Review: Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia

Monster Hunter International by Larry CorreiaFormat read: print book borrowed from the library
Formats available: ebook, paperback, mass market paperback, audiobook
Genre: Urban fantasy
Series: Monster Hunters International, #1
Length: 452 pages
Publisher: Baen Books
Date Released: August 1, 2009
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Welcome to Monster Hunter International.

Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a fourteenth story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer.

It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit.

It’s actually a pretty sweet gig, except for one little problem. An ancient entity known as the Cursed One has returned to settle a centuries old vendetta. Should the Cursed One succeed, it means the end of the world, and MHI is the only thing standing in his way. With the clock ticking towards Armageddon, Owen finds himself trapped between legions of undead minions, belligerent federal agents, a cryptic ghost who has taken up residence inside his head, and the cursed family of the woman he loves.

Business is good . . .

My Review:

Owen Zastava Pitt and Deacon Chalk would probably get along like a house on fire. Even better, a house on fire filled with monsters that they had just wasted–since both those gentlemen pretty much believe that the only good monster is a dead monster.

And they both surely do love their guns. The bigger the better. Generally described in loving detail, to the point where the MHI series is sometimes called “gun-porn”, and justifiably so.

It’s also fun. Not particularly long on plot, but fun.

There’s an old country song by Johnny Paycheck titled “Take This Job and Shove It”. Owen starts out by taking his boss and shoving him out a window. followed by a desk–and it’s totally justified. His truly rotten boss had just turned into a werewolf and nearly killed him. Very nearly.

Owen woke up in the hospital with two humorless FBI dudes waiting to see if he was going to turn furry, and a job offer from Monster Hunters International to come hunt monsters for a living. He told the Fibbies to shove it and took the job with MHI, mostly because one of the MHI operatives was a beautiful girl that he fell head-over-heels for.

And because Owen Pitt had a violent streak a mile wide and MHI was a sanctioned way to let it out.

He hadn’t bargained on needing to save the world. Or on being the only one in 500 years able to do it. Just that being a Monster Hunter was going to be way better than being an accountant. Trying to be normal had basically sucked.

Escape Rating B: Monster Hunter International is pure, unadulterated mind candy. Think of it like toffee. You know you shouldn’t, but once you bite down on it, you can’t resist. And besides, now you’re stuck. You have to keep going because you’ve got to find out where the story is going to go. It’s one impossible, death-defying fight after another. A Sunday B-movie adventure matinee.

Owen, and the author, love their guns. The descriptions are a bit much, and my eyes tended to skim after the first few times. Owen is very big and very heavily armed. Exactly what he was heavily armed with didn’t matter much to me after the first couple of descriptions. YMMV.

blood and bulletsSome readers have compared Owen to Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. That comparison doesn’t fly for me. Harry is way snarkier, doesn’t fight with this type of armed force, and is much fonder of his own brilliance. Owen is a soldier. He reminds me a lot more of Deacon Chalk from James R. Tuck’s terrific series (first book is Blood and Bullets if you want a taste), who is also terribly fond of his armaments. Also, Owen has much better luck with girls than Harry Dresden. For that matter, in spite of the tragedy in his past, so does Deacon.

Also, Owen and Deacon are both southerners, while Harry’s brand of snark is pure Chicago.

If you like monster battles, Monster Hunter International is tons of fun. Lots of monsters, lots of guns, lots of shooting. And the orcs are on the side of the righteous this time!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Review: Blood and Magick by James R. Tuck

Blood and MagickFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook, mass market paperback
Genre: Urban fantasy
Series: Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter #3
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington
Date Released: March 5, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Taking out hellish creatures—not a problem. Armed with blessed silver hollow-points and the ability to manipulate magick, he’s ready for anything—except betrayal he never saw coming…

Deacon Chalk knows the biggest danger in fighting monsters is becoming one. Just another day at the office for your friendly neighborhood occult bounty hunter. If keeping three helpless were-dog children safe means battling a malevolent trio of witches by any means necessary, so be it. If that means partnering with a ruthless government agent to stay one step ahead of the allies and friends he must now suspect, he’s not going to cry about it. The only way Deacon can save humans and shape-shifters alike is to embrace a power beyond his imagining, putting his team at stake—and his soul on the line…

James R. Tuck’s Deaconverse is an absolutely fascinating version of urban fantasy. And so far, totally different from any other.

