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It seems a new site has been started called Stop the GR Bullies, aimed at book reviewers at Goodreads. It seems to be author driven in response to the many many trainwrecks we have see all too often; you know the kind, an author sees a less-than-shining review and unwisely decides to responds - frequently leading to cringeworthy temper tantrums and shocking behaviour.

There is a lesson these authors seem to be sorely missing. They are producing a product and they are producing a work of art. The first means that people will review and critique the product they bought (as is their right), the second means that, given the subjective nature of artwork, some people will not like it - in fact some will loathe it and they will say so. They will never please everyone all of the time and it is no-one’s duty to lavish praise when it is not deserves. The book is not their baby, it is not something precious and special that needs to be treated gently - it is a product that is being sold and, like any other product we buy, if it’s awful - be that new furniture or a takeaway pizza - then we will say so, quite possibly in intemperate and scathing terms. Books are not a special category that makes them somehow untouchable.

That is not bullying. This is critiquing. This is reviewing. This has been going on not just with artwork, but with every and all products since the beginning of time. It is actually insulting and offensive to call this bullying, especially at a time when we are seeing so much more attention to the growing bullying rates among schools and the horrendous rate of teen suicide it causes. To try and invoke this imagery because people are criticising your book? No, really, that’s not on.

On to the drama reports - which is one of the things they’ve accused Cuddlebuggery of. Now, I actually read Cuddlebuggery, partly because it’s amusing, partly to keep my eye out for decent books and, yes, partly because I want to have a heads up if an author is going to explode into chunks of messy outrage should I review one of their books and find it less than utterly perfect. And, yes, I will be avoiding that author, why would I seek them out? And I will say that, yes, they’re snarky, yes they can be (justly) harsh but they are never anything but honest - and every single one of those drama posts they’ve written have been a direct, honest report of actual poor author behaviour (which is considerably more honest than the highly skewed and dubious accounts Stop the GR Bullies has written, to be honest) and they include links back for you to see the authors in all their failing glory.

You are not being bullied if someone honestly reports your actions. If you show your arse to the world and people point out that your butt cheeks are on display, it’s not their fault that everyone is commenting on it, criticising it and disapprove of your arse bare to the winds. You are facing the consequences of your actions and your utter lack of professionalism; not being bullied.

Also, let us add that you’re not being “driven off goodreads” by these mean critics. If someone criticises your book, even harshly, that is not driving you off. If you respond to a negative review (which is already foolish) and people continue to criticise and, yes, even mock, that is not driving you off. If your dubious, unprofessional and unacceptable behaviour is reported and people mock you for it, that is not driving you off. If you leave in these conditions you are not being driven off - you are flouncing.

But, you know what? Even if these reviewers were tearing up your precious, even if they said some truly hurtful, mean and even personal things. Even then this site would still be beyond the pale. At Stop the Goodread Bulllies, they go to extreme lengths to attack their critics. I actually would run out of space trying to list their terrible behaviour - and I am in two minds of linking to their site because of what they’ve written there:

They post the real name (and if they don’t have it, they keep looking), home city and, if they can find one, photograph (again, if they can’t find one, they keep looking) of the people they’re attacking. This is already frightening and, frankly, dangerous; but they then compound that by listing their place of work, they even go so far as to list the bars and cafes they visit, the walks they take - and their schedule.

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Some catch up of the stuff we've been doing over at Fangs

As ever our archives are here: Book Reviews, TV/Film Reviews, Discussions Archive and Podcast Archive.
Please feel free to join us on our weekly podcast to discuss the shows we’re watching, our book of the week – and mock Tami for reading the dreadful 50 Shades of Grey.

Our Friday Discussions and Other Genre Musings

In our discussions we look at:
Evolution of Snow White

How Television Portrayals often fall below even the poor standards set in books
Using the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia as a Marketing Tool
The Disabled can Play The Game of Thrones

In cover snarks we continue to look at the dubious books covers Urban Fantasy authors are often stuck with, including: Facial Expressions, Broken Spines and Exposed Bellies

In Face Offs we’ve set Twilight vs The Hunter Games, a variety of protagonists against each other to see which has had the Worst Idea Ever, and a number of marginalised side characters to see who is the Most Blatant Token


These reviews link to our latest recaps, but all previous episodes can be found through the tags or through the archive.

In older series, we’re looking back on, recapping and discussing Being Human (UK), the Dresden Files, Charmed and Blood Ties

We have a few series that are gearing up towards their season finales that we’re eagerly following - Once Upon a Time, Grimm, The Vampire Diaries and Secret
(ok, not that eager with Secret Circle, but there’s snark). We also covered the season finales of Being Human (US), Alcatraz and Lost Girl

Season 2 of Game of Thrones has started and joined the programmes we’re reviewing,
discussing and recapping.


With all our book reviews – if we’re reviewing a later book in a series that means we’ve already reviewed previous books in the series and it’s in our archive or you can follow with the author’s tag.

By a Thread by Jennifer Estep, book 6 of the Elemental Assassin’s Series (4.5 Fangs)
Green Eyed Demon by Jaye Wells, book 3 of the Sabina Kane Series (3 Fangs)
Tricked by Kevin Hearne, Book 4 of the Iron Druid Chronicles (5 Fangs)
Torment by Lauren Kate, Book 2 of the Fallen Series (1 Fang)
Game of Thrones by George R R Martin, Book 1 in the Song of Ice and Fire Series (5 Fangs)
A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E Sniegoski, Book 1 of the Remy Chandler Series (4 Fangs)
Enthralled by K Drollinger (1.5 Fangs)
Fade Out by Rachel Caine, Book 7 of the Morganville Vampires Series (2.5 Fangs)
Gil’s All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez (2 Fangs)
One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire, Book 5 of the October Daye Series (4.5 Fangs)
Tainted by Julie Kenner, Book 1 of the Blood Lily Chronicles (4.5 Fangs)
Lover Reborn by JR Ward, Book 10 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood (1.5 Fangs)
Bad Blood by Kristin Painter, Book 3 of the House of Comarré Series (2 Fangs)
The Watcher by Jeanne C Stein, Book 3 of the Anna Strong Series (2 Fangs)
Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris, Book 2 of the Sookie Stackhouse Series (3.5 Fangs)
Devil May Cry by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Book 8 of the Dark Hunter Series (3.5 Fangs)
Eye of the Tempest by Nicole Peeler, Book 4 of the Jane True Series (4 Fangs)
Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin, Book 1 of the Jaz Parks Series (1.5 Fangs)
Married with Zombies (5 Fangs) and Flip This Zombie (4.5 Fangs) by Jesse Petersen,
Books 1 and 2 of the Living with the Dead Series
Circus of the Damned (4.5 Fangs) and Lunatic Café (4 Fangs) by Laurell K Hamilton, Books 3 and 4 of the Anita Blake Series
Love Hurts by Catherine Green (2 Fangs)
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Some catch up of the stuff we've been doing over at Fangs

As every our archives are here: Book Reviews, TV/Film Reviews, Discussions Archive and Podcast Archive.

Our Friday Discussions and Other Genre Musings

Existence is not Entitlement, Erasure is not Acceptable
Hollow Characters of Colour on Lost Girl
The Friday Discussion: The Mary Sue
Self-Publishing: Sometimes the only Gate that's Open
Spunky Agency: Fake Empowerment and not-so-strong Female Protagonists


Dayhunter by Jocelynn Drake Book 2 of The Dark Days Series
Unholy Embrace by Neil Benson
An Artifical Night by Seanan Mcguire, Book 3 of the October Daye Series
A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuirew, Book 2 of the October Daye series
Autumn by David Moody: Book 1 of the Autumn Series
Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland, Book 1 of the Kara Gillian Series
Watcher by Roh Morgon Book 1 of The Chosen
Dark Side of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Book 7 of the Dark Hunter Series
Sins of the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Book 6 of the Dark Hunter Series
Unleash the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Book 2 of the Were-Hunter Series
Seize the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Book 5 of the Dark Hunters Series
Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler: Book 1 of the Jane True Series
One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost, Book 6 of the Night Huntress Series
Skinwalker by Faith Hunter, Book 1 of the Jane Yellowrock series
Betrayed by Morgan Rice, Book 3 of the Vampire Journals series
Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand, by Carrie Vaughn, Book 5 of the Kitty Norville Series
Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn. Book 4 of the Kitty Norville Series
Double Cross by Carolyn Crane, Book 2 of the Disillusionist Triology
Cold Fire by Kate Elliot Book Two of the Spiritwalker Trilogy
Vicious Grace by M.L.N. Hanover
Monster Hunter Alpha by Larry Correia, Book 3 of the Monster Hunter Nation series


Grimm, Season 1, Episode 10: Organ Grinder
Eternal Law, Season 1, Episode 5
Lost Girl Season 2, Episode 15: Table for Fae
The Secret Circle, Season 1, Episode 13: Medallion
Once Upon a Time, Season 1, Episode 11: Fruit of the Poisonous Tree
The Vampire Diaries Season 3: Episode 13: Bringing Out the Dead
 Being Human, Season Two, Episode Three: All Out of Blood

Vampires Suck
Blood and Chocolate
Underworld Rise of the Lycans
Underworld Awakening
Underworld Evolution


SYFY LOST GIRL Q&A with Anna Silk & Ksenia Solo
Syfy Lost Girl Q&A With Anna Silk, Zoie Palmer and Kris Holden-Ried
Q&A with Anna Fricke and Jeremy Carver, Executive Producers/Writers of Being Human (US)
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So John Scalzi, a man I normally find myself agreeing with most of the time, has posted something I feel obliged to comment on. Not that he shouldn’t delete comments however the whime takes him, but his reasoning is something I object to.

