Dangerous Hero(ine) Challenge: November Update

Hi, everyone! I have an update on my participation in the Dangerous Hero(ine) Challenge!

As a reminder, here’s what the challenge entails:

I am participating in the Dangerous Hero(ine) Challenge, hosted by Paranormal Cravings.

Dangerous Hero(ine) Challenge

THE RULES:

1. Dangerous Hero Challenge runs from August 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014.

2. Sign up at Paranormal Cravings to start your challenge.

3. The challenge is to read 10 books (of the paranormal romance or Urban Fantasy genre) that have a Dangerous Hero as a main, or supporting character.

4. Books can be in any format and should be at least 150 pages. You may also post about your rereads.

5. Post about the Dangerous Hero Challenge on your blog or website stating that you are participating or create a new shelf on your Goodreads profile.

6. Include that link to that post or shelf on Paranormal Cravings.

7. Please be courteous and include a link back to the Paranormal Cravings blog post.

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I’ll be posting about these as I complete them. I’ll also include links to my Goodreads shelf.

My Recent Dangerous Hero(ine) Reads

I’m updating my list with the following books:

http://www.amazon.com/Low-Midnight-Kitty-Norville-Book-ebook/dp/B00KUXUT8K/

Blurb

Cormac, the Kitty Norville series’ most popular supporting character, stars in his first solo adventure.

Carrie Vaughn’s Low Midnight spins out of the series on the wave of popularity surrounding Kitty’s most popular supporting character, Cormac Bennett, a two-minded assassin of the paranormal who specializes in killing lycanthropes. In his first solo adventure, Cormac, struggling with a foreign consciousness trapped inside him, investigates a century-old crime in a Colorado mining town which could be the key to translating a mysterious coded diary…a tome with secrets that could shatter Kitty’s world and all who inhabit it. With a framing sequence that features Kitty Norville herself, Low Midnight not only pushes the Kitty saga forward, but also illuminates Cormac’s past and lays the groundwork for Kitty’s future.

Review

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in order to participate in a blog tour, so I’m not going to give a full review yet–but the short version? I LOVED IT!! Finally getting inside of Cormac’s mind(s) was wonderful–and it was great to see his relationship with Amelia developing! More on this soon . . .

http://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Steele-Raven-Complete-Story-ebook/dp/B00NLL6S42/

Blurb:

Human life has value.
The poor living in the gutter are as valuable as the rich living in a manor.
The scoundrel is no less valuable than the saint.
Because of this, every life a reaper takes must be redeemed.

Raven has lived by this first tenet since she was trained by her father to become a reaper. But since his death, she’s been spending years redeeming the lives she’s taken. By her count, she’s even and it’s time for that life to end. If she settles down and becomes a wife, she might just feel human again. But on the way to the life she thinks she wants, the baron of New Haven asks her to complete a task which she cannot ignore… Just when Raven decides to give up on her life as an assassin, she’s pulled right back in.

Review

(I did a full review of this one when I read it, so this is a repeat!):

Although the serial version of this book has been coming out for a while, I have resisted picking it up until I could have the complete story. Now I almost wish I hadn’t waited–although I would have had to deal with the time between releases, I would have been reading an amazing story all along! I picked up my copy the other day and started reading, planning to get in an hour or so before bed. Instead, I finally went to sleep only when I could no longer hold my eyes open to read. This is an excellent story!

Pauline Creeden is incredibly active in the indie publishing world, and is a kind, caring mentor to any number of newbie authors–willing to share information and ideas freely and openly. It should therefore, perhaps, come as no surprise that she has created a protagonist with a deeply held sense of honor and duty. Raven is fascinating precisely because that sense of honor doesn’t always fit in with the rest of her culture (or ours), and yet it guides everything she does.

Don’t miss this one.

And put Pauline Creeden on your auto-buy list–I just did!

http://www.amazon.com/Darker-Past-Entangled-Teen-Agency-ebook/dp/B00OO1O1CE/

Blurb

The past is Darker than they thought…

Between helping her mother with the Darker Agency and laying the smack down on monster baddies, Jessie Darker puts the “normal” in paranormal. But lately, things have gotten a little crazy…even for a smart-assed half-demon teenage girl.

For starters, Jessie’s been contracted into fifty-five years of annoying servitude. To a demon. Then there’s Lukas Scott, her sexy new boyfriend. Once the former incarnation of Wrath, he’s been going through some…uh, changes. Like residual anger. And trading chaste hangouts for lusty make-out sessions.

