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SFF Author: Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong fantasy author(1968- )
Kelley Armstrong is married, has three kids, and lives in rural Ontario, Canada. After graduating with a degree in psychology, she studied computer programming. Currently, she’s a full-time writer and parent. Read excerpts of her novels at Kelley Armstrong’s website. Read about her urban fantasy series for teens (Darkest Powers) at the Cloe Saunders website.



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Bitten: Elena is a brat

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong is a very competent writer and her command of the urban fantasy genre is also really good. She knows how to manage dialogue and keep pace with both action and character development. So, Bitten, the first book of the Women of the Otherworld series, should be a great book, right?

Ok, I despised Bitten because the main character, Elena Michaels, is such a ridiculous brat that I simply couldn’t stand her. Armstrong has created such a completely unbelievable character that I was happy when the book was over and the totally predictable ending brought my suffering to a close. 


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Waking the Witch: Contrived setting, but enjoyable series

Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong is a fine addition to the Women of the Otherworld series. It relays the adventures of Savannah Levine, whom we met as a precocious orphan in earlier novels and who is now a grown woman. The mystery is strong, compelling, and reasonably twisted; the plot is well paced and packed with action; and the characters and their stories are, as always, strong. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the novel.

What’s not to like?


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Counterfeit Magic: Get a feel for Armstrong’s world

Counterfeit Magic by Kelley Armstrong

This year Subterranean Press has published several novellas written by authors who’ve been on my radar but not necessarily at the top of my To Be Read stack. These little books are a perfect introduction to such writers because they’re easy to read in a few hours and I can get the “feel” or “flavor” of the authors and their worlds without spending a lot of time engaged in a longer novel, one that may not even be the end of the story.

Kelley Armstrong’s Counterfeit Magic is a perfect example.


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Hidden: Armstrong packs a lot into this novella

Hidden by Kelley Armstrong

Upon receiving a review copy of Kelley Armstrong’s Hidden, I realized that I had only read a few books in her influential WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD series — and that the ones I had read weren’t the ones starring werewolf couple Elena and Clay. However, I had no trouble becoming engrossed in Hidden and understanding what was going on.

Elena is unusual in Armstrong’s universe; she’s the only known female werewolf.


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The Reckoning: Chloe Saunders is a great YA protagonist

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

While Kelley Armstrong is best known for her Women of the Otherworld series, which I have read and mostly enjoyed, I personally prefer her YA-geared Darkest Powers series. The Darkest Powers novels, which begin with The Summoning and The Awakening, detail the stories of Chloe Sanders, a girl raised in a wealthy yet non-magical home who, upon hitting puberty, discovers that she can see ghosts.

A misinterpreted incident at school leads to a diagnosis of mental illness and soon lands her in a halfway house for disturbed teens with serious psychological problems,


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The Urban Fantasy Anthology: Not what I expected it to be

The Urban Fantasy Anthology edited by Peter S. Beagle & Joe R. Lansdale

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of most urban fantasy. I tend to find problems with almost every urban fantasy book I’ve tried to read. When I got this book in the mail, I kind of rolled my eyes and shot it to the top of my “to be read” pile so I could get it over with fast. I didn’t expect to actually enjoy this book. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d open this anthology and think,


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Loki’s Wolves: Lacks so many quality elements

Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr

I’m going to start this review of Loki’s Wolves, the first book in a new series entitled THE BLACKWELL PAGES, by K.L. (Kelley) Armstrong and M.A. (Melissa) Marr, by saying that there is a good chance it really is a pretty decent Middle Grade book that a number of readers that age will enjoy. Not being that age, it is kind of hard for me to tell. That hasn’t stopped me from reviewing Middle Grade books before,


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Omens: Original new supernatural mystery series

Omens by Kelley Armstrong

I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I cheat on the fantasy genre. That femme fatale Mystery is often the one who lures me away. This year I’ve been feeling particularly… polygenreous… and Kelley Armstrong’s Omens was just what hit the spot when I wanted to have my cake and eat it too.

The CAINSVILLE series is a departure from Armstrong’s previous work in the WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD books. It’s heavier on the mystery, lighter on the fantasy,


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Visions: I boarded the wrong train

Visions by Kelley Armstrong

It always feels weird to write a DNF review for a book that’s not actually bad. There is nothing objectively wrong with Kelley Armstrong’s Visions, at least in the portion of it I finished, and it would be a perfectly fine read. For someone else. For me, it felt like I’d boarded a train that I thought was going to Albuquerque, and it turned out to be headed for Chattanooga instead. There’s nothing wrong with Chattanooga, but I’ve been there before, and I was really looking forward to that trip to Albuquerque,


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Lost Souls: A novella for CAINSVILLE completists

Lost Souls by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong’s Lost Souls is that quintessential three-star book. There’s nothing wrong with it, but at the same time, it didn’t blow me away.

It’s a CAINSVILLE novella that falls between book three, Deceptions, and book four, Betrayals. If you haven’t gotten that far, you’re in for a slew of spoilers, so I would recommend waiting and reading it in sequence. At the end of Deceptions,


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Dark Screams, Volume One: A short horror anthology

Dark Screams: Volume One edited by Brian Freeman and Richard T. Chizmar

Dark Screams: Volume One is the first of at least four volumes of short horror anthologies that are projected for publication through August 2015. The books are being published as ebooks only through Random House’s digital-only genre imprint, Hydra, for a bargain price of $2.99.

