Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Georgia reviews Tales From Null City by Barb Taub

Today’s review is from Georgia, she blogs at http://www.georgiarosebooks.com

rosie3

Georgia chose to read and review Tales From Null City by Barb Taub

23925317

Tales from Null City – Payback is a Witch and Just for the Spell of it by Barb Taub

Because I’ve never read much fantasy I really enjoyed reading these stories as they fed my imagination with the other worlds that can be created out there. Payback is a Witch is the story of a young witch, Claire Danielsen, whose powers are not yet fully developed, and whose goddess is an overly large cat and Peter Oshiro, a warden who polices a delicate truce between those who are human and those who are not.

These two have met before, had history and when they meet again their relationship starts off tentatively as Peter is sent to be her, unwanted, bodyguard. Pushed together the chemistry soon starts fizzing but there is danger coming for Claire, encircling the house which is the centre of her power and it takes all her efforts to hold off what is out in the woods waiting for her. I won’t give anything else away but there is so much I loved about this is a wonderfully told story, which has Taub’s humour shining all the way through it, that I’m itching to tell you so you will just have to read it for yourselves instead.

Just for the Spell of it tells the story of partners who work cases for the Accords Agency. Liam is an ungodly soccer-playing card sharp and Eirie is a beautiful punk fairy princess who has her own daytime radio talk show. Their banter is sparky and the humour in this brilliantly written story had me smiling along throughout. I loved the relationship between Liam and Eirie growing from one thing, where they kept ignoring what was going on between them to a sizzling other with a baby thrown in to add to the mix.

This is the second wonderful book I’ve read from this fabulous author and I shall certainly be checking out more of her work as she manages to balance light-hearted entertainment whilst still putting her characters in life threatening situations – brilliant!

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book review Team #RBRT Georgia reviews Don’t Touch by Barb Taub

Today we have a review from team member Georgia, she blogs at http://www.georgiarosebooks.com

rosie3

Georgia read and reviewed Don’t Touch by Barb Taub

19229825

Don’t Touch – Null City Book II by Barb Taub

5*

Until now I had viewed the Null City books from a bit of a distance thinking that I don’t really do fantasy, let along urban fantasy – whatever that may mean – and I’m certainly not YA so these can’t be for me. Right? Wrong…how wrong could I be? I was hooked from the moment I read this:-

‘Hope flares each morning in the tiny flash of a second before Lette touches that first thing. And destroys it.’

Lette (short for Roulette, fabulous name!) is our heroine here and she has a pretty tough time from the moment she hits 13 and inherits the family ‘gift’ where whatever she touches each day changes form. Some days this is great, diamond rings and opals appear alongside cup cakes for example, on other days life becomes precarious when her touch causes things to levitate or explode. Lette learns to cope. She wears vinyl gloves all the time to protect others and isolates herself to live alone. Stefan arrives in her life one day encouraging her to come with him to Null City where they can live a normal life. Stefan, you see, has his own family legacy he is trying to escape from and for a brief time Lette is able to experience the blossoming of a romance. The ‘cure’ of Null City doesn’t go to plan for Lette and she has to move on making another contact with Rag, an ex-angel with boundary issues, along the way.

I can’t begin to tell you how entertaining this book is. I’ve loved Taub’s writing on her blog for a while now, it’s perceptive and witty and this book is no different. A strong, beautiful heroine (who doesn’t see herself as that) with a superpower that is both humourous and heart-breaking, an original story, handsome hero’s with their own tragic pasts, a hopeful but ultimately doomed romance and plenty of action…oh and there’s an evil cat, George, …what more could you want in a book!

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Liz reviews Tales From Null City by Barb Taub

Today’s book review comes from team member Liz, she blogs at http://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

rosie3

Liz chose to read Tales from Null City by Barb Taub

23925317

Tales from Null City by Barb Taub

This book contains two stories; the first and longest is Payback is a Witch.

I would not usually pick up a fantasy book as my first choice, but I have found that those written for YA are by far the best. Fantasy requires an inventive mind, creative ideas and preferably, a sense of humour. Luckily Barb Taub has all three, in spades.

As far as I am concerned, you are on to a winner if you live with an enormous Norwegian Forest cat, called Bygul, especially if she is also a goddess who can vanish. But the real heroine of this story is Claire Danielsen, a young witch struggling to continue the work her mother and grandmother did before her. Living alone in the woods she channels the power given to her by her goddess in order to fight evil. Six years earlier she had trained as a Warden to protect the innocents against those who plan to destroy Null City, alongside Peter Oshiro, whom she had loved and walked away from, but now he is back in her life.

Claire’s character is particularly well developed. We feel her confusion, her determination and her pain. She tries to shield Peter from harm and to maintain her lonely independence as the increasing danger of Barghests, the Black Hounds, and the unsolved mystery of her mother’s death cause her to banish both him and her goddess, Bygul.

Barb shows the reader how Claire becomes aware of the threat around her very effectively using these words,

“The blackboard-scratching itch in her brain had intensified until it now felt like claws slashing inside her head.”

This is a great read for excitement, tension, romance and a twist in the tail.

 

The second story, Just for the Spell of it, is a shorter and lighter tale with less feeling of impending doom although there are parallels with the first story. Once again there is a female heroine with special powers with an attractive male sidekick. Eirie Danu is a radio DJ with a popular bubbly personality; Liam, her fellow Warden, is a serious, unemotional young man in person, but he is also a zany prankster who rings up her radio show with daft messages.

Eirie and Liam are given the task of finding a missing Argentinian soccer player and a baby who is apparently Eirie’s sister. We discover that Eirie was the daughter of the Queen of the Fae from a land of eternal youth but Eirie had abdicated as heir when she thought her mother had died several years ago.