But it’s when Lukas and Jessie accidentally release a Very Nasty Demon that things get really bad, setting into motion a chain of death and mayhem that threatens both Earth and the Shadow Realm. Jessie has exactly four days to fix it…before all of Hell breaks loose.

Mini-Review

I’m scheduled to post a full review of this book as part of a book tour soon, so for now, I’ll just say this: at the beginning of the novel, I was worried that Jessie and Lukas might have used up all their sizzle in book one–and I’m happy to report that I was wrong, wrong, wrong! I ended up loving this one at least as much as the first book. Hooray! 🙂

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The next two books don’t exactly fit the criteria, in that they’re even further away from urban fantasy than most of the other books I’ve included. But I’m including them because of their interestingly dangerous heroines. . .

http://www.amazon.com/Thousand-Pieces-You-Firebird-ebook/dp/B00ICMX0C8/

Blurb

Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father’s killer through multiple dimensions. Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.

A Thousand Pieces of You, the first book in the Firebird trilogy, explores an amazingly intricate multiverse where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.

Review

I had the great good fortune to sit next to Claudia Gray at the Indie Book Fest ’14 Author Speed-Dating Roundtable and I heard her discuss this book several times–and knowing how excited she was about it, I could hardly wait to go online and pre-order it. I’m ever so glad I did! I honestly expected something a little more Sliders, so I was especially delighted by the amount of time we spent in each of the worlds, learning about each Marguerite’s life as the narrator tried to fit in and function appropriately.

Gray doesn’t hesitate to deal with the ethical questions that her characters face: what constitutes identity? do people linked through a multiverse share a soul? what would it mean to pilot someone else’s body? And her characters don’t come up with satisfactory answers to these questions–they are, instead, beautifully and realistically searching for meaning.

The mystery is also nicely done–giving just enough information to make it possible for a reader to figure out the basic solution, but not so much that it’s obvious. I loved pretty much everything about this book, except for the fact that it ended. I can’t wait for the next one!

http://www.amazon.com/So-Much-Pretty-Cara-Hoffman-ebook/dp/B0043RSJ9U/

Blurb
When she disappeared from her rural hometown, Wendy White was a sweet, family-oriented girl, a late bloomer who’d recently moved out on her own, with her first real boyfriend and a job waiting tables at the local tavern. It happens all the time—a woman goes missing, a family mourns, and the case remains unsolved. Stacy Flynn is a reporter looking for her big break. She moved east from Cleveland, a city known for its violent crime, but that’s the last thing she expected to cover in Haeden. This small, upstate New York town counts a dairy farm as its main employer and is home to families who’ve set down roots and never left—people who don’t take kindly to outsiders. Flynn is researching the environmental impact of the dairy, and the way money flows outward like the chemical runoff, eventually poisoning those who live at the edges of its reach.

Five months after she disappeared, Wendy’s body is found in a ditch just off one of Haeden’s main roads. Suddenly, Flynn has a big story, but no one wants to talk to her. No one seems to think that Wendy’s killer could still be among them. A drifter, they say. Someone “not from here.”

Fifteen-year-old Alice Piper is an imaginative student with a genius IQ and strong ideals. The precocious, confident girl has stood out in Haeden since the day her eccentric hippie parents moved there from New York City, seeking a better life for their only child. When Alice reads Flynn’s passionate article in the Haeden Free Press about violence against women—about the staggering number of women who are killed each day by people they know—she begins to connect the dots of Wendy’s disappearance and death, leading her to make a choice: join the rest in turning a blind eye, or risk getting involved. As Flynn and Alice separately observe the locals’ failure to acknowledge a murderer in their midst, Alice’s fate is forever entwined with Wendy’s when a second crime rocks the town to its core.

Stylishly written, closely observed, and bracingly unexpected, So Much Pretty leads the reader into the treacherous psychology of denial, where the details of an event are already known, deeply and intuitively felt, but not yet admitted to, reconciled or revealed.

Review

The New York Times Book Review named this book the Best Suspense Novel of 2011. I don’t know about 2011, but it’s one of the best . . . or at least, most interesting . . . suspense novels I’ve read in a long time. As a literary suspense (literary mystery? mysterious literary novel?) it works. The characters are haunting, as is the depiction of the various horrors that arise from the clash of ideologies, cultures, genders, socio-economic statuses, and more. Part of the resonance of this novel is, I think, the recognition of our own complicity in the various kinds of rape and murder (both symbolic and real) that Hoffman includes in So Much Pretty. And I can’t think of a more dangerous heroine than Alice Piper–she is, as at least one other reviewer noted, a modern-day Fury, avenging a death in a way that shakes a community . . . but not in the way it should . . .

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