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GIVEAWAY! Deborah Harkness AllSoulsCon on 9/12–virtual pass

ASClogo-sm7AS Trilogy

I know I have several All Souls Trilogy fans here, so I think this giveaway is right up your alley! So on September 12th in Los Angeles they are holding a fan run con for the All Souls Series! Deborah Harkness will be attending along with the audiobook reader Jennifer Ikeda.  AllSoulsCon is a one day convention, but if you can’t attend live, it is available worldwide via livestream.  You can see the schedule here.  Highlights include:

  • Q&A sessions with Deborah Harkness and Jennifer Ikeda
  • A Renaissance Music Workshop, with performances by University of Southern California musicians and featuring original compositions by Isaias Garcia
  • A fan panel (details to come)

While you may want to enter for a chance to win all access from this giveaway, right now through August 13th you can register for 20% off.  In conjunction with Penguin who was so kind to reach out to me, the Giveaway here on my blog will be for one virtual ticket to the con. The winner will be able to access all content on their computer!

How to Enter (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY): My giveaways are only open to followers of Your Urban Fantasy who are 18 years of age or older. In order to enter YOU MUST COMMENT ON THIS ANNOUNCEMENT POST AND INDICATE YOU HAVE DONE SO ON THE RAFFLECOPTER WIDGET! If you’re a new member, sign up on the right panel to follow my blog via email. (Make sure to check your email to confirm your subscription. You should receive a notification immediately, so check your spam folder if you don’t see it right away). Current followers can just say so in their post. The next four opportunities are for bonus entries. Overall, there are up to 5 chances to enter:

  1. Follow this blog via email and comment based on my specifications mentioned before (THIS IS REQUIRED)
  2. “Like” Your Urban Fantasy on Facebook (bonus entry)
  3. Follow me on Twitter (bonus entry)
  4. Tweet about the giveaway (bonus entry – you can do this daily for more entries)

The more entries the better your chance to win! Good luck! And don’t forget to comment!  

The giveaway will run from 8/10/15 – 8/31/15. Good luck!
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GIVEAWAY! Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels #8) by Ilona Andrews

Synopsis

After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters.

So when the Pack offers him its stake in the Mercenary Guild, Curran seizes the opportunity—too bad the Guild wants nothing to do with him and Kate. Luckily, as a veteran merc, Kate can take over any of the Guild’s unfinished jobs in order to bring in money and build their reputation. But what Kate and Curran don’t realize is that the odd jobs they’ve been working are all connected.

An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece…

Review

One of the things I love most about this series are the countless one liners littered throughout any given book. Whenever I’m done I always find myself going back to collect my favorites so that I can include them in my review.  This book is certainly no exception.   In fact, I think it was better than the last book in that department.  Here are my faves:

“This would make sense,” Curran said, “if I had no eyes to read it or no brain to understand it.  Did Raphael write this?”

“Curran, please don’t bite his head off.”
“Why?”
“Because it’s illegal. Technically you assaulted him first when you threw him across the lawn.”
“I didn’t throw him very far.” I rolled my eyes.
“I could’ve thrown him straight up and let him land on the pavement.”
“That would also be illegal.”

“Does everybody think I am an asshole?” Curran asked. “Only people who know you or have met you.”
He looked at me for a long second.
“You were a zealous advocate of the Pack’s causes,” I said. “The Pack’s interests are often at odds with human interests. I still love you. Derek still thinks you’re the stuff.”

“Your horse is a donkey, your poodle is a giant wolf breed, and your boyfriend is whatever the hell he is. You have problems.”

Curran and horses didn’t get along. He thought they were unpredictable and untrustworthy, and they thought he was a werelion.

