehicles or electrically powered objects can fail at any time. You never know when tech or magic will have the upperhand, but magic is getting stronger. Not to mention, the magic made it so all types of supernatural creatures are real. There are shapeshifters, vampires, witches, and more. This world is pretty screwed up and that makes it so interesting. You literally have no idea what could come to Atlanta. And Andrews doesn't stick to traditional lore for her supernatural. Vampires aren’t sleek and sexy; they are grotesque and misshapen, blood crazed creatures, lacking any of the characteristics that once marked them as human. They are super creepy.  

Actually, the world kind of reminds me of the gritty, post apocalyptic world Robin McKinley created in Sunshine except it's more diverse with the creatures and the magic. I love the idea of the magic and tech asserting themselves at ever-changing intervals and the effects that has on our protagonist. The world building was flawlessly integrated into the story, and I never got hopelessly lost in it, though I was completely immersed. I really like reading about how people have adapted to the magic waves.

The characters are as awesome as the worldbuilding! Kate is such a compelling character. She's tough and not just because she has to be since she fights and hunts things for a living. I absolutely adore Kate. Not only does she kick ass and have a smart mouth, but because when she does talk, she can back it up. Well, unless she’s trying to aggravate the Beast Lord, Curran. But he's one tough son of a gun. He's called the Beast Lord for a reason. Kate’s not perfect. She makes mistakes and she has flaws! Sometimes she even makes rash decisions. And this is probably one of my favorite things about her – when she does any of the above, it doesn’t always turn out the way she wants. A majority of the time, she has to accept the consequences of her actions. I’ll say it again, because I think it’s something that’s missing in a lot of urban fantasy I read – Kate’s (and truly all the characters) actions have consequences and they don’t just go away. They have to be dealt with. And it’s not always easy. Another thing to love about Kate is that she has a personal code of conduct, and she sticks to it. Honestly, there’s not one thing I didn’t love about Kate. Impressive, considering how difficult it is to make me truly love a heroine.

Besides Kate, there are so many wonderful characters! Derek, Jim, Aunt B, Doolittle, Ghastek, Nick, Saiman, and Curran. Oh, Curran! I can’t even describe how much I liked Curran, the Beast Lord of Atlanta. He’s arrogant and eminently sure of himself – with good cause. I was a bit wary of him at first but I really liked him by the end of the book. The verbal sparring between Kate and the Beast Lord is fantastic! Curran is someone who demands instant respect and Kate chafes at authority figures. I can't express how much I love their interactions. There wasn't exactly a romance between Kate and Curran, but there is a tangible sexual tension that made me giggle and smile whenever they had scenes together in the book.

The story moves at a very quick pace, with lots of action set in a fabulously complex, detailed world. I highly recommend this series if you haven’t started it already. Magic Bites is an amazing urban fantasy story that will leave you wanting more!

 
Recommended for fans of: 
Hounded by Kevin Hearne
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron

    
5 / 5  stars!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review: Strange Magic by James A. Hunter




Strange Magic
(A Yancy Lazarus Novel)
James A. Hunter
Release: January 16,2015
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Summary: Yancy Lazarus is having a bad day: there’s a bullet lodged in his butt cheek, his face looks like the site of a demolition derby, and he’s been saran-wrapped to a banquet table. He never should have answered the phone. Stupid bleeding heart—helping others in his circles is a good way to get dead.

Just ask the gang members ripped to pieces by some kind of demonic nightmare in LA. As a favor to a friend, Yancy agrees to take a little looksee into the massacre and boom, he’s stuck in a turf war between two rival gangs, which both think he’s pinch-hitting for the other side. Oh, and there’s also a secretive ass-hat with some mean ol’ magical chops and a small army of hyena-faced, body- snatching baddies. It might be time to seriously reconsider some of his life choices.

Yancy is a bluesman, a rambler, a gambler, but not much more. Sure, he can do a little magic—maybe even more than just a little magic—but he knows enough to keep his head down and stay clear of freaky-deaky hoodoo like this business in LA. Somehow though, he’s been set up to take a real bad fall—the kind of very permanent fall that leaves a guy with a toe tag. Unless, of course, he can find out who is responsible for the gangland murders, make peace in the midst of the gang feud, and take out said magical ass-hat before he hexes Yancy into an early retirement. Easy right? Stupid. Bleeding. Heart.
  
