Posts Categorized: urban fantasy

YA Content Review- Ink by Amanda Sun

09 Jul, 2013 by in urban fantasy, YA Content Review Leave a comment

by Amanda Sun
Paperback, 326 pages
Published June 25, 2013
by Harlequin Teen
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Papergods #1
Book Source: BEA
3 Stars

Summary From Goodreads: I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.

A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.

And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

Review: I first spotted this book on Netgalley and LOVED the cover as my grandmother is a Japanese watercolor artist and I spent a summer living in Japan. But, I figured I would hold off until BEA to get a paper version and see if there were other illustrations inside. (There are a few  illustrations inside, but they were not at all like the cover…very elementary) 

I finished out my only day there and didn’t see a copy. Then Katie from Katie’s Book Blog reached into her bad as we were waiting for the shuttle and pulled out a copy “Would you be interested in a copy INK?” Can you say serendipity? Thanks Katie!

What drew me to Ink? The multi sensory writing that immerses you in the art, culture and nature of Japan.  Since I lived in a Shinto shrine I found the premise fascinating, but I wish it would have been expanded on much, much more.

The mythology of a Kami, a Japanese God that can make drawings come to life and the girl who makes the ink more powerful and dangerous by her presence.

The Japanese language used throughout the entire book which drew me back there and was authentic. However, at times it was heavy handed and would be a huge turnoff for a reader not at all familiar with Japan.

Use the glossary in the back of the book! I had no idea it was there until I was all done reading.

The characters are very multi faceted and well written. There are some magical scenes when you can just see it all coming to life. I think fans of Manga/ Japanese illustrated novels will like Ink.  

What I struggled with? The main character Tomohiro, kendo star and bad boy with a  reputation. He keeps doing things that are down right jerky. I keep thinking the relationship he has with Katie will tip his behavior to the plus side and he will become more caring. Doesn’t happen! Even at the end of the book and character arc,  I want her to stay FAR FAR away from him. Why, oh why do you see and hear him doing scary things and you keep following him?!

Katie, main heroine is drawn to Tomohiro and ditches her good friends to be with him even though there are so many red flags. She starts breaking rules and lying to her aunt and guardian, then comes back to him repeatedly when he himself warns her to stay away.

Content wise there is a lot of swearing, pretty serious violence including sword and guns, teenage pregnancy, a couple sleepover without parents, mention of a love hotel and a dark overall feel.

Would I buy it? No, this is a check it out from the library or borrow it kind of book because as you read the reviews they are very polarized… you will either love it or hate it.

Author Bio:  I’m a YA author and proud Nerdfighter. I was born in Deep River, Canada, a very small town without traffic lights or buses, and where stranger safety is comprised of what to do if you see a bear—or skunk. I started reading fantasy novels at 4 and writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. Hopefully my work’s improved since then.
​In university I took English, Linguistics, and Asian History, before settling into Archaeology, because I loved learning about the cultures and stories of ancient people. Of course, I didn’t actually become an archaeologist—I have an intense fear of spiders. I prefer unearthing fascinating stories in the safety of my living room.
​The Paper Gods is inspired by my time living in Osaka and travelling throughout Japan. That and watching far too many J-Dramas. I currently live in Toronto with my husband and daughter. When I’m not writing, I’m devouring YA books, knitting nerdy things like Companion Cubes and Triforce mitts, and making elaborate cosplays for anime cons.

Book Review- My Boyfriend Merlin

10 Feb, 2012 by in book review, my boyfriend merlin, paranormal, priya ardis, urban fantasy Leave a comment

My Boyfriend Merlin
by Priya Ardis
Kindle Edition, 305 pages
published: November 21, 2011
by Ink Lion Books
Book source: Author
3 stars

Book Summary: If you can’t trust your boyfriend, who can you trust?
In this modern retelling of the Sword and the Stone, 17-year-old student president Arriane, aka Ryan, DuLac just found out her badass biker boyfriend, Matt, is a little older than he was letting on. By a few eons.

In fact, he is really Merlin–the Merlin, King Arthur’s Merlin, the greatest wizard who ever lived. But Ryan’s not impressed. Tired of being a relationship loser, she’d rather kick his legendary behind.

Sure, the world has been crazy ever since the sword and the stone fell out of the sky like a meteor. And Ryan’s a bit freaked about the scary shadow-dragon trying to burn her alive. And now, Matt–er, Merlin–needs her and her brother to leave home because they are Candidates to pull the sword.

But despite gruesome gargoyles, a new world of magic, and the guy driving her crazy, Ryan knows that family is everything. Will Merlin sacrifice hers to save the world? Will she be able to stop him?

Review: Ryan is just a normal 17 year old girl. She’s the student president in her high school. She lives with her friends Grey and Alexa and their mother Sylvia, because her mom died.  One day during a boring lecture in her history class, the unthinkable happens. Another teacher interrupts the lecture with an announcement that “History is happening now!” The whole class goes into another classroom to find out just what is going on. A large rock has shown up, out of nowhere in Trafalgar Square, with King Arthur’s sword sticking out of it. This rock caused a “Total Tremor,” basically an earthquake that starts in the square and moves around the whole world. This is where things start to get pretty crazy for Ryan. She’s being taken home by her ex-boyfriend Matt on his bike, when out of nowhere a dragon attacks. Grey and Alexa are following and in the craziness Ryan is badly wounded and Alexa is killed. When Matt is able to heal her, Ryan knows that somethings up with him, and she learns that he is a powerful magician, Merlin to be exact. But does he care for her? Or does he just want to use her to get the sword? I enjoyed the story line of this book. I thought the characters were awesome, and there was tons of action all through the book to keep you hooked. I liked Ryan especially, she starts out as kind of a person that can be easily pushed around and by the end of the book she’s a strong, courageous young woman who knows what she wants out of life. 

