Genre: Urban Fantasy

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, Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)
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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Guest Review: Elemental Ride by Mell Eight

Posted January 10, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Elemental Ride by Mell EightReviewer: Tracy
Elemental Ride by Mell Eight
Series: Roughhouse Raiders Collection
Published by Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: November 8th 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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three-stars

Rawley isn't the type to crush hard and fast on anyone, but he's somehow helpless when it comes to the new mailman. Even his bikes and his job as enforcer for a local motorcycle gang, the center of his world, don't compare to his interest in Reign. Unfortunately, Reign doesn't seem to be as interested—but secrets and magic have a way of turning everything upside down.

Rawley has a thing for his new mailman, Reign, but he’s not quite sure what to make of him.  The first time he sees him his nametag says Reign and he had blue eyes.  The next day his nametag said Leif and he has green eyes.  Weird.  Rawley figures, after talking to the president of his MC that Reign probably has Sprite poisoning and that’s why his eyes turn color.

Rawley, unfortunately, can’t spend all of his time thinking about Reign/Leif.  His MC needs to find a new neighborhood to live in that they can all afford and still stay centrally located to each other.  The place they live currently is one step up from a shithole and they’re sick of it. On top of that one of his customers is dead and there’s a weird preppy dude walking around asking questions and something’s just not right. Luckily he has Reign/Leif to make him smile.

The world that Rawley lives in is a strange one.  The humans have sprites living in their bodies and these sprites give the humans powers.  The sprites can’t live on their own until they mature so they’re injected into those who purchase them and keep them for ten years.  It certainly was an interesting twist to an otherwise pretty normal world.  I would have liked to have gotten into that a little more but hopefully we’ll get more info in future books.

Reign/Leif was an interesting character.  I’m not going to tell you about him too much because reading about him is half the fun of the book.  I really liked him, though, and was enjoying seeing him and Rawley starting on their first steps to a relationship.

The book was good but I just needed more.  Fifty-six pages was just not long enough for me.  I was just starting to really get into things and…it was over.  Hopefully Mell Eight will write more in this world and more about Rawley and Reign/Leif.  If she does I’ll cross my fingers that the next story will be longer. 🙂

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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Guest Review: Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh

Posted November 7, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Archangel’s Heart by Nalini SinghReviewer: Tracy
Archangel's Heart by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #9
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter, #2), Angels' Blood
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: November 1st 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Romance
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five-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes us into a dangerous and exhilarating world where a deadly, beautiful archangel and his once-mortal consort are caught in a fury of twisted darkness…

One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.

Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…

Nothing will ever be the same again.

The Cadre of Ten have been called to a meeting at Lumia near Morocco.  The Luminata are angels that seek luminescence and are all about peace and comfort.  Since the archangel Lijuan is missing and the Cadre doesn’t know if she’s dead or just sleeping they must decide what to do wither territory.  Elena is excited about going to Lumia as it is near Morocco and that is where her maternal grandmother is from.  Since she never met her maternal grandparents – her mother was orphaned at a young age – she’s excited to find out what she can about them.

Once she is in Lumia though she’s not sure she likes it there.  The place that supposed to be all about peace doesn’t seem so peaceful and she feels eyes on her when she certainly shouldn’t.  The leader of the Luminata is especially creepy and Elena keeps her distance as much as she can.  Both Elena and Raphael are unimpressed by the Luminata but Elena does find some of the angels that she really likes.  Unfortunately there is an evil undercurrent that forces Raphael and Elena to investigate further and the things they find when they did deeper are horrifying and shocking.

I have to tell you that I just can’t get enough of Nalini Singh’s books.  The Guild Hunter series has blown my mind from book one and when I think Singh can’t possibly come up with another 5 star book she proves me wrong.

There were so many things about this book that I loved.  Raphael and Elena’s relationship is as strong as ever and we got to see a little bit of a softer side of Raphael.  Is he soft?  Ha!  Not even close – but he has a good heart and shows that to Elena and those he loves on a regular basis.  Their relationship is so very swoon-worthy I can’t tell you how much I love reading about these two.