Review: On New Year's Eve, I started watching Supernatural on Netflix. Two weeks later, I'm in the middle of season five. So I admit I may be inclined to see Winchesters where there really aren't any. But when Yancy Lazarus gets a call from his Marine-turned-monster-hunter buddy Greg, sets out for L.A. in the old car he lives out of, and gets attacked by a monster in his crappy motel room on the way, you can probably understand why I thought he must be Sam and Dean's long-lost cousin.

However, Lazarus is also a blues musician and a Vietnam vet. I thought the choice to make him sixty five was an interesting one. His character would be the dad or the sidekick in most stories. He's also sarcastic, ill-mannered and usually funny. His pop culture references are a little dated, but they fit his age.

Strange Magic has some great fantasy elements. I especially liked the scenes in The Hub, the magical realm that serves as a bridge between worlds, which feels like a modern day Mos Eisley. But I felt like there were too many of those elements introduced for a book this size - it's only about 200 pages. A few bombshells are dropped and abandoned, like an ex-girlfriend possessed by the Morrigan, that me saying, "Wait! What?"

I 'd like to know more about The Guild, the monster hunting organization that Greg works for, and Lazarus had a falling out with. I'd also like more explanation of the way magic works in this world. Lazarus draws on the elements and weaves them together to form constructs, but he seems to do it all inside his head. I want him to be gesturing or something when he holds a spell in his hand.

But there's a good foundation for the series to build on here. If you're looking for a quick read about mages and magical creatures, it's worth a look.

Recommended for fans of: Supernatural, The Dresden Files

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

   
 stars





Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Review: The Quick and the Undead by Kimberly Raye


The Quick and the Undead
(Tombstone, Texas #1)
Kimberly Raye
Release: November 26, 2014
Goodreads Amazon
Welcome to Tombstone, Texas, where anything is possible, even your wildest fantasy. Once a haven to outlaws, Tombstone is now a tourist town that gives travelers a taste of the old West. What visitors don’t realize, however, is that the super-hot cowboys, gunslingers, and lawmen walking the streets aren’t actors—they’re originals. These ancient vampires claimed Tombstone two centuries ago.

So step right up, folks, and book your trip today! The outlaws of Tombstone will be waiting . . .

Travel blogger Riley Davenport loves her job, traveling to the most exotic places in the world. Even better, it keeps her one step ahead of her stalking ex. The last thing she wants in her life is a strong alpha male. But that’s exactly what she gets when she comes face-to-face with Sheriff Boone Jarrett, a hero right out of her most erotic fantasies.

Boone isn’t just the law in Tombstone, Texas. He’s also an ancient vampire and the target of a crazed killer. He certainly doesn’t have time for romance. But a temporary fling? Now that he can handle.

Unfortunately, their first night together ends in disaster when Riley witnesses a murder. And to protect her, Boone forces her into hiding. Only her “captivity” ends up becoming the realization of her wildest, most carnal fantasies. Still, Riley’s not going to fall for him, at least that’s what she tells herself.

But as she gets to know him—the man and the vampire—she starts to wonder if she can hold out . . .
Review by Rose Red:

When I requested a book about vampire cowboys from Netgalley, I was hoping for a fun and quirky read. The idea behind this book had SO much potential! A group of outlaw vampires that were sired by the same vampire in the Old West return as a group to reclaim the town of Tombstone, Texas. In order to make that possible, they've turned the town into an exclusive vacation destination that will bring back the Old West for travelers. The whole gang is involved in this venture with the exception of their maker who has disappeared. 

This story should have been interesting....but I was bored. I finished the story but I didn't enjoy any of it. I actually kept reading because I couldn't help but think that it had to get better because no one could possibly waste such a great premise. Unfortunately, the actual story did not deliver. I actually thought most of the book was ridiculous and the "villain" was laughably easy to identify. Believe me when I say that the best part of the whole book was the prologue. It nearly drove me crazy how many times things were repeated over and over and over again. You don’t need to tell me a half a dozen times that Riley had no childhood because of her father. I got it. Over and over again, I read about her ex-boyfriend and how horrible and controlling he was. Again, I get it. Why repeat Riley's past over and over again without making it have any real impact on the present story? And I read about Boone’s father issues so often that I wanted to slap and tell him he was a vampire outlaw and to get the hell over it. I nearly went bonkers when we had to be told that a character was a gunslinger/thief/etc every time that character was mentioned. Maybe we needed that in the beginning but not every single time that character was mentioned afterwards.