Content: Moderate swearing, sexual references

About the authorStorygirl, Priya Ardis, loves books of all kinds—but especially the gooey ones that make your nose leak and let your latte go cold. Her young adult novel, My Boyfriend Merlin, came from a childhood of playing too much She-Ra and watching too much Spock. She started her first book at sixteen, writing in long notebooks on train rides in India. While reading My Boyfriend Merlin, she recommends pajamas first and a pumpkin spice anything for taste. 

As a hopeless romantic, she’s also a longtime member of RWA. 

Find out more about Priya Ardis on Blog/ Facebook / Twitter/ Goodreads


Book Review- Wings of The Wicked

27 Dec, 2011 by in urban fantasy, wings of the wicked 12 comments

Wings of the Wicked
Angelfire #2
by Courtney Allison Moulton
528 pages
Expected publication: January 31st 2012
by HarperCollins
Katherine Tegen Books
Series: Angelfire #2
Book Source: Publisher
4.5 stars

Life as the Preliator is harder than Ellie ever imagined.

Balancing real life with the responsibility of being Heaven’s warrior is a challenge for Ellie. Her relationship with Will has become all business, though they both long for each other. And now that the secret of who she really is has come out, so have Hell’s strongest reapers. Grown bold and more vicious, the demonic threaten her in the light of day and stalk her in the night.

She’s been warned.

Cadan, a demonic reaper, comes to her with information about Bastian’s new plan to destroy Ellie’s soul and use an ancient relic to wake all the souls of the damned and unleash them upon humanity. As she fights to stay ahead of Bastian’s schemes , the revelations about those closest to her awaken a dark power within Ellie that threatens to destroy everything—including herself.

She’ll be betrayed.

Treachery comes even from those whom she loves, and Ellie is broken by the deaths of those who stood beside her in this Heavenly war. Still, she must find a way to save the world, herself, and her love for Will. If she fails, there will be hell to pay.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not big of action movies, horror, or monsters in abundance so the fact that Courtney Moulton keeps me engrossed in her latest book, Wings of The Wicked is a huge accomplishment on her part. I sat down yesterday to refresh my memory for this review and 10 chapters later I was swept up again in Courtney’s world. You know a book is REALLY interesting when I read it more than once!

Book two in the Angelfire series finds Ellie tyring her hardest to balance her life as the Preilator with every day life as a high school student, friend and daughter. Her days are spent in class and nights in training with two new angelic reapers, learning to wield the kophesh and angelfire. By her side is guardian Will who continuously puts himself on the line to protect her life. Things are really heating up between the two of them and their chemistry was my favorite element of the storyline. As Ellie is starting to get some of her memories back from her previous lives, her love for Will runs even deeper than the here and now. But he is often stand offish and sullen. Cadan is back from book one, and shows up when you least expect it to shamelessly flirt with Ellie in an attempt to steal her heart. Underneath his identity as the enemy is much much more than readers will bargain for. Lines become blurred between what is evil and what is good, and where loyalties lie.

Courtney has a gift with creating all kinds of creatures superimposing them onto the human world. This is a book that starts right off with non-stop action and keeps the pace until the very end. My only struggle that kept me from giving it a full five stars was that some of the scenes were too disturbingly violent for my personal taste. Ellie is not a weak teen protagonist. She gets out there and kicks some butt. However, if you can’t stomach blood and swords this series may be a bit much because the author is not afraid to kill off her characters!

Content: This book looks at grief and guilt, as well as what could and often does happen when under age teens drink too much at parties and put themselves in a bad situation. Other content includes domestic violence, moderate swearing and talk of sex as well as tension. This is one is best suited for older teens and adults.

I can’t say I’ve enjoyed an urban fantasy quite as much as Wings of the Wicked in a long time. The writing is brilliant, characters well developed and pacing perfect. Courtney not only made me crave Coldstone cookie dough ice cream in a waffle cup, she also left me craving the next book in the Angelfire series. I can’t wait for you all to read this one coming out just in time for Valentine’s Day because Will + Ellie = pure perfection. Thanks so much to Harper Teen for an awesome action packed holiday read.

You might also like: Dark Goddess by Sarwat Chadda

About the Author: Courtney Allison Moulton lives in Michigan, where she is a photographer and spends all her free time riding and showing horses. She has always loved reading about ancient mythologies, studying dead languages, and telling scary, romantic stories. ANGELFIRE is her debut novel.

Goodreads/Twitter/ Website

Watch the trailer and enter to win a signed ARC of Wings of The Wicked on Courtney’s site here.

Our Giveaway: We met the author at BEA this year and we have three awesome bookmarks with Will, Cadan and Ellie to giveaway. To enter to win a set of three Angelfire bookmarks simply comment below. Ends January 7, 2012 and is open internationally.