I take issue with the idea that criticising price of a product I’m buying is “entitlement.” Quite the opposite in fact, I think it’s quite reasonable. When reviewing any product out there, price is usually considered a factor. Whether I’m buying new plates, new cushions, new furniture, food, a painting, clothes, a holiday – you name it, price is normally considered an acceptable element to criticise. I don’t see why books are such a hallowed product that we should not stoop to commenting on the crassness of price.

And yes, I do think there is often a problem with ebook pricing. I do find it dubious that some ebooks are priced at the same level as paperback – or even hardback books. I’m quite sure there are people rushing forward to tell me why this is so and it isn’t just inflated profit margins – and by all means do – but to say the very criticism of price is a sense of entitlement is grossly dismissive. Yes, as a producer, the publishers can set any price they want on their product – most certainly. And as a consumer, I can complain about said pricing and even comment on whether something is worth the money it costs. Because that is what consumers – and most certainly reviewers – do.

Nor do I support the idea that we shouldn’t criticise a book for things the author doesn’t have complete control over. Yes we should mention that it’s not the author’s fault – but the complete product in my hands is what I am critiquing – and if that includes things like a grossly offensive or ridiculous cover, or the fact it is ridiculously over-priced then that is worthy of comment. After all, as we found in the recent YA drama, many publishers are actively pushing to have GBLT protagonists replaced with straight folks. So do we stop criticising erasure as well? For that matter, I’m sure publishers, editors and “market forces” force a lot of fuckery on an author – but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to criticise them when they end up in the book And no, I don’t think it makes you a dick because you criticise the product you have bought rather than some ephemeral dream product the author imagined but wasn’t actually the finished book.

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Our Giveaway for The Walking Dead, Rise of the Governor ends tomorrow. Enter before it’s too late. Keep an eye out for a new giveaway this Friday.

Our weekly podcast: Fangs for the Fantasy podcast, episode 45 As ever you can find our other podcasts in our Podcast Archive. Speaking of archives – all reviews can be found in our: Book Archive and Film/TV archive

Our Friday Discussions and Other Genre Musings
The Difference between a Negative and a Bad Review.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood: Treatment of Women
Paranormal Steampunk and Dystopian Erasure - the Unpleasant Implications
Urban Fantasy's Guide to an Authentic British Vampire
"American Horror Story" fails at abortion story line
Cover Snark: That's not in the Book!
Cover Snark: The Sideways View: T&A for Everyone!

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore (3 Fangs)
 Blood Rights by Kristen Painter Book 1 of the House of Comarré (3.5 Fangs)
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire, Book 1 of the October Daye series (3 Fangs)
My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland (4 Fangs)
Blameless by Gail Carriger, Book 3 of the Parasol Protectorate (5 Fangs)
Changeless by Gail Carriger, Book 2 of the Parasol Protectorate Series (5 Fangs)
Symphony of Blood, A Hank Mondale Supernatural Case by Adam Pepper (1 Fang)
Mind Games by Carolyn Crane, Book 1 of the Disillusionist Trilogy (4 Fangs)
Unclean Spirits by M.L.N. Hanover: Book 1 of The Black Sun's Daughter (1.5 Fangs)
Dances with the Devil, by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Book 3 of the Dark Hunter Series. (3 Fangs)
Rajmund by D.B Reynolds Book 3 of Vampires in America Series (2.5 Fangs)
Cold Magic by Kate Elliot Book 1 of the Spiritwalker Trilogy (2.5 Fangs)
Lover Mine by J.R. Ward, Book 7 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood (0.5 Fangs)
Embrace the Night by Karen Chance Book 3 of the Cassandra Palmer Series (4.5 Fangs)
Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong, Book 11 of the Otherworld Series (4 Fangs)
Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn. Book 3 of the Kitty Norville Series (3.5 Fangs)

Lost Girl: Season 2, Episode 12: Masks (3 Fangs)
Lost Girl: Season 2, Episode 11: If a Fae Falls in the Forest (2.5 Fangs)
Lost Girl, Season 2, Episode 10: Raging Fae (3 Fangs)
Lost Girl, Season 2, Episode 9: Original Skin (3.5 Fangs)
Once Upon a Time, Season 1, Episode 6: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (4 Fangs)
Once Upon a Time, Season 1, Episode 6: The Shepherd  (3 Fangs)
Once Upon a Time, Season 1, Episode 5: That Still Small Voice (3.5 Fangs)
Grimm, Season 1, Episode 6: The Three Bad Wolves (3.5 Fangs)
Grimm, season 1, Episode 5: Danse Macabre (3.5 Fangs)
American Horror Story, Season 1, Episode 10: Smoldering Children (2 Fangs)
American Horror Story Season 1, Episode 9: Spooky Little Girl (2.5 Fangs)
American Horror Story, Season 1, Episode 8: Rubber Man (3.5 Fangs)
The Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 7: Pretty Much Dead (4 Fangs)
Being Human U.K. Season 1, Episode 4 (4 Fangs)
Being Human U.K. Season 1, Episode 3 (3.5 Fangs)
Being Human U.K Season 1, Episode 2 (3.5 Fangs)
Being Human U.K. Season 1, Episode 1 (5 Fangs)
Being Human UK Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot (4 Fangs)
The Fades, Season 1, Episode 6: Season Finale (5 Fangs)
The Fades, Season 1, Episode 5 (3.5 Fangs)
The Fades, Season 1, Episode 4 (4 Fangs)

Van Helsing (3.5 Fangs)
Twilight Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (1 Fang)
The Craft (2.5 Fangs)
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We have a new giveaway! Come, click, follow, find the details and get the shinies

And our weekly podcast is now up. As ever all of our podcasts are in our archives for much browsing.
Speaking of archives – all reviews can be found in our: Book Archive and Film/TV archive

Our Friday Discussions
Ableism in American Horror Story
Paranormal Romance: Engorged, throbbing and fainting. Oh my!
Cover Snark: Who needs clothes to be Badass?

Black Magic Woman by Justin Gustianis, Book 1 of the Quincey Morris series4 Fangs
Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine book 5 of the Morganville Vampire Series 2.5 Fangs
Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent, Book 1 of the Unbound Series 2.5 Fangs
Drink Deep by Chloe Neill, Book 5 of the Chicagoland Vampires Series 3.5 Fangs
Night Embrace by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Book 2 of the Dark Hunter Series 1.5 fangs
At Grave’s End by Jeaniene Frost, Book 3 in the Night Huntress Series 4 Fangs
Kitty Goes to Washington by Carrie Vaughn, Book 2 of the Kitty Norville Series 3.5 Fangs
Shadow Chase by Seressia Glass, Book 2 of the Shadow Chaser series 4 Fangs

The Walking Dead: Season 1, Episode 5: Chupacabra
The Secret Circle: Season 1, Episode9: Balcoin 2.5 Fangs
Vampire Diaries, Season 3, Episode 9: Homecoming 4 Fangs
Grim: Season 1, Episode 4: Lonelyhearts
American Horror story : Season 1, Episode 7: Open House
Once Upon a Time: Season 1, Episode 4: The Price of Gold 4 Fangs
Lost Girl: Season 2, Episode 8: Death Didn’t Become Him 3 Fangs
The Fades: Season 1, Episode 3 4 Fangs
The Fades: Season 1, Episode 2 3.5 Fangs
The Fades: Season 1, Episode 1 4 Fangs
Twilight: Eclipse 2 Fangs
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Our give away – Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus, volume 1. Follow the instructions and remember to leave your contact details! Keep an eye on our Give away section to keep abreast of our latest give aways

Our weekly podcast is here. Our full archives can be found here.