Part of the reason I think this story didn't work for me was that the book was just too short for what the author was trying to do. There was no room for any good plot or character development. I was 90% through the story and realized I did not care one bit about any of the characters let alone the "romance". In fact, the story spent more time focused on Riley's sexual longing than what was probably a very interesting group of vampires. Hello! You made a group of outlaw vampires boring. 

As for the romance, it was comprised largely of her hormones and his hunger. But not really much more. I wasn't really given a romance. When Boone thinks Riley might be in trouble from a rogue vampire does he keep her next to him to protect her at all times? Nope. He puts her in a cave by herself while he searches for the villain. She literally spends a large part of the story in a cave by herself. How can there be a romance when they're separated 75% of the time. There was no build up of any actual feelings other than lust. And that wasn't even done well and was mostly associated with Riley's sweet tooth and Boone's craving for her blood. I honestly didn't get the love connection between the two of them. Not to mention, the sex scenes were weird to read. It was almost like they were not meant for this book because they were so disconnected from the story.
 
I appreciated the author's attempt at writing a different vampire book. It was a fresh idea in a stale genre. I just wish it had been done better. I have no interest in continuing on with this series.


I received an eARC of this book through Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  
  2 / 5 stars


Monday, January 12, 2015

Read This F@!#ing Book Rebooted

 
Did you know Read This F@!#ing Book debuted in 2012? I found some of my favorite series because of those first posts. This year we've decided to look back at a few of our favorite RTFBs and update them for 2015. We'll keep doing new ones too, so if you have a favorite book or series that you think deserves some attention or if you'd like to guest post, let us know.
 
For my first Reboot, I'm going back to where it all started. The very first Read This F@!#ing Book post featured Richelle Mead's Bloodlines. (Read Goldilox's original post here.) The final book in the series, The Ruby Circle, is only a month away so if you haven't read these yet, it's a great time to start.
 
Welcome to a feature I'm going to post on Mondays called:
Read This F@!%ing Book!
This is a feature for me to push my favorite reads that just aren't getting enough attention! 
I'm also opening it up to anyone who would like to guest post. Do you have a book that you just LURVED but feel like its not getting the play it deserves? Email me to let me know and I'd be THRILLED to have you post about it here! Especially if it's something I haven't reviewed yet - that's even better (but not necessary)! If you're interested email me:
Goldilox3weres@hotmail.com
Read This F@!%ing Book Post 1.1: The Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead Rebooted
 



 Goodreads links:


Why I'm pushing it: In 2012 Goldilox said I know what some of you are thinking. Why push this series? Its probably getting PLENTY of attention! Well here's the thing.....SOME people aren't reading the series because they think they won't like Sydney. GASP! Let me convince you!

In 2015 I'm still seeing people make similar comments on reviews.
 
Why I love Sydney and this spinoff (Then) Sydney is not Rose - that's true. And as much as I loved Rose, I also love Sydney because she's a little different than the typical YA heroine out there right now. Instead of acting before she thinks or going balls out.....Sydney uses her intelligence to kick ass. I kind of think its daring for Richelle Mead to write an anti-cool dork like Sydney as the main character. What a girl for teens to look up to! She thinks things through! She's values things like education and reading! And even though she's a total nerd, she has some seriously funny and endearing moments in these books. You don't mess with Sydney's friends and family without consequences.....a wimp she is not (case in point: We finally learn why Sydney made a deal with Abe and it is juicy!).

(Now) As this series has progressed, what I've really enjoyed is getting to see other sides of the world that Mead introduced in the Vampire Academy books. Sydney and Adrian are living in the human world but they have also encountered Alchemists, witches, and a fundamentalist vampire hunting cult. The Alchemists in particular turned out to be so much more than what they seemed - in a wonderful, fascinating, horrific way.

Catch up with your favorite side characters from VA: (Then) Eddie and Jill are back as major players in the Bloodlines series.....and P.S. Eddie is adorable! Dimitri and Rose are even in The Golden Lily! Want to catch up with everybody you loved in VA? Well, here you go!

(Now) I also love getting to watch these characters grow up. Sydney learns to think for herself and trust her heart. Adrian battles depression and addiction. Eddie is everything a Guardian should be - responsible, loyal, fierce in battle - but he's also very human. Dmitri has a small but consistent role in the Bloodlines series. Silver Shadows even features a return to the Moroi Court and a look at Lyssa as queen.