It’s ironic that I started reading it because I was looking for something to tide me over between Dresden Files books, because Harry Dresden would not be welcome in the Deaconverse. There does not appear to be any such thing as a “good” wizard in this world. Only bad ones and dead ones. Unless later on we find out there is a difference between witches and wizards. (I can dream…)

Deacon Chalk is the one who turns the bad ones into dead ones. Usually in a hail of gunfire. Deacon does love his guns. But axes work too. So do holy swords.

It doesn’t matter that the magick-user used to be a friend. In Deacon’s world, magick always involves a deal with evil. And there’s no turning back once someone starts down that road.

Blood and Magick is all about the price that has to be paid when someone Deacon thought was on the side of the righteous begins practicing magick and calls down a lot more trouble than even Deacon bargained on.

I’m not sure that anyone actually wins in this particular story. That’s not the point. This one is about revelations, possibly with a capital R, as in REVELATIONS, all religious contexts included.

There are enough left on the side of the righteous to fight another day. But when evil is very strong, and very powerful (not to mention that some of it is way too close to home), not everyone makes it home.

Especially if home isn’t there anymore.

Escape Rating A-: I could not put this one down. I almost missed my bus stop. I was even hoping for bad traffic on the I-5 bridge to work, and that’s a seriously dangerous wish at the best of times!

This story is a turning point. You can see things get more dangerous, and more serious. There’s a foundation being laid for the next books in the series, and it’s solid work. Deacon and his crew are settling in for the long fight.

At the same time, the revelations about Father Mulcahy (and I love that, Father Mulcahy, it can’t be the same guy from M*A*S*H, but it still gets me every time) and his past, and the seriously dangerous job he has for the Vatican is both cool and has definitely fascinating undertones of The DaVinci Code, only much more dangerous.

guilty pleasuresI loved the nod to Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anitaverse. Whatever anyone might think of the later books in the series, the idea that Deacon knows Anita Blake and Jean-Claude, and that in his world Guilty Pleasures is a biopic about her life is screamingly funny.

Deacon is the most righteous badass you’ll ever meet. He’s suppressing more awful stuff than most people do in several lifetimes. But he’s fantastic fun to read. I can’t wait for the next book!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 3-3-13

Sunday PostI still have a conceptual problem with seeing the dates for 2013. I’m not sure why. But writing the date for this post as 3-3-13 just looked weird. Maybe I have a mild case of triskaidekaphobia?

Art of Video Games PublicityIn unrelated geekiness, yesterday we went to the EMP Museum at Seattle Center to see the National Tour of the Smithsonian’s fantastic exhibition on The Art of Video Games. This is a historic journey, a nostalgia trip, and an art exhibition all rolled into one, and it’s awesome. If you ever loved video games in your life, and you’re going to be in one of the cities the exhibit is travelling to, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Of course, as soon as we left the museum, we went out and bought a new game. It was just the right thing to do. Both of us itched to wrap our hands around a controller.

Holding Out for a Hero book coverIt’s not just games that have winners. We had a winner here this week, too. Lisa C. won an ebook copy of Holding Out for a Hero from Entangled Publishing. Come to think of it, the superhero theme also fits pretty well with the games.

You still have plenty of time to get in Theresa Meyers’ fantastic giveaway. First prize is a $50 Amazon gift card! She is also giving away autographed copies of her steampunk romance adventure series, The Legend Chronicles, and autographed copies of the final book in the series, The Chosen. Click here to go to the giveaway.

