Genre: Urban Fantasy

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Posted September 18, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Burn for Me by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee
Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #1
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 382
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four-half-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Holy crap, I loved this book!!! Now I can’t decide which book is my favorite of this challenge. Is it The Deal or Burn for Me? As of this moment, I would have to say Burn for Me, but honestly, that’s probably because I just finished it.

Nevada Baylor runs Baylor Investigations. They are a small, family based PI firm in Houston. In this series, the world is magical. No, it’s literally magical. Almost everyone in the world wields some sort of magic. The more magic you have, the more powerful you are. There are Houses, which are families of magic users. There are Notables, Significants, and Primes. Adam Pierce is a pyrokinetic Prime. He’s bad. Very bad. When the firm that owns the mortgage to Baylor Investigations tells Nevada that it’s her job to bring Adam safely back to his family, she immediately knows that she’s expected to fail. How is she supposed to bring in a Prime that can breathe fire? Yep, she’s expected to fail, but MII can feel confident that they sent someone after Adam. A company with a solid reputation. Nevada wasn’t born yesterday. She knows what the score is.

Now her job is to get close to Adam without getting killed. Nevada doesn’t have much magic. She can tell if people are telling the truth when they are asked a question. Nothing spectacular. Certainly nothing that will protect her from Adam Pierce. Even dealing with Adam doesn’t prepare her for Mad Rogan. Mad Rogan is someone that is spoken of in whispers. Parents tell their kids about him to scare them. Unfortunately, Mad Rogan wants exactly what Nevada wants. Adam Pierce. And he wants them to work together. Nevada is instantly and hotly attracted to him and hates herself for it. As far as she can tell, the man has no empathy, kills without thought, and will use her and throw her away as soon as he tires of her.

So why did I love this book? Nevada was kick ass. She was just an incredible heroine. She is just ordinary compared to Adam and Mad Rogan, yet she went toe-to-toe with both of them and lived to tell about it. I loved her wit and her self-deprecating sense of humor. When other women looked at her and found her wanting:

They dismissed me as a peasant, I dismissed them as shallow, and we were all happy like that.

Or…

If I could, I would punch today right in the face.

She was just my kind of heroine. She was just the perfect amount of serious. And although I really enjoyed Mad Rogan, it was really Nevada that made me love this book as much as I did. I can’t wait to see what happens in White Hot, which I’ve already started. Oh and I didn’t even notice the first person at all. Kudos to Ilona Andrews for that.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

P.S. Thank you, Rowena!

Hidden Legacy

four-half-stars


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Blog Tour: Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews (+ Magic Bleeds Giveaway)

Posted August 20, 2018 by Holly in Giveaways, Promotions | 10 Comments

Magic Triumphs is almost here! To celebrate, Ace Books and participating blogs will be giving away three copies of each Kate Daniels book every weekday leading up to highly anticipated release on August 28th. Each giveaway will run for three days.

Follow the tour and enter to win them all!

Blog Tour: Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews (+ Magic Bleeds Giveaway)Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels, #10) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #10
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9), Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1), Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3), Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant, #1)
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
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Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

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The World of Kate Daniels

The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. It comes in waves, without warning, and vanishes as suddenly as it appears. When magic is up, technology is destroyed. When magic is down, guns work and spells fail.

In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But sometimes even trained killers make friends and fall in love, and when the universe tries to kick them in the face, they kick back.

Giveaway* Alert

We’re giving away 3 copies of Magic Bleeds (US only). To enter, use the widget below.

Blog Tour: Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews (+ Magic Bleeds Giveaway)Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, #4) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #4
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9), Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1), Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3), Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant, #1)

Publication Date: June 25, 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 349
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Goodreads

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic. When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose.

Kate Daniels works for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, officially, as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle—especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community.

When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar on the border between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years—and rode to war at the side of Kate’s father.

This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Beast Lord, to handle. Because this time Kate will be taking on family…

Blog Tour: Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

About the Author


WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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.