Also.....there's Adrian: (Then) Maybe you live in a cave. Maybe you've had mono for like, two years. Because you've obviously forgotten about Adrian! HELLO! Adrian! He is even better in the Bloodlines series than in Vampire Academy! And unlike in VA, where you just knew things weren't going to work out for him, in Bloodlines you can root for him to get the girl! He is SO devilishly charming and irrestible in these books, especially in The Golden Lily.

(Now) And of course Sydney and Adrian's EPIC love story has only gotten better. It's everything a YA romance should be!
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So, there you go. That's me pushing Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spinoff, Bloodlines. If you were a VA fan please give this series a try. And if you've read the first book and were on the fence you REALLY need to read book two! 

I firmly believe that often our reaction to a book depends heavily on what we thought we were getting into and I think going into this series you need to not except another VA. Sydney is a different and more mature character and this series is less vampire, more Alchemists. I love Sydney and I hope you will give her a chance!
 
 

Our reviews of books in this series:
The Indigo Spell
Silver Shadows


Have you read this book?
Did we persuade you to add it to your TBR mountain?
Let us know in the comments below!




Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Author Q&A with Kristi Charish and Owl and the Japanese Circus Giveaway



I discovered Owl and the Japanese Circus when Jenn Bennett raved about it on Twitter. As soon as I was able to request an ARC, I jumped at the chance. It's got some really original world building and the story is so much fun! (Just like Jenn said it would be.) So I'm really excited to be part of the blog tour. We got the chance to ask Kristi Charish some questions about herself and her debut novel.


G3W: Happy New Year Kristi! We’re so excited to have on the blog today!

KC: Are you kidding? Thanks for having me!

G3W: Your background is in science. What made you decide to start writing Urban Fantasy?

KC: Honestly? I’ve always loved science fiction and fantasy books, movies, and games. I used to play Never Winter Nights and Balders Gate on my laptop while I was in between experiments or running samples on the automated microscopes.

I finally decided to try my hand at writing while finishing up my thesis (1 hour thesis- 1-2 hours fiction). I actually started with both fantasy and sci-fi, but was drawn to UF because there’s a real subtle trick in layering the fantasy parts over the real world. It’s a fun challenge to try and make it convincing without ruining the fun, and it’s not as far off from my science training as you might think :)

G3W:Tell us a little about Owl and what inspired you to tell her story.

KC: Owl and the Japanese Circus is my debut urban fantasy and my first completed novel. It’s about ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl— who has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

As to what inspired Owl: It’s heavily inspired by all the 80’s adventure movies I used to watch over and over: Indiana Jones, Jewel of the Nile, Big Trouble Little China- even The Mummy is a big influence for me.

BUT, when I first sat down to write Owl I’d been struggling for a bit with third person narrative and really wanted to try something in first person. I had just finished a writing prompt exercise (where the prompt was ‘When death’s clowns came for me’) and had also just finished reading a mystery novel called ‘The Water Rat of Wanchai’ by Ian Hamilton (Ava Lee series). It was the first mystery I’d read in a while and I thought wouldn’t it be great to write something like that! Prompt and mystery novel idea in hand, I started writing about an antiquities thief...with absolutely no monsters, it was going to be a normal book, a break from fantasy...

That lasted all of twenty pages when I realized I’d accidentally written a dragon into the novel.

G3W: The vampires in Owl’s world are unlike any I’ve ever seen. How did you develop their mythos? What made you decide to make them smell?

KC: I’m glad you liked them! It’s not the first time pheromones have been used for vampires- Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs and Jim Butcher all use a similar mechanism in their books- the vampires all have a chemical that subdues their prey and over time is addictive. In my case, I didn’t want my vampires to be omniscient supernaturals...more like cockroaches of the supernatural underworld. I decided to go with something that was less bite dependent, chemically volatile and aromatic (easily identifiable by scent), and incredibly addictive. That way my vampires didn’t have to be super strong or powerful to subdue prey- they just have to get close enough so their prey can smell them.

G3W: I know that the Ancient Egyptians really liked their cats. Is that what inspired Captain? Have you ever had a cat like him? (Well, probably not the vampire hunting part.)

KC: So, shameful admission here. I may have written my twenty lb house cat into my novel. There are a lot of similarities between Captain and Captain Flash- particularly the obsession with food and his propensity for “talking” at me. Though the real version hunts socks, not vampires. Seriously, he destroys my socks and he’s a ninja at stealing them when I’m not looking.

