I’m started a series where I look at past months in previous years and see what I was reading. What I liked, what I didn’t like. What I have kept up with and what I have set aside. What was a favourite, and what fell from grace. It is also a way to give a review to some past series that I’m probably unlikely to ever review in full.
May 2014 actually had so many series on the list, I decided to break it into two parts. Part one was released last week!
May was an okay month. It had some really good series, but it also had some not-so-good series. Most of the series I did love from this month eventually turned sour, even.
Leigh Evan’s Mystwalker series
Mystwalker is one of those series that I really, really enjoy while I’m reading, but I don’t actually remember very well after a month or so of reading it. I’ve read the first three books twice now, and the last book once and I can barely tell you anything about it. I remember it had a very good combination of werewolf and fae. I remember that there is something really, really interesting about the fae (though I’m pretty certain that is spoiler and thus I don’t want to spoil it). And I also remember it has a really good romance. It is a decent urban fantasy series, if that is what you’re looking for. It is also one you may not have run across before because it is pretty unknown. I hope one of you tries it and tells me about it, because I do remember liking this one!
Sierra Dean’s Secret McQueen series
Despite the terrible name of the main character (and the play on that character’s name in the book titles), I genuinely enjoyed reading the series. Even if Secret McQueen is a stripper name. Secret is a dhampir who hunts vampires as a job for the vampire council. Nothing very special about the series, until about midway through. In which it does something that shocked me and made the series jump from “enjoyable but forgettable” to “holy shit wow” in my mind. From that point on, the series just takes things up a notch and finishes strong. The worst thing about the series is probably the romance, which is basically a love triangle from hell. If you’re looking for some interesting urban fantasy and aren’t put off by love triangles, I do recommend it.
Debra Dunbar’s Imp series
The Imp series is one I have reviewed before here, and here, as well as the spinoffs Half Breed and Northern Wolves. There aren’t many urban fantasy series where the main character is unabashedly not a nice person. Samantha Martin is an imp, and she is damn proud of it. Prone to causing chaos, and death, everywhere she goes. I just enjoy this series so much, always have. It is unfortunate to me that the author decided to start playing the Amazon Game with the Half Breed and Northern Wolves series, because Imp is so, so unique and the others..aren’t. I read somewhere by her that she plans on writing more in the world, now that Imp is over, but I won’t be reading them.
There are so many things I enjoy about the imp series: the main character, the story, the love interests, and the world. Sam is just plain fun. The story is hilarious – an imp becomes the Iblis, the ha-Satan. The romantic interest is an angel. And the way the worlds are set up are just amazing. I truly love the series, and I just feel like it fell so far.
Debra Dunbar just had an amazing story that got dimmed because she decided that playing with Amazon’s Algorithms was more important than writing for her readers. The core of the Imp series, the 10 novels, is great and stays true to itself. But all of the side novels and spinoffs are best avoided and aren’t worth the time to read.
J.C. Daniels Colbana Files series
J.C. Daniels is the sci-fi/fantasy pseudonym of Shiloh Walker, so she wasn’t new to writing when she started the Colbana Files series. Which I am grateful for because I love, love, love this series. I love how broken the main character is. I love her creed. I love the fucked up world they live in, and I love the hell Colbana goes through. I’ve read this quite a few times now. My only thing I don’t like so much about it is that it isn’t a very big money-maker for Shiloh Walker, so it in’t high on her list of things that are to be written by her. Which means long waits for books.
Kit Colbana is a courier and PI, and sometimes she kills things that need killing. She is aneira, a race of warrior women, and she is the only one on Earth. The rest are holed up with her evil bitch of a grandmother, who tortured and abused Colbana when she was a child, in their own pocket dimension. Which means that Colbana can take some stellar abuse through the series – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make me sob anyway.
Cecy Robson’s Weird Girls series
This series is so, so weird. I love it. The Weird Girls are 4 sisters who have unique powers. The first five books feature the eldest sister, Celia Wird, as they move to Lake Tahoe, California. Which just happens to be a magical hotspot. Oh, and did I say Celia was a tiger shifter who can move through solid objects? Yup! The only one in existence. Her sister, Taran, is able to set things on fire very well, and takes up the narrative reigns after Celia. The third sister, Emme, can heal herself and others, and the last sister Shayna is ditzy but smart, and can turn any object into a weapon. She actually physically changes that object into a weapon. All four are utterly unique.
The story treads the line between urban fantasy and paranormal romance quite closely. There is a lot of romance, including a love triangle. However, there is also a lot of weird shit happening in Lake Tahoe, and the sisters end up in the middle of it all. There is one scene in one of the books that utterly horrified me. Still does to this day. I’ve rarely seen anything as fucked up as what happens in that scene. And I happen to really like dark fantasy. Just…wow, I can’t believe Cecy Robson went there, and I’m kind of glad I’ve never, ever come across it again.
As much as I liked the series, I only read up to the end of Celia’s arc. Someday I’ll get back around to it and read Taran’s, though I’m kind of waiting for it to be over first. I liked it, I just only have so much mental room for ongoing series.
Stacey Brutger’s Electric Storm
I stopped reading this series after one book, even though there were more out at the time. I would have quit reading it before the end of the book, if it wasn’t my mission to read 365 books in a single calendar year and I needed all the help I could get on that. That’s how much I really disliked reading this book. I didn’t even come close to DNFing another book in entire calendar year of 2014, from what I can remember and what my logs show.
It was like someone decided to rewrite Anita Blake. I’m sure there are plenty of people who like this, but I just wasn’t in the mood to read a series that was basically a carbon copy of bits of the most popular urban fantasy series ever all smashed together. Maybe it got better with later books, but I wasn’t about to stick around to find out.
Allyson James’ Stormwalker series
Last up for the month is the Stormwalker series by Allyson James. This is another series where the line between urban fantasy and paranormal romance is quite fine. A lot of the story centers on Janet Begay’s relationship with a dragon. However, even more of the story features a lot of Native American/Navajo creatures. Which is actually quite rare in urban fantasy, despite the fact that probably at least 80% of it takes place in the United States (if you don’t bring in magical realism into what urban fantasy is).
This wasn’t my favourite series out of the month, but it was readable at the time. When I read the series, there were four books out. I waited for a while, but eventually I mostly forgot the series by the time the next book came out in 2016 (and the fourth book came out in 2012, yikes!). I always meant to get back around to the series but found that it just isn’t a priority for the author and they come out whenever she has the time to get around to it. Thus I’ll wait until the series is finished, then maybe I’ll make time for it myself. It could even be finished now, though I’ve found no indication of that on the author’s website, the blurb for the book, or any of the reviews.
WHEW! Done! Long month was long!