Visit Each Blog for a Chance to Win the Entire Series

*This is a publisher sponsored giveaway. Prizes will be mailed direct from Penguin Random House. If you win, Book Binge will need to share your mailing information with the publisher.


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Raphael by D.B. Reynolds

Posted August 15, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Raphael by D.B. ReynoldsReviewer: Holly
Raphael (Vampires in America, #1) by D.B. Reynolds
Series: Vampires in America #1
Publisher: Imajinn Books
Publication Date: April 15, 2009
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 248
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Goodreads
half-star

Malibu, California-home to rock-and-roll gods and movie stars, the beautiful, the rich . . . and vampires.

Powerful and charismatic, Raphael is a Vampire Lord, one of the few who hold the power of life and death over every vampire in existence. Thousands call him Master and have pledged absolute loyalty on their very lives. But when, in a brazen and deadly daylight attack, a gang of human killers kidnaps the one female vampire he'd give his life for, Raphael turns to a human investigator to find his enemies before it's too late.

Cynthia Leighton is smart, tough and sexy, a private investigator and former cop who's tired of spying on cheating spouses and digging out old bank accounts. When Raphael asks for her help in tracking down the kidnappers, Cyn's happy to accept. But she soon realizes her greatest danger comes not from the humans, but from Raphael himself.

Battling Russian mobsters and treacherous vampires, and betrayed by those they trusted, Cyn and Raphael find themselves fighting for their lives while caught up in a passion of blood and violence that is destined to destroy them both.

For our Summer Reading Challenge, Casee, Rowena and I chose 5 books for the others to read. We tried to choose books we thought the others would enjoy, though they may not have chosen to read them on their own. Or I did, anyway. I don’t know what Casee was thinking. I did’t care for Raphael at all. Why Casee thought I’d enjoy it is beyond me. 1) It features vampires, which I hate. 2) It ends in a cliffhanger, which I hate. 3) Did I mention the vampires? Ugh.

Raphael is the Vampire Lord of the United States. Though thousands have pledged their loyalty to him, he’s still betrayed and the one who means more to him than anyone else in kidnapped. Since humans helped with the kidnapping, Raphael engages of the services of PI Cynthia Leighton. She’s a former LAPD officer who once saved a vampire. Since then she’s often given cases they need help solving. This one is more dangerous than most, but Cyn is up for the challenge. Or so she thinks. Until she realizes she’s majorly attracted to Raphael. Since nothing good can come of that, she determines to focus on the case and nothing else. The problem? Raphael is attracted to her, too. And he doesn’t want to ignore what’s between them.

Here’s the thing. Cyn was an idiot. Right from the beginning she made questionable choices, ignored her instincts and threw common sense right out the window. Multiple times throughout the book she does and says things that make no sense, put herself or others in danger, or are, in general, ridiculous. I didn’t understand her motivations or her thought process, which made it really hard to connect with her. There’s literally a point in the book where she’s like (and I’m paraphrasing here): “This is a really bad idea. I shouldn’t do this. It’s not safe and none of the things are adding up. But eh..I’m just going to do it anyway. It’ll probably be fine.” Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t fine.

Also? This book features one of my biggest pet peeves in Romantic Suspense. Now, before I go on I want to say that I’m more forgiving of PNR than straight RS, because we’re dealing with fantasy elements, you know? Vampires don’t really exist, so of course I can’t hold the actions of the characters to the same standards I would a straight contemporary. But either way, the MCs having sex in the middle of a dangerous situation? Totally kills it for me. In this case, they’re in the middle of a shootout in a warehouse. Raphael partially rips a dude’s arm off. While he’s crawling around on the floor in the actual room, they start having sex. Right there. In front of dude half missing an arm. With dead bodies littered throughout. WTAF?!?! No. Just no.

Added to that, the writing is pretty choppy. So many times they’d be talking about something and then, mid-paragraph, switch gears. It made for an awkward reading experience. I didn’t understand why Raphael wanted her, or why he acted the way he did with her. His reactions seemed so out of context.

