Monday, March 15, 2010

Book Reviews: C.J.’s choice is Urban Fantasy

Welcome to our new theme!  Big thanks go to Wendy, our computer guru in the group, who worked diligently through illnesses to improve the layout and overall look to better match our style. Kudos!

This week starts off our first in reviewing books. Our goal is to have some book reviewers join the team permanently to either re-post reviews they’ve already done or to post new ones in our weekend spots. If you're interested, please contact us.

I’m reviewing Carole Nelson Douglas, who is by no means a new author but was new to me when I discovered her Urban Fantasy series, Delilah Street: Paranormal Investigator.

I've read all three books in the series, but will focus today on the first one, Dancing with Werewolves (Juno, October 2007, 394 pages).  Here is what Publisher’s Weekly had to say in its starred review:
“While the millennium revelation in this fantastic first of a new paranormal series might not be a shocker for urban fantasy fans—i.e., vampires, werewolves, witches and zombies come out of the closet after Y2K—Douglas (Cat in a Red Hot Rage) handles the premise with such spectacular style, it feels fresh. Delilah Street, who was only 11 in 2000, is now 24 and works for WTCH, a Kansas TV station, as a paranormal investigative reporter. When Delilah angers an undead coworker and is demoted, she moves to Sin City in hopes of finding a possible blood relative seen on CSI Las Vegas V. She gets a job with Hector Nightwine, the show's producer, and falls in love with Ric Montoya, a former FBI agent who finds corpses by dowsing. Douglas spices the action with fabulous characters: Quicksilver, Delilah’s protective dog; CinSims (Cinema Simulacrums), dead celebrities recreated via science and magic; the oldest living vampire in Vegas, once a famous aviator; and Cocaine (aka Snow), a devilish albino rocker. Readers will eagerly await the sequel.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s written in a first-person, past-tense style, has a strong heroine with a unique background and supernatural skill set. The world building that Ms. Douglas weaves into the story is seamless and well done. I was transported into her Vegas of the near future and loved her new angle on zombies and their potential uses.

She creates a very likable character in Delilah and I found myself drooling over Ric. The romance is a subplot in this book to the action and adventure, and it never overshadows the plot.  Every element—be it mystery, fantasy, action or romance—blends well and keeps you turning the page.

Dislikes: I felt the cover, and the ones following in books two and three, fell short and did not represent the excellent storytelling.  They looked a little cheesy, and thankfully, the intriguing book jacket was what pulled me in and prompted me to buy.

Book two ramps up the action and starts a story arc that concludes in book three, but I had a hard time getting through the third book. Perhaps it was my own life and the things I’ve had going on, but the direction Ms. Douglas takes the story with the new fantastical elements of an ancient Egyptian culture of vampires living under Vegas since before the pilgrims, left me with too many fantasy angles to juggle and a story that was, at times, hard to follow.

Overall rating on Dancing with Werewolves: 4/5 stars

Overall rating on series: 3.5/5 stars

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Mystery, or Paranormal Suspense. Anyone out there who’s read it? I’d love to hear your take!

Updates: Most all of you following the blog know I've recently obtained representation from agent Kristin Lindstrom.  As of Friday, my full MS for Vampire Vacation has been sent to seven New York publishers.  I'll keep you posted on the results once I hear something.

Please stop by our excellent contest page for details and new book postings—a new winner is picked every week! In addition, the Wicked Blog is up for nomination in the Author Blog Awards, please click on the link in the right sidebar and vote if you have the time - THANKS!


  1. Love the new look -- great job, Wendy (hope you're feeling better!). I loved Carole Nelson Douglas for her Irene Adler series -- she did such a great job weaving history with Sherlock Holmes lore and re-creating the character of Irene Adler.

    GOOD LUCK and Big Congrats on the NY Publisher news -- fingers crossed for you!!

  2. Thanks Nicole!

    I have this series in my Goodreads queue. Maybe I'll have to move it up quicker.

  3. I haven't read that series yet -- thanks for the tip!

    Thanks on the congrats, you know I'll keep you posted ;-)

  4. I need to start reading more often again. I have been slacking as of late. So, I'll add this series to the list of things to get.

    Great post! And congrats on the nomination! I'll go vote for you guys of course!

  5. Just wanted to let you guys know I enjoy reading your blog. I figured I needed to stop lurking and let you know that I do stop by.
    Adding the book review is a great idea. The Delilah Street series is now on my list of books to read. Great job guys!

  6. Hi Barbara!! I had no idea you ever stopped by! Thanks for finally saying hi and being brave enough to stop lurking ;-)

    I'm not sure if I mentioned it before - but when you told me you live in Arkansas I meant to tell you Pete's company is headquartered there. He works for Acxiom, not sure if you've heard of them. They're based in Conway.

    I sincerely hope one day I get sent on a book tour and can stop by your neck of the woods. I think some of the people he works with have supported me in contests and such too, so it would be terrific to meet everyone.

    I have to hold back from calling you "Auntie." You've been so great with your support and kindness that I wish we were related (and you remind me of my Aunt Sharon who is also a proud supporter--even if she isn't a vampire fiction fan, yet)!!

    Hope you stop by again!

  7. I think I will check these books out. Sound good, and Im always looking for something to read!

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