Author: Holly

Sunday Spotlight: Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 16, 2017 by Holly in Features | 1 Comment

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be  raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I came late to the Kate Daniels series. Though it had been recommended to me for years, I didn’t read much urban fantasy and skipped it. I’m so sorry I waited so long to start it. A friend suggested I reserve judgement until book two, Magic Burns, as Magic Bites (book 1) wasn’t nearly as good. Having now read the series, I agree. This week I’m spotlighting Magic Burns. While I think it’s necessary for the world-building to read book one, I highly suggest reserving judgement until book two.

Sunday Spotlight: Magic Burns by Ilona AndrewsMagic Burns (Kate Daniels, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #2
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: April 1 2008
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 260
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

Down in Atlanta, tempers – and temperatures – are about to flare…
As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate’s going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale: a divine one.
When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta’s paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more at stake. During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest – and battle for power. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth. And if Kate can’t stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive…

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Some series are made by the hero, or the heroine, or the world. This series is a combination of all of that, and then some. Kate Daniels is an amazing, kick-ass heroine. Curran is an excellent hero, and the perfect counterpart for her. The world – where magic comes in waves and knocks out tech – is fabulously drawn. The secondary characters are engaging and interesting. There is no part of this series that doesn’t work, and work well. If you haven’t, you really must read it.

Excerpt

Kate is a serious badass. She kicks asses and takes names all day long.

Jim raised his hand and touched his fingers to his thumb a few times, imitating an opening and closing beak. Negotiate. He wanted me to engage a lunatic who had already turned four people into smoking meat. Okay. I could do that. “Alright, Jeremy!” I yelled into the night. “Give me the salamander and I won’t cut your head off!

They kept coming, enclosing me in a tight ring of flesh. I killed without comprehension, not knowing whom I had dispatched to the cauldron’s depths. They were shapes, obstacles in my way to Morfran, and like a well-tuned machine, I mowed them down, unthinking, unrepentant. Every maneuver I tried worked. Every cut found its victim. A curious elation came over me—they were so many and I hoped they wouldn’t end. This was what I was born for. I could go on killing forever.

Her romance with Curran, the Beast Lord, develops slowly over several books, but it’s extremely satisfying.

“He handed me a bowl of soup, that’s as far as we got.”

“He fed you?” Raphael stopped rubbing Andrea.

“How did this happen?” Aunt B stared at me. “Be very precise, this is important.”

“He didn’t actually feed me. I was injured and he handed me a bowl of chicken soup. Actually I think he handed me two or three. And he called me an idiot.”

“Did you accept?” Aunt B asked.

“Yes. I was starving. Why are the three of you looking at me like that?”

“For crying out loud.” Andrea set her cup down, spilling some tea.

“The Beast Lord’s feeding you soup. Think about that for a second.”

I moved to shake his hand and he reversed it and kissed my fingers instead, singeing me with a look that was pure smolder.

I took my hand back. “That woke me up.”

He smiled a picture-perfect smile. “Been a while?”

For some reason, I felt like answering. “Two years. And if you could tone down that smile, I’d appreciate it. Getting weak in the knees.”

Is Curran serious?” Aunt B asked. She wanted to know if she now had to walk on eggshells around me. For once, I was happy to disappoint.

“No, he’s just being an asshole. Apparently every time he calls me ‘baby,’ I look like a red-hot poker is stuck up my butt. Causes him no end of fun.”


Seriously. Read the series.

Kate Daniels

Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

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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


WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | GOODREADS

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona 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.

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Book Binge Turns 10: April 2017 Week 3 Giveaway

Posted April 15, 2017 by Holly in Giveaways | 18 Comments

It all started for us in April of 2007. 10 years ago this month! To celebrate, instead of giving one prize away for the month, we’re giving away one each week!