To add insult to injury, the book ended on a cliffhanger. Between the choppy writing, ridiculous actions of both the hero and heroine and the cliffhanger, this was a complete chore to get through. I love Casee like whoa, but this was a major fail.

1 out of 5

Vampires in America

half-star


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Sunday Spotlight: The Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton

Posted August 12, 2018 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 5 Comments

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

Sunday Spotlight: The Serpentine by Laurell K. HamiltonSerpentine (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #26) by Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: Anita Blake #26
Also in this series: Guilty Pleasures, The Laughing Corpse, Circus of the Damned
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 496
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Vampire hunter Anita Blake has managed to overcome everything she faces. But this time there's a monster that even she doesn't know how to fight...

A remote Florida island is the perfect wedding destination for the upcoming nuptials of Anita's fellow U.S. Marshal and best friend Edward. For Anita, the vacation is a welcome break, as it's the first trip she gets to take with wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel. But it's not all fun and games and bachelor parties...

In this tropical paradise Micah discovers a horrific new form of lycanthropy, one that has afflicted a single family for generations. Believed to be the result of an ancient Greek curse, it turns human bodies into a mass of snakes.

When long-simmering resentment leads to a big blowout within the wedding party, the last thing Anita needs is more drama. But it finds her anyway when women start disappearing from the hotel, and worse--her own friends and lovers are considered the prime suspects. There's a strange power afoot that Anita has never confronted before, a force that's rendering those around her helpless in its thrall. Unable to face it on her own, Anita is willing to accept help from even the deadliest places. Help that she will most certainly regret--if she survives at all, that is...

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Excerpt

Donna’s hand hesitated above my arm, as if she was going to touch the claw marks just below the burn. The scars from the shapeshifted witch made the cross a little crooked. Edward hadn’t been there for that wound. I’d been working with the police on my own that time, before I had a badge and was officially on the job myself, back when I’d just been a vampire executioner, consulting with the police. Edward had just been Edward, cold-blooded assassin who specialized in killing monsters, both human and otherwise. I hadn’t even known he had a legal identity as Ted Forrester, bounty hunter. Now we were both U.S. Marshals with the Preternatural Branch. We did the same job legally and for Edward, for far less money.

She pointed vaguely at the small slick scar on the side of my arm, and then the thin, almost dainty scar on my right arm that was barely noticeable. “I know that’s a bullet graze and that’s a knife wound, because Ted has similar ones.” She looked at me, her brown eyes going large in her tanned face. She looked suddenly younger, or more innocent, as if I got a glimpse of what she might have looked like at fifteen. “I stopped asking about where the other scars come from, because Ted told me the truth and they were almost all stories like the werewolf attack that killed my first husband, except that Ted goes out hunting the monsters. The monster that killed Frank broke into our house. It was a once-in-a-lifetime tragedy, but Ted and you go out looking for it.”

“We hunt rogue vampires and lycanthropes that have murdered people. We keep people safe by killing the things that kill them.”

She nodded, biting her lower lip, the frown lines deep between her eyes. There was real fear in them. Maybe she was remembering the death of her first husband, and that was probably in the mix of terror, but I thought it was more anticipating future tragedy than dwelling on the past. I looked into Donna’s eyes and saw the fear that every time the man she loved left for work, he might not come back. I could tell her that he was more likely to die in a car crash, or from a dozen innocent household accidents, than be eaten by monsters, but it wouldn’t help the emotions I saw in her eyes.

“I know you and Ted save lives. I know you keep other families safe from the monsters. I know that.”

I reached out and touched her arm. “You know that Ted is the best, the absolute best at this job.”

She nodded again, a little too fast and a little too often. “He says the same about you.” She grabbed my hand where it touched her arm and held on. “I always feel better when you’re with him, because he says you’re the best, next to him.”

“He helped train me, so he’s still complimenting himself.” I smiled when I said it and got a weak smile in return.

“I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to him,” she said. She started tearing up. I hugged her because I didn’t know what else to do, but apparently it was the wrong thing, because she started crying harder, clinging to me like she was really going to start sobbing. Fuck, what did I do now? How did I make her feel better about one of the truths of our job?