We accompany Eirie and Liam through frightening adventure and a roller-coaster relationship as she reveals to him that she is more than just a fun loving girl and they both make decisions about commitment.

These two refreshingly different tales are well worth investigating and I will certainly be seeking out the earlier books to learn more about Null City.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Special Offer For Christmas and the Holidays from Barb Taub

 

Krampus and St. Nicholas visit a Viennese home in 1896 [photo credit: public domain]

Christmas in Austria is not for the faint hearted. While a familiar St. Nicholas does make the rounds, in many Germanic traditions he’s accompanied by a terrifying beast called the Krampus whose job is to punish – and even take away – naughty children. With his curling horns, long red tongue, and tail, the Krampus is enough to chill any heart. [Krampus and St. Nicholas visit a Viennese home in 1896 photo credit: public domain]

As the villain of Don’t Touch, the Krampus is a monster who literally feasts on the fear and terror he inspires in children. The demon who threatens Stefan and Lette is a cornered beast, an anachronism whose ever-diminishing influence only makes him more desperately dangerous.

The other inspiration for this story is the image of Rapunzel. But in Don’t Touch, Lette isn’t the helpless girl awaiting rescue by her prince. Instead, I go back to the origins of the folk story in sources such as Giambattista Basile’s Tale of Tales from 1616, where she is actually the hero who rescues herself and her children, and then saves her lover. Like her earliest predecessors, Lette is a tough, self-reliant young woman who tells her would-be prince, “If I need rescuing, I’ll do it myself.”

Hope flares each morning in the tiny flash of a second before Lette touches that first thing. And destroys it. Her online journal spans a decade, beginning with the day a thirteen-year-old inherits an extreme form of the family “gift.” Every day whatever she touches converts into something new: bunnies, bubbles, bombs, and everything in between. Lette’s search for a cure leads her to Stefan, whose fairy-tale looks hide a monstrous legacy, and to Rag, an arrogant, crabby ex-angel with boundary issues. The three face an army led by St. Nicholas' legendary dark shadow, the Krampus, who feeds on children’s fear. But it’s their own inner demons they must defeat first.

Hope flares each morning in the tiny flash of a second before Lette touches that first thing. And destroys it. Her online journal spans a decade, beginning with the day a thirteen-year-old inherits an extreme form of the family “gift.” Every day whatever she touches converts into something new: bunnies, bubbles, bombs, and everything in between. Lette’s search for a cure leads her to Stefan, whose fairy-tale looks hide a monstrous legacy, and to Rag, an arrogant, crabby ex-angel with boundary issues. The three face an army led by St. Nicholas’ legendary dark shadow, the Krampus, who feeds on children’s fear. But it’s their own inner demons they must defeat first.

My final message in Don’t Touch is that we build our own towers. They can provide safety; they can even be gorgeous and appealing, but if they keep us from truly living our lives or cut us off from others, they are still our prisons. I think that’s one of the things I love the most about the holiday season. No matter how often we hear them, those messages of peace and goodwill just keep reminding us of our connections to each other. More sophisticated folk can turn up noses at the consumerism and the crowds, but I believe the reason we all come back for more every year is that basic gift of hope and belief.

It’s that belief that inspires my holiday appeal to you. In most of my stories, an animal companion plays a prominent role—from George, the grumpy cat in Don’t Touch to Bygul, the bitchy feline goddess of Payback is a Witch. My own life has been immeasurably enriched by my dog Peri who came from a shelter in eastern Washington State, and by the friends (feline, canine, and the occasional rodent) rescued by the dedicated members of many shelters.

BArb and Peri

Barb and Peri

 

100_0854

Peri ate the Thanksgiving Apple Pie!

 

Cat and dog

 

In thanks, therefore, I will donate all royalties on sales between now and January 1, 2015 from Don’t Touch as well as the newly released set (Payback is a Witch and Just For The Spell Of It) to the following wonderful organizations:

  • USA: No Kill Advocacy Center. Headed up by Nathan Winograd, the No Kill Advocacy Center movement is revolutionizing shelters across America.
  • United Kingdom: DogsTrust. Active since 1891, this no-kill shelter rehomed almost 15,000 dogs last year.

 

As a special incentive, both Don’t Touch and the brand new release set, Tales From Null City (containing Payback is a Witch and Just For The Spell Of It), will be listed at the sale price of $0.99 in the USA, and £0.77 in the UK.

Both make wonderful holiday reads, while at the same time supporting the work of the no-kill shelter movement. Please help ensure that animals are not left unsheltered during the very difficult winter months to come. To help, please order a book by selecting one of the following links:


Claire Danielsen is a young witch whose goddess is house cat of unusual size. Peter Oshiro is a Warden policing a delicate truce between those who are human and those who... aren't. It just would have been nice if someone told them the angels were all on the other side.

Claire Danielsen is a young witch whose goddess is house cat of unusual size. Peter Oshiro is a Warden policing a delicate truce between those who are human and those who… aren’t. It just would have been nice if someone told them the angels were all on the other side.

Liam is an ungodly soccer-playing card sharp on a mission from God. Eirie is a beautiful punk fairy princess with her own daytime radio talk show. They’ve worked cases for the Accords Agency before, but with war between realms looming and her baby sister as the bargaining chip, partnering just got personal.

Liam is an ungodly soccer-playing card sharp on a mission from God. Eirie is a beautiful punk fairy princess with her own daytime radio talk show. They’ve worked cases for the Accords Agency before, but with war between realms looming and her baby sister as the bargaining chip, partnering just got personal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Barb: blog | twitter | facebook