Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
Kelley Armstrong is a very competent writer and her command of the urban fantasy genre is also really good. She knows how to manage dialogue and keep pace with both action and character development. So, Bitten, the first book of the Women of the Otherworld series, should be a great book, right?
Ok, I despised Bitten because the main character, Elena Michaels, is such a ridiculous brat that I simply couldn't stand her. Armstrong has created such a completely unbelievable character that I was happy when the book was over and the totally predictable ending brought my suffering to a close. Elena just didn't seem to fit an urban fantasy novel, but felt like the sort of paranormal romance characters that normally repel me. I just can't stand the strong-willed, independent, defiant females who... Read More
Kelley Armstrong(1968- )
Kelley Armstrong is married, has three kids, and lives in rural Ontario, Canada. After graduating with a degree in psychology, she studied computer programming. Currently, she’s a full-time writer and parent. Read excerpts of her novels at Kelley Armstrong’s website. Read about her urban fantasy series for teens (Darkest Powers) at the Cloe Saunders website.
Women of the Otherworld — (2001-2012) Publisher: An addictive, deeply enjoyable thrill ride on the frontier of the feral and feminine… a debut novel of astonishing imaginative power from the future queen of suspense. Elena Michaels slips out of bed, careful not to wake her boyfriend. He hates it when she disappears in the middle of the night, and can’t understand why any normal woman would crave the small hours of the morning, the dark unsafe downtown streets. But Elena’s skin is tingling, the pent-up energy feels like it’s about to blow her muscles apart — she can’t put it off any longer. She loves to run at the edge of the city, but she doesn’t have time to get there. She has to slink into an alley, take off her clothes and hide them carefully, and make the Change. Elena’s trying hard to be normal. She hates her strength, and her wildness, and her hunger for food, for sex, for running in the night, for the chase and the kill. She wants a husband, children… even a mother-in-law. Or at least that’s what she tells herself. And then the inevitable happens. The Pack needs her. The Pack she loves and hates is under siege from a bunch of disreputable and ruthless mutts who are threatening to expose them all, breaking all the rules that have kept them safe. The loyalty of her nature calls her home, and into the fight, which tests just who Elena is: the wild woman or the wistful would-be human.
Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong
Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong is a fine addition to the Women of the Otherworld series. It relays the adventures of Savannah Levine, whom we met as a precocious orphan in earlier novels and who is now a grown woman. The mystery is strong, compelling, and reasonably twisted; the plot is well paced and packed with action; and the characters and their stories are, as always, strong. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the novel.
What’s not to like? Well, to be brutally honest, while I enjoy reading the novels of Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, the world setting has always struck me as a bit contrived. For instance, when female witches have children with male sorcerers (protagonist Savannah is unique as the only such offspring we know of), their offspring clearly have a huge power a... Read More
Counterfeit Magic by Kelley Armstrong
This year Subterranean Press has published several novellas written by authors who’ve been on my radar but not necessarily at the top of my To Be Read stack. These little books are a perfect introduction to such writers because they’re easy to read in a few hours and I can get the “feel” or “flavor” of the authors and their worlds without spending a lot of time engaged in a longer novel, one that may not even be the end of the story.
Kelley Armstrong’s Counterfeit Magic is a perfect example. This 140ish page story takes place in Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld setting and features some of the characters from that world. Though I haven’t read anything by Armstrong before, I had no trouble jumping right in and immediately connecting with the same c... Read More
Hidden by Kelley Armstrong
Upon receiving a review copy of Kelley Armstrong’s Hidden, I realized that I had only read a few books in her influential WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD series — and that the ones I had read weren’t the ones starring werewolf couple Elena and Clay. However, I had no trouble becoming engrossed in Hidden and understanding what was going on.
Elena is unusual in Armstrong’s universe; she’s the only known female werewolf. She and Clay are married and raising precocious four-year-old twins, Kate and Logan. The children show signs of potentially becoming werewolves as they mature. Elena and Clay both had troubled childhoods and have never really experienced a traditional family Christmas, and this year they’re determined to create one for the twins.
