Team Urban: 100 Words on Why Urban Fantasy is Awesome from Entangled Authors

Team Urban: Why I Love Urban Fantasy!

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Brenda Drake – Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers, #2):

I’m such a fan of Urban Fantasy for many reasons, but mostly because writers can take our normal world and, either secret or not, add a dash of the fantastical to it. With mystical creatures hiding from humans or living side by side with them, deliciously nefarious things can happen. There’s just something extraordinary about urban fantasy. It’s the ability of the writer to look at something normal in the human world and mix it up. Changing a simple book into something that can transport someone from library to library or hiding a zoo of magical beasts in a common suitcase.

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Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens. Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

Guardian of Secrets

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Chris Cannon – Fanning the Flames (Going Down in Flames, #4):

1. There are no maidens that need to be rescued in urban fantasy. More than likely the females are the ones kicking ass.
2. I love the snarky banter that occurs when you throw modern day characters into strange/magical/supernatural circumstances.
3. Anything is possible in urban fantasy. There are no rules about what types of paranormal creatures you can have. If you want to create dragons that breathe fire, ice, wind, sonic waves, and lightning, you can, just like I did in Going Down In Flames *cough cough shameless self promotion

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She isn’t afraid of anything…except losing the knight she loves. Bryn McKenna has it all, including her smoking-hot knight turned live-in boyfriend, Valmont. Even though she’s a hybrid dragon, she’s finally fitting into the new shape-shifting dragon world that’s become her own. But her grandparents want to ruin everything by making Bryn’s nightmare of an arranged marriage to Jaxon Westgate a reality. It doesn’t help that Jaxon’s father is on a witch hunt for Rebel sympathizers and Bryn finds herself in his line of fire.

If she doesn’t say, “I do,” she’ll lose everything. Good-bye flying. Good-bye best friends. Good-bye magic. But if she bends to her grandparents’ will and agrees to marry Jaxon, she’ll lose the love of her life—her knight.

Fanning the Flames

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Shonna Slayton – Spindle:

Urban fantasy reminds me that our own world is magical. We are so used to the way our world works that we take for granted how incredible it is that our heart beats, our brain imagines, that our eyes see color.

As a writer, urban fantasy allows me to open up my imagination on multiple planes. I still work with the real world, but I get to add layers onto that. It’s like going from black and white TV to color. Like Dorothy in dusty old Kansas stepping into the colorful land of Oz.

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In a world where fairies lurk and curses linger, love can bleed like the prick of a finger…

Briar Rose knows her life will never be a fairy tale. She’s raising her siblings on her own, her wages at the spinning mill have been cut, and the boy she thought she had a future with has eyes for someone else. Most days it feels like her best friend, Henry Prince, is the only one in her corner…though with his endless flirty jokes, how can she ever take him seriously?

When a mysterious peddler offers her a “magic” spindle that could make her more money, sneaking it into the mill seems worth the risk. But then one by one, her fellow spinner girls come down with the mysterious sleeping sickness…and Briar’s not immune.

If Briar wants to save the girls—and herself—she’ll have to start believing in fairy tales…and in the power of a prince’s kiss.

Spindle

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Tara Fuller – Inbetween (Kissed by Death, #1):

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Death doesn’t fall in love. Usually. Since the car crash that took her father’s life three years ago, Emma’s life has been a freaky—and unending—lesson in caution. Surviving “accidents” has taken priority over being a normal seventeen-year-old, so Emma spends her days taking pictures of life instead of living it. Falling in love with a boy was never part of the plan. Falling for a reaper who makes her chest ache and her head spin? Not an option.

It’s not easy being dead, especially for a reaper in love with a girl fate has put on his list not once, but twice. Finn’s fellow reapers give him hell about spending time with Emma, but Finn couldn’t let her die before, and he’s not about to let her die now. He will protect the girl he loves from the evil he accidentally unleashed, even if it means sacrificing the only thing he has left…his soul.

Inbetween

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Danielle Ellison – Salt (Salt, #1):

Whether it’s witches, demons, ghosts or other types monsters, there’s nothing like escaping the sometimes mundane reality of our world, or giving what we know every day a spice of fantasy. Filled with kick-ass heroines who aren’t afraid to fight for what they believe in (and hot, just-as-fierce love interests) Urban Fantasy inspires you look beyond what you see and be more than you think you can be. Plus, life is more with some magic: more dangerous, more unpredictable, more chaotic, more fun.

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Penelope is a witch, part of a secret society protecting humans from demon attacks. But when she was a child, a demon killed her parents—and stole her magic. Since then, she’s been pretending to be something she’s not, using her sister’s magic to hide her own loss, to prevent being sent away.

When she’s finally given the chance to join the elite demon-hunting force, Penelope thinks that will finally change. With her sister’s help, she can squeeze through the tests and get access to the information she needs to find “her” demon. To take back what was stolen.