Here’s the full recap of this week:

Circus of Blood by James R Tuck book coverC+ Review: Game for Marriage by Karen Erickson
B+ Review: The Mysterious Madam Morpho by Delilah S. Dawson
B+ Review: Circus of Blood by James R. Tuck
A- Review: The Chosen by Theresa Meyers
Interview with Author Theresa Meyers + Giveaway!
B- Guest Review: Stung by Bethany Wiggins
Stacking the Shelves (36)

And for the first full week of March, what do we have?

Whats a Witch to Do by Jennifer Harlow book coverJennifer Harlow is on tour with the first book in her new Midnight Magic Mystery series, What’s a Witch to Do? In addition to some of my reviewing magic, Jennifer will stop by for an interview and giveaway on Thursday. We’re part of her “to-do” list, a comment that will make much more sense after you read the review!

I also have reviews of two of my long-standing favorite series, the latest entry In Death from the indefatigable J. D. Robb, and the new novel in the Deaconverse from James R. Tuck. (I did read Circus of Blood last week for an excellent reason. And it was awesome!)

Plus, I have a terrific guest review from my friend Cryselle to round out this very full week.

Lucky in LoveTune in for even more fun the following week. The Lucky in Love Blog Hop is right around the corner!

Review: Circus of Blood by James R. Tuck

circus of bloodFormat read: ebook purchased from Amazon
Formats available: ebook
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Deacon Chalk Occult Bounty Hunter #2.5
Length: 66 pages
Publisher: Kensington Books
Date Released: January 29, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Anticipating the worst keeps Deacon Chalk a step ahead. But he never expected that a badly-beaten were-bat female victim would suddenly mutate and almost take him out. Or that the freak undead that infected her can’t wait to turn all lycanthropes into uncontrollable killing machines…once he’s gone. And that day is getting awfully close. Deacon may be outnumbered, out-gunned, and cut off from help, but what the enemy doesn’t know is that’s exactly when the world’s best bounty hunter lives up to his billing…

My Review:

Deacon Chalk always gets his man. Or were-thing. Or vampire. If they’re on the side of evil. He does check things out first. Deacon may be a killing machine, but he’s one righteous killing machine.

And he usually makes one hell of a mess along the way.

blood and magickI wanted to catch up with Deacon, because the next full book in the Deacon Chalk Bounty Hunter series, Blood and Magick, is coming out in March and it’s on my “must read” list for the year. Deacon’s author, James R. Tuck, writes awesome between-the-books novellas that absolutely further the Deaconverse as a whole, so that put Circus of Blood on my reading agenda.

For the record, I loved That Thing at the Zoo and Spider’s Lullaby, even though I didn’t get around to writing reviews of them. Just so we’re clear. I wouldn’t want Deacon coming after me. I did review Blood and Bullets and it was sheer awesome.

Moving on…

Circus of Blood started off a bit gently for a story in the Deaconverse, but once it got going, it really pulled out all of the bloody and gory stops.

It begins with Deacon at a clinic for weres, and here’s there to help. Considering that Deacon is the bogeyman for most of the supe community, it is a bit of a different role for him.

The other thing that struck me as new was that Deacon was more upfront about the powers that the Angel who saved his life left him with. Well, Deacon saved the Angel first, then the Angel saved him. It’s part of Deacon’s backstory.

But, Deacon got a few extra-human powers from the exchange. He can sense supernaturals. In a room full of scared and sick weres, he feels everything. Kind of overwhelming.

He’s there to investigate the dumping of a were-bat into the middle of a road. Yes, I wrote that. It gets stranger. She got dumped from mid-air, vampire bitten up one side and down the other.

When Deacon shows up, she turns rabid. Not hyperbole, the actual disease. Then the situation truly goes pear-shaped.

Because it’s all part of a plot to spread rabies to the were-community and kill Deacon, perpetrated by a bunch of vampires. Of course it’s vampires.

And guess what? They’ve converted the performers in a circus, an actual circus! To make things worse, the vamps either started out as the freakier circus acts or turned themselves into the classically scary circus acts after conversion. Let’s just say that anyone who didn’t start out afraid of clowns, would leave with one hell of a case of coulrophobia.