But their idyllic trip to rural ... Read More
Darkest Powers — (2008-2011) Urban fantasy for young adults. Publisher: My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again. All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don’t even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost — and the ghost saw me. Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won’t leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a “special home” for troubled teens. Yet the home isn’t what it seems. Don’t tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It’s up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House… before its skeletons come back to haunt me.
The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
While Kelley Armstrong is best known for her Women of the Otherworld series, which I have read and mostly enjoyed, I personally prefer her YA-geared Darkest Powers series. The Darkest Powers novels, which begin with The Summoning and The Awakening, detail the stories of Chloe Sanders, a girl raised in a wealthy yet non-magical home who, upon hitting puberty, discovers that she can see ghosts.
A misinterpreted incident at school leads to a diagnosis of mental illness and soon lands her in a halfway house for disturbed teens with serious psychological problems, or so she is told. She and the others at the halfway house soon realize that the home is a front for a dangerous group of magic users who have been conducting g... Read More
Release date: May 7, 2013 | Age Range: 8 and up | Series: The Blackwell Pages (Book 1) ”The runes have spoken. We have our champion… Matthew Thorsen.” Matt hears the words, but he can’t believe them. He’s Thor’s representative? Destined to fight trolls, monstrous wolves and giant serpents… or the world ends? He’s only thirteen. While Matt knew he was a modern-day descendant of Thor, he’s always lived a normal kid’s life. In fact, most people in the small town of Blackwell, South Dakota, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt’s classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke. No big deal. But now Ragnarok is coming, and it’s up to the champions to fight in the place of the long-dead gods. Matt, Laurie, and Fen’s lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team, find Thor’s hammer and shield, and prevent the end of the world. In their middle grade debut, K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr begin the epic Blackwell Pages series with this action-packed adventure, filled with larger-than-life legends, gripping battles, and an engaging cast of characters who bring the myths to life.
Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr
I’m going to start this review of Loki’s Wolves, the first book in a new series entitled THE BLACKWELL PAGES, by K.L. (Kelley) Armstrong and M.A. (Melissa) Marr, by saying that there is a good chance it really is a pretty decent Middle Grade book that a number of readers that age will enjoy. Not being that age, it is kind of hard for me to tell. That hasn’t stopped me from reviewing Middle Grade books before, but the truth is, if the book had strong characterization, a vivid sense of place, an internally consistent and well-paced plot involving a nice mix of action and quiet, rich language, I didn’t have to worry about its targeted age group; it was just “good” and I assumed those younger readers would fall in line. Based on m... Read More
A Fantasy Medley edited by Yanni Kuznia
FORMAT/INFO: A Fantasy Medley is 136 pages long divided over four short stories and is published by Subterranean Press in two editions: A fully clothbound hardcover limited to 3000 copies and a numbered hardcover limited to 200 copies and signed by the authors and editor. Dust jacket by Kristy Doherty.
1) “Zen and the Art of Vampirism” by Kelley Armstrong. “Zen and the Art of Vampirism” is an urban fantasy tale with all of the usual trimmings including a female protagonist, a contemporary setting, supernatural elements, humor, etc. The story is actually pretty interesting and follows a lesbian Japanese vampire who uses wits instead of violence to prevent two o... Read More
The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology by Christopher Golden (ed.)
FORMAT/INFO: The New Dead is 400 pages long divided over nineteen short stories. Also includes a Foreword by the editor Christopher Golden, and biographies on all of the anthology’s contributors. February 16, 2010 marks the North American Trade Paperback publication of The New Dead via St. Martin’s Griffin. Cover art provided by Per Haagensen. The UK version will be published on February 18, 2010 via Piatkus Books under the altered title: Zombie: An Anthology of the Undead. Subterranean Press is also producing a limited signed edition of The ... Read More
Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2 edited by William Schafer
EDITOR INFORMATION: William K. Schafer is the head editor at Subterranean Press, which was founded in 1995. Schafer’s bibliography includes Embrace the Mutation: Fiction Inspired by the Art of J.K. Potter and the first Tales of Dark Fantasy anthology.