Vampires and Impossible, Timeless Beauty standards
When vampires first entered folklore they were physically described to look like bloated leeches. When you think about this, it makes perfect sense because their entire diet is based on drinking the blood of others and the creature most associated with that in nature is of course a leech. Overtime, vampire folklore began to change. The modern vampire looks nothing like its predecessor. Today, vampires all have hard lean bodies, twinkling eyes (that is when they are not glowering and trying to look dangerous) ridiculous hair (think R. Pratz in Twilight) and are disarmingly gorgeous. This is true of both male and female vampires. With few exceptions, like vampire Eddie in True Blood and Tony, in Karen Chance’s Cassandra Palmer series, no matter how long they have been alive they are gorgeous. And those vampires that aren’t thin are clearly not intended to be beautiful.

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Vampire Diaries: Season 3, Episode 5: The Reckoning
The writers really should have titled this episode, "It's All About Elena Again." It galls me that this irritating character is the centre of this show. At any rate, for the first time this season, the kids all show up at school. Nope, they didn't actually attend a class -- school after all is only about having a centre for some sort of event. The kids are there to prank the school as part of a high school senior tradition. This involved gluing toilet seat lids and leaving mouse traps all over the school gym. Matt is the only one not into this, and all he think about is his dear departed sister. I think that this just smacks of attempting to make Matt's character relevant.

After much ridiculous high school pranks, Klaus shows up and sure enough silly Elena tries to run away. Hello, if you cannot outrun a vampire, you cannot possibly outrun a hybrid. Klaus is absolutely determined to find out why he does not have the ability to make more hybrids.

Read More 2 Fangs

Secret Circle: Season 1, Episode 5: Slither
Cassie's grandmother starts asking suspicious questions of Cassie, suggesting she's finally got a clue But Chief Scooby Diana tells Cassie that Parent Circle had its powers stripped by Grandparent Circle as punishment for the whole burning people to death thing, so it's best to keep it all a secret (yeah I know there's some logic missing there)

Speaking of the Parent Circle, Dawn and Charles (Diana, and Faye's parents), the Bad Guys, are calling on the Blood Moon to find 5 other crystals linked to the one they have, with the help of the bound circle, to get their powers back, it fails though, the crystal is out of batteries.

Read More 3.5 Fangs

The Walking Dead
With the return of the Walking Dead season 2 we are doing a recap of every episode of the first season:

Season 2, Episode 1: What Lies Ahead 5 Fangs

Season 1, Episode 6: TS 19 4 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 5: Wildfire 3.5 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 4: Vatos 3.5 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 3: Tell it to the Frogs 4 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 2: Guts 4 Fangs

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews, Book 4 of the Kate Daniels Series
We have another new epic here. Oh yes we do. There's a new evil in town, a powerful ancient evil that spreads plague and destruction and death – that can make warriors run in terror, that can fight the greatest fighters in the city with ease and leaves a trail of magically sentient plague behind. Not even the best experts in the city knows who this threat is, not Saiman, not the People, not the Order – and it's already moved through several cities leaving a swath of destruction and death. And if that weren't enough – for Kate, this may be a family matter.

With a new epic bad guy in town Kate has to literally save Atlanta – and the pack. But she's also coming to more and more attention of the servants of Roland – the ancient and enormously powerful leader of the People of the Dead seeking to re-establish a new empire. He's looking for her and with every battle it becomes harder for her to hide.

Read More 5 Fangs

One Foot in the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost. Book 2 of the Night Huntress Series
Cat is back. Now at the head of her own government established force to police and hunt down vampires. 4 years have passed since the last book and she's grown to a powerful, confident leader and a lethal warrior.

But 4 years have also passed without Bones who she can't stop thinking about. As is almost inevitable, he finds her. But he's not the only blast from the past that shows up on her doorstep – her old boyfriend is leaking information about her too assassins and her father, the vampire who raped her mother, has finally raised his head on the scene and it doesn't look like a happy reunion

Read More 3.5 Fangs

‘Soulless’ by Gail Carriger, Book one of the Parasol Protectorate series.
Miss Tarabotti is a proper Victorian lady. The daughter of upper class, proper British society with all the refinement, expectations and proprieties that entails.

She’s also a spinster at the grand old age of 25, cursed by her Italian father to be too dark, have too bold a nose and far too bold a tongue to ever fit in proper, elegant, high society. Miss Tarabotti is also Soulless. Soullessness is a trait that she inherited from her Italian father and like everything derived from him is considered without doubt to be a negative.

Read More 4 Fangs

Jabril by D. B Reynolds
Having read Raphael, I went into Jabril with extremely low expectations. I must admit that I was mildly surprised with Jabril; however, Cyn, the protagonist, once again found herself mixed up in vampire intrigue, but this time it was at the behest of the master vampire Jabril. Cyn was initially hired to search for a missing girl, not because Jabril believed in her prowess as an investigator, but to irritate his rival Raphael.

Read More 2.5 Fangs

Venom by Jennifer Estep, Book 3 of the Elemental Assassin's series
Gin's retirement doesn't seem to be sticking. This time Roslyn comes to her with nowhere else to turn, the vampire is being stalked by one of Mab's minions. The giant Elliot Slater. Her chief enforcer, he is a dangerous opponent with all the power of Mab behind him, the most powerful figure in the Ashland crime world. The authorities can't help her, justice and safety can only come from the Spider's knives.

And there's a new cop in town – honest, true, trying to do as much good as she can in a system that is corrupt and compromised to the hilt. Detective Bria Coolridge – Gin's long lost sister. Gin has to decide what to tell her sister, how to help her, how to protect her from Mab and her minions – while at the same time risking her profession as an assassin driving her away just as it drove away Caine.

Read More 4 Fangs

Lover Revealed, by JR Ward, Book 4 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood
Our latest adventure with the Black Dagger Dudebros follows Butch, the human ex-policeman who lives with the Brotherhood and his long distant love affair with Marissa, King Wrath's ex-shellan who he first met in Dark Lover

After months with no contact during which they mistakenly think they both hated each other, Butch is forced to share a long quarantine with Marissa after a painful encounter with the lessers and the Omega himself. They rekindle their old love, but Butch is permanently infected by the darkness of the Omega and fears endangering her and the Brotherhood.

Read More 2 Fangs

Side Jobs by Jim Butcher, Short Story collection from the Dresden Files
I approached Side Jobs with a degree of caution and a firm determination not to let my own biases sway me. See, I don't like short stories. I don't. I don't even like stand alone novels all that much. I like great big epic series with huge great meta plots and development and drama and on the edge of your seat excitement.

And while all those are possible within the confines of a short story, they're usually not there. I was especially leery of reading a Harry Dresden short story simply because the best thing about these books is the epic within. I don't think I've read an author that can match Butcher for the epic – but nor do I think you can build up to good epic in a short story.

Read More 4 Fangs

Touch the Dark by Karen Chance of the Cassandra Palmer series
Though Karen Chance is quite prolific, I had not heard about her until I came across a post on Tumblr raving about her Cassandra Palmer series. I can't say what exactly spurred me to read one of her books, but I didn't go into it with great expectations, and so I suppose that there was nothing to let down by.

Touch the Dark, is the first book in the Cassandra Palmer series. Cassandra is a time travelling, clairvoyant, and as you might imagine, time travel lends itself to various timelines. When a writer chooses to go down this road, the plot must be clear and easy to follow. At times I had to go back and re read because I lost the thread of the story entirely. To give you an idea of the potential to be confused, take a look at the time line created by Chance, to help the reader follow her story.

Read More 3.5 Fangs
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Our give away –Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the Walking Dead Graphic Novels!. Follow the instructions and remember to leave your contact details! Keep an eye on our Give away section to keep abreast of our latest give aways

Our weekly podcast is here. Our full archives can be found here.

Abuse as True Love in Paranormal Romance

We discuss the various common and destructive tropes in Paranormal Romance

There are a lot of tropes in paranormal romance that consistently raise their ugly heads - many of which we explain in our Lexicon

Many of these destructive tropes are often “justified” by being “explained by the woo-woo”. In other words, the fact that it is magic or some kind of preternatural creature doing these things makes it okay, not problematic or otherwise acceptable. So a possessive or stalking boyfriend is explained by being a werewolf or a vampire - therefore territorial. This has the additional problematic element of justifying or excusing the problematic behaviour - very reminiscent of the old excuse of “he can’t help it” and “it’s just his way.” or it’s the nature of whatever supernatural being that the author is discussing. Just as “I could smell your desire” sounds very much like “you want it really.”

