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I Belong

Review: Dairies of an Urban Panther by Amanda Arista

Title: Diaries of an Urban Panther

Author: Amanda Arista

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Diaries of an Urban Panther (Book 1)

Publication Date: July 26, 2011

Format: Paperback, 432 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062114743 (HarperCollins/Avon)

ISBN-13: 978-0062114747 (HarperCollins/Avon)

Reviewed by: Kiwi


Violet Jordan thought the fairy tales her mother wove were just a way to get Violet to sleep, not a way to prepare her for the apocalypse she is the key to preventing. When she becomes a midnight snack for werepanther Spencer Haverty, his infectious bite invokes the first element of her destiny. When Violet’s budding instincts allow her to save a boy’s life, she realizes this new gig may come with perks: a slimmer figure, the attention of a handsome Guardian, and insights into her future embedded in her mother’s stories. But as push comes to claws, can Violet make the fatal strike against the men threatening her new family, her new home and her first boyfriend in ages?

Quick & Dirty: Rawr!

Opening Sentence As I stepped into the crosswalk, the boy next to me ran across the white stripes to his mother’s waiting minivan.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Why do the reviews always seem harder to write when you really like the book? This one had a bit of a slow start for me, actually took me two full episodes of Angel to talk myself into picking it up again after reading the first few pages and having to put it down to put the kids to bed. But I can tell you that, at three in the morning when I finished reading the book, I was glad I had found the motivation. But not so happy about the circles under my eyes this morning. And yep, half an episode of NCIS later, and I still can’t sit and write up the meat of this review. Pathetic! You would think that liking the book would just make the words pour out of you, excitement about spreading the word leading the way. Yeah. Right!

Violet is just your average, every day Jane. Well, she was until an attack by a massive black supernatural…thing leaves her with enhanced abilities and an urge to howl at the moon, well actually meow at the moon is more like it. As a writer of cheesy B-rated horror flicks, Violet is aware of the paranormal on a fantasy level, but never in her wildest scripts had she considered that these things could be real. But, unfortunately, like most characters in a novel, Violet must learn this particular lesson the hard way. And, as it turns out, these things have been closer than she could have dreamed, as close as her own mother. Good news is, she takes to being a panther shifter like a natural, becoming even more powerful than anyone could imagine.

Enter into the story Charles Garrett, protector of…well the world I guess. Belonging to the Cause, a group of paranormal types that go where they are directed, protecting those who need it, in this case a newbie shifter. But duty turns into something else when faced with an overwhelming attraction to a beautiful woman, who just happens to be his most recent charge. This attraction is a problem for him, in more ways than one, as once her attacker’s identity is revealed, it takes him back to a past he cannot forget, and a person he will not forgive.

This story now takes a turn towards destiny, faeries, epic battles and the end of the world. And, don’t they all. This book’s particular brand of nastiness features the exiled son of an evil shifter kingpin, his apparent creation of a new panther, and the bringing forth of a demon from a prison realm. All in a nefarious days work, as it were.

Like any good tale, the hero and heroine find themselves victorious in the end, and they also find each other. Looking forward to see if they are able to work out the kinks in their relationship, hope the answer to that final question is a happy one. And maybe a little love for Violet’s besties would be fun.

Notable Scene:

I ran and the beast followed. Ran like a woman chasing a marked down pair of Jimmy Choo’s.

I ran in a huge circle, leaping over desks, hurdling over tables. The beast destroyed everything behind me, not being lithe enough to duck anything. I tried not to laugh as I thought I really knew what a bull in a china shop might look like now.

I caught a flash of where Haverty was perched. As I ran, I picked up the heirloom silver knife that had stuck me like a prize pig and tossed it up to Haverty.

And then I stopped running and turned to face it. The beast stopped too.

I crouched down before it and caught his eyes. I got the distinct impression he was enjoying this. The chase, the game of cat and mouse, and I was small enough to be the mouse in this situation.

Shifting my weight from one foot to the other, I leaned forward on my hands and something cold touched my hand. A flash of silver. Out of my peripheral, I saw Haverty’s cane just within reach. I reached for it and the handle pulled away the black polished piece of the cane and a dagger slid from the end of the handle. Sneaky bastard.

I looked up at the beast as I slowly picked up the dagger.

It growled at me and I felt the power hidden within the beast. Just as it was about to pounce and start the chase all over again, Haverty leapt. Landing on the beast’s shoulder, he rammed the knife into the base of the panther’s skull.

The cat screamed and reared up on its hind legs, exposing its chest.

The world seemed to slow for a moment and I realized Haverty was just going to piss it off. The center of power wasn’t in the brain, it was in the chest. Like Chaz’s lion heart.

As the beast reared up, my hold on the dagger tightened. I slid in and under the great paws and rammed the dagger into the beast’s chest, just under the breastbone and straight for the heart.

It fell forward on top of me, his claws ripping into me as it ground my shoulder blade into the cement beneath.

The beast flailed up again, bucking Haverty from his back. The man went flying, crashing into some unknown piece of furniture.

As the beast fell back down, I rolled away to a safe distance. It landed heavy on the ground next to me and the blood poured out of the relatively small wound place just in the exact spot. The dark eyes were going glassy and the beast moved its head to look at me.

I stood, holding my arm, and stepped closer to the body. Its breaths were few and far between. Moving in a little closer, I reached for the dagger from the wound and as my hand touched the silver, I felt the power within the great beast going dark. The knife came out with a sucking sound and the cat took its last breath.

The Dairies of an Urban Panther Series:

1. Diaries of an Urban Panther

2. Claws and Effect

FTC Advisory: HarperCollins/Avon provided me with a copy of Dairies of an Urban Panther. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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