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December 23, 2014

Loved It: Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

Series: Adventures of Owl 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Release Date: January 15, 2015
Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.

Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.


Finally the review! Sorry if this is a day late, this bookworm's social calendar spiked so pardon the delay. Anyway as I just published the Series 101 for Adventures of Owl  yesterday, I thought I'd address my questions myself and give you all feedback per point. 

What to Expect: Lots of action and interesting otherworldly characters. There's a dragon, a couple of nagas, nymphs, vampires, Japanese ghosts, skin walkers, and an adventure spanning continents. OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS starts off in Vegas then Kristi Charish takes us to the metro streets of Japan and its Harajuku district, then she had us looking for a scroll in an ancient temple in Bali, Indonesia, and finally going back to a haunted Vegas casino/hotel where hell breaks loose. It was a trip in every sense of the word so fasten your seat belts because it's going to be one heck of a ride!

Mythology & Cosmology: There's ins't a particular myth or pantheon that KCharish employed here. Owl's first adventure is more of  treasure hunt like Indiana Jones meets Lara Croft, as KCharish aptly made comparisons with, and the origins of this scroll isn't hinged on anything specific. Ironically Owl's real life adventure is very much like the MMRPG she's addicted to. On a side note, I love Owl's hobby and her whacked game friends.

Owl aka Alixandra Hiboux: Finally a heroine who is as bubbly, interesting, and colorful as the "sidekick". I love Owl so much I want to be her BFF! So Owl is some sort of a loner (I guess because of her job?) and this rolling stone lifestyle dulled her social skills and tact because Owl almost has no filter. She doesn't care about politeness or etiquette and barely has self control when it comes to courting danger. She's very entertaining and I so love her quips because it gets her in trouble 99% of the time. Oh and she has a super cool Mau cat named, Captain, who also serves as a vampire detector/alert.

Yes, and I still think you need to stay away from the supernaturals that are trying to kill you--and let's face it, with your mouth, that's almost all of them. - Nadya

The Others: Owl's BFF is the gorgeous and equally smart, Nadya, who is fun, quirky, and just as interesting as Owl. Nadya's a flirt, has a certain degree of fluency in ancient languages, covert, and very much like Owl. Then there's Rynn, Owl's pseudo therapist who also works as a bartender and has the hots for Owl. He's the "silent but deadly" kind of guy, not really an Alpha male, he's not domineering or on a power trip, Rynn has a certain strength and quietude about him that balances Owl's daredevil behavior. 

The Archetypes: There are some "archetypes" but just enough to make things familiar. KCharish didn't go crazy and made her creatures so unique they're practically a new breed of Supes. She merely put her own stamp on things to fit her story. For example, her vamps drink blood, they're allergic to garlic and has an aversion to UV light but they're power lies on the pheromones, which smells like lily of the valley, they give off to enthrall their prey. KCharish's dragon, yes! DRAGON! is clever, greedy, and scary. There are other creatures here and like I mentioned they're unique in their own way but the ones I mentioned headline OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS

Finally: I was really hooked on OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS from beginning to end. The human element of the story is great, Owl is a complex character and I find her flaws very endearing. KCharish's storytelling is upbeat, funny, and I love the fact that the focal point is not on the romance but on Owl's adventures. I love how the story is woven, the plot isn't layered but it's not static either. We might be on Owl's first adventure but I can already tell that there's a continuity to the story, not in terms of a series arc but the plot for Owl and the City of Angels has already started here. Anyway, I'm sure you'll be seeing this book around the sphere and if the reviewer gives OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS glowing reviews, BELIEVE IT! Adventures of Owl is a series that will be on a lot of people's list and I'm sure KCharish will have a huge and solid following because of it.


Don't forget to check out the GIVEAWAY where you can enter for a chance to win a signed copy of OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS. Contest ends 1.7.15.