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Vampire Diaries: Season 3, Episode 4: Disturbing Behaviour

I really liked this episode, faults and all. It's been awhile since I could honestly say that about an episode of The Vampire Diaries. After spending an entire summer chasing Stefan, Elena finally decided that it was time to move on with her life. Of course she didn't make the decision because she realized that is a cold blooded killer but because she finally believed him when he said that their relationship was over. Her next project it seems is to remake Damon in Stefan's image. It was clear as they were making chili for the founders day gathering that the chemistry between them was strong. I think it's worth pointing out that none of these so-called kids have attended school yet; however, they all found time to show up and once again worship the founders.

Liz took Damon to see Caroline's father Bill Forbes. Damon wants to kill him but Liz tells him that he cannot, because Bill is Caroline's father. After testing to ensure that Bill is indeed vervain free, Damon compels him to believe that he came to Mystic Falls, to take Caroline back to school shopping, which btw cracked me up cause they don't attend school, and then to leave town.

Read More 3.5 Fangs

Lost Girl: Season Two, Episode Five: Brotherfae of the Wolves

Dyson has been visited by an old friend and packmate – Kaden. Y'know, I saw this and instantly thought “evil evil! he's so evil”. Because when you get an old blast from the past they're always dodgy and evil. It is known.

In the past Dyson and Kaden were mercenary warriors for the king Aelic – and were feared and lethal warriors. Dyson severed his ties with the king long ago, but now the king is dead after centuries of being involved in warfare and running his own extremely wealthy mercenary company.

We see a lot of flashbacks in this episode to Dyson's time as a warrior, including the last time he dealt with a norn and refused to give his wolf to save a friend's life. His friend ends up being betrayed by the king so the king could make his wife, Kiara, his queen which is why Dyson left the band.

Read More 2.5 Fangs

Secret Circle: Season 1, Episode 4: Heather

Well we open to see that Melissa (Doormat) and Nick (Hot Guy) seem to be having a much healthier relationship. I bet it can't last – more angst is needed. Meanwhile, Cassie is looking up Heather Barnes (her mother's old school friend) after Zachary mentioned she wasn't dead and that Cassie's mother did far worse than that to her. Cassie is looking her up because... because... actually I don't have a clue, maybe she's chronically bored or needs to top up her angst levels or something. Anyway she's googling. She does her best to find her, but her cyberstalking skills are sadly lacking as she tries to trace where she lives, what family she has and their contact details (she turns up a brother). Not perturbed, she goes to school and enlists the aid of Diana (Chief Scooby) to go on a happy stalking field trip! Yay!

Read More 2.5 Fangs

The Walking Dead: Days Gone By

With the return of the Walking Dead season 2 we are doing a recap of every episode of the first season:

The opening scene of this pilot is one of the best I've seen. We see the protag in an obvious disaster zone, surrounded by wreckage and scraps of people's lives – including children's toys. He is carrying a petrol can, looking for a resource most of us today take for granted. It is eerily silent except for the buzzing of insects clinging to the corpses of the dead. And then we see the Walker – a child, a little girl (evocative of all what we're supposed to protect) even carrying a teddy bear. And he shoots her.

A perfect introduction to the world of the Walking Dead..

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The Dead Girl's Dance by Rachel Caine, Book 2 of the Morganville Vampire Series

At the end of the last book, Glass House, Shane called in his father in a desperate attempt to save them from the wrath of Morganville's vampires. Of course, they managed to escape that wrath by earning the support and protection of Analee, the Founder of Morganville who had enough clout to keep them safe.

The problem is, Shane's father and his vampire slaying biker gang still arrived. And they're still looking for blood and they don't intend to leave without slaughtering as many vampires as possible, preferably all of them. In fact, it seems this was Shane's reason to return to Morganville anyway – to gather as much intelligence as possible in the eventual attack.

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Lover Awakened, by JR Ward, Book 3 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood

And we have another adventure of the Black Dagger Dudebros in their continued quest to have lots of bar fights, have lots of sex and occasionally killing a lesser if one waves at them. Oh wait, I mean nobly and valourously defending the vampire species from the depredations of the soulless Lessers of the Lessening Society

This time it's Zsadist's turn to find his one true love. After escaping the clutch of the Lessers, Bella seeks refuge with the Brotherhood, especially with Zsadist who she feels safe with and feels compelled to seek his presence.

Zsadist must face these entirely new feelings he has. After years of abuse as a blood and sex slave, he must learn that a woman's touch does not bring pain – and find something within him that isn't hard and cruel and tortured. Bella restores his hope, hope that both he and his twin Phury had forgotten long ago.

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Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge, Book 1 of the Black London series

When Pete Caldecot was 16 she saw something magical. With her sister's boyfriend, Jack Winter, they conjured something, a man of shadows and smoke, a creature Jack couldn't stop or hold within his circle. And Pete saw it kill him.

She's 28 now and a police inspector with the MET – and investigating a string of child abductions. The children go missing and the return, damaged and blinded, their energies drained. And there to help her is Jack, back from the dead, but driven to the edge by drug addiction and the pressures of his magic.

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Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey: Book 2 of the Sandman Slim Novels

Kill the Dead is the second book in the Sandman Slim novels. You can find the review for the first book, Sandman Slim here. As with the first book, Kill the Dead involves Angels and Demons but this time the threat the walking dead, otherwise known as various types of zombies. The problem however is that the reader is not really made aware the the zombies are indeed the "big bad" in this book until Stark suddenly had to deal with them.

Unlike Sandman Slim, Kill the dead, is really quite disorganized. The plot just seems to float around while Stark has interactions with various supernatural beings. Elements are introduced that really go nowhere and at times the story is really hard to follow. The cast of characters is actually very large, making it difficult to remember the significance of each person.

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Fallen by Lauren Kate. Book 1 of the Fallen series

Lucinda Price is a troubled teenager. In her last boarding school there was a fire and the boy she liked died – in very mysterious circumstances. Circumstances for which she was blamed, the shadow of which has hung over her since. Almost as literally as the shadows that follow her wherever she goes, shapes only she can see and hear.

Her past has lead her to Swords and reformatory school where she has to navigate a new place, a new system and friends who aren't what they seem. Right until the moment she finds herself ground zero in a heavenly war and at the heart of a tragic love story that has been repeated every 17 years for centuries on end

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Vampire Diaries: Season 3, Episode 3: The End of the Affair

This episode brought the return of Katherine. I was so hoping that narrowly escaping with her life last season, would be enough to end the characters purpose on the show. More than anything, Katherine shows just how much Nina Dobrev needs to take acting classes; however, I suppose that as long as Paul Wesley is playing Stefan, she will never hold the title for the worst actor on The Vampire Diaries.

Shall we get right into it? Damon tracks Stefan down to beantown and brings Elena along for the ride. This episode is filled with flashbacks from the roaring twenties, when Stefan was the ripper. Not only did he kill willfully, he wrote the names down of his victims -- so that he could remember and experience the kills again. Think of it sort of like a vampire trophy. Damon takes Elena to Stefan's old apartment (okay, gotta say, why is this building still standing, and why is it in such good condition?) and she sees the list for herself. Any normal person at that point would go screaming for the door. All Elena can see is a vampire in need of help to get over his little habit of draining people of their life blood. Awww poor baby waby just needs help. I don't for the life of me understand how she can still see him as good, when she now has evidence of exactly what kind of killer Stefan is.

Read More 3.5 Fangs

Lost Girl
We are now caught up with Lost Girl so we will be doing weekly episode reviews of Bo's latest adventures
Lost Girl Season 2, Episode 4: Mirror, Mirror 3 Fangs
Lost Girl Season 2, Episode 3: Scream a Little Dream
Lost Girl Season 2, Episode 2: I Fought The Fae (and the fae won) 3 fangs

The Secret Circle
We have also started watching the Secret Circle. As with Lost Girl there is a brief Catch up where we cover the past episodes and in future we will do weekly episode reviews
The Secret Circle: Season 1, Episode 3: Loner 3 Fangs
The Secret Circle: Season 1, Episode 2: Bound 3 Fangs
The Secret Circle: Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot 3 Fangs

Lover Eternal, by JR Ward, Book 2 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood

Rhage has fallen in love. And, even more complicated, he has fallen in love with a human woman, against all the laws and customs of vampire society, and most certainly against the rules of the Brotherhood. He's faced with a choice between the Brotherhood and the battle to protect his species, and Mary – and he had to protect her from the Lessers who will use her to get to him. Worse, through this he has to navigate his curse – there's a beast within him that doesn't know friend or foe, only rage and killing.

