Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Debbie Wiley | Finding Welcome Distraction in Urban Fantasy/Dark Fantasy Recs
Author Guest / June 18, 2020

Senior Reviewer Debbie Wiley 2020 has been a difficult year–a global pandemic, economic turmoil, and racial injustice finally being called out. . . Discussions about how to move forward are hard to comprehend, let alone actually have. As a social worker, I am in a position to see and hear about these issues firsthand, and there is much more work to be done. While I find myself scrolling through news posts and continuing to work through the things I want to improve on, I turn to my favorite way to find solace during difficult times–books. Urban fantasy and dark fantasy may not be the genres for everyone during all of this, but for me, escaping to a different world is a welcome distraction for a little while. Thankfully, there are a plethora of phenomenal books out there to keep me entertained! DEVOLUTION by Max Brooks is one heck of a scary thriller, particularly when read during this quarantine, and I can guarantee you’ll think twice about all those modern conveniences we take for granted (looking at you, Amazon one-click shopping, lol). Mt. Rainier has erupted, and the tiny ecological experimental town, Greenloop, is now cut off from the rest of…

Debbie Wiley | Urban Fantasy and Fantasy Escapist Reads
Author Guest / April 9, 2020

Times are stressful right now. Parents and teachers are learning how to implement distance learning, going to the grocery store feels like a live version of Pac-Man, and we’re all desperately hunting for toilet paper. Nerves are frayed as everyone fears that even the slightest cough could mean a dangerous virus has entered their home. Quarantines are the norm. Who would have thought this is what 2020 had in store for us? Now, more than ever, is time to stop, take deep breaths, and read some good books that take us all away to other places right now. Urban fantasy and fantasy are two of my favorite genres and fortunately, there are some phenomenal new books out there right now to dive into. Here are a few of my recent favorites: The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs is one of my go-to series when things seem depressing as Mercy Thompson Hauptman is one of the best kick-butt, loyal, and compassionate characters out there. SMOKE BITTEN is the latest in the series and things are definitely in a chaotic state in the Tri-Counties. Mercy’s mate and Alpha wolf, Adam Hauptman, has been emotionally distant, a rarity for a werewolf. There’s…

Debbie Wiley | New Urban Fantasy & Fantasy Novel Recs!
Author Guest / February 13, 2020

By Fresh Fiction Senior Reviewer Debbie Wiley Winter is in full swing in most of the country, while here in Central Florida we’re still trying to decide whether to even participate. So far temperatures are wildly swinging from the 40s to the mid-80s with a nice gusting of wind (all day for two days, I might add) thrown in just to keep us on our toes. So why does that matter? Because it’s the perfect weather to stay inside where I can adjust the heat or the AC (sometimes both during the same day!) and curl up with a book! Even better, January and February have given us some phenomenal urban fantasy/fantasy novels to choose from. Here are a couple of my favorites: Jennifer Estep concludes her Mythos Academy Spin-Off series with SPARTAN DESTINY. Rory Forseti, a Spartan and Mythos Academy student, and the rest of Team Midgard are determined to keep powerful artifacts out of the hands of the Reapers. Unbeknownst to the rest of Team Midgard, Rory has been secretly replacing real artifacts with copies. . . but will she be able to save her friends when their latest attempt to obtain an artifact goes sour?  I love…

Richard A. Knaak | Top 5 Unexpected Twists
Author Guest / March 27, 2019

It should be no surprise to both readers and writers that often a story will take turns not originally expected by the author. I’ve had this happen, but never so much as with my BLACK CITY SAINT series. Here, then, are the five that caught me most off-guard. 1) Minor characters who refused to be so minor – It’s nice to have a world populated by more than just the main characters. Each novel has its share of minor ones who, hopefully, give it more depth. One of the earliest was Barnaby, who was meant to be someone who Nick had helped, and so provided him with occasional transportation. Then I began to think about why Barnaby had needed Nick’s help, which brought in another supposedly minor character — Joseph, Barnaby’s son, and a very bad egg who had run afoul of Nick. Suddenly, the history of this pair turned the storyline I was working on in an utterly different direction. Joseph’s secret involvement with the Wingfoot Express airship disaster and how Barnaby now sought to help his son, currently a resident of the Dunning mental facility, have become essential elements of the series. 2) History lending a hand to…

Deb Wiley | Pets as Side Characters in Genre Fiction
Author Guest / February 18, 2019