Autographed copy of Angels’ Flight by Nalini Singh,
The Unlikely Lady, The Irresistible Rogue and The legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman,
Wanted by J. Kenner,
Autographed copy of Vanity Fare by Megan Caldwell, 
Hot Alphas by Lora Leigh, Laurelin McGee, Shiloh Walker and Kate Douglas,
High Risk, High Passion and am autographed copy of High Seduction by Vivian Arend,
Hope Ignites by Jack Burton,
Think Harlequin RWA tote and swag

Use the rafflecopter widget to enter!

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Retro Review/Rant: Can’t Stand the Heat by Louisa Edwards

Posted April 12, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 15 Comments

Retro Review/Rant: Can’t Stand the Heat by Louisa EdwardsReviewer: Holly
Can't Stand The Heat by Louisa Edwards
Series: Recipe for Love #1
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: September 1st 2009
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
one-star

For sharp-tongued food critic Miranda Wake, the chance to spend a month in Adam Temple's kitchen to write an exposé is a journalistic dream come true. Surely Miranda can find a way to cut the hotshot chef down to size once she learns what really goes on at his trendy Manhattan restaurant. But she never expected Adam to find out her most embarrassing secret: she has no idea how to cook.

Adam's not about to have his reputation burned by a critic who doesn't even know the difference between poaching and paring. He'll just have to give the tempting redhead a few private lessons of his own—teaching her what it means to cook with passion...and doing more with his hands than simply preparing sumptuous food.

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review/rant was originally posted on October 29, 2009.

WARNING: This review contains a major rant about the heroine. It will contain strong language and spoilers for the story. Read on at your own risk.

I’ve mentioned before that I generally have a dislike for heroines who are journalists. I’ve made some exceptions, but generally I try to stay away from novels featuring them, because I know I have a personal bias and I don’t want that to color my reading experience. I chose to pick this one up anyway because Miranda Wake is a food critic, rather than an investigative journalist (the type I generally have the biggest issues with). Also? It’s a foodie book and I’m a huge foodie.

I went into this expecting one thing, and got something else entirely.

Miranda Wake is a bitter food critic who desperately wants a book deal. On the pre-opening night of a new restaurant, Market, she gets blitzed and has it out with the Exec Chef and Owner, Adam Temple. She hasn’t even had his food yet, but she’s already spouting off about how he’s pretentious and his food sucks. So he challenges her to spend just one night in his kitchen, thinking to shut her up. Only she accepts.

Then his investor gets together with her editor and they decide she’ll stay for a month. Which is when she gets a book deal; she’s to write a book “dishing” about Adam Temple and what really goes on in his kitchen. While Miranda is busy digging up dirt on Adam and the entire staff, she finds herself falling in love with him. Which I completely understood, because I adored Adam.

He was sweet and adorable, with a strong sense of right and wrong. He was probably the best part about this book. I loved that even though he had preconceived notions about Miranda he set them aside and judged her on his own observations. I loved that he was tough but fair in the kitchen. I loved that he hired chefs based on their merits as cooks, rather than their diplomas or schooling. He had a somewhat gruff exterior, but inside he was kind and loving.

I absolutely adored the secondary characters. The entire kitchen staff came alive for me. I really felt like I was right there with them, laughing and joking and cooking fabulous food. They were a rag-tag bunch, but they really brought flavor and spice to the story.

As a side story, Miranda’s younger brother, Jesse, turns up from college (somewhere in the Midwest) saying he’s not going back. He gets a job at Market working as a server. As it turns out, he’s gay and falls in love with one of the sou chefs, Frankie, which Miranda hates. She thinks Frankie corrupted and tempted her poor straight brother into being gay.

I thought the story with the brother was cute, though I did struggle with his age quite a bit. He’s only 19. The problem is I wasn’t as bothered by that as I felt I should have been. Especially since Frankie is quite a bit older than him. Why is it that I’m willing to forgive a 19yo hero when he’s gay, but wouldn’t forgive a 19yo heroine (in a contemp) regardless? Once I got past that, though, I really enjoyed his part of the story.

So at this point in the book Miranda comes off as bitter, cynical and jaded. She’s also a complete control freak. Which is fine. I could have dealt with that if it had been one of the centerpieces of the story – how Miranda grew up. Unfortunately I didn’t find that to be the case.

