Author: Ilona Andrews

Review: Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 14, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Silver Shark by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Silver Shark (Kinsmen, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kinsmen #2
Published by NYLA
Publication Date: September 16th 2011
Pages: 96
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three-stars

Claire Shannon is a killer. She uses no weapons, only her mind.
Born on a planet locked in a long war, Claire is a psycher, a woman with the ability to attack minds and infiltrate a biological computer network where psychers battle to the death. But when the war abruptly ends, Claire must hide her psycher's ability to survive. She is deported to a new planet, a vivid beautiful place, where she meets Venturo Escana, a powerful psycher, whose presence overwhelms both her mind and her body.
She thought she had left war and death behind, but now she must fight for her new life and this battle might just cost her everything...

Claire Shannon was born on the war planet Uley. For eons two companies fought over the right to use the planet’s resources, which meant nothing existed there but war and death. It was a gray planet with very little to do but fight, prepare and sleep. Claire is a trained Psycher, someone who can enter the bionet (think psychic plane, like the internet, Matrix style) and navigate through to access data and/or kill enemies. She’s a soldier. All comforts have been given up for the sake of the war. When the war suddenly ends, Claire hides her true self so she isn’t killed on sight (psychers are considered much too dangerous to be allowed to live) and ends up getting deported. Her new planet is filled with light and color, sounds, textures and strange flavors. For someone who lived with nothing but gray, it’s a lot to take in. But she’s determined to fit in and do her best.

She’s given housing, clothes and a job at the outset. She becomes the personal assistant to Venturo Escena, a  self-made businessman and psycher himself. She needs to fly under the radar so she isn’t killed for being a psycher herself, but she’s a true leader, she can’t help but push for more – for herself and others. It isn’t long before she’s indispensable to Venturo…or before she’s half in love with him. When one of her countrymen comes to her for help, she knows she can’t turn them away, even though it means possible exposure of who and what she really is.

The romance is secondary to the rest here, but it really worked. Andrews’ excels at building complex, multi-layered worlds. Both planets were easily imagined, as was Claire’s determination to live and succeed in her new life. I do wish this had been longer, or that there were more books in the series. At 96 pages, this ended much too soon. The conflicts were resolved, but I wasn’t ready for it to end.

3.5 out of 5

three-stars

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Lightning Review: Alphas: Origins by Ilona Andrews

Posted February 9, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: Alphas: Origins by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Origins (Alphas, #0.5) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Alphas #0.5
Published by InterMix
Publication Date: April 19th 2016
Pages: 157
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three-stars

From Ilona Andrews—#1 New York Times bestselling author of Magic Shifts and the Kate Daniels novels—comes a stark, seductive tale of a world torn asunder by supernatural gifts and irresistible passions...
Karina Tucker is driving a van of children home from a field trip when an unplanned detour to a seemingly ordinary rest stop changes her life. There, she witnesses a world beyond humanity’s sight, of frightful powers and chaos, where she is in death’s grip... before an irresistibly dangerous male saves her—only to take her captive.
For she is a rare commodity in the shadowy realm she’s entered.
Karina soon finds herself caught in a violent civil war where those with inhuman powers strive to destroy each other without mercy. And it becomes all too clear that she must make a choice: submit and become a pawn, or take hold of her own destiny and fight for survival against impossible odds.
Alphas: Origins originally appeared in Angels of Darkness.

Karina is on her way home from a field trip with a car full of kids when she unwittingly stumbles into a parallel universe. In order to save her daughter and the other kids she’s carpooling, she agrees to stay and be a blood donor for the Alpha Beast. The Alphas are genetically modified men who have superpowers. Some can move things with their minds, other can shapeshift. Karina is soon wrapped up in their struggles for survival and power.

Andrews has such an amazing ability to build worlds. The creativity and imagination in each novel is astounding. Alphas: Origins is no exception. The world is fantastically built. The premise was interesting, but the story suffered for being short. There was a lot crammed into a small page count, which made the story feel rushed while also suffering from info-dumps that bogged it down. If it had been longer, or a prequel to a longer story, it may have worked better.

3 out of 5

three-stars

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Review: Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Posted January 19, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Magic Binds by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #9
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts
Published by Ace
Publication Date: September 20th 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…

Kate and Curran have finally set a date for their wedding, but planning a wedding is hard work, especially when you’re trying to grow a business, defend land you never meant to claim and deal with your soon-to-be husband’s former pack.

Now that Kate’s father has moved in at the edge of her land and called a truce, he keeps poking at her, hoping to incite a reaction. She’s mostly able to resist going after him directly until he kidnaps Saimon, a demi-god and former sort-of friend of Kate’s. Roland is bleeding him dry in his bid for more power, and Kate knows she can’t leave Saimon to his fate..especially since that would mean giving dear old dad power over her. The witch oracle has warned Kate she has devastation in her future, but she can’t sit back and do nothing. Plus, she’s changing. Since she claimed Atlanta as hers, she can feel pieces of herself slipping away. She doesn’t like the person she’s becoming, but she isn’t sure how to stop the change from happening.