Today we are joined by Senior Reviewer Deb Wiley, with an article all about charismatic pets as side characters in cozy mysteries, contemporary romance, and other fiction genres. Enjoy! Stories featuring pets are always a popular draw for me. Whether it involves a man borrowing someone’s dog to capture the interest of a woman, such as in Sarah Morgan’s NEW YORK, ACTUALLY, or a mysterious cat who keeps popping up at the most opportune times, such as in FINAL SHADOWS by Kay Hooper, dog and cat stories are almost guaranteed to be on my TBR shelf. But what about stories featuring some more unusual animals rather than the expected dog or cat? Here are a few of the more intriguing stories I’ve read with pets outside the norm. Kym Roberts is hands-down the winner for having the most unusual and most entertaining pet! Her Book Barn series features a bookstore owner, which already draws my attention. However, Charli Rae Warren’s pet pink armadillo, Princess, steals the show in almost every book. In KILLER CLASSICS, Princess gets a boyfriend.  I’m not going to spoil anything by saying more but if you love pets and other animals getting involved in the storylines,…

What’s Hot in April Urban Fantasy? You’d be surprised!
Urban Fantasy / April 17, 2010

Urban Fantasy…April takes you to celebrity-mad London, to the boarding school where the students aren’t quite just “normal” and roommates are hard-to-handle. Or take a trip to Georgia, it’s different than expected. All this and more in April Urban Fantasy… Richelle Mead, SUCCUBUS SHADOWS (Kensington, 3/30/2010, $15.00) Georgina Kincaid’s already complicated life just got a whole lot messier. Her new roommate is stirring all kinds of sexual tension. Adding to her angst, she’s being recruited to help plan the wedding of her ex, Seth–and she keeps getting visited by a shadowy force trying to draw her into the dream world. When she finally succumbs, Georgina is captured by dream demons intent on sapping her power. But when Seth turns out to be the only one who can find Georgina and bring her back, all kinds of new questions arise. And the answers will change her world forever. Patricia Briggs, SILVER BORNE (Ace, 3/30/2010, $24.95) (A Mercy Thompson Novel #5) When mechanic and shape-shifter Mercy Thompson attempts to return a powerful Fae book she’d previously borrowed in an act of desperation, she finds the bookstore locked up and closed down. It seems the book contains secret knowledge–and the Fae will do…

Alisa Sheckley/Alisa Kwitney | Borders
Uncategorized / May 19, 2009

Borders can be pretty dangerous places. People slip over them in the dead of night, bringing desperate travelers, contraband goods and stolen identities. I knew I was inviting in all kinds of delicious plot complications when I set my novel, The Better to Hold You, on an invisible boundary line between realities. I tried not to think about the complications I was inviting by setting my sequel, Moonburn, on the borderline between paranormal romance and urban fantasy. At first, when I thought about writing a sequel, I thought I would concentrate on another couple, and leave my main characters to get on with the business of living happily ever after. But the truth is, I’ve always had a bit of a problem believing that couples will transition straight from a passionately conflicted courtship to a stress-free marriage. In my novels, I’ve always ended things optimistically, but assumed that there was another book, never to be written, about what happened next. And all of a sudden, I wanted to write the forbidden book. In The Better to Hold You, my heroine, Abra, becomes infected with the lycanthropy virus and discovers how to listen to her instincts. But what if her condition…

Eve Kenin | Kick Butt
Uncategorized / July 2, 2008

We all do it every day of our lives. We handle the cooking, the cleaning, the job, the boss, the mustard spilled down the front of the white blouse just as we’re ready to leave the house, the sick parent, sick child, sick hubby or self. A shattered glass. A shattered dream. A mountain of laundry that seems to be growing exponentially. Carpool, car accident, kid throwing up in the car. We handle things that are bigger, or smaller. Things that get under our skin and stay to irritate, like sand in your bathing suit. Things that are so huge they would dwarf a whale. We handle them because we must. Is it always easy? No. But we do it nonetheless, sometimes with gritted teeth or a heavy heart, and sometimes with hard won grace. Which means there’s a little kick butt heroine inside us all. So what exactly is the kick butt heroine? She’s a woman who copes with anything that is thrown at her. It isn’t always easy for her, but she faces down the challenge before her and finds a way to surmount it. Physical strength is one weapon in her arsenal, but she’s also smart and…