To make sure Deacon fights “fair”, they’ve also trapped a whole tent-full of humans to be the audience.

Not fair, not fair at all. Can our hero save the day? Is there a book three in this series? Will you have all sorts of fun with the mayhem and destruction being wrecked on the denizens of evil?

Escape Rating B+: Circus of Blood is just on the good side of over the top. It shouldn’t be so much sheer fun, but it so is.

Deacon and his friends sling one-liners along with knives, guns, holy water and swords, and it just plain works. And the gallows humor will make you laugh when you least expect there could possibly be anything funny.

An occult bounty hunter, a priest, and a were-stoat walk into a circus…

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

13 for 2013: A Baker’s Dozen of My Most Anticipated Reads

“Love looks forward, hate looks backward, and anxiety stalks NetGalley and Edelweiss for early review copies.” That is not the way the saying goes, but it works for me.

I’m also hoping that there will be review copies of the Spring books at least on the American Library Association Midwinter Exhibits floor–especially since I won’t need to worry about what I carry home with me. I’ll be home. The conference is here in Seattle this year.

So, what books are at the tippy top of my wishlist for 2013?

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris, otherwise known as Sookie Stackhouse’s last hurrah. Even though the last few books in the series haven’t been quite up to the high bar set by the early entries, I have to know how Sookie’s story ends. Don’t you?

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon is the 8th doorstop in her giant, world-traveling, era-spanning Outlander series. The series has been described as “historical fiction with a Moebius twist,” and that’s the best short summation I’ve read for the damn thing that makes any sense. What they are is the best way to lose about three days, every time there’s a new one–and I can’t wait.

The Second Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay. I’ll confess that I have this one because I did stalk NetGalley for months after reading The First Rule of Ten, but the official date of publication is January 1, 2013, so it’s on the list. Tenzing Norbu is interesting as a detective because he is just different enough to see the world slightly askew, and it helps him solve crimes. The world he solves crimes in is itself slightly askew. Of all the places for an ex-monk to end up, Hollywood? Really? Marvelous!

Cast in Sorrow by Michelle Sagara will be number 9 in her Chronicles of Elantra. I just finished book 8, Cast in Peril, last week, and I’m already jonesing for my next fix. It doesn’t help that Cast in Peril ended in the middle of a very dangerous journey, not that Kaylin ever manages to stay out of trouble for long. So this wait is even more cliffhanger-esque than normal.

Imager’s Battalion by L.E. Modesitt Jr. When I finished the first trilogy in Modesitt’s Imager Portfolio, I thought he was done. The story was marvelous, but his hero’s journey was over. Little did I know he had a prequel in mind. Quaeryt’s journey from bureaucratic aide to military leader reads a bit like Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. And that’s not bad company at all.

Untitled Psy-Changeling #12 by Nalini Singh. I hate this. The publisher and the author are being particularly coy about this one. Even the title is supposed to be a huge spoiler for some shocking secret mystery. As annoyed as I am about this, I adore the Psy-Changeling series, so I can’t wait for the book. Whatever it’s called.

Tuesday’s Gone by Nicci French is the second book in French’s new mystery series featuring therapist Frieda Klein. Something about the first book, Blue Monday, absolutely grabbed me. I think it had to do with how much Klein wanted to keep the case at arm’s length, and how personal it all turned out to be.  Blue Monday was chilling and I want to see if Tuesday’s Gone is just as good.

One-Eyed Jack by Elizabeth Bear is something I’ve wanted for a long time, but never expected to see. It’s a continuation of her utterly wondrous Promethean Age series. The Promethean Age books were urban fantasy of the crossover school, something that isn’t done well nearly often enough. In the Promethean Age, Faerie exists alongside our world, and events can effect both, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

Wicked as She Wants by Delilah S. Dawson is the second book in Dawson’s absolutely yummy Blud series. The first book, Wicked as They Come, was dark, creepy, sensual and extremely eerie. At the same time, the love story was hauntingly beautiful. And I want to see more bludbunnies. Any writer who can come up with piranha rabbits has to have more tricks up her sleeve.