She went very still in my arms, and the crying slowed. She pushed away with her face still wet with tears and asked, “What’s on your back?”

“Nothing,” I said.

“I felt it.”

I half turned and she touched the edge of the place where a vampire servant had tried to drive one of my own wooden stakes into my back. It was low on my back, and they’d just tried to shove the stake in without using a mallet. It doesn’t work that way in real life, not if you’re only human-strong, anyway. Lucky for me it had just been a human in league with the vampire I’d been hunting, and not a vampire.

“That’s one of your own stakes driven into you, isn’t it?” she asked. She wasn’t crying anymore, so it was better, right?

“Yeah,” I said.

“Ted has one like it; that’s why I know what it is. You know it’s right there.” She touched the side of my hip where bathing suits and underwear covered.

“I’ve never seen that one.”

“Oh,” she said, and looked confused.

“I’ve never seen Ted nude, so I missed that one.”

There was a derisive snort, half laugh and half just rude noise, from the other side of the dress rack. Dixie, one of Donna’s oldest friends and a bridesmaid, came into view.

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter

Giveaway Alert

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.

Sunday Spotlight: August 2018

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

Laurell K. Hamilton

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

Laurell Kaye Hamilton (born February 19, 1963) is an American multi-genre writer. She is best known as the author of two series of stories, Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter and Merry Gentry.

Her New York Times-bestselling Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series centers on Anita Blake, a professional zombie raiser, vampire executioner and supernatural consultant for the police, which includes novels, short story collections, and comic books. Six million copies of Anita Blake novels are in print. Her New York Times-bestselling Merry Gentry series centers on Meredith Gentry, Princess of the Unseelie court of Faerie, a private detective facing repeated assassination attempts.

Both fantasy series follow their protagonists as they gain in power and deal with the dangerous “realities” of worlds in which creatures of legend live.

Laurell was born in rural Arkansas but grew up in northern Indiana with her grandmother. Her education includes degrees in English and biology from Marion College (now called Indiana Wesleyan University).


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Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

Posted July 30, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Series: The Iron Covenant #1, Kate Daniels #9.5
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9), Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1), Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3)
Publisher: Nancy Yost Literary Agency Inc
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 392
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four-stars

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Hugh. He was a villain in Kate’s world. Yet I could never hate him. Still, not hating a bad guy vs wanting him to get a happy ending? I’m happy to report it really worked. Not that I’m surprised. Andrews always pulls me in.

Hugh has been cast off from Roland after he failed to deliver Kate. He spends a few months wallowing in self-pity and trying to numb the pain of the giant void inside himself where Roland’s magic used to be with alcohol, until his Iron Dogs catch up with him and force him to see what’s been happening to them. They’re being hunted down and exterminated by Landon Nez, Roland’s Legatus of the Golden Legion. They used to be 1200 strong. Now they’re down to 400+.

With no money and no way to earn a living, Hugh accepts a mad bargain – in exchange for their protection, the White Warlock and her people will house and shelter them. Because neither side is really trustworthy, they agree to marry to seal the deal. Marriage to a harpy of a woman isn’t what Hugh ever envisioned for his future, but it isn’t long before he realizes there’s more to Elara than he previously thought. When their bonds of loyalty are tested, they’ll have to decide what’s important.

Hugh really is an anti-hero. He’s a right bastard, sure, but he also has heart and his soul bleeds. Elara is a monster, the same as her husband. She didn’t want the marriage any more than he did. But she can’t deny there’s something very compelling about the Preceptor of the Order of the Iron Dogs. As they come to know each other and learn to rely on one another, I found myself swept up in their story and the fight they find themselves in to protect their territory. I really hope the series continues. I’d love to see more from them.

I think to truly understand Hugh and why he’s so adrift, reading the Kate Daniels series first is a must. However, this an stand on its own if you haven’t read that series.

4.25 out of 5

The Iron Covenant

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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