Then she meets Carter. He’s cute, smart, and she can borrow his magic, too. He knows her secret—but he also has one of his own.

Suddenly, Penelope’s impossible quest becomes far more complicated. Because Carter’s not telling her everything, and it’s starting to seem like the demons have their own agenda…and they’re far too interested in her.

Salt

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Rachel Harris – My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, #1):

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On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits…right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore. Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century

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Gloria Craw – Atlantis Rising (Atlantis Rising, #1):

I love Urban Fantasy because it infuses normal life with myth and magic. It’s so exciting to have something in common with a character who finds a magic object, special ability or a secret origin. The possible ways her courage and passion might be tested are endless. When she does triumph against fantastic odds, I’m left feeling inspired and reassured that I can overcome great obstacles in my everyday life too. Urban Fantasy reminds me that the ordinary in us can sometimes be…extraordinary.

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We’ve stayed hidden too long… I am different. I have always been different, but no one can know or my life will be in danger. So I hide in plain sight, wearing drab clothes and thick glasses and trying to be invisible. I’m so good at hiding, no one has ever noticed me. Until Ian…the mysterious and oh-so-cute boy I know I need to avoid.

Now I have been seen. And more terrifying still, I am wanted—by those who would protect me and those who would destroy everything and everyone I love. But if they’re all terrified about who I am, wait until they see what I can do…

Atlantis Rising

Fantastic reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: Spindle by Shonna Slayton

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In a world where fairies lurk and curses linger, love can bleed like the prick of a finger.

Briar Rose knows her life will never be a fairy tale. She’s raising her siblings on her own, her wages at the spinning mill have been cut, and the boy she thought she had a future with has eyes for someone else. Most days it feels like her best friend, Henry Prince, is the only one in her corner…though with his endless flirty jokes, how can she ever take him seriously?

When a mysterious peddler offers her a “magic” spindle that could make her more money, sneaking it into the mill seems worth the risk. But then one by one, her fellow spinner girls come down with the mysterious sleeping sickness—and Briar’s not immune.

If Briar wants to save the girls—and herself—she’ll have to start believing in fairy tales…and in the power of a prince’s kiss.

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review

3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via Entangled and NetGalley

Briar is determined, nostalgic, and responsible. She adores her siblings and will do everything and make insane sacrifices just to keep them close. Briar is so unlike the original sleeping beauty; she’s a fighter and constantly on the lookout to improve her situation. She cares so deeply-she’s a heroine anyone can get behind. 

Henry Prince. He’s attentive, thoughtful, playful, and always a joy. Every time he came around the world was a better, brighter place, not only for Briar, but for the reader. BUT there’s nowhere near enough of him. His family history is a shocking and pleasant surprise. THAT story needed a more prominent place in the overall narrative, but it gets a quick summary that does not do it justice. 

Romance is an afterthought and it works well. Briar spends quite a bit of time mulling over a guy that’s all wrong for her and misses what’s right in front of her face. It may drive you crazy that she’s so blind, but it’s believable and sweet how oblivious she is. 

There’s a lot going on in this story. So much, that it gets a bit lost. Between the fairy tale elements and woman’s suffrage, the focus is skewed and it becomes less like fantasy, more historical. At the same time, there’s not enough in either arena to make a connection with the secondary characters. There are fleeting moments that give you some insight into their personality but then it flips to something new. 

The pacing was moderate to slow for the most part and then super slow. It takes forever to pick up from that introductory fairy tale feel. The Sleeping Beauty retelling kind of lurks in the background. Towards the end, the fairy tale magic explodes off the pages and sucks you right in. It’s dark, it’s twisted, and the toxic power of the spindle is unexpected. I wish these elements would have picked up sooner. 

Overall, Spindle is an enjoyable read that will keep you guessing and hoping for that happily ever after. 

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Charming reading, 

Jordan

Review & Giveaway: Cinderella’s Dress-Shonna Slayton

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Title: CINDERELLA’S DRESS

Author: Shonna Slayton

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Pub. Date: June 3, 2014

Pages: 340

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

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Being seventeen during World War II is tough. Finding out you’re the next keeper of the real Cinderella’s dress is even tougher.

Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she’s working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella’s dress, life gets complicated.

Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart shipped off to boot camp, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.

After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve.

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4/5 Stars

Cinderella’s Dress is a charming and quaint re-imagining of the classic fairy tale Cinderella. Set in the 1940s during the turmoil of WWII, Cinderella’s Dress combines the whimsy of a fantasy with the time-bending atmosphere of the early 1940s. Thrust into a world of magic, war, and the rise of woman’s rights, Cinderella’s Dress is a journey into historical fiction and folklore. 