Calculated in Death  and Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb. I still want to know how Nora Roberts does it. Calculated and Thankless are the two In Death books scheduled for 2013. I have a hard time believing that they are numbers 36 and 37 in the series. Odds are that one will be close to awesome, and one will be a visit with old friends, which is still not bad. I’m going to buy them both anyway and read them in one gulp the minute I get them.

The Human Division by John Scalzi is Scalzi’s first novel in his Old Man’s War universe since Zoe’s Tale in 2008. Old Man’s War is military science fiction, with a slice of social commentary, and just a hint of a love story. It’s also just plain awesome. And anything new by Scalzi is automatically great news. Even more fascinating, The Human Division is going to be released as a digital serial, starting in January. So the only question is whether I get it in bits, or do I wait for the finished novel? Or both?

Heart Fortune by Robin D. Owens is the twelfth book in Owens’ Celta series. In Celta, Robin D. Owens has created the kind of world that readers want to live on, as well as experience vicariously through her stories. I’ve read the entire Celta series, and they are one of the few romance series I’ve read that manages to make the “fated mate” concept work–probably because she occasionally subverts it.

Blood and Magick by James R. Tuck. This is the third book in the Deacon Chalk series, and I love them. I found Deacon because it’s getting to be too long a wait between Dresden Files books (and it looks like 2013 will be a year without Harry). Deacon Chalk mostly takes out his demons with guns. Lots and lots of guns. But he knows some on the side of the righteous, too. Deacon Chalk is urban fantasy of the purely kick-butt fun school.

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay will be my birthday present this year, or close enough. Kay writes fantasy mixed with a large helping of historical fiction. The result is a magical blending of history as it might have been. Beautiful, complex, breath-takingly poignant. Kay writes worlds of awe and wonder. I can’t wait to be awestruck again.

These are the books. For 2013 it seemed fitting to choose a baker’s dozen, or 13, books that  I’m looking forward to the most.

If you’re curious about what happened to last year’s “Anticipateds” stop by Book Lovers Inc. on Thursday.

What books are you looking forward to the most in 2013?

Stacking the Shelves (16) Dragon*Con Edition

This would be Stacking the Shelves, the Dragon*Con edition.  I say it’s the Dragon*Con edition for a couple of reasons.

The first is simply because I was at Dragon*Con over Labor Day weekend, and didn’t do a Stacking the Shelves post.  Romance at Random started their Labor Day Blog Hop, and Reading Reality was a participant. There’s still plenty of time to enter, so hop on over to the post and take a look at the giveaway.

About Dragon*Con. Downtown Atlanta looked like it had been invaded by aliens. I’ve been to big cons (Chicago holds three a year) but nothing like this. 50,000+ fen is a lot of fen. (For those unfamiliar, fen is the collective noun for science fiction fans)

While I did go to a couple of media tie-in events (any Mythbusters fans in here?) there were a bunch of authors I wanted to see. Mercedes Lackey and Katherine Kurtz in particular. I’ve been reading both their signature series since Arrows of the Queen and Deryni Rising, respectively. It was awesome to see them in person.

And great to meet authors whose books I have reviewed, like James R. Tuck. He was terrific, and I think even remembered my review. I’m pretty I’m going to finally review Blood and Silver this week. Damn it was good.

Speaking of his reading, he had all his friends who were authors also read from their books, so I picked up Delilah S. Dawson’s Wicked as they Come from her at that panel. And started it immediately, finished it and reviewed it this week. Decadently delicious.

So what delicious books have you added to your stacks this week?

