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Vampire (Photo credit: virginsuicide photography)

November was a really bad month in a string of bad months.  And December isn’t looking much better.  I didn’t read much and none of it was what’s stacked up on my Kindle.  There are more than 350 books on my Kindle which really stresses me out, and that’s nuts since I read to relax.

On the up-side, what little I did read was entertaining and diverting from real life and I needed that diversion.  Here’s the lowdown:

Magic For A Price by Devon Monk

Urban fantasy.  Ninth and final book of the Allie Beckstrom series.  I thoroughly enjoyed this series.  It has a similar “flavor” to Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series (which I highly recommend).  Ms. Monk based this series in Portland, Oregon and she created a world where using magic is an everyday occurrence.  Big cities have wells of magic underground that are tapped for electrical, medical, and other uses.  Of course, some people use magic for less communal reasons.

This installment wraps up storylines stretching back to the beginning; most notably, Allie’s childhood and very strained relationship with her father.  It was an emotionally satisfying end.  I liked Allie and her motley crew.  I’ll miss this series, but in a good way and without disappointment.  The author did a great job the whole way through.

Highly recommend, but be sure to read the books in order because the story builds all the way through.

Haunted by Jeanne Stein

Urban fantasy.  Ninth in the Anna Strong, Vampire series.  One of the reasons I enjoy this series is because it’s set in my hometown, San Diego.  It’s fun to read about characters having adventures right in my backyard.  I have to giggle at how fast they’re able to cross the border or find parking at the beach — lots of artistic license!

This installment, like the one before, bumped along.  The plot is heavy, involving Mexican narco gangs and human trafficking.  Ultimately, our vampire heroine can’t save the entire population of North America from the drug wars (really, who could?).  I was left feeling, “So what?” about her efforts.  An ongoing storyline is wrapped up and there were more romantic entanglements.  I’ve grown weary of the disposable boyfriends.

It was a good book for fans of the series, but there was a definite sense of finality.  This may be the end of the road for Anna.

Darklands by Nancy Holzner

Book 4 of the Deadtown series.  I enjoyed the first three books of this urban fantasy series which focuses on zombies, vampires, werewolves, and magic.  But in this one, the protagonist drove me nuts.  If we’re relying on her to save the world, we’re screwed.  She’s flaky and becoming ever more immature.  She’s reverting instead of growing.  The action dragged as most of it took place on a different plane with different rules, but there was whining there, too.  I like my heroines with a lot more kick-ass.

Obviously, I’m escaping from a crappy reality in my choice of reading material.  What did you read recently that diverted you from your everyday life stresses?  Please share your recommendations!