PROS: 

  • The 1940s is brought to life with flair. It’s fused together with a combination of letters from the front and the role of women while their boys are off at war. It’s written in a simple, wonderful tone that captures the various personalities of the 40s. The women are each unique, from riveters to woman’s protests of body image and clothing confinement, the rise of feminism is subtle but powerful, reinforcing Kate’s own ambitions. The colloquialisms and dated exclamations easily allow you to become immersed in a time where the world was about sweethearts and battlefields.
  • Kate is feisty. She has little confidence in herself but she’s steadily braving the wrath of the times, going against the grain to fight for her dreams of being a window dresser, rather than a model. Her dream job was largely devoid of women and deemed a man’s job. Kate refuses to be defined by her gender and pushes her way into the hearts of the men, working her way up. Kate is hotheaded and lets her emotions boil until they explode into a fiery mess of anger and harsh words. While Kate is courageous in regards to her future career and minding her family secret, when it comes to standing up for herself and expressing her true feelings for Johnny, she’s timid and unsure. Kate’s juxtaposition of fierce confidence and  insecurity at her heart’s desire is very endearing and real, and parallel’s the classic Cinderella’s own misgivings.
  • The snippets of Polish culture are a delightful and dual purposed addition to this story. The family’s place as Polish Jews in the 1940s is done very well, in subtle and powerful passages aching of fear and quiet desperation to save those in danger. The Polish within the text is light and always explained. The techniques of embroidering, making colored eggs, and cooking add culture and a unique spin on Cinderella, making it more a matter of heritage than chance. 
  • Cinderella’s Dress is not at all what you’d expect when thinking of a Cinderella retelling. The reconfiguration of the fairy tale is unexpected and while it does have a close link to the original story is different enough to make it refreshing and surprising.
  • Kate and Johnny are darling together. There’s mild teasing and flirtation, and there’s something so innocent and authentic in their letters that you feel teleported and it’s easy to imagine Johnny propped up on a military bunk gazing at Kate’s letters longingly, and Kate’s secret smile as she write’s Johnny’s. It’s sweet, pure, and sometimes it feels as though there’s not enough of these perfect moments together. 
  • Dementia is not often dealt with in YA but Shonna Slayton does a fantastic job crafting the heartbreak and weariness, the earth-shattering sadness and unknowing of whether or not your loved ones with remember you. It’s compelling and upsetting, the interactions between the Oberlins are poignant and depressing, but lingering and full of hope for glimmer of memory. 

CONS: 

  • The step sisters’ descendants weren’t anywhere near as threatening or dangerous as they were made out to be. While the paranoia and fear atmosphere of the story was really well done, Kate is constantly looking over her shoulder and unable to trust her eyes, when the enemy finally does appear it’s anticlimactic and a bit of a let down. 
  • Mr. Allen is one of the most interesting characters as a Monument man but is left out of most of the story. I wanted to know more about his adventures in preservation but this does leave the plot open for a sequel. Some of the lesser characters were undeveloped and fleeting. Fran was mildly stereotypical and didn’t have much of a presence. 

 

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Shonna Slayton

Twitter/Goodreads/Pinterest

Shonna Slayton finds inspiration in reading vintage diaries written by teens, who despite using different slang, sound a lot like teenagers today. While writing Cinderella’s Dress she reflected on her days as a high-school senior in British Columbia when she convinced her supervisors at a sportswear store to let her design a few windows—it was glorious fun while it lasted. When not writing, Shonna enjoys amaretto lattes and spending time with her husband and children in Arizona. You can visit her website at shonnaslayton.com

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Cinderellas Dress blog tour prizes

1 Signed copy of Cinderella’s Dress, an Amber sun pendant set in sterling silver a Tatting shuttle and thread, a dress form ornament and bookmark swag. US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

6/2/2014- Zach’s YA Reviews– Review

6/2/2014- Dark Novella– Excerpt

6/3/2014- Angelic Book Reviews– Review

6/3/2014- Pages From My Thoughts– Interview

6/4/2014- YA Book Madness– Review

6/4/2014- The Cover Contessa– Guest Post

6/5/2014- Crossroad Reviews– Review

6/5/2014- Such a Novel Idea– Guest Post

6/6/2014- The NerdHerd Reads– Review

6/6/2014- Fire and Ice– Excerpt

Week Two:

6/9/2014- Racing To Read- Review

6/9/2014- Paranormal Book Club– Interview

6/10/2014- The Phantom Paragrapher– Review

6/10/2014- Addicted Readers– Guest Post

6/11/2014- Creating Serenity– Review

6/11/2014- Every Free Chance Book Reviews– Interview

6/12/2014- Si, Se Puede **link with YA Books Central review– Review

6/12/2014- A Backwards Story– Guest Post

6/13/2014- The YA’s Nightstand– Review

6/13/2014- Curling Up With A Good Book– Excerpt

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