ABOUT SUBTERRANEAN: TALES OF DARK FANTASY 2: Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy — published in 2008 to widespread critical and popular acclaim — provided a unique showcase for some of our finest practitioners of dark, disturbing fiction. This much anticipated second volume more than meets the standards set by its predecessor, offering a diverse assortment of stories guaranteed to delight, unsettle, and enthrall. Volume two proper is a full 20,000 words longer than the first ... Read More
The Monster's Corner: Stories Through Inhuman Eyes edited by Christopher Golden
FORMAT/INFO: The Monster’s Corner is 400 pages long and consists of 19 short stories. Also included is an Introduction by the editor Christopher Golden, and biographies of all of the anthology’s contributors. September 27, 2011 marks the North American Trade Paperback publication of The Monster’s Corner via St. Martin’s Griffin. The UK version will be published on the same day via Piatkus Books.
ANALYSIS: The New Dead was one of my favorite books of 2010, so when it was announced that Christopher Golden was putting together another horror-themed anthology, I couldn’t wait. Like The New Dead, The Monster’s Corn... Read More
Nadia Stafford — (2007-2013) Publisher: From the author of the acclaimed Women of the Otherworld series comes an exciting new heroine whose most secret identity is both lucrative… and lethal. Regulars at Nadia’s nature lodge don’t ask what she does in the off-season. And that’s a good thing. If she told them, she’d have to kill them. She’s a hit woman for a Mafia family. Tough and self-sufficient, Nadia doesn’t owe anyone any explanations. But that doesn’t mean she always works alone. One of her contacts has recruited her in the hunt for a ruthlessly efficient serial killer cutting a swath of terror across the country. The assassin is far too skilled to be an amateur — and the precision of the killings is bringing the Feds much too close to the hit man community for comfort. To put an end to the murders, Nadia will have to turn herself from predator to prey as she employs every trick she knows to find the killer. Before the killer finds her…
Darkness Rising — (2011-2013) Urban fantasy for young adults. Publisher: Strange things are happening in Maya’s tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya’s home — and her reactions to them are somewhat… unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations. It doesn’t help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he’s interested in one special part of Maya’s anatomy — her paw-print birthmark.
Cainsville — (2013) Publisher: Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions. But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens. Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past. Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.
Hunting Kat — (2012) Publisher: A riveting stand-alone short story from bestselling author Kelley Armstrong. Kat is a sixteen-year-old vampire, and she’s not too happy about it. After an experiment-gone-wrong and a bullet to the heart, she now hungers for human blood, and the worst part about that is the guilt. But guilt isn’t the only thing stressing her. Kat is being hunted by the Edison Group, a dangerous Cabal that is responsible for her undead state. Kat is running out of places to hide, and she has no one to turn to–until she meets Chad and Neil. They’re on the run like she is, and they offer to help Kat against their common enemy. But the boys aren’t all that they seem, and for Kat, deciding whether to trust them may be a matter of life or death. Set in the world of Kelley Armstrong’s New York Times bestselling Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising series, “Hunting Kat” will leave you on the edge of your seat and thirsting for more.
Amityville Horrible — (2012) Publisher: Jaime Vegas—spiritualist, entertainer and, unbeknownst to her audience, real-life necromancer—swore she’d never do another reality ghost show after the last fiasco. But when she’s railroaded into a charity gig, she finds herself back on the set, this time with a cast of photogenic college kids, an up-and-coming Russian spiritualist, and a tale of missing girls and murder in New England. It’s cheesy, but that’s show business. With her werewolf Alpha lover, Jeremy Danvers, along to keep her nights interesting, it’s not so bad really. Until the bloody ghosts show up. Jaime has never faced spirits like these, and no matter how hard she tries, they won’t be ignored.