Because at the end? She SAYS SHE LOVES HIM AND STILL SUBMITS THE FUCKING BOOK.

WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!

Her reason for doing so? She needs the money so she can pay for her brother to go to NYU. The problem? She only wants to pay for it to get him away from Frankie so he’ll go back to being “normal” instead of “gay”. Not only that, but he specifically told her he didn’t want her paying for his tuition. He said he wanted to be a responsible adult and contribute something himself. I understand that she wanted to help him as much as she could, but she SOLD OUT THE MAN SHE LOVED AND ALL HIS FRIENDS/EMPLOYEES to do it.

WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!?!

And the best part? The only person she has to rely on and go to for support during this whole thing with her brother is Adam. She leans on him and lets him support her and SAYS SHE LOVES HIM AND THEN SELLS HIM OUT IN A CHEAP FUCKING BOOK!

WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!?!

The thing is, I loved everything else about the book. The kitchen setting, the secondary characters, the hero. I even loved that the author included some of the recipes she used in the book (I’m sooo going to try them). I’m trying to decide if the heroine ruined the book for me, or if I can move past what she did. Right now I’d probably grade it:

3 out of 5 for the overall story, setting and characters
Bold
1 out of 5 for the heroine (maybe even a -1)

I did enjoy parts of it enough to want to read the next book in the series, On the Steamy Side, which will be available March, 2010.

Book CoverBook Cover

This book is available from St. Martin’s. You can buy it here or here (I’m not including a link to buy in e-format b/c I think St. Martin’s has terrible e-pricing. The paperback is $6.99 but the e-book is $14. WTF St. Martin’s? W.T.F?).

one-star

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Release Day Blitz: Twist by Kylie Scott

Posted April 11, 2017 by Holly in Promotions | 0 Comments

Dive-Bar-banner-with-Chaser

From New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott comes the second sizzling stand-alone novel in the Dive Bar series!

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot bearded bartender Joe Collins only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, fascinating, and pretty much everything he’s been looking for in a woman—except that she lives across the country. Soon they’re emailing up a storm and telling each other their deepest, darkest secrets…except the one that really matters.

When Alex pays Joe a surprise visit, however, they both discover that when it comes to love, it’s always better with a twist.

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Twist-promo-7

Excerpt

“I wanted to talk to you a bit more about what happened between us online,” he said, his mouth a serious straight line. “How I came to use my brother’s profile.”

Ugh. “I’m pretty sure I found out everything I needed to know last night.”

“I didn’t mean to lie to you, Alex.”

“Once is a mistake.” I crossed my legs, kicking my black leather bootie back and forth. So I was a little aggravated. Sue me. “Months’ worth of e-mails is not. You could have introduced yourself to me, Joe, told me who you really were. You chose not to. Christ, no wonder you kept putting off meeting. I should have known something was wrong.”

“You’re right. I shouldn’t try to sell you excuses.” A big sigh from my “friend.” “Truth is, I’m not used to being the bad guy. Usually I’m the one cleaning up my brother’s messes.”

“Lucky me.”

Twist-promo-9

About the Author

kyliescottimage

Kylie Scott


FACEBOOK | TWITTER | FACEBOOK FAN GROUP | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/

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Book Binge Turns 10: April 2017 Week 2 Giveaway

Posted April 8, 2017 by Holly in Giveaways | 16 Comments

It all started for us in April of 2007. 10 years ago this month! To celebrate, instead of giving one prize away for the month, we’re giving away one each week!

Draw Me Close, Start Me Up and Win Me Over by Nicole Michaels,
Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton,
The Earl Claims a Bride and Last Night with the Duke by Amelia Grey,
Explosive Forces, Force of Attraction and Primal Force by D.D. Ayres,
Atonement by B.J. Daniels,
Autographed copy of Break My Fall by Jessica Scott,
Swag and Black Avon tote (not pictured)

Use the rafflecopter widget to enter!

GIVEAWAY

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