Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂
I discovered this series while book three was still being written (the author published it as a free weekly(ish) serial). I adored book one and dove right into book two, then had to suffer until the third was finished. The world is so imaginative and fresh, I was pulled right in. The banter and wit of the characters, the overall storyarc and the world make this a must read.
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles
Also in this Series: Sweep in Peace, One Fell Sweep
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy
Release Date: December 2, 2013
On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina. And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….
Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.
Order the Book:
Dina runs an Inn for otherworldly beings. In order to keep Earth safe from other races with superior technology, it was made a neutral stopover point and Inns were set up to house travelers. The first priority of Innkeepers is to keep their guests safe, while keeping their existence a secret from the outside world. Gertrude Hunt is Dina’s inn. It’s a fledgling inn that was dormant for a long time and doesn’t have a lot of power. She has one permanent guest and not a lot else going on. As the series develops so does the story and the list of regular characters. We even see some crossover from The Edge series.
It’s an inn, a neutral ground. An abnormality in the ordinary reality of this planet or whatever passes for it. I’m an innkeeper. Here I’m supreme. If you are accepted as a guest, you fall under my protection and as long as you stay here, you will enjoy the right of sanctuary. For various reasons, Earth is a way station for many travelers. We’re the Atlanta of the galaxy: many beings stop here for a layover. Some are alien and some are not. The innkeepers maintain the order, provide them with a safe place to stay, and minimize the population exposure and the bloodbath that could result. Nobody wants a worldwide panic. It has been so for hundreds of years.”
Dina crosses paths with Sean Evans, her neighbor and an alpha-strain werewolf. They start a mild flirtation, which is entertaining and fun. There’s a lot of humor.
“He’s not repressed,” I said. “He’s spent the last two months marking every inch of what he considers his territory.”
Caldenia raised her eyebrows. “You saw him?”
I nodded. Even in the dark Sean Evans was difficult to mistake for anyone else. It was the way he moved –a supple, powerful predator on the prowl.
“Did you get a glimpse of his equipment?”
Caldenia shrugged. “I just want to know if it’s ample. A natural curiosity.”
Sure, curiosity. “I have no idea. He was relatively modest about it and I didn’t linger.”
“There is your mistake.” Caldenia sipped her tea. “Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero, my dear.”
“I’m not interested in seizing any of Sean Evans’ days.
Caldenia is a fugitive who signed a treaty with Dina to remain a permanent guest of the Inn. Dina will keep her safe inside the sanctuary of the Inn, as long as Caldenia doesn’t kill another guest. As a living entity, the Inn needs guests go flourish and thrive.
You’ve had no unusual guests?”
“Ahh, yes. Not many people would’ve taken her in. I imagine she pays well, but the trouble she brings can’t possibly be worth the fee.”
“It’s wasn’t the money,” I told him. “Although it was welcome. The inn needed a guest.”
Brian smiled. “Ahh. Your parents would be proud. People of your age don’t always understand that simple truth: the inns require guests to flourish.”
The Inn itself is where Dina gets her magic from. It’s capable of rearranging itself, and providing security when needed.
I looked into the wolf’s eyes. “I’ve never considered killing you.”
“But now I’m tempted.”
“I’ve got your broom and you’re not going anywhere,” Sean said. “I’d like to see you try.”
“You sure about that?”
“Yeah. Give it your best shot.”
I pushed. The bubble of metal chomped on Sean’s fist, fusing it to the broom. His eyes went wide. I patted his shoulder. “Take him inside and hold him.” The broom jerked him back and dragged him across the grass. The house doors swung open like the cavernous mouth of a colossal beast, gulped Sean down, then closed.
Sean was stuck to a wall like a fly to the flypaper. The broom had melted into dozens of narrow, elastic metal filaments that stretched across Sean’s body, holding him tight and pulsing with blue every time he tried to break free. Smooth wooden roots as thick as my arm curved around his limbs, melting back into the wall. The house had decided to get in on the action. Only Sean’s face was clearly visible, but his eyes told me he was determined to find a way to free himself.
Caldenia descended down the stairs and saw him. “Ooo. Planning a kinky morning?”
“No, just dealing with a pesky intruder.”
“Oh well. If you kill him, do save me his liver. Werewolf liver is a very tender delicacy.” She licked her lips. “Especially when sautéed in butter.”
Even Dina’s dog is more than she seems. She’s a Shih Tzu by day, but you don’t want to make her angry.
Beast growled. The undertone of her growl changed, gaining a vicious edge.
Sean squinted at her.
Beast’s long fur stood up like hackles on a cat. Claws slid from her feet. Her mouth gaped, wider and wider, as if her entire head had split in half. Four rows of fangs gleamed inside.
“What the hell…?” Sean backed away.
Beast jumped, covering ten feet in a single leap.
The world is amazing. It’s like watching a movie unfold.
The gauzy lavender-and-blue curtain on the right parted, and a creature stepped into view. He walked upright but stood barely four feet tall, including the six-inch lynx ears. Short, silver-blue fur covered his frame like soft velvet, dappled with pale golden rosettes on his back and fading to almost white on his stomach. His face would’ve been feline if it weren’t for an elongated muzzle that resembled a fox’s snout. He wore a silk apron and jewelry made from small cream and blue shells. His large round eyes were bright with vivid turquoise irises.
Needless to say, this book – and the entire series – is fantastic. You need to read it. Really.
Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!
About the Author
Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. author2smIlona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)
Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children, and many dogs and cats. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.