For Review:
When Snow Falls (Whiskey Creek #2) by Brenda Novak
Wife for Hire by Christine Bell
Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire edited by Mitzi Szereto
The Scientific Sherlock Holmes by James O’Brien
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte
All He Ever Needed (Kowalski Family #4) by Shannon Stacey
Racing With the Wind (Agents of the Crown #1) by Regan Walker
The Cowboy and the Vampire by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall
The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd
Forge (Thrall Web #1) by T.K. Anthony
Spice and Smoke (Bollywood Confidential #1) by Suleikha Snyder
Spice and Secrets (Bollywood Confidential #2) by Suleikha Snyder
Babylon Confidential by Claudia Christian
Clean (Mindspace Investigations #1) by Alex Hughes (print)
Operation: Endgame (When the Mission Ends #1) by Christi Snow
A Date with Death (1Night Stand) by Louisa Bacio
Forty Shades of Pearl by Arianne Richmonde
Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed (Sons of Sin #1) by Anna Campbell
Rapture (Bel Dame Apocrypha #3) by Kameron Hurley

Interview with a Jewish Vampire by Erica Manfred (free)
My Vampire Cover Model by Karyn Gerrard
The Lost Night (Rainshadow #2, Harmony #9) by Jayne Castle
Wicked As They Come (Blud #1) by Delilah S. Dawson (print, signed by the author at Dragon*Con)
Thieftaker (Thieftaker Chronicles #1) by D.B. Jackson (print, signed by the author at Dragon*Con)
Intentional Abduction (Alien Abduction #2) by Eve Langlais (free to Dragon*Con attendees!)

What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? AKA The Sunday Post 7-29-12

Mid-summer blog break part deux (a word which totally flummoxed the online dictionary, however flummoxed did not!)

The above only adds to the never-ending stream of anecdotes (anecdata, which is not a word but should be) that online dictionaries are not all they are cracked up to be.

Monday is the day for Ebook Review Central. And the calendar has come back around to Carina Press’ June 2012 titles. Carina always has a lot of candidates for the featured book slots, and this time was certainly no exception. (I will give you a hint about this week’s features. I feel sorry for everyone else if Shannon Stacey ever publishes three titles in a single month!)

On Thursday, August 2, I’ll be interviewing author Jamie Salisbury about her contemporary romance Timeless Sojourn, and, of course, reviewing the book. Ms. Salisbury is coming to Reading Reality as part of Goddess Fish Virtual Book Tour.


Now next week I have something really neat coming up. I’ll be interviewing Laurie Frankel, the author of Goodbye for Now, as well as reviewing her new book. Goodbye for Now is both high-tech and a love story. And it’s about letting go. And not letting go. Think of One Day with a touch of A.I. thrown in. I can hardly wait.


And I always have new books. I know I’m going to download An Officer’s Duty by Jean Johnson, the second book in her Theirs Not to Reason Why military science fiction series, the minute it’s available. I thought the first book, A Soldier’s Duty, was utterly awesome, so July 31 can’t come soon enough for me.


Speaking of fantastic series, the second book in James R. Tuck’s Deacon Chalk series is due out next week. That’s Blood and Silver. The mid-series novella, Spider’s Lullaby, has been out for a while. I’ve read them both, I just need to post reviews, because if you like dark, gritty and snarky urban fantasy, this series is fantastically good. Start with That Thing at the Zoo for background and immediately follow with Blood and Bullets. Rock ’em, sock ’em urban fantasy with guns and attitude instead of spells and attitude.

Something I’m looking forward to reading next week is Julie Ann Walker’s Hell on Wheels. It’s the first of a series about a defense firm posing as Harley mechanics and motorcycle buffs. So all the books are going to have that utterly delicious bodyguard crush thing going on. And they’re set in my favorite home town, Chicago. So you’ve got alpha ex-military males, hot bodyguards, cold city, bad bikes, and the first story is all about breaking the guy code rule dating your best friend’s little sister. The series is Black Knights, Inc. Books 2 and 3 are In Rides Trouble and Rev It Up. If they are as good as they sound, I think I’m going to be glad I already have them all from NetGalley.

What exciting books are you looking forward to in this long, hot summer?

Blood and Bullets

I was jonesing for a Harry Dresden fix, and somebody mentioned Deacon Chalk might be just the man to tide me over. Whoever that was, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Now you’re wondering who the hell Deacon Chalk might be. Notice I didn’t say heck. Deacon Chalk would never be that mealy-mouthed.