Quite a few of those are courtesy of Curran and it didn’t really occur to me until I started going over them.  There is definitely no shortage of screen time with everybody’s favorite beast lord and he’s one of the strongest characters of the book (not just physically of course). He’s well-written, his relationship with Kate is well-written.  I don’t see any fan of this pair finishing this book unsatisfied with their dynamic.  One aspect I did enjoy was that they got to be out for themselves this time.  Normally it’s all about the pack.  And even in this book they don’t completely cut ties. You don’t go from being the alpha of alphas to nothing overnight.  They are feeling the effects of this transition and some things will never change.  But I did like at least getting a taste of what it’s like for them to do their own thing for a little while.

The action overall was good though I must admit I am becoming less interested in the monsters.  It’s starting to feel like more of the same there, but it’s still an entertaining ride.  For me, this time around I was hoping we’d see more development with the Roland situation, but overall there wasn’t very much.  At this point I think that will really move the plot further along as we reach the end.  I believe the series it supposed to wrap up in 10 books so we have 2 more to go. If it’s heavy on the Roland subject to finish things out, I will definitely be a happy camper.

Fans of the series can’t miss this one!

*Review Copy Provided by the Publisher

Giveaway

So I’ve got another one! Do you want a copy of my book? Well, you might be in luck!  One lucky winner of my blog will receive a copy of the novel! Just tell me your favorite thing about the Kate Daniels Series or if you’re new to it what you’re looking forward to.

How to Enter (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY): My giveaways are only open to followers of Your Urban Fantasy who are 18 years of age or older. In order to enter YOU MUST COMMENT ON THIS ANNOUNCEMENT POST AND INDICATE YOU HAVE DONE SO ON THE RAFFLECOPTER WIDGET! If you’re a new member, sign up on the right panel to follow my blog via email. (Make sure to check your email to confirm your subscription. You should receive a notification immediately, so check your spam folder if you don’t see it right away). Current followers can just say so in their post. The next four opportunities are for bonus entries. Overall, there are up to 5 chances to enter:

  1. Follow this blog via email and comment based on my specifications mentioned before (THIS IS REQUIRED)
  2. Like my review on Amazon  (bonus entry)
  3. “Like” Your Urban Fantasy on Facebook (bonus entry)
  4. Follow me on Twitter (bonus entry)
  5. Tweet about the giveaway (bonus entry – you can do this daily for more entries)

The more entries the better your chance to win! Good luck! And don’t forget to comment!  

The giveaway will run from 8/9/15 – 8/23/15. Good luck!
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Poll!! What should I read next?!

One plus to being a bit behind on my reading is what when it’s time to amp up again, I’m knee deep in good stuff.  I just finished A Court of Thorns and LOVED it (review is coming up)! It was definitely book hangover worthy, but I’ve got quite the arsenal to ease the blow between new releases and ARCs.  Bear with me here:


The Geomancer ARC (just finished it–AWESOME!)


Magic Shifts ARC (currently reading it, it’s good stuff!)

So I’m definitely riding too much high to feel a hangover. But when Magic Shifts is done, oh what’s a girl to do next?  When in doubt I turn it to you guys!

The Drafter ARC by Kim Harrison


Of Blood and Passion by Pamela Palmer


The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani


Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost

Okay, so it’s up to you guys! Help me out! I will be reading all of these, but with your help this will determine the order.

What should I read next?

View Results

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Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Aging action heroes have been able to maintain a powerful presence in Hollywood, From Liam Neeson’s Taken series to Denzel Washington’s Equalizer (which is also becoming a franchise), even to the Expendables which has managed to make a profit for 3 sequels (though the 3rd one might be showing franchise fatigue). Tom Cruise himself continues to churn out very good movies as well, 2014’s Edge of Tomorrow can attest to that. It was one of my favorite movies last year. Since it’s clear he hasn’t lost his mojo, Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation has enough good will behind it to do well if it’s good. And it is definitely good.

Cruise at 53 continues to perform his own death defying stunts, from hanging off a plane to riding a motorcycle in a way that I never knew he could ride. Most of us wouldn’t have the cohones to do what he does, so hats off to him. He is still in amazing shape as well. As a proven thrill seeker, he reprises his role as Ethan Hunt once again.