Of course Curran still has her back. No matter how she acts or what challenges they face, Curran accepts Kate as she is. She also has a lot of support from her friends and psuedo-family. Despite herself – or maybe in spite of herself – Kate has formed stronger bonds and attachments than she ever expected.

These characters are so multifaceted. Take Roland for example. He is Evil Incarnate. The Killer of Innocents. The Scourge of the Earth. The Builder of Towers. Yet he has flashes of goodness, too. It’s clear he cares for Kate in his own way, and wants a relationship with her. I know there’s no way he can ever be redeemed, but a small part of me holds out hope I’m wrong, while another part anxiously awaits the day Curran rips him to pieces for hurting Kate.

This was such a fantastic read. I can’t believe how fresh and exciting this book was, considering we’re 9 books into the series. I was sucked in from page one. There was a surprising amount of humor considering the darker overtone of the book. I literally laughed out loud several times.

My heart hurt, my blood pumped and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading. I can’t wait to see what Andrews has in store for us next.

4.5 out of 5

 

four-half-stars

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Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

Posted August 17, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #8
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)
Published by Penguin Publishing Group
Publication Date: February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary, Urban, Romance
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

Magic is coming and going in waves in post-Shift Atlanta - and each crest leaves danger in its wake . . .
After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate - former Beast Lord Curran Lennart - are adjusting to a very different pace. While they're thrilled to escape all the infighting, Kate and Curran know that separating from the Pack completely is a process that will take time.
But when they learn that their friend Eduardo has gone missing, Kate and Curran shift their focus to investigate his disappearance. As they dig further into the merc's business, they discover that the Mercenary Guild has gone to hell and that Eduardo's recent assignments are connected in the most sinister way . . .
An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it - before it takes their city apart piece by piece.
Praise for Ilona Andrews and the Kate Daniels novels
'Ilona Andrews's books are guaranteed good reads.' Patricia Briggs, #1 New York Timesbestselling author of Fire Touched
'Kate is a great kick-ass heroine.' Locus
'Andrews's edgy series stands apart.' Library Journal
'One of the brightest voices in urban fantasy . . . Ilona Andrews delivers only the best.' Jeaniene Frost, New York Times bestselling author of Bound by Flames

A couple months ago I binge-read the first 7 books in this series (including novellas) then decided to take a break before I burned out. I’m glad I came at this fresh. Magic Shifts was a great story. It may be my favorite of the series to date.
Since Curran and Kate have left the Pack and Kate magically claimed Atlanta as her own, they’ve been focusing on building Kate’s PI business and raising Julie, Kate’s adopted daughter. Curran is still missing the constant challenges he faced as Beast Lord. He doesn’t necessarily miss the Pack or the position of Beast Lord, but he misses the constant action that came with it. When he’s given the opportunity to run the Mercenary Guild, he jumps at it. That the Guild wants nothing to do with him just makes it a more fun challenge for him.
Kate is still learning just what claiming the city means, and waiting for the other shoe will drop with her father. She’s also still stressing the fact that Curran gave up the Pack for her and what that’s going to mean for their future. They aren’t allowed to visit the Keep for 30 days (per pack rules), but that doesn’t stop the Pack from coming to them.
When George, one of the bear shifters, asks for help finding her mate, Kate and Curran realize they can’t say no. When Kate’s forced to fight a giant outside the Guild and realizes some ancient evil magic is invading their home, she realizes the two cases might be related. And they need to figure out what’s going on before their entire city is destroyed.
This book picks up pretty much where book seven, Magic Breaks, left off. Kate and Curran have moved out of the Keep and into their own home. They aren’t allowed to visit the Keep for 30 days, but they’re still visited by many Pack members. They’re still waiting to see which members of the pack are going to leave with them and they’re in a holding period with Kate’s dad.
Despite how much is going on in this world, the story flows seamlessly. The Pack, the People, Julie, Curran and Kate, Kate’s dad, the Mercenary Guild…they all come to life. There’s action, adventure, intrigue, romance, epic battles, strange magic and a world so bright and vivid it’s like watching it on a movie screen.
4.5 out of 5
four-half-stars

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Review: Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

Posted May 3, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Bayou Moon by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews
Series: The Edge #2
Also in this series: On the Edge
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: September 28th 2010
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary, General, Fantasy & Magic, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 480
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four-half-stars

The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Walmart and magic is a fairytale–and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

Cerise Mar and her unruly clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swathe of the Mire, the Edge swamplands between the state of Louisiana and the Weird. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect number one.

But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge—and Cerise’s life . William, a changeling soldier who left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation’s spymaster.

When William’s and Cerise’s missions lead them to cross paths, sparks fly—but they’ll have to work together if they want to succeed…and survive.