Excerpt from Owl and the Japanese Circus, Chapter 3: Tokyo Rose
               I navigated the crowded platform until I located the train that would take me to the Shiyuba district, where Nadya lived. Not until I was sitting on the train and relatively sure no one had followed me did I turn my cell phone back on.
               Two messages blinked into existence on my screen; one from Oricho and one from Nadya. I checked my email—yeah international data plans—and still nothing from Lady Siyu yet, or Dragon Lady as I referred to her in my phone address book, where she’d never see it. I checked Oricho’s message first. All he said was that it was important, and to call him. Shit. Why bother leaving a message if you don’t leave any details? Why not just text? Nadya’s message was a more efficient use of long distance; she was going to be at the club late, so I was to just meet her there.
               I put my Bluetooth earbud in and called Oricho. He answered on the first ring.
               “Oricho? It’s Owl—please don’t tell me a pack of vampires are hot on my tail. If they are, so help me—”
               “Lady Siyu has successfully contacted the Paris Vampire Contingency on Mr. Kurosawa’s behalf and requested that I contact you with the information,” he said.
               Well, it wasn’t completely bad news. “Why the hell didn’t she just call me herself ?”
               Oricho paused for a moment. “Lady Siyu does not deal well with inefficient phone conversations,” he said carefully.
               “Oh, you got to be kidding me,” I said, just as the train pulled up to the next station. I checked the name printed in big black letters on the tile wall through the window; still six more to go. “Fine, well, what information did she get on Sabine?”
Another pause. Not good.
               “She said they were less than forthcoming with any relevant in- formation.”
               “That’s it? I thought you guys could make them talk?”
               “Though they were evasive throughout the entire conversation— eventually falling on the fail-safe that they couldn’t possibly keep track of every vampire in Paris—Lady Siyu is convinced they were attempting to obtain as much information from her as she was from them.”
               A chill went down my spine. Sabine was independent. “Fuck,” I said, drawing a few sideways glances. I could picture Oricho arching an eyebrow. For someone with so many visible tattoos, he sure as hell was prim and proper. “I don’t think I can stress how really not good this is.”
               “I’ve already arranged—”
               “No, you don’t understand. If she’s not with the Paris vampire pack—” I cupped my hand around my cell as a couple of other passengers glanced over at me. I lowered my voice. “If she’s not with them, then that means she’s independent.”
               “We did not agree to negotiate any other truces with other par- ties you’ve entered into disagreement with. That would be a separate agreement.”
               That kind of tunnel thinking pissed me off, and right when I’d started not hating Oricho. “You soooo aren’t getting it. I have no out- standing disagreements with any other parties. The Paris boys were it.” Well, and Egypt . . . and an assortment of antiquities departments spread over the world, but they’ve got no idea who I am. I took a deep
breath. Where to start explaining? Damn, this is why I work alone and under the radar.
               “OK, Sabine is a vampire who a major vampire organization wants info about. I’d never even heard of her until her vampire flunkie antiquities specialist showed up in your casino and accosted me. Right after I agreed to retrieve the egg scroll—to try to retrieve the scroll contents,” I corrected myself before continuing. “I don’t think this Sabine cares two tail feathers about me. I think you’ve got another tomb raider after the scroll that was supposed to be in that egg, who happens to be a vampire.“
               The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I’ll bet Sebastian hadn’t had any plans to shoot me. He’d probably been there to grab my notes and deliver me to Sabine. The fact that the Paris boys have been looking for me was just a convenient cover and the obvious conclusion we would jump to.
               I was still pissed off, so I took the time to slide another jab in . . . while I was far away from Vegas. “And since we’re talking about what we agreed to, I agreed to try and retrieve the scroll for Mr. Kurosawa in exchange for getting rid of my vampire problem. No- where in that agreement does it say I need to deal with your vampire problems.” Geez, when I say it like that, it sounds like vampires are some kind of infestation. I wonder if there’s some kind of high-tech vampire exterminator? I’ve never found one, but I’ve seen stranger. I was about to suggest it to Oricho, when he jumped back into the conversation.
               “How certain are you of this assessment?”
               I thought about it for a second. My reputation rests on transparency after all. “Let’s just say if I had to bet my life on motivation, that would be it.”
There was another measured pause on Oricho’s end. I didn’t blame him. If I found out a vampire was messing around with a business transaction . . . I imagine it’s a bit like finding out from a maid that the hotel is infested with bedbugs.
               “I will appraise my contact in Japan of our new situation and brief Mr. Kurosawa and Lady Siyu of your assessment.”
               A lot of good that was going to do me. She probably just thought I’d pissed off another vampire. “Fine, do that. Just don’t deal with it too late. Otherwise you’re going to need another antiquities specialist—”
               “In the future I will refrain from assumptions concerning the transparency of your business dealings. I recommend you do the same, and do try to be careful.” And with that Oricho hung up.
               I held the phone out for a moment. Damn, that had almost been an apology. I checked the name of the upcoming stop: Harajuku Station. My stop. I tossed my phone back in my pocket and grabbed Captain’s carrier, ready to push through the crowds waiting to get in. The door to the train slid open and Captain growled and crammed himself up against the carrier’s mesh. I froze. The faint rotting lily of the valley hit me. I held my breath.
               A Japanese woman in a pink Chanel suit stood in front of me. She glanced down at Captain, who was putting new meaning into the expression hissy fit, and then back at me. She smiled, revealing the slight points of her canines; nothing a normal person would notice, but I’m not normal. I swallowed, and it took every ounce of self-control not to bolt for the exit.
               People were getting restless on either side. Ignoring Captain, the vampire slipped around me into the train as I stood frozen. I forced myself to step onto the platform. I knew I should keep going and not look back, but I’m not known for making wise choices under pressure. I glanced over my shoulder. The vampire in the pink Chanel-style suit was standing by the open train door.
               She smirked at me. “Nice cat,” she said in perfect English right before the door closed.
               I shook my head and headed upstairs. “Just a local vampire,” I whispered through Captain’s carrier screen. “Nothing to worry about, but nice catch,” I said, and tossed him a cat treat from the stash in my pocket.