Deacon Chalk is the monster-hunting main character of Blood and Bullets, the first novel by James R. Tuck in the urban fantasy series that is, of course, named after its protagonist. Deacon Chalk, Occult Bounty Hunter, that’s him.

There’s also a prequel novella, That Thing at the Zoo, which serves as a fantastic (fantastic in multiple senses of the term) introduction to the series and the characters.

Deacon hunts vampires, and pretty much everything else that goes bump in the night. Vamps murdered his family, and his mission in life is to stop the evil basty-assed-nastards from murdering as many other families as he possibly can.

He runs his monster-bounty-hunting business from the back of an expressway-exit strip-club. And every single one of the strippers is one of his assistants. Because they’ve all been victimized by the vamps at some point, and this is their way of getting some of their own back.

His sidekick is a Catholic priest, who also provides all the Holy Water Deacon needs for putting down the vamps. And is very handy with a rifle.

In Blood and Bullets, a lot of both fly around. Because an ancient vampire (there are ancient vampires and convoluted vampire politics in some of the best urban fantasy series) has set up Deacon, another vampire hunter, and one of her own vampires who got away from her(!) in a very nasty little war.

Of course she wants them to wipe each other out and save her the trouble. Or does she have a much deeper game? She’s a vampire after all. They always seem to be playing on twenty levels at once, all of them foul and blood-soaked.

This time, there’s more at stake than Deacon ever imagined. Even though he is literally on the side of the Angels.

Escape Rating A: Blood and Bullets is delicious in that “OMG please tell me there are more” kind of way. There’s a manic “Vampire Chainsaw Massacre” element that is just so much fun, but wouldn’t work in another genre. The vampires are unrelievedly evil, and you so want Deacon to plow them down without remorse, which he does.

I’ve never read another book that gets into the mechanics of vampire-slaughter in quite this much detail, and made it fun, but Blood and Bullets does it. The snark-fest aspects help tremendously!

Urban fantasy reads differently with a male protagonist, back to my comparison to Harry Dresden. Harry doesn’t finesse things, he sets them on fire. Deacon doesn’t either, he mows them down. They are also both big men who cast very long shadows, not just physically but also symbolically.

Start reading about Deacon Chalk with That Thing at the Zoo. It’s ebook only and definitely worth the 99 cents. Deacon’s adventures continue this summer in another ebook novella, Spider’s Lullaby, and later with Blood and Silver in August. I’m glad it’s not a long wait. I want to see what happens next!


On My Wishlist #7

On My Wishlist is currently hosted at Cosy Books, but was started at Book Chick City. It’s a way for us to share the books we’re wishing, wishing, wishing for, whether they’re already out (maybe long out) but we haven’t indulged ourselves yet, or they’re due sometime in the near or distant future, and we’re trying to resist purchasing them.

Or maybe resistance is futile, and they will be absorbed into our towering TBR piles.

Speaking of books where the resistance is probably futile, at least for me, it’s May, and that means its time for another installment of the Perils of Pauline…wait, scratch that, I meant another chapter in the continuing saga of the life of Sookie Stackhouse. It’s just not May without another Sookie book. This year Sookie is Deadlocked.

I think I’ve read an interview with Ms. Harris (unfortunately no relation at ALL) that there are a limited number of books left in this series. While I’m sad, it’s probably getting close to time. I’d rather be left wanting a little bit more, than watching the train wreck grind on a la Anita Blake.

The other book that I just plain want to read is Blood and Bullets by James R. Tuck. All the reviews have been so awesome and I love urban fantasy. And, I miss Harry Dresden. I like the idea of reading an Urban Fantasy series with a male narrator again. Although it sounds like Deacon Chalk gets his act together considerably faster than Harry did, which is probably a good thing, Chalk’s circumstances start out way worse. Blood and Bullets is definitely different, but in good ways I want to sink my “teeth” into. But not like the were-spiders! Eeew.

So come on, share with group! What’s on your wishlist? Will you be able to resist bringing it home?