When I saw there were four books in this series, I thought they all followed the same couple. I was pleasantly surprised to find that isn’t the case. Bayou Moon picks up shortly after the events in On the Edge.

Cerise Mar and her family live in the Mire, the swamp lands of the Edge, a place of magic between the Broken (regular non-magic Earth) and the Weird (a parallel of the Earth filled with magic). Her family has been in a generations-long feud with another family, the Sheeriles. When her parents disappear and one of her cousins reports the Sheeriles have taken over their grandparents’ abandoned home at the edge of their property, she goes to investigate. In their bid to win the fight against her family, the Sheeriles have partnered with a spymaster from the Weird,Spyder, and his merry band of genetically modified freaks. Something she knows it’ll be difficult, if not impossible, to fight. She travels to the Broken to retrieve a document proving ownership of the house and ends up meeting William.

William is a changeling from the Weird. Changelings aren’t accepted in the Weird and are either killed at birth or sent to live in an orphanage where they’re trained as weapons for the country. When William failed to obey an order during a mission, he was sentenced to death. Lord Sandine adopted him (for his own nefarious purposes) and when he died, William was set free. Since then he’s been living in the Edge and working in the Broken, if not happy, then at least content to be alone. When he’s approached by the Mirror, a spy organization from the Weird, to track down an old nemesis, Spyder, he reluctantly agrees. Spyder is rumored to be hiding in the Mire and seems to be targeting the new girl he met on his journey there. He decides he needs to stay as close to Cerise as possible to find his target, but he doesn’t expect to be as drawn to her as he is.

William intrigued me in the first book, On the Edge, and I was anxious to get his story. Having been raised in an orphanage and, aside from his quasi-friendship with Logan (the hero of the first book), he’s been alone his whole life. He craves a family and connections to other people, but he’s too wary to make friends or trust new people. He’s also a stone-cold killer who is trained in all areas of combat. Oh, and there’s the small thing that he can change into a wolf at will. He thinks Cerise is a meek little thing when he first meets her, and vows to protect her. Until he realizes she’s just as skilled and deadly as he is. I think the first time he watched her kick ass is when he started falling in love.

“Stay back this time,” Cerise said. “It’s my fight.”
“There are nine of them. Don’t be stupid.”
“Stay the fuck back, William.”
“Fine.” He took a step back and raised his crossbow. If that’s the way she wanted it, he could always rescue her later. “Let’s see what you got.”
The larger boat slammed into them, sending a quake through the hull. Two men jumped onto the deck.
Cerise struck and paused, blood running down her blade.
The first two fighters died without a scream. One moment they stood on deck, and the next the top halves of their bodies slid down into the river.
William closed his mouth with a click.
The attackers drew back.
The edge of Cerise’s sword shone once, as if a glowing silver hair were stretched along the blade. She leaped onto the larger boat.
They swarmed her. She whirled, cutting through them, slicing limbs in half, severing muscle and bone. Blood sprayed, she paused again, and the fighters around her fell without a single moan.
Four seconds and the deck was empty. Nothing moved.
She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

Cerise doesn’t trust easily, but she agrees to take William home with her when she realizes he’s a target and he’s more than capable of helping her in a fight. If the idiot man would stop trying to protect her, that is. She’s a fully trained warrior and knows how to handle herself in a fight, plus she knows more about the swamp than he does. That doesn’t stop her from lusting after him, though. As they get deeper into the swamp, she becomes more and more impressed with him.

When she was a teenager, she used to imagine meeting a stranger. He would be from the Weird or the Broken, not from the Mire. He would be lethal and tough, so tough, he wouldn’t be afraid of her. He would be funny. And he would be handsome. She’d gotten so good at imagining this mysterious man, she could almost picture his face.
William would kick his ass.
Maybe that was why she couldn’t get him out of her head

Cerise’s large family is colorful and really comes to life. Aunts, uncles, cousins..each had their own personality and quirks. I loved getting to know them and watching them interact with each other. Keldar and Lark especially stand out, as both their backstories are intriguing. Keldar acts like a happy-go-lucky guy all the time, but it’s obvious there’s more depth there than he’d like to let on. I’m glad he’s getting his own book.

Seeing William become enfolded in the family and fall for Cerise was wonderful. I wanted to see him become part of something and that’s exactly what happened here. Cerise was more emotionally balanced than he was, but she had her own baggage. They were evenly matched in every way and I loved watching them fall.

The action and adventure in this novel was on point. Their search for Cerise’s parents, Spyder and his altered agents, the mystery of what Spyder was looking for, the feud between Cerise’s family and the Sheeriles…all of it kept me on the edge of my seat. Fair Warning, there’s a high creep factor here with some of the baddies in the swamp and Spyder’s agents, and some of it was really gory, but I can’t deny I loved every bit of it.

Andrews’ imaginative and detailed world really comes to life here. I highly recommend the story.

4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars

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