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Diaries of an Urban Panther by Amanda Arista
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Diaries of an Urban Panther (2011)

by Amanda Arista

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Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

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.

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. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Apr 29, 2012 |
This was almost a four star for me, but for the severe need for better proof reading. Fortunately, the errors weren't the "limited grasp of written English" kind but the "need fresh eyes to catch typos" kind. A few times I wondered if something was an error or deliberate (e.g. "winced loudly"). With the number of obvious errors, it's hard to assume it's a creative choice.

Still, I enjoyed reading this book. The beginning was strong and although events flowed logically, they weren't so obvious that I could see ending chapters ahead. I appreciated the well-rounded characters and their interactions. As the beginning of a series, the author avoids the mistakes of overloading the story with too many characters or unnecessary world building details.

Overall, a little more polish and I would definitely recommend this book. I'm looking forward to future books in this series. ( )
  karyanca | Oct 26, 2011 |
*Please Note: It is important to know this review applies only to the uncorrected proof provided to me by the publisher and may have no reflection on the final product*

I've been reluctant to write a review for this book because I would like to give the author and publisher the benefit of the doubt. Diaries of an Urban Panther was provided to me as an uncorrected proof in e-format from the publisher. There is always a clear warning in these editions that as an uncorrected proof, things are subject to change, however usually books I have read that have been described as such are as close to the final text as expected. Unfortunately in this instance, the book read as if a first draft submission, and it really affected by ability to connect with it.

I quite liked the general premise, panther shapeshifter's are something a bit different and the characters are likeable. Violet Jordan discovers her destiny when she is attacked by a monster in the alleyway beside her house. Violet is part of a prophecy that identifies her as the Guardian of the Veil, and . Supported by her watcher, the attractive yet brooding, 'Stalker boy' and an elder,Iris, her task is to stop a demon from crossing over at the behest of a corrupt leader, Haverty and save her best friend's life. All the potential is there, I liked Violet's attitude and Chaz is appealing as the romantic interest, there is action, romance, danger and mystery but...

It wasn't just the frequent spelling, word usage, grammar and punctuation errors, that are really only minor irritants though still in numbers I would not expect. My complaints are more about the structure of sentences and scenes. Repetition is a real problem, not only of one particular word through the whole novel - 'chilled' and it's variations are overused, but also within one or two sentences one word could be repeated three or four times unnecessarily. An example would be this sentence verbatim from the text- 'A disbelieving laugh choked out. I was caught somewhere between disbelief and delirium. "You knew. The whole time, didn't you," I asked disbelievingly.' - this type of sentence occurs regularly throughout, and is something I would expect an editor to note and rewrite almost immediately. I also noticed some small inconsistencies in action and character related to the poor sentence structure, a lead in sentence to the action, and then a paraphrased sentence to describe the actual action. This was easily my biggest issue with the book but there were also some things that made no sense to me, one of those being I could not figure out why Violet so often referred to her self inexplicably as 'little', the other, that the reference to 'diaries' in the title has no relevance to the story at all.

Diaries of an Urban Panther has a solid storyline and the potential to be an interesting series. I want to add I really struggled with the decision to publish this review, however part of the role of an advance reviewer is, I think, to alert to potential issues that a reader feels strongly about. So here is my dilemma - I can see the potential in the storyline but I was completely distracted by what I perceived to be a glaring lack of editing, from my perspective as an experienced reader. I'm willing to believe that perhaps the wrong file was distributed, or that before it is released it will be more thoroughly assessed, and the final novel will have none of the problems that I believe are in evidence in this uncorrected proof, hence the disclaimer at the beginning of this review. I am also willing to accept that it is only I who feels this way and others will love it, I couldn't find any other reviews online to compare my thoughts with so I encourage you to take note of other opinions of the final published edition when they are available. ( )
1 vote shelleyraec | Jul 1, 2011 |
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As I stepped into the crosswalk, the boy next to me ran across the white stripes to his mother's waiting minivan.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062114743, Mass Market Paperback)

Violet Jordan Rule #1 of being a superhero: No tights.

Dear Diary,

By now you know I‘m hardly a normal girl. Last night I woke up naked in an alley after fighting off some werewolves. All in a day‘s work, I guess. I thought I was dealing pretty well with the whole werepanther thing: the training, the apocalyptic prophecies. And the hot guy following me around, protecting me at every turn, is definitely a bonus. I‘m even starting to become accustomed to the bloodshed and the violence—and that‘s what scares me. What will tomorrow bring? . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:42 -0400)

Violet Jordan Rule #1 of being a superhero: No tights.Dear Diary,By now you know I'm hardly a normal girl. Last night I woke up naked in an alley after fighting off some werewolves. All in a day's work, I guess. I thought I was dealing pretty well with the whole werepanther thing: the training, the apocalyptic prophecies. And the hot guy following me around, protecting me at every turn, is definitely a bonus. I'm even starting to become accustomed to the bloodshed and the violence—and that's what scares me. What will tomorrow bring...… (more)

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