And this is before they work out how to get round the simple basics of vampires and humans living together – and the problem of Mary's illness

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Rift Walker Book Two of Vampire Empire by Susan and Clay Griffith

The Rift Walker is the sequel to The GreyFriar by Clay & Susan Griffith. When I realized that The Rift Walker had finally been released I was ecstatic, and more than ready to jump into this amazingly unique world once again. When we last left prince Gareth, he was in Edinburgh and princess Adele has returned to her home in Equatoria, an amalgamation of states that formed after the great killing - the event in which vampires made their presence known to the world, by slaughtering humans en masse and occupying the majority of the global north. Even though they are thousands of miles apart, Gareth and Adele long for each other. At this point I think it is important to tell you that if you are looking for a straight paranormal romance, this is not book for you. The romance plays a role in the story, but it is not the main theme of the story.

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Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews, Book 3 of the Kate Daniels Series
Derek the werewolf is in over his head, having annoyed Loki's grandson and seeking to free a woman from the grasp of inhuman arena fighters, Kate Daniels finds herself dragged in to help him, save him, avenge him – only to find how much larger things are.

Starting out to save Derek from his love life and aid Saiman with his business dealings, Kate finds herself trying to solve a murder, save her friends life and then having to keep it all from the Beast Lord, Curran himself. The plot only grows deeper and more dangerous as enters the world of shady, underground gladiatorial combat – to the death. She quickly falls from just investigating to having to participate – and win - as the only way to save her friends, the pack and possibly all of Atlanta

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Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist – she has a duty to protect humanity from the vampires (the Moroi and the Strigoi and their half vampire children, the dhampires) and hide the vampires from humanity. The Alchemists move around the world, covering up, hiding bodies, bribing witnesses and keeping everything silent – all the while fearing and loathing the vampires they hide. Dealing with them as little as possible, always recognising them as alien and unnatural and wrong and reviling any time they have to spend in their presence.

Except Sydney got to close to a dhampire – and now she's under suspicion. She now has a new job – to hide Jill, a Moroi princess, from assassins all the while being under the suspicious eyes of her fellow Alchemists who hold a grudge – and are looking for a reason to ship her to “re-education camps”. And if she fails – her sister will be drafted in in her place.

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Vampire Diaries. Season 3, Episode 2: The Hybrid

I should have known that bad ass Stefan wouldn't last long. He is supposedly blood drunk and has become Stefan the ripper, but somehow he cannot stop mooning over Elena. The girl has some long lasting musty effect on men.

When we last left Klaus and Stefan, they were torturing a werewolf to force him to hand over the location of his pack. They return with him to the Tennessee mountains and see his camp backpacking so that they can enjoy the freedom of letting their wolves run wild. One by one, Klaus attempts to turn them into vampires.

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Lost Girl
We're continuing to catch up on season 1 now that season 2 has started. After which we will be having weekly updates

Season 2, Episode 1: Something Wicked this Fae Comes 3.5 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 13: Bloodlines 4 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 12: (Dis)Members Only 3.5 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 11: The Mourning After 3 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 10: Fae Day 4.5 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 9: Faetal Justice 3 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 8: Vexed 3.5 Fangs

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

Toronto has become a ruin, a dystopian city of extreme poverty. After the riots it was largely abandoned by the government - wealthy Torontonians fled to the outer ring, leaving the inner city core to descend into poverty and lawlessness

Ti-Jeane lives in Toronto with her baby and her grandmother, who makes a living from her herb-lore and healing. Trying to get by in the torn city, her life is complicated as the father of her child gets in over his head with the criminal boss, who all but rules downtown Toronto. Unsurprisingly not only is he addicted to drugs, he sells them for a living - that is when he can stop skimming off the top. Ti-Jean comes face to face with illegal organ harvesters (note we aren’t even certain why the organs are an issue), her grandmother’s magical legacy, menacing dark magic, a neurological atypical mother, and through it all she must somehow save herself and protect the family she has left.

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Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews, Book 2 of the Kate Daniels Series

Kate Daniels, Magical Mercenary and liaison for the Order is faced with a new, confusing challenge in the dystopian world of magic ravaged Atlanta. Old gods are being invoked by witches who seem incapable of understanding what they're calling and monstrous creatures from the depth of mythology are roaming free hunting – hunting a little girl who has lost the last shreds of her family and has been deeply betrayed.

Kate steps forward to protect the child, find her mother and find out exactly what these monsters are – monsters that can always find her and keep coming back. Only to find that the entire city of Atlanta stands at risk of destruction unless she stops it.

And there's a flare coming. Magic waves are coming more and more often – and more and more intensely, causing friends to become ever more unstable and everything more unpredictable. When magic flares, gods walk and no-one is safe.

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Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass, Book 1 of the Shadow Chasers series

Kira was born with a power – she knows things and people by touch. One touch and she senses thought, emotion and experience. And she drains their power, their life force and sometimes leaves them injured or dead.

An orphan, her powers quickly confused and frightened her foster families – until she was taken in and raised by the Gilead Commission, a secret organisation that polices the magical beings of the world – and leads the forces of Light against the chaotic destruction of the Shadow. Kira was brought up as a member, a warrior, a Shadowchaser, one of the elite of the Commission to hunt down the most powerful agents of the Shadow.

Read More 3.5 Fangs
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Our latest giveaway

Full details of which can be found here!

Our latest Podcast

Episode 33: Vampire Diaries - Season 3 Episode 1, "Happy Birthday Elena" Lost Girl

Lost Girl Season 1

Having discovered this series, we have episode by episode reviews for the whole of season 1

Season 1, Episode 7: Arachnofaebia 2 Fangs

Season 1, Episode 6: Food For Thought 3.5 Fangs

Season 1, Episode 5: Dead Lucky 3 Fangs

Season 1, Episode 4: Faetal Attraction

Season 1, Episode 3: Oh Kappa My Kappa 4 Fangs

Season 1, Episode 2: Where There's a Will, There's a Fae 3 Fangs

Season 1, Episode 1: It's a Fae Fae Fae Fae World

Vampire Diaries Season 3: Happy Birthday Elena

Now that True Blood is done for the season, vampire fans are forced to resort to the teen angsty CW's The Vampire Diaries to get a fix. Last Thursday was the season premier and we would be remiss if we didn't cover the show. Do you see how much we sacrifice for you readers?

Two months have passed since Stefan took off with Klaus in exchange for curing Damon of a werewolf bite inflicted by Tyler Lockwood. Elena, Damon and Alaric have spent the time looking for him. Each new tip that Elena gets, she passes it on to Damon but what she does not know, is that Damon has been following Stefan the ripper through the news articles detailing his murders. He didn't want to share the news with Elena because of the extreme violence with which Steffan feeds. Apparently, he feeds so hard that his victims end up decapitated and then he feels remorse, so he puts their bodies back together.

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Changes by Jim Butcher, Book 12 of the Dresden Files

Susan, Harry's old lover who was half changed by the Red Court vampires, is back in town. And she has a revelation for Harry – they have a daughter together. She's been brought up in secret, hidden even from Harry. But the Red Court have found her – her foster family have been slaughtered and the girl has been kidnapped.

Harry, who for so long has lived without family, now has to find and save his daughter from some of the most evil monsters he's ever faced. And he must do it with very little help, just his truest friends – the White Council has been mired in schemes and politics and a virtual coup – certainly none are free to help Harry. To make things worse, the Red Courts' greatest and most powerful leaders have gathered – including beings that were once worshipped as gods and have the power far beyond his own.

Harry is faced with a desperate choice – as more and more of his life is torn apart and to save his daughter, he looks to embrace power he has rejected for so long – and cross lines he refused to cross.

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Turn Coat by Jim Butcher, Book 11 of the Dresden Files

Morgan, the Warden who has made Harry's life a misery, the Warden who has assumed Harry was a Warlock, persecuted him, attacked him, constantly looked for an excuse to drive Harry over the edge and give Morgan an excuse to execute him – arrives at Harry's door. He's injured, he's been framed for a crime he didn't commit and he's being chased by the other Wardens. And he wants Harry's help – to shelter him, to hide him and to help clear his name.

The Black Council is upping the ante – the White Council is buzzing with news of treachery and it's manipulations not only dragging in the White Council, but setting them up for a confrontation with the White Court as well as involving some of the greatest powers in the US. The White Council itself seethes with politics where truth and justice are rapidly pushed aside in the name of power, appearance and strength.

And Harry dives into all this feet first, as he ever does.

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Single White Vampire by Lynsay Sands

Once again Marguerite Argeneau is determined to play matchmaker for her children. This time Lucern the family author becomes the focus of her attentions in when Kate his publisher shows up quite unexpectedly at his home. Lucern is a sour man of few words despite the fact that he has made a living chronicling the family's romances. His books have become a great success with his fans and Kate wants him to do a book tour and a few interviews to help continue to promote them. Lucern is of course very resistant to the idea of this and tells her no immediately, unfortunately for Lucern, Kate is unwilling to take no for an answer.