The IMF has been shut down, leaving Ethan Hunt out on a limb. The world isn’t getting any safer and a new and dangerous thread, called the Syndicate, has begun to rear its ugly head. With the goal of establishing a new world order through terrorism, the organization is comprised of very skilled operatives from all over the world who are dedicated to its twisted cause. This mission, should he choose to accept it, may prove to be the most impossible one yet. Fortunately Ethan has the support of his tried and true teammates as well as British Agent, Ilsa Faust (played by Rebecca Ferguson), who is in an interesting position with this rogue nation.

What I liked:
The action is fantastic and the tension is well executed. It wasn’t lacking in providing laughs either, with most of the jokes being well-placed. While Simon Pegg was not surprisingly one source for that, it didn’t completely rely on him for the comedy either. In general I appreciate that Cruise and company don’t rest on franchise laurels, clearly dedicated to making this film as good as it could be.

What I didn’t like:
There is some predictability involved, but it’s not any less entertaining. And while still a good film I don’t think it’s the best one.

Overall:
The first one came out almost 20 years ago, but when you watch this new one, you still know you’re watching an MI film. Perhaps it’s because of the stiff competition offered up by the string of superhero films that the team understands how important it is to be a good alternative. Not very many franchises can be this good five films in, just see Terminator Genysis, which came out just a month ago. This one is way better and I recommend it for fans both new and old.

Rating: 4/5

Giveaway Winner! The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6) by Richelle Mead

Yep. Totally late on this one, but it’s better late than never! Thanks for entering guys but we have a wiiiiner!

G K

Thank you for participating and please check your email!  As for everyone else (and G K as well if you wish), I’m going to make it up to you by announce TWO giveaways next week! And they are pretty awesome if I do say so myself.  Please stay tuned!!

Pixels Review

Aliens discover video feeds of classic arcade games and from earth and believe this is a sign of war. To get the upper hand they attack Earth through using the games as models. In order to fight against them President William Cooper (played by Kevin James) recruits his childhood friend, former video-game champ Sam Brenner (played by Adam Sandler) to fight. Brenner calls upon fellow old-school players (played by Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad) to help fight to save the world.

Adam Sandler has certainly established quite the reputation for himself in Hollywood when it comes to critics. Many couldn’t contain themselves to jump at the chance to tear this film down. To be honest, while the film was far from brilliant, it was NOT as bad as certain critics want you to believe. Uwe Boll still wins the gold medal for me as the worst offender. At least I still enjoy Sandler’s movies to an extent. I feel as if any other star that wasn’t Sandler was attached to this, it would easily be better received.

What was my experience with this film? While I may not be a serious gamer, I have played my fair share and I generally understand the culture. I bring a Nintendo 3DS with me. I have a PlayStation 3. I grew up on NES and SNES and watching my brother play them. So with that background I feel as if my opinion is as valid as anybody else who grew up enjoying video games. I still enjoy them and wish I had more time to dedicate to them.

But all in all I actually didn’t hate the film. I thought the graphics were really awesome and I enjoyed the character cameos. The 3D was also fairly decent. While I was curious if this would feel like Wreck-It-Ralph, I wasn’t expecting it to be nearly as good so I tempered my expectations knowing Sandler would be at the helm. His comedy isn’t the most sophisticated these days but I laugh at jokes of all kinds, including his at times.

The audience enjoyed it more than I did. They laughed even more and I believe there were cheers at the end.

I can get behind a film that’s self-aware of its ridiculousness and I feel this movie accomplished that. The story wasn’t the best but it wasn’t the worst I’ve seen this year either. I think children will enjoy the special effects and adults will just as much, if not more as it does tap into the nostalgia factor.

It’s an entertaining film for kids and gamers I think. Bottom line, if you don’t like Sandler then don’t bother. If you don’t like Sandler but you like games, give it a chance to see for yourself. If you don’t like either one then don’t waste your time on this one.