Captain in the series is also heavily inspired by the Egyptian Mau’s of legends, but instead of being mythical guardians of the underworld, they were actually bred to attack vampires. I thought it was a fun and more practical twist on the legends.

G3W: If you could have Owl meet any character from another book or series, who would it be and what would they do?

KC: Though it would likely have the same result as tossing cats into a small box, I’d have to go with the characters out of The Mummy or Big Trouble in Little China. Who throws the first punch? That depends, who grabs the artifact first?

G3W: If you could be BFF’s for a day with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

KC: Can we count Captain in there? I think it’s an even toss up between Nadya and Owl. Nadya is a lot more cautious than Owl and is the kind of person who goes out of her way to show her friends a good time. But all bets are off if I get to tomb raid with Owl... I’d just cross my fingers she brought the Corona and hope real hard I didn’t end up dead in the process:)

G3W: Do you have any books to recommend that have a similar feel to yours? or Do you have any book recommendations for us in general?

KC: Comparing your work to someone else’s is a hard one for writers. It elicits extreme feelings of unworthiness. What I can say is that the inspiration for Owl came more from favorite movies of mine: Indiana Jones (Temple of Doom and Raiders) and The Mummy. I’m also a fan of Kim Harrison (The Hollows) and Jim Butcher (Dresden Files) and love their procedural feel. For anyone wanting to dip into urban fantasy, I’d strongly recommend them along with Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series. For non-fantasy, Ian Hamilton’s Ava Lee series is one of my favorites.

G3W: Can you tell us about Kincaid Strange and what else you’re working on this year?

KC: Kincaid Strange isn’t your average Voodoo practitioner.

For starters, she lives in Seattle.

With the new restrictions and regulations in place for raising the dead- and the fact that the Seattle PD have dropped her paranormal consulting contract- Kincaid and her roommate, the ghost of deceased 90's grunge rocker, Nathan Cade, resign themselves to running semi legal séances up at the University for students with more money than sense and desperate for guitar lessons. That is until the dead bodies start piling up and Kincaid has to find a serial killer before the blame finds it’s way to her.

Besides Kincaid #2 and 3 this year (Owl 2 is already handed in) I also try to post parts to my Canadian Blood Diamonds serialized story over on Wattpad. It’s free for anyone who wants to read.

G3W: What do you do for fun when you’re not writing?

KC: I like readingJ I’m also a fan of RPG video games and have been clocking a lot of hours on the new Dragon Age and South Park.

I also try to keep active. Yoga is my current torture exercise of choice. Besides that, I love to travel- the more deserted the tropical beach the better.

3W: What are you currently reading or what book have you just finished?

KC: Like always I’ve got a few books on my plate at the moment: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, and on audible I’m listening to The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, Death Masks by Jim Butcher, and The Monuments Men are up next.

Recently finished: The King of Shanghai, by Ian Hamilton (Amazing), reread the Crystal Singer series by Anne McCaffrey, and Patricia Briggs Alpha & Omega series.
 
 
Synopsis: Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.
 
Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.
 
Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.

Read the first chapter of Owl and the Japanese Circus here.

Scroll down or click here to read our review.

Kristi Charish is the author of a forthcoming urban fantasy novel OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS (Jan 13th, 2015, Simon and Schuster Canada/Pocket Books), about a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. She writes what she loves; adventure heavy stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists, pop culture, and the occasional RPG fantasy game thrown in the mix. The second installment, OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS, is scheduled for release Jan 2016.

Kristi is also a scientist with a BSc and MSc from Simon Fraser University in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and a PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. Her specialties are genetics, cell biology, and molecular biology, all of which she draws upon in her writing. She is represented by Carolyn Forde at Westwood Creative Artists.

Also check out Kristi Charish's Wattpad site for some of her short stories.
 
 
Enter to win your very own copy of Owl and the Japanese Circus. This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL. Residents of the U.S. and Canada can choose either a signed paperback or a digital copy of the book. Everyone else will receive a digital copy. You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway





Early Review: Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish





Owl and the Japanese Circus
(The Adventures of Owl #1)
Kristi Charish
Release: January 13, 2015
Links: Amazon Goodreads
Summary: Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.

Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.
Review: This book was a fun ride and was different enough to set itself apart in a genre full of stereotypes. I’ll have to admit; at the beginning I was struck by the resemblance it had to Indiana Jones. Not because of the amazing character charisma; actually, Owl has very limited people skills. More because the plot sped along with so many entertaining events, I didn’t mind some of the things that usually bother me.