The intricacies of the Luminata were wonderful and the information we got regarding Elena’s mother, Marguerite, were so good as well.  For so long Elena has tried to forget things about her family because it was so hard to think about what she’d lost but she let herself remember in this book and it was very sweet.

This, like all of the books in the Guild Hunter series was awesome!  I loved every bit of it and read the last page with a smile on my face.  We are nowhere near done with Raphael and Elena and I can’t wait to see what Singh comes up with next.

Rating: 5 out of 5

five-stars

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Review: Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Posted July 6, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Born of Night by Sherrilyn KenyonReviewer: Casee
Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: The League #1
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: September 29, 2009
Genres: Romance, Fantasy, Urban, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 560
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three-half-stars

In the Ichidian Universe, The League and their ruthless assassins rule all. Expertly trained and highly valued, the League Assassins are the backbone of the government. But not even the League is immune to corruption . . .

Command Assassin Nykyrian Quikiades once turned his back on the League―and has been hunted by them ever since. Though many have tried, none can kill him or stop him from completing his current mission: to protect Kiara Zamir, a woman whose father's political alliance has made her a target.

As her world becomes even deadlier, Kiara must entrust her life to the same kind of beast who once killed her mother and left her for dead. Old enemies and new threaten them both and the only way they can survive is to overcome their suspicions and learn to trust in the very ones who threaten them the most: each other.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon. As much as I’ve felt let down over the years, I keep going back. It’s a sickness. For every three or four books, she has a good one. Those are the ones I can’t miss. Born of Night wasn’t exactly one of those books, but it did show me another side of Kenyon that I didn’t know was there. I thought she was all Dark-Hunter, Dream-Hunter, Were-Hunter…you get my drift. No, she’s also sci-fi and fantasy.

Born of Night introduces the reader to the Ichidian Universe and The League of Assassins. The thing is, it didn’t. There was almost zero world building in this book. Not that the book was horrible; it wasn’t. I did like it, but I would have liked to have known more about the Ichidian Universe and The League. All I came out of the book knowing about The League is that they’re a scary bunch of Assassins that you can never leave because they’ll kill you if you’ll try.

This was Nykyrian and Kiara’s story. The Sentella is a group of outlaws that try to police the League. At least that’s what I got from it. Kiara is a Princess from a planet called Gouran. She had a contract on her life and was kidnapped (the why wasn’t explained until ¾ of the way through the book). Nykyrian and his band of misfits (that what I started thinking of them as) saved her from certain death. Nykyrian is the only League Assassin to ever escape and he has a price on his head that anyone would kill for. He is so emotionless and has such little faith in humanity that he wouldn’t be surprised if any of his fellow brothers or sisters in the Sentella turn him in. Because of that, he is constantly on watch.

When they save Kiara, it is his worst nightmare. She is the only person, dead or alive that has ever brought emotion out in him. A beautiful dancer, he has snuck into her shows and she has something in her that he can’t extinguish from his thoughts of the feelings that he thought he had long ago gotten rid of.

Kiara is at first disgusted by Nykyrian, until she gets past her prejudice and realizes he is a man that had a horrific childhood and came out a good man on the other side. She has no idea how she could have overlooked that and looked at him like everyone else, but she is ashamed and she makes sure he knows it.

The thing I didn’t like about Kiara was how wishy-washy she was about Nykyrian. One moment she would accept him for who she was, but then she would see who he really was and what he would do to protect her and she would be horrified and call him a monster. She really made me want to slap her. I understood what and why she felt the way she felt, but she really needed to go one way or the other. And this didn’t happen once or twice. It happened multiple times.

Overall, I did enjoy the book enough to get the next book in the series. I’m looking forward to (hopefully) seeing some more world building. I have complete faith in Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Rating 3.5 out of 5.

Reading Order

Born of Night
Born of Fire
Born of Ice
Born of Shadows
Cloak and Silence
Born of Fury
Born of Defiance
Born of Betrayal
Born of Legend

three-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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