Rating: 3/5

Terminator Genisys Review

A new timeline is unexpectedly created after John Connor (played by Jason Clarke) sends Kyle Reese (played by Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah (played by Emilia Clarke), from a Terminator. Originally a frightened waitress, the Sarah of this time is a skilled fighter armed with a Terminator guardian (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) and completely aware of what’s going on.  Reese must now change his original plans and focus on resetting the future and stopping skynet before it starts.

Overall it was actually better than I expected.  Or at least I enjoyed it more than the fourth one with Christian Bale.

Arnie is actually pretty cool! They improved on the CGI of him compared to the 4th one and I thought they almost seamlessly re-imagined or remastered his iconic debut scene in the original. The fact that I can’t tell which without looking at the original again is impressive enough.

Jai Courtney has come a long way from the Spartacus tv show (when I first saw him), starring in high profile films like Die Hard, Divergent, and now this to name a few.  I wasn’t sure if I would like him as Kyle Reese but I thought he handled the role well enough.  He has a strong presence and you believe in him.

I believe this is Emilia Clarke’s first big screen role.  Mostly known as Daenerys Targaryen from A Game of Thrones, she sheds the blond locks for her natural hair, giving you a different feel for her.  Unfortunately, that feel didn’t scream Sarah Connor, the iconic badass.  Linda Hamilton remains the best, but I though Lena Headey did a pretty good job for the Sarah Connor Chronicles that was cancelled prematurely (and I continue to side eye Fox about that one).  Clarke just doesn’t exude that necessary swagger and she probably would have been more convincing if she was Daenerys instead.

Though Terminator 2 is a masterpiece, the storyline for the franchise as a whole is admittedly riddled with flaws, as honest trailers hilariously points out:

Even still, I don’t think that gives this film a right to feel so disjointed and all over the place which it does suffer from more often than not. It gets to the point where you have to let that all go and enjoy the action. If you’re going to throw $170 million worth of action in my face, I’ll do my best to enjoy it.  The 3D is not necessary aside from a couple of scenes, and it almost gave me a headache, so I don’t recommend that format.

You do feel pings on nostalgia, but at the same time I still didn’t feel connected to it either, sort of like how I felt with Jurassic World. Every time I see a new John Connor it always bums me out that Eddie Furlong threw his career down the toilet in a spectacular fashion. These films are spaced out well enough that he could have returned for every one of them and been believable. Maybe they would have been better received too.

Some secrets regarding the character were revealed in the trailer so that ruins the surprise.

This is the second sequel of the franchise that is rated PG-13.  Though I was not surprised, especially considering its massive budget, it was still a disappointment.  That always means they’ll hold back. I think they pushed the PG-13 limits as far as they could with the swear words and brief nudity, but the fight scenes lacked the same level of brutality of its predecessors.

Overall, you aren’t missing much if you skip it, but I think fans of the franchise should still see it.  I think it’s at the level where you can disregard it completely if it’s not to your liking.  But it will be no surprise if you leave still believing that Terminator 2 remains the best.

Rating: 3/5

*My review can also be found over at my friends at The Grand Shuckett.

Magic Mike Review

Mike Lane (played by Channing Tatum) retired from stripping three years ago, finally starting his own custom design business as he was aspiring to do in the original. He’s been working hard, but the former “male entertainer” finds himself missing performing on stage.  He also misses the friends he made among his fellow dancers, the Kings of Tampa.  He meets up with them again as they travel to a stripper convention in Myrtle Beach as their last hurrah.  Originally reluctant, Mike decides to join them on a once in a lifetime road trip to taste the sweetness of the stage one last time.

This sequel was entertaining all throughout.  I thought there was better dialogue compared to the first when it started out good, giving you what you came there for, but then it tried to incorporate a story at the end…and it wasn’t a good one.  That one ended on a fizzle.  This one does not.