Owl is a familiar stereotype. She's an outsider who keeps everyone at arms’ length and focuses on the financial rewards of her work. Personally, I ran into a couple of moments where I found myself disliking Owl, but the writing and plot pulled me through. I ended up liking Owl as a protagonist. She was sarcastic and smart. By the end of the story, she had experienced some necessary and logical character growth, and even had people who called her out on her decisions. 

The story itself was intriguing with a interesting cast of supernatural characters: an incubus, a naga, vengeful ghosts, vampires and even a dragon. I thought it was an interesting world and the story kept me hooked. The archeological sequences were fun, and the setting changed enough to provide variety in what was essentially a series of quest steps. Along the way, she met various other supernatural races, and tried to solve the mystery of the artifact she was searching for. There was action, some romance, and lots of historical sites. I was never bored while reading this.

I ended up quite liking this book. Owl was a unique, fun, and sometimes reckless heroine. The side characters were varied and surprising. I loved the historical aspect of this book, and thought the friendship and romance were good. This book was definitely a good start to a new series! 


Recommended for fans of: Geeky heroes, unique supernatural world building

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

    
 stars
 




Read the first chapter of Owl and the Japanese Circus here.
Check out our Author Q&A with Kristi Charish and enter the giveaway here.

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Reading Challenges & Goals

 
We had a pretty exciting 2014 here at Goldilox and the Three Weres, and we've got some good stuff in store for 2015 as well. That includes expanding our reading horizons and trying new things. Here's a look at what reading challenges each of us are participating in and links if you'd like to sign up too. Share your goals and challenges with us in the comments.
 
I haven't done a reading challenge before, other than setting a goal for the year on Goodreads, but a library challenge is something I can definitely get behind. So I'm doing the Snagged at the Library Challenge hosted by Geeky Bloggers and The Book Nympho in 2015.



Here's why I love the library: I mostly check out e-books from my library and it's almost as easy as one-clicking on Amazon, but it's FREE. I can request they add books that don't have - I haven't had a request denied yet. I often get new releases on release day - usually about an hour sooner than my Kindle pre-orders download. And for really popular authors, like Kim Harrison and Richelle Mead, the titles are listed a few weeks before the release so I can get on the wait list. The only catch is that there are limits on how many people can check out a title at once, so you have to get on the list if you want it on release day.

My other goal besides shrinking down my library wish list, which is close to 200 books, is to get better about rating and reviewing books on the library's website. Just like leaving an Amazon review, it's another way to help my favorite authors find new readers. And I want to make sure the library keeps buying the series I want to read.

I'm going for Overdrive Junkie (36 books) and I've created a Goodreads shelf to keep track. If you want to do the Challenge with me, sign up here. I've already read 2.







I fell in love with audiobooks in the last two years and now they make up at least one-third of my yearly reading. So of course I'm joining the 2015 Audiobook Challenge again, hosted by The Book Nympho and Hot Listens. If you're interested in joining this challenge you can sign up HERE.

For this challenge I'm going for Binge Listener, which is 20- 30 audiobooks in the year, but I'm hoping to be on the upper end of this level.





I'm participating in the TBR Jar Challenge this year that was created by Kat from Katytastic. I selected fourteen bookish challenges, wrote them on strips of paper, and put them into a jar. Each month I'm going to draw a challenge that I'll have to complete before the next month begins. These challenges will add a degree of randomness to my TBR each month while letting me have the freedom to choose a book that fits my mood. I'm going to do two challenges a month during June and July. As for the challenges, I used some of the ones Kat did plus some of my own choosing. The following are what went into my jar:
  1. Read a book with 500+ pages
  2. Reread a favorite book
  3. Read a 2015 debut novel
  4. Read a book that someone else picks
  5. Listen to an audiobook
  6. Read a book with magic
  7. Read a new-to-you author
  8. Read a classic novel
  9. Read a series finale
  10. Read a book you own and haven't read
  11. Read a graphic novel
  12. Read a series finale
  13. Read a book published this year
  14. Read a book with a number/color in the title
This sounds like a reading challenge that is right up my alley. I can't wait to start!



Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014 Audiobook Challenge Wrap Up!



Hosted by The Book Nympho and Hot Listens


This is my wrap up post for the 2014 Audiobook Challenge! If you're interested in joining this challenge for 2015 you can sign up HERE!

Here's what I listened to in 2014:














I listened to 22 audiobooks this past year! 
That makes me a Binge Listener!






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