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A Quick Bite by Lynsay Sands

A Quick Bite is the first book in the Argeneau series. I accidentally read Love Bites, the first book in the series first. A Quick Bite is yet another paranormal romance, and so this means the usual boy meets girl and zmog they're in love forever and ever routine. As I have stated many times, I am not a fan of paranormal romance, but I was willing to give this book a try after enjoying Love Bites for its humour.

The plot really is quite basic. Lissianna, a 202 year old vampire meets Greg after her mother kidnaps him for her birthday. Greg assumes that he is to be a human sex toy, when in fact he was kidnapped to cure Lissianna of her phobia. Yes, she's a vampire who passes out at the sight of blood. At first she assumes that he is a special dinner, as vampires consider it a treat to come across an undiagnosed diabetic for the sugar in their blood. Greg is resistant to being tied up and served for dinner, but when he sees Lissianna, surprise surprise, it's instant boner time cause she's just that special

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Dark Lover by JR Ward, Book 1 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood

Vampires are trying to live quiet lives as best they can. Their society is secretive and often separated from humanity – who they have little to do with. But there numbers are dwindling. An ancient group of human hunters has tried to annihilate them throughout the ages. To fight the vampires these Lessers sacrifice their souls, continually recruit more members and hunt the vampires with a sadistic glee. In response, the Vampires have the Black Dagger Brotherhood – a small group of veteran fighters to defend them against the predation of the Lessers. Each with their own darkness, they are the few warriors that try to save their species from extinction.

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Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep, Book 2 of the Elemental Assassins Series

Gin has entered her retirement as an assassin - she's now a college student and BBQ restaurant owner, hanging up her knives after her mentor died. Or so she thought.

An old friend of her foster-father shows up in her restaurant looking for help – and someone tries to kill her. Pulled in by the need to help her foster-father's friend (and because she's not tolerating any hits in her own restaurant) she finds them being intimidated into selling their land to a mining developer. Dragged in, she has to find out why their home is being threatened – who is doing it and how to solve it. And as an assassin, she only has one solution.

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Small Favor by Jim Butcher, Book 10 of the Harry Dresden Files

Harry's life is all exciting again and the plotting in the supernatural world is reaching greater, and more confusing, levels.

An entire building was destroyed by immense power and in the aftermath it was clear that Marcone, Chicago's mob boss, has been kidnapped. Harry is on the job working with Murphy – and only has more incentive when Mab, Unseelie Queen of the Winter Court, calls in one of the favours he owes her to get him involved – and threatens him with her not-inconsiderable wrath should he refuse. Of course, this is complicated because Summer objects most strongly – strongly enough to send champions to seek and kill Harry to end his involvement.

To make things far worse, the Knights of the Blackened Denarius – Fallen Angels bound to human hosts – are involved. Not just some as he had previously faced – but all of them in their infernal power and plotting, and he only has 2 Knights of the Cross to back him up.

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Neon Graveyard by Vicki Pettersson, Book 6 of the Sign of the Zodiac Series

The Neon Graveyard is the last book in the Pettersson's Zodiac series. I didn't feel any sense of sadness when I finished reading and perhaps because by the time this book ended, I was more than ready for this series to come to an end. What started off as an amazing idea with a unique and a large world ended up being tired and overly drawn out. Having read all six books, I think that this series could easily have been reduced to four books. A book for each sign just dragged out the inevitable end of the series. Honestly, from book one, was there ever any doubt that this series would end with the death of the Tulpa?

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Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

Sandman Slim is about a young man who is tossed into Hell alive by his fellow magicians. Early on he exhibited far more talent than the rest of his circle and he assumed that jealousy caused them to want to be rid of him. Once in hell he was put into an arena reminiscent of the Roman Colosseum to fight various creatures. Stark was expected to die immediately, but much to the shock of the fallen angels that populate hell he survived. Eventually, he became a sort of hit man or "the monster that killed monsters," because being human, no one expected it of him.

Stark is given a key to the room with thirteen doors, that allows him to travel anywhere and when his girlfriend Alice is killed on earth by the very same circle that imprisoned him in hell, he murders his handler Azazel. He escapes hell with The Veritas, a coin which always tells the truth and the black blade. Due to his time in hell, Stark is very hard to kill though being stabbed or shot will still hurt. After one attack with a weapon his body become impenetrable to a similar attack, which is good because this book is absolutely filled with action.

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Halfway to the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost, Book 1 of the Night Huntress Series

Cat's father was a vampire – a vampire who raped her mother and was never seen again. She has been raised to hate all of the undead – and even a part of herself, constantly checking herself – and being checked by her mother – to ensure that she never becomes everything she fears. As part of this – she hunts. She hunts the vampires who troll the bars and clubs, cheered on by her mother.

Until she meets Bones. A vampire who isn't so simple, and a vampire who shakes Cat's oh-so-simple world view. Increasingly she realises that not all vampires are as she always imagined – nor are all humans so clean as she'd like to think. It grows further confusing for her as her relationship with Bones deepens into something more.

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True Blood: When I die

Okay WHAT THE FLYING FUCK WAS THAT? This is the first episode all season that I pretty much sat on the edge of my couch afraid to blink, while I continually cursed. This episode started off with Jesus making Lafayette breakfast and promising that they could both avoid magic from then on in. Slowly Jesus realizes that he is not talking to Lafayette but to Marnie. She ties him to a chair and demands that he give up all his power or she will hurt Lafayette. Finally, Jesus agrees and Marnie stabs him in the stomach leaving him for dead. I know that all season Tami and Sparky having been saying that Jesus is on borrowed time but I was really upset with this. I firmly believe that Jesus was considered disposable because he is a gay man of color. I do however think that it is worth noting, that in the director's cut, they talk about where the relationship will go from there, so perhaps there is some hope for growth in their relationship yet.

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First of all a reminder of our giveaway – True Blood comics are up for grabs and the closing date is the 12th September. Click for more information

Our Podcast!

True Blood: Soul on Fire

I thought last night's episode wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. Just when we thought that all of the ties were wrapped up, Marnie invaded Layette's body. I guess with two more episodes still to go, it wouldn't do to have her so easily conquered. So let's start at the beginning shall we?

When we last left off, Bill, Eric, Pam and Jessica had gathered in front of goddess emporium all dressed in black ready to finally kick some witch ass. As they gear up to fire on the emporium, Jason jumps in front of them and tells them not to fire, which is met with a round of fucking Sookie from the vampires. I found myself saying, finally and giggling out loud. The writers have to know that Sookie's version of spunky agency is irritating at best; however, I didn't like the fact that Pam reduced her to a slit in a sun dress. Just having the characters say fucking Sookie was enough, there was certainly no need to reduce her in this manner.

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Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead

It's always a bittersweet thing when you come to the end of a series that you love. I stayed up the better part of the night finishing this book and though I am tired, it's a happy kind of tired. I have to say that this is the first paranormal romance story that I have loved from beginning to end. It was filled with erasure that took the form of no GLBT characters whatsoever and extremely limited roles for people of colour, but in spite of all of that I could not help be embrace the characters.

Succubus Revealed basically involved the big showdown between heaven and hell, the importance of true love and the value of a single soul.

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Cheat the Grave by Vicki Pettersson, the 5th Sign of the Zodiac

To be honest, I have been struggling with this series. It started off wonderfully engaging, with a world that was absolutely unique in urban fantasy, and then somewhere along the way, it seemed to lose focus, that is until Cheat the Grave. This book reminded me of why I fell in love with the Zodiac books to begin with.

Now that Joanna/Olivia is mortal, the forces of light see her as useless, and to make matters worse, Solange has sent Mackie the piano player from Midheaven to kill her. If the Tulpa and the shadow hunters figure out who she really is, they will kill her. Everywhere she turns, someone wants her dead except for the rogue agents (the greys). Somehow she must protect the mortals she loves, and chief among her concerns is stopping Suzanne from marrying someone she suspects has nefarious intent.

Read More 4.5 Fangs

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, Book 1 of the Kate Daniels series

Kate Daniels is a mercenary. A sword for hire ready to kill, find or save whatever people pay her to in a world that has gone mad.

And it well and truly has. After centuries of technological domination, magic swept in on a wave of destruction. Technology failed, skyscrapers collapsed and now the world lies in flux between them – when magic fails the tech works and spells fade – then the magic rolls in spells surge – and technology ceases to work. In among that, lycanthropes, vampire-piloting necromancers and so much more vie for power in a world that is still finding its feet.

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White Knight by Jim Butcher, Book 9 of the Harry Dresden Files

Magical practitioners are dying. Not Wizards, not members of the White Council, but lesser talents are dying not just in Chicago but across the US – their deaths a series of tragic suicides. Harry's looking to find out who and why – and whether his brother is involved or not.