Some cameos were totally shocking but no less entertaining. Keep your eyes peeled for Michael Strahan. That’s all I’m gonna say on that one…

Matthew McConaughey was a big reason why the first one was a good as it was in some parts, but XXL ended up being a better film even without him.  I didn’t find myself missing “The kid” (played by Alex Pettyfer) either. I think the cast played off one another better compared to the original and their individual personalities shone through more.  It was really funny and witty, leaving the audience howling with laughter several times. The script is better written, feeling more confident in what it is and what it’s trying to do.

Channing himself I feel like he had more routines in the first one, but he still delivers.  The dancers were as diverse as the crowds they danced for. I noticed they made sure to especially pay attention to women of all different shapes sizes and colors, which will make it instantly relatable on some level.

The crowd this time around had a strong male attendance rate, not including press reviewers. When I saw the original, the theater was filled with 99% of women.  I think its mainstream status has allowed it to be more acceptable than it otherwise would have been.

Overall, if you enjoyed the first one you’ll definitely enjoy this one.  I think they had a lot of fun filming this one and it shows in the final product.  Now we’ll see if it gets a XXL increase in box office returns.  Either way, it’s going to make a mint with a miniscule budget.

Rating 4.5/5

*My review can also be found over at my friends at The Grand Shuckett.

POLL + GIVEAWAY! The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6) by Richelle Mead

 

Alrighty! Ask and you shall receive!! Though admittedly I ADORE this series as a whole, this particular book was not my favorite as I explained in my review. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t hold the giveaway anyway and let one lucky winner decide for him or herself! You voted yaye and I’m making good on my promise!  One lucky winner of my blog will receive a copy of the novel! Just tell me which book in the Bloodlines series is your favorite, or if you haven’t read it yet let me know what you’re looking forward to.  I’ve included a poll to help keep track!

How to Enter (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY): My giveaways are only open to followers of Your Urban Fantasy who are 18 years of age or older. In order to enter YOU MUST COMMENT ON THIS ANNOUNCEMENT POST AND INDICATE YOU HAVE DONE SO ON THE RAFFLECOPTER WIDGET! If you’re a new member, sign up on the right panel to follow my blog via email. (Make sure to check your email to confirm your subscription. You should receive a notification immediately, so check your spam folder if you don’t see it right away). Current followers can just say so in their post. The next four opportunities are for bonus entries. Overall, there are up to 5 chances to enter:

  1. Follow this blog via email and comment based on my specifications mentioned before (THIS IS REQUIRED)
  2. Like my review on Amazon (bonus entry)
  3. “Like” Your Urban Fantasy on Facebook (bonus entry)
  4. Follow me on Twitter (bonus entry)
  5. Tweet about the giveaway (bonus entry – you can do this daily for more entries)

The more entries the better your chance to win! Good luck! And don’t forget to comment!  

The giveaway will run from 6/30/15 – 7/12/15. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days #3) by Susan Ee

Synopsis: After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

Review: This series has come a long way and we’ve finally reached the end! Susan Ee’s skills have always impressed me, as she has the ability to cram a good story with thorough world building into a relatively short amount of pages. I enjoy how I feel transported to a new world every time I open one of these books. Admittedly the second book wasn’t a favorite of mine. It lacked a satisfying dose of Raffe, but Ee made up for it with this one. His character experiences a lot of growth and changes along with Penryn as well. The chemistry between the two remains strong. My favorite character is probably her sister though. Every time she’s featured I’m torn between wanting to hug her and wanting to run away from her. The amount of unpredictability with the character makes her exciting.

This book also did a nice job of fleshing out the other angels. Some aren’t as bad as you may have initially believed, and then it’s the complete opposite for the others. I wouldn’t mind spin-off stories that focused on them and how it’s presented makes it feel like a possibility.

Because the books are short I am usually left wanting more. This is the end of the trilogy (for now) so this was no exception. But I enjoyed the ride and look forward to what Ee cooks up next!