Kristi is the author of a forthcoming urban fantasy series OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS (Jan 13th, 2015, Simon and Schuster Canada/Pocket Books), about a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. She writes what she loves; adventure heavy stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists, pop culture, and the occasional RPG fantasy game thrown in the mix. The second installment, OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS, is scheduled for release Jan 2016.

Kristi is also a scientist with a BSc and MSc from Simon Fraser University in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and a PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. Her specialties are genetics, cell biology, and molecular biology, all of which she draws upon in her writing. She is represented by Carolyn Forde at Westwood Creative Artists.


Follow Kristi
Website | @kristicharish | Facebook | Goodreads | Google+ | Wattpad








21 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I think most everyone will love this book, given that you're a UF lover

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  2. I have been seeing this around a lot lately and it looks fabulous! I am so glad you loved it. I think I may have to grab this one with my gift card I know I will be getting for Christmas. :)

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    1. You will see more of it, spending a few bucks to grab this is worth every penny :)

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  3. I'm glad you had a nice time as well with this one, I really liked it as well, so fun to read it! Curious to discover book 2. thanks for the review!

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    1. Eager to compare notes with you, Melliane :)

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  4. Oh! Some how I missed your other post about the series. I love Indy Jones/Lara Croft style adventures. And you mentioned 'dragon' so I'm in.

    Loved your review!

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    1. I saw you back there, thanks for going back and checking both posts out :)

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  5. I like books with heroines that have a good personality. This sounds like a really good adventure type of book. Nice review, SW.

    Grace @ Books of Love

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    1. Owl has the "sidekick" personality: fun, adventurous, unfiltered. You'll definitely like her.

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  6. Awesome! I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Braine as I've been waiting for someone to review it just so I can read my copy. Lol. It sounds like a wholly imaginative world. And you got me looking forward to meeting Owl. :)

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    1. Give it a shot, I know you don't read books like this much but maybe this will be the exception?

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  7. Sounds really good, Braine! I love strong female characters, and I think the fact that Owl is now a thief would make me root for her in a strange way :)
    Great review!
    Merry Christmas, Braine :)
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. You and Owl will get along just fine :)

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  8. Oh that sounds fun. Love that "omg I would SO be her friend" feeling about a heroine :D

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  9. Yay! I'm so happy that you loved this! I pre-ordered it yesterday for Kindle and can't wait to get it!

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  10. I had a hard time getting into this one, but I'm glad you enjoyed it. Hope you're having a great weekend!

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  11. dragons and a treasure hunt..dang I added this to my list!

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