Volume One starts out with one of the most popular horror writers ever: Stephen King. “Weeds” was originally published in Cavalier,


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Led Astray: A collection of Kelley Armstrong short stories

Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong by Kelly Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong has published several series of urban fantasy and paranormal novels, including her WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD contemporary fantasy series, in which werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural creatures live alongside humans, and the CAINSVILLE series, focusing on the lives in and around a town with mysterious supernatural elements. Her latest book, Led Astray, is a collection of twenty-three short stories, many of them set in the worlds created in her series,


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A Stitch in Time: A time-slip romance with ghosts

A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong

A Stitch in Time (2020), by Kelley Armstrong, is a time-slip romance with ghosts. Bronwyn Dale has just inherited the old family home on the English moors. When she visited the house as a girl, she discovered she could pass back and forth between her own time and the Victorian era, and fell in love with a boy, William, who lived in the past version of the house. But her uncle died tragically, and Bronwyn was institutionalized for talking about William,


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Magazine Monday: Subterranean Magazine, Spring 2014

The Spring 2014 issue of Subterranean Magazine is as strong as this magazine ever is, and that’s saying a lot. Kat Howard’s story, “Hath No Fury,” stands out as a memorable work about the old gods in the modern age. It is a story about women who are victimized by men, and the women who refuse to allow those victims to go unavenged. Based loosely on the myth of Medea and Jason, the story is told in the first person by one of the Erinyes — the Furies — who in Howard’s contemporary New York are charged with avenging women murdered by husbands,


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Magazine Monday: Fantasy Magazine, Women Destroy Fantasy

Fantasy Magazine was folded into Lightspeed Magazine in 2012, but it came out of retirement in October 2014 for the Women Destroy Fantasy issue, one of the stretch goals of a Kickstarter for an all-women edition of Lightspeed. I was one of the contributors to the Kickstarter, and, as my review last week revealed, I greatly enjoyed the Women Destroy Horror issue of Nightmare Magazine that was another stretch goal of the same Kickstarter. I’m pleased to report that the fantasy issue is just as “destructive” and enjoyable.


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SHORTS: Jackson, Rucker, Ochse, Armstrong

Our reviews of free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. For this year’s Halloween week column, we offer a selection of haunted house stories. (The first story is admittedly pushing the boundaries of that classification, but it was too good to leave out.)

 

“The Man in the Woods” by Shirley Jackson (published 2014, free in The New Yorker)

Christopher, a college student, leaves school one day for reasons he can’t even articulate to himself, and walks for days through towns and fields,


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A Fantasy Medley: Wish it was longer

A Fantasy Medley edited by Yanni Kuznia

FORMAT/INFO: A Fantasy Medley is 136 pages long divided over four short stories and is published by Subterranean Press in two editions: A fully clothbound hardcover limited to 3000 copies and a numbered hardcover limited to 200 copies and signed by the authors and editor. Dust jacket by Kristy Doherty.

ANALYSIS:

1) “Zen and the Art of Vampirism” by Kelley Armstrong. “Zen and the Art of Vampirism” is an urban fantasy tale with all of the usual trimmings including a female protagonist,


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The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology

The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology by Christopher Golden (ed.)

FORMAT/INFO: The New Dead is 400 pages long divided over nineteen short stories. Also includes a Foreword by the editor Christopher Golden, and biographies on all of the anthology’s contributors. February 16, 2010 marks the North American Trade Paperback publication of The New Dead via St. Martin’s Griffin. Cover art provided by Per Haagensen. The UK version will be published on February 18,


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Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2

Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2 edited by William Schafer

EDITOR INFORMATION: William K. Schafer is the head editor at Subterranean Press, which was founded in 1995. Schafer’s bibliography includes Embrace the Mutation: Fiction Inspired by the Art of J.K. Potter and the first Tales of Dark Fantasy anthology.

ABOUT SUBTERRANEAN: TALES OF DARK FANTASY 2: Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy — published in 2008 to widespread critical and popular acclaim — provided a unique showcase for some of our finest practitioners of dark,


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The Monster’s Corner: Stories Through Inhuman Eyes

The Monster’s Corner: Stories Through Inhuman Eyes edited by Christopher Golden

FORMAT/INFO: The Monster’s Corner is 400 pages long and consists of 19 short stories. Also included is an Introduction by the editor Christopher Golden, and biographies of all of the anthology’s contributors. September 27, 2011 marks the North American Trade Paperback publication of The Monster’s Corner via St. Martin’s Griffin. The UK version will be published on the same day via Piatkus Books.

ANALYSIS: The New Dead was one of my favorite books of 2010,


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Urban Allies: Will please many fans of urban and paranormal fantasy

Urban Allies edited by Joseph Nassise

I’m always impressed when authors work together, and in Urban Allies, editor Joseph Nassise has managed to pair up twenty authors who not only collaborate, but merge their own characters into ten brand-new and original adventures. Each story shares a similar theme: popular characters from existing series or novels meet up and must join forces in order to defeat a common threat. Since these are urban fantasy authors, every story has a supernatural or paranormal aspect, though the situations and resolutions are completely unique to each tale,


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Next SFF Author: Edwin L. Arnold
Previous SFF Author: Jennifer Armintrout

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