Caught up by White Court machinations he also finds himself further enmeshed in the vampire politics behind the war. To complicate matters, he also has to balance teaching his new apprentice, the machinations of Lasciel, the Fallen Angel that has taken up residence in his mind and the ever-worrying presence of the mob boss, Marcone who always plays his own very dangerous game. Oh, and his ex shows up. Never simple, is it?

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Fright Night

For the purposes of disclosure, I must admit that I have not seen the original Fright Night starring, Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdame and Amanda Bearse. I went into this movie not really knowing what to expect and I have to say that while I enjoyed it, Fright Night will not go down as one of my favourite urban fantasy books.

The story is set in Las Vegas and surprise, surprise, there isn't a single GLBT person. Sandra Vergara who played Ginger Peter, Vincent's (David Tennant) girlfriend is the only person of colour. How is it that a story can be set in an area like Vegas and have so much erasure? It is not only ridiculous, it is irresponsible. Vergara did not play a major character, and much of the time she spent on screen, she was scantily clad and coarse. Unsurprisingly, she quickly became the victim of the vampire.

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Turned by Morgan Rice, Book 1 of the Vampire Journals

Caitlin is a high school teenager trying desperately to lead a normal life with her absent father and abusive mother. Moved yet again to a new school she tries to find a new balance before having to move yet again – but things are even more complicated now than before. Overcome with powers she doesn't understand and never had before, and a hunger that is all consuming she desperately tries to keep her life working.

Facing a confused boyfriend, a new school, and an uncaring parent would be complicated enough – but instead she finds herself over the body of her first victim, hunted by the police and caught between 2 vampire covens, one of whom determined to capture and possibly kill her – to say nothing of Caleb, and ancient and handsome vampire who seems to care for her – and thinks she may be the Chosen One for all of them

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True Blood: Nobody Leaves

Let's do something a little different this week. Let's discuss last night episode by character/plot. Last night's episode began with Alcide carrying Sookie away from the battle. Sookie is taken from him by Bill. Bill tries to give her his blood, while Alcide asks, "does she even have a pulse?" Can we just say right now that there was no suspense to this. Of course the minute that Sookie wakes up she barely thanks Alcide and proceeds to make plans with Bill to get Eric. In the first sensible thing that Alcide has done in a long time he tells her that he is done and walks out of the house.

Unfortunately for Alcide, Debbie is awake when he gets home. She pretends to sleep but you can see the tension all over her. (BTW, thank you Alan Ball for the naked shot of my fav werewolf) As Alcide snuggles up to Debbie, her eyes go yellow. It's clear to me that Alcide needs to just take his fine behind away from both Sookie and Debbie. Could any man really be that slow to catch on?

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Succubus Dreams by Richelle Meade

I unabashedly love this series, yes, yes, I do. Succubus Dreams actually read more like a paranormal romance than a straight up urban fantasy book, but not even that could diminish my desire to find out what happened to the protagonist Georgina Kincaid.

Kincaid walks into a bar to find Carter, three angels and human sitting together. Joel, one of the angels clearly does not like or trust her. At every opportunity he is downright hostile towards her. Carter and his crew of angels are clearly up to something but realizing that it is pointless to question them, Kincaid stays to have a few drinks. At the end of the night Carter asks her to let Vincent the human stay with her while they are on their secret angel mission. Kincaid reluctantly agrees.

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Teen Wolf – the season finale

It's the season finale of Teen Wolf! We have to say this series was far better than we anticipated. We expected lots of teen angst, lots of pointless moping and the other staples of the genre – and yes there's been some – but much less than we thought. The characters have been fun, Stiles as been awesome, the bare chests have been yummy – all in all a good find. Definitely way exceeded our expectations (even if those expectations were low)

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Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep. Book 1 of the Elemental Assassin's series
Gin, the Spider, is an assassin. She kills people for money and she's very very good at it, even in a world with vampires, elementals, dwarfs and giants – she hardly even needs to use her Stone and Ice magic, her knives and training are more than enough.

Until a job goes wrong. Her employer has double crossed her and is now out to kill her and her loved ones to continue to frame her for a death she didn't cause. Working with her remaining family and a reluctant police officer who complicates things by being both extremely hot and enraged by her previous job killing his partner, she must find out who is after her, why – and avenge the dead.

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Raphael by D.B Reynolds
This is yet another book of the month selection from one of our reading groups on Goodreads. This is yet another book that I would not have chosen to read because it is paranormal romance. Unlike Love Bites by Lynsay Sands, there really is nothing to redeem this book.

Cynthia is a former police officer turned private investigator. Normally, she does things like background checks and following cheating spouses, and so when Raphael and his vampires enter her office wanting to hire her to track down a kidnapped vampire, she jumps on the opportunity to do something new and interesting. The existence of vampires is sort of an open secret socially, but even with all the secrecy, Raphael's place in vampire hierarchy is well known.

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Dead Beat by Jim Butcher, Book 7 of the Harry Dresden Files
There are some new big bads in town – necromancers, some of the darkest wizards out there, have arrived and they're all looking for the Word of Kemmler. Kemmler, the greatest and most horrendous necromancer that ever lived, left his remaining knowledge in this book – a book that could bring untold power to the most evil of people.

And in addition to the Necromancers, Marva of the Black Court also wants the book – and if Harry doesn't get it for her, she's going to ruin Murphy's life. To further complicate things, Bob the skull has a disturbing past and even more disturbing secrets with Kemmler.

The war between the vampires and the wizards continues with the Wizards suffering a major defeat, the remains of the Warders must turn to people they'd shunned to try and prop up their numbers and can't offer Harry even a tenth of the support he normally could expect.

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Dead Iron by Devon Monk
Dead Iron falls into the category of paranormal steampunk. I really looked forward to this book when I saw that it was chosen as the book of the month by one of my Goodreads reading groups; however, that excitement quickly turned to dust, and I found myself looking for anything to do other than reading this book. How do you know when a book is bad? When you find yourself thinking after reading a few pages, hnmmmm I suddenly have a desire to clean the kitchen, or a do a load of laundry. Yes, housework is more amusing than this book.

One of the major faults with Monk's work is how convoluted the story is. First we have a werewolf named Cedar Hunt, who is considered an outsider in the small Oregon town of Hallelujah. He has moved to Hallelujah in an attempt to forget his past. Hunt believes that he killed his brother, one night when the wolf's blood lust blocked out his ability to reason. His wife and child are also dead. Out of the blue, Rose Small, the General Store owner's adopted daughter tells him about a missing child named Elbert Gregor, and he decides to hunt him down. Because Rose has told him that she believes that the boogeyman took the child, he decides to pay a visit to the Madder brothers, who seem to have a special skill working with stone. Even though he has no connection with this child, he is willing to owe the Madders a favor in order to secure their help.

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Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
Zinzi December is a animalled – aposymbiotic. She has done something bad in the past – she has killed someone – and since the mid 90s that has caused people to manifest their own animals. The animalled all gain a special power upon having their animal, but it doesn't compare to the widespread prejudice and hatred society shows them – nor to the constant threat of the Undertow. A darkness that chases and hunts down animalled when their companions are killed and stalks them until then.

Zinzi has the power to find things people have lost, following the connections of them to their objects. She has had a hard life, an ex-journalist who fell into drug use, the spiral of which eventually ended up with her brother dead and her carrying around Sloth, she now ekes out a living in the slum Zoo City, a derelict, crime ridden and poverty stricken area of Johannesburg with a large animalled population. Trying to get by in the face of prejudice, her severe drug debt she is pulled into a swamp of the music industry trying to find a missing pop starlette who is tipped to be the next big thing – but has gone missing.

Then suddenly there are deaths, homeless people being murdered and going missing and a shadowy underworld to the music industry and her employers she never imagined.

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Succubus on Top, by Richelle Mead

After reading Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, I did not believe that she would ever write anything that I would read, let alone absolutely embrace. I read the first book in the series because a book club that I am involved in selected as the choice for the month and now I am absolutely HOOKED. Who knew that she was capable of creating such a wonderful world. This really makes me wonder what the hell went wrong with Vampire Academy. Okay, maybe it's not fair to compare the two because the Vampire Academy series is YA and her Georgina Kincaid series is definitely ADULT. (yes lots of sex but at least it doesn't pretend to be anything other than vanilla)

Having promised to corrupt humans using sex to save Seth's memory of his love for her, Kincaid must balance her commitment to the Archdemon Jerome and her desire to nurture her budding relationship with Seth. Throughout the book there is a lot of discussion as to whether or not it is possible to maintain a romantic relationship with a man and not actually engage in sex. This is an absolute necessity for Kincaid and Seth because every time she is sexually intimate her succubus drive takes over and she drains energy and life force from her partner. Honestly, I see quite a lot of gender essentialism in this because of the constant real men need lots and lots of sexay times to be happy. This approach also ignores that asexual people have romantic relationships all of the time.

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True Blood – SpellBound

I really looked forward to this week's episode but in the end, I found it quite disappointing. Jessica got quite a bit of screen time this week. The episode began with Jason bursting through the door to save Jessica from the sun. I suppose this makes them even, because now they have both saved each other. Jason cradles her and takes her back downstairs. While she is sleeping she dreams of breaking up with Hoyt. The Hoyt of her dreams is pathetic and begs her to stay, but she bashes his head in, and then goes outside where Jason is waiting for her in a truck. When she finally does tell Hoyt, he tells her that she is not good enough for him and that he wants a woman that isn't an eternal virgin and can give him children. He then revokes her invitation when she tries to reason with him. Though what he said was absolutely cruel, he certainly has come a long way from the Hoyt who couldn't take a breath without his mother's approval.

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Love Bites by Lynsay Sands

For the purposes of disclosure, I must admit that had I known that Love Bites was a paranormal romance, I never would have agreed to read this book. I am normally not a fan of paranormal romance, and try to avoid the genre altogether. That said, I must admit that I kind of liked the book. Yes, it had the usual boy meets girl, girl runs away from boy, and boy and girl get together storyline. It was extremely predictable for a lot of the book, but I still found it entertaining and when it comes to reading anything, the ability to hold my attention is extremely important. Unlike many paranormal romance books, I didn't find myself stopping because doing laundry seemed more interesting than reading this book.

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Touch of Twilight by Vicki Pettersson, Book 3 of the Zodiac Series

I am working my way through this series at a pretty rapid rate because it is enjoyable and each book leaves unanswered questions and problems that need a solution. Each book makes the world larger but still leaving the reader wanting more.

As much as I like this series I do have a few continuing issues. This is now the third book in the series and beyond a brief mention in book one, the world is still all White. This is absolutely unrealistic for a city like Las Vegas and speaks very much to the authors belief in White supremacy. If you cannot even imagine people of colour, in a world of your creation, it means that we are less than nothing in her mind. The same erasure of course exists for the GLBT community in this book, with the exception of the following line:

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Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

After reading the entire Vampire Academy series, I was not exactly excited to read anymore Richelle Mead. The only reason I gave this book a shot is because it is not Y.A. I know, I know another adult running down Y.A. The truth is I don't mind Y.A. if the story is good my issue is with the angst. Having gone through my teenage years once already, I don't want to relieve them. Alright so I am off on yet another famous tangent.

Let's start with the usual. Once again we have a book set in a major city and there is no mention of any GLBT people. Georgina, the protagonist, works in a book store, but apparently no one in the GLBT community reads, or is interested in taking the dancing lessons that she teaches there. The only time same sex attraction occurred was Georgina had ingested a pure soul. Unfortunately that was cast as even women are attracted to Georgina, as though two women being attacked to each other is a complete oddity.

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Teen Wolf episode 11

This week brought another episode of Teen Wolf and Renee and Sparky sat down to have a snarky chat about it. On the whole it was of the good – but there's waaay more teen angst – it felt like they were making up for the last episode. We're not happy about the treatment of the gay Maris, Danny who only ever appears on screen to be useful to Scott and Stiles – and every time he's played for some comic relief. This week went above and beyond by using him and making a joke while playing on the idea of a teacher yelling at a gay student for bringing a same-sex date to the school dance.

The villain(s) are still really scary and well done – and we want them all to be eaten. And, take not True Blood, actual CGI!

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Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas

Our hunt for new series to read is ongoing and often on our blogs, or the podcast we request new titles. We are especially looking for books that are progressive and have good representations of marginalized people. Because all of our blogs are social justice related we have a tendency to trust the recommendations. The following is the recommendation that we received for the Vampire Tapestry

“I also recommend The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas for vampire fiction fans. I read it years ago but it's a very interesting take on the Vampire mythos with just scary good, brilliant writting..”

We need to thank you. Up to this point we were forced to constantly refer to Charlaine Harris’ Aurora Teagarden series as our example as the most fail possible. It was awkward, because we were constantly referring to a book outside the genre and justifying it based in Harris’ urban fantasy series. But no more, now we have a book that is worse than Teagarden – a book within the genre that sets a new limit for awful. So, thank you.

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Glass House by Rachel Caine, book 1 in the Morganville Vampire series

Claire is an ultra-bright 16 year old college student. Away from home for the first time she arrives in Morganville – a Texas University town that happens to be controlled by vampires. And, having pissed off some vampire lackeys, she now has enemies – some of them with fangs.

Fleeing the dorm she arrives at Glass House, home of Michael, Shane and Eve all with their own secrets yet none of them in the vampire's pockets and all are willing to help her navigate the murky and dangerous politics of Morganville life.

Now she just has to find a way to get the vampires off her back, make her enemies back up and negotiate some kind of peace for her life.

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Darkling by Yasmine Galenorn, Book 3 in the Sisters of the Moon Series

I’ve just finished Darkling, book three in Yasmine Galenorn’s Otherworld series. It is the first book in the series that I can claim to like. is too strong a word...let’s go with: I didn’t hate it completely. Not sure whether my semi-enjoyment of this book, as compared to Witchling and Changeling, is due to a more compelling main character or whether I have developed Stockholm Syndrome--that I have been held captive by this series for so long (These short books are loooonnnng reads.) that I am beginning to feel positively toward it.

The Otherworld series follows the half-fae, half-human D’Artigo sisters: Camille, a witch, Delilah, a weretabby, and Menolly, a vampire. The trio are Earthside representatives of a supernatural intelligence agency, and, at least in the inaugural books of the series, the only thing that stands between Earth, Faerie and a demon named Shadow Wing that is bent on domination of multiple worlds. If, as I hinted in the first paragraph, I find the series painful, why ever was I inclined to read the third book in the sequence? I find the foundation story of the Otherworld series compelling: Three sisters with varying supernatural abilities, refugees from a world in political upheaval, balancing personal lives and romance, while kicking ass and keeping the world safe from a demonic big bad. I can get down with that. It’s the writing that made Witchling and Changeling tough reads. Darkling is no exception.

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True Blood

The very end of last night's episode left me screaming noooooo at my television. Alan Ball, you sir are a supreme tease. With Jason stopped by Bill's security will he manage to get away long enough to pull Jessica inside the house? There are a lot of characters that I think are extraneous to the show but Jessica is certainly not one of them, though I could do without the Hoyt, Jason, Jessica love triangle.

Last night we got a lot of Eric and Sookie getting it on in various positions. I wonder if Sookie has enough peas for her yahoo palace after that much shagging. I don't know about you but the whole Eric mooning over Sookie thing has gotten old. I love bad ass, take no prisoners Viking, and not the musty I don't want my memories back because you may not love me anymore Eric. Perhaps Sookie just brings the musty out in men.

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Harry Dresden is back investigating a series of brutal and vicious murders, people torn apart by what looks like wild animals – wolves in fact. There being a somewhat lack of wolves in Chicago, this points us in one direction. Actually it points us in several directions as it turns out there are several variations on the theme of werewolf – and several denizens of the city who may count.

Harry has to sort through the threads, work with the local police hindered by their distrust and the looming presence of both the FBI and an Internal Affairs inquiry and try to avoid working for a notorious mob boss with whom he has been closely linked because of his past activities. Worse for him, his investigations have aroused the anger of those he has investigated – both guilty and innocent – and he faces several more attempts on his life to dance around while still trying to find the truth.

Like Storm Front, I think this book struck a great balance. It has several possible suspects, several different supernatural creatures, any of which could have been the murderers creates a genuine mystery - without being convoluted or confusing. In even a conventional murder mystery that's a difficult balance to strike

I also liked the world building – the bringing together of a variety of werewolf myths from around the world as varying and difficult antagonists and possible suspects in the book - each of which could be the murderer and many of them actively hunting or needing Harry for various reasons. We also see Harry's power continue to be develop and displayed for us – an excellent bit of world building that requires gentle showing rather than bludgeoning telling. And we're reminded that, yes, harry is a severely powerful and extremely dangerous being – while at the same time being very flawed and very human.

In many ways I'm in 2 minds about this review. Not because I didn't like the book – but because I feel I have so little to say that contrasts with what I said about Storm Front. It's another nuanced and well balanced mystery. It has a strong and informed world. The characterisation of Harry seems very real, while at the same time the books are so centred on him that the side-characters feel rather under-done. This is particularly problematic when we consider